The ubiquity of smartphones means more people gain access to the internet. And the number of digital-savvy individuals increases each day as 28 percent of adults in the US are “almost constantly” online. Pew Research Center says this is a 21 percent increase from 2015.
Constant internet usage affects how people go about their day-to-day activities, including the way they shop. This type of consumer behavior means that traditional marketing efforts won’t suffice anymore, forcing businesses to invest in digital marketing.
The problem is that the digital space is getting oversaturated as more and more businesses migrate their marketing efforts online. With millions of brands working to establish their digital presence, there’s no assurance that your customers and target audience will find you online.
This is where search engine optimization or SEO steps in.
SEO: Be the Biggest Fish in the Digital Pond
SEO organically increases the quantity and quality of traffic to your website. It improves your rankings in search engine results.
The number one result that appears on Google receives 31.7 percent of the clicks, so it gets more traffic. You can use excel, to calculate percent change formula. Click-through rates for positions seven through 10, showed the same results, which means moving up a few spots from the bottom doesn’t always mean more clicks. But getting on the first page is crucial.
How do you get to the first page and receive exposure for your brand?
Google ranks web pages based on the authority of the publisher and the relevancy of the content to the searcher’s query. SEO uses a variety of tactics to signal to Google that you meet these standards.
Before going into the must-have tools, it’s crucial to be familiar with the fundamental aspects of SEO. This way, you know how to make the tool work for you and tailor your use according to Google’s metrics.
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These are four of the crucial components of SEO:
- Content Optimization
The content of your web pages must contain SEO factors, such as keywords and meta data. But it should also be factual, timely, and grammatically correct. Google ranks content for its usefulness and relevance to the search query. This means your content needs to be beneficial to the searcher to have SEO value.
- Link Building
Link building means getting other websites to link back to your site. These backlinks not only drive traffic to your pages; they also increase your site’s authority. Google’s algorithms see these links as a signal that your content is of high quality and is worthy of citation. So pages with more backlinks are ranked higher.
- Keyword Search and Analysis
If content is king, keywords are the queens in SEO. These words or phrases make sure that your content reaches precisely the person that would find value in them. And keywords can be as general or as targeted as you want. For example, “SEO company” is an already effective keyword. But you can also use more specific ones, such as “SEO services company Utah,” which will help you localize your content. This is effective for “near me” searches.
- Technical SEO
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing your website according to Google’s crawling and indexing protocols. Google’s spider crawlers discover new public pages and sites and bring the data back to the main server, which is how you’re included in the index. Technical SEO makes sure Google easily indexes your site and eliminates issues like confusing domains, duplicate content, loss of page rank, and others.
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Now, we’ll move on to the top SEO tools. Some of these are designed for one aspect of SEO, and others are for a combination of the four.
Must-Have SEO Tools
1. Yoast WordPress Plugin
For content optimization
Yoast is a feature exclusive to WordPress that ensures your web page is SEO friendly. It evaluates the optimization of your content as you write it. Yoast makes sure that you’re maximizing your keywords and their placement, using internal and external links, and building grammatically correct sentences.
This tool also guides you in writing your meta titles and descriptions. It helps you create an effective meta description that will give readers an idea of what the web page contains.
Yoast also has built-in readability features that help you improve your writing. It looks at passive sentences, transitions, sentence and paragraph lengths, and other factors that may decrease the readability of your content.
For content optimization and keyword analysis
SEMrush provides data on your keywords’ performance. Although it doesn’t directly boost your site’s ranking, it lets you see if your keyword strategy is effective or if you need to regroup. With SEMrush, you can generate keywords that bridge your business and frequently searched terms or queries. This tool also lets you see the keywords your competitors use, allowing you to benchmark your content and optimization strategy.
3. Screaming Frog
For technical SEO
Screaming Frog emulates Google’s spider crawlers, letting you scan websites, gather elements to analyze, and produce technical audits. This technical SEO tool helps you spot 404 links and duplicate content, evaluate meta titles and descriptions, analyze site structure and internal links, and more. The goal is to reduce the issues that Google’s crawlers may find so that you can maintain a high ranking.
For content optimization
Buzzsumo is another content optimization tool, but it doesn’t touch on the technical aspect of writing. This helps you stay in the loop of what the internet is currently talking about. Buzzsumo lets you see trends across social media platforms and frequently mentioned terms, giving you ideas on relevant content to publish.
Buzzsumo also has a “View sharers” feature. Seeing who shared a piece of content informs you if this trend is suitable for your branding and relevant to your target market. You can use this information to determine how you’ll attack the trend and tailor the content to your brand.
5. Google Analytics
For keyword analysis
Google Analytics is the ultimate SEO monitoring tool. Apart from monitoring the health of your current keywords, it lets you see what other search terms visitors use to discover your site. You can also identify which pages and links have the highest click-through rates. This information allows you to refine your optimization strategy and strengthen your underperforming pages.
Google Analytics presents the data in a user-friendly way, making it easy for you to navigate and make sense of the figures.
Choosing the Right Tools for Your Business
Most of these tools are free, so you don’t have to worry about the cost. Others are “freemium,” which means they have basic features for free but have more if you opt for the paid version. You can try the free versions for a while until you find the best tools that cater to your budget and digital marketing strategy.
You needn’t struggle to reach your customers online – or make sure they find you – because of SEO. All you have to do is maximize this strategy to strengthen your digital marketing campaign. And SEO tools can help you achieve that goal.