In this article:
- Most important SEO metrics
- Free SEO auditing tools and how they work
SEO (search engine optimization) is an important part of any business’s online marketing strategy. It’s how you show up on Google, and other search engines. And that’s one of the first places people are looking for your offerings!
So, how can you determine if your SEO looks good and what you need to do to improve it?
First, is business good? Are you getting organic leads on a regular basis? If not, then an SEO audit might be in order.
What are the most important metrics to track when it comes to SEO?
You can track several metrics to determine if your business is properly optimized for the search engines. It all starts with having a good website (and a Google My Business listing if you have a local business). This is the foundation for helping your business get found online.
So, what determines good website health?
This means your website is easy to use across different devices. You can find your way around and have a good experience on your website whether you are on a large monitor or a cell phone.
Page speed is how quickly your pages load. Most people will leave a website if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load. Ideally, it should take less than 2 seconds.
It’s important that Google and other search engines are able to crawl the pages on your website. This is what helps them get indexed so they can show up in search results.
Organic traffic is website visits that come from the search engines. If you don’t have any organic traffic, it’s probably because it’s not showing up in the search engines.
This is a metric that Google uses to determine the strength and trustworthiness of a website. This is a 0-100 scale, with most local businesses falling anywhere between 5 and 35 depending on how much SEO work they’ve done.
Backlinks are links from other websites that go to your website. These are a huge factor in your overall domain authority. The more trustworthy backlinks that you have, the better your domain authority will be, the more opportunities you’ll have to rank in the search engines.
Citations are listings for your business in online directories. Think Yelp, Yellowpages, Google My Business, even Facebook. It is important that each of your citations has the exact same NAP (name, address, and phone number) in order for Google to verify your information with these other directories.
Your keyword rankings tell you how well your website shows up in the search engines for a particular search query. The higher up you are in the search engines, the more traffic you’ll get to your website. This generally results in more business too.
Top 10 free SEO auditing tools that can help you track important metrics
Let’s dive into the free tools that can help you check these metrics and your overall SEO health.
Website auditing tools
There are tons of solutions out there that will do a free audit of your website. Most of them will require your email address so they can send you more information about their services or free courses that they offer.
These website graders give a general look at your mobile-friendliness, page speed/performance, and SEO potential.
Hubspot Website Grader
Hubspot’s Website Grader will score your website on performance, SEO, mobile, and security. It will break each of those items down in the report to show you how you can improve in each area.
Go to website.grader.com to enter your website URL, email address, and get your score. Hubspot will also provide links to free resources that they offer to help you learn more about SEO and managing a website.
Nilbbler grades your website on accessibility and mobile usability, experience, marketing, and technology. It then breaks down each of these items to show you any potential issues with your website and how you can make improvements.
Got to nibbler.insites.com to test your website.
Tools for traffic analytics
Traffic analytics tools will show you how many people are visiting your website each day, week, or month and where that traffic is coming from.
Google Analytics has tons of metrics that you can pull, from traffic analytics to user behaviors and demographics.
For the traffic analytics side of things, this tool will allow you to filter specific timeframes to see how much traffic you had and where that traffic came from. It will breakdown your traffic by these sources:
- Organic (from the search engines)
- Direct (people who bookmarked your website or type it in directly)
- Social (traffic from social media to your website)
- Referrals (from links on other websites)
- Paid (from any paid Google ads that you might be running)
Check with your web developer to see if Google Analytics is set up on your website. And if it’s not, make sure it gets done.
Go to analytics.google.com to check your Google Analytics web traffic.
SemRush will do an overall look at your traffic, backlinks, keyword rankings, and more, but most of these features come with a paid subscription. You can enter your website in for free to get a snapshot of what your monthly organic search traffic looks like though.
Just go to semrush.com, enter your website, and create an account.
Domain & link tracking tools
These tools will help you determine what your domain authority is and what your backlink profile looks like.
Moz Free Domain SEO Analysis Tool
Moz is a big leader in the SEO world and has developed several tools that professional marketers use every day to monitor SEO and website health. But they also have a few free tools that you can use. One of those is their Domain SEO Analysis Tool.
This tool will give you your domain authority, the number of other domains that are linking to your website, how many keywords you are ranking for at a national level, and a spam score for your website.
Just go to moz.com/domain-analysis and enter in your website’s domain name.
Try comparing your domain to competitors that are showing up well in the search engines to give yourself an idea of how much work you have to do to keep up.
Ahrefs Backlink Checker
Ahrefs is another SEO resource that provides several different tools to track a lot of these metrics that we’ve mentioned. Again, a lot of their services are paid features, but they do offer a free backlink checker, allowing you to see how many links you have to your website. They’ll also provide a domain rating.
The numbers here will be different from Moz’s Domain Analysis tool because they use different bots to crawl the web, so they might not have all of the same information.
Go to ahrefs.com/backlink-checker and enter in your website’s domain name to check it out.
Local SEO & citation checking tools
These tools might be the most important for any business that provides local products or services. These will show how well your business is showing up in important online directories and if your information is correct. As we mentioned earlier, it’s very important that your NAP is consistent across all of these directories.
Moz Online Presence Checker
Moz again for the win! Moz also has a free tool that allows you to check your citation health and whether or not your business is listed on important citation websites.
Moz will list the top directories and tell you which percentage of those are correct, incorrect, or missing. And it will provide the information that is listed for your website in each of those directories.
Go to moz.com/checkout/local/check to check your online presence score.
Yext is another tool that provides a similar service as Moz’s Online Presence Checker. They’ll provide a free scan of your citations so that you can see where your business is listed and if your information is correct.
Go to yext.com and scroll down to “Are there wrong answers about you in other places?” Then enter in your business information and get your free scan.
Keyword ranking tools
Keyword rankings tools will help you to know how well your website is showing up in the search engines. If you’re not in the top 10 results for a given phrase, you’re probably not getting a ton of traffic from it.
Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz will run a keyword check on your website with their Keyword Explorer. All you do is enter in your website URL, and Moz will generate a list of all of the keywords that you are ranking for on a national level. (Unfortunately, they don’t break this down by cities or states, so you can’t take a deeper dive to see how well you show up locally – but a Google search in an incognito window will show you local results.)
Go to moz.com/explorer to get started.
Google Search Console
Search Console is another free resource from Google that is amazing. It will breakdown all of your organic traffic from Google so you can see exactly which phrases people are searching that bring your website up in the search results. It will also tell you which phrases result in clicks and traffic to your website.
And, if you export the list of queries that search console gives you, you can see what your position in the search engines is (again on a national level) for each phrase.
This is another one where you might need a web developer’s help to get it set up, but once you’re in, this is one you’ll check on a regular basis.
Just go to search.google.com/search-console to get started.
Additional resources to help your business with SEO
If you are excited about SEO and want to learn all you can to help your website show up better on Google, then check out these other free SEO tips:
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