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Whilst many businesses fear SEO and consider it something of an unwanted necessity, it is in fact a perfectly well structured way to go about getting relevant traffic by creating quality content.

The great news for businesses is there are plenty of free tools which can help structure a winning strategy – that’s right, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to get your SEO pointing in the right direction. It just takes a little bit of knowhow.

In this guide, the following 5 tools are a brilliant way to shape your SEO efforts so you can launch yourself up Google’s rankings with white hat tactics. Don’t miss out – make sure you’re on target to meet your KPIs today with a winning strategy.

  1. Google Keyword Planner

The cornerstone of any healthy keyword strategy, this is the tool which allows businesses to find the keywords they need to use. With the right keywords, it’s possible to structure on-site content which will get you ranking and claim traffic from relevant customers.

It’s free and easy to use, too, so there’s no excuse! Delve on in and quickly unearth the terms your customers are using to find the products you sell or service you provide. Need a quick guide to help you along? Quick Sprout offers a basic introduction to Google Keyword Planner to kelp you along.

  1. Moz Local Listing Score

From over 15 renowned sources (which, naturally, includes Google), the legendary Moz analyses data to provide you with a grade for your local SEO efforts. Local Search is quick and easy to use and will provide you with a basic overview of how things are going. From this, you can discern what your Moz rating is and you’ll be supplied with insights on how you can go about fixing them.

As an example, where I’m from SEO Manchester remains a hotly competed contest between hundreds of businesses. Whether this is restaurants, retail stores, or hotels, it’s a furiously contested business arena which means every advantage you can steal in the world of SEO will help you. So, don’t forget about your local efforts!

  1. Screaming Frog

Despite its bizarre name, this is a brilliant piece of software which can help your business to unearth any on-site issues with your website. Screaming Frog is an SEO spider which allows you to search through all of your pages to highlight crawl issues such as broken links or meta tags which aren’t properly optimised.

It’ll search 500 pages for free, making this an ideal piece of software for small businesses. Tools such as Moz will do the same, but you have to pay for them! So try out Screaming Frog to correct those niggling problems.

  1. Google Analytics & Search Console

Although this tool may be overwhelming at first (it takes some practice to get used to), the software is essential. It’ll help you to understand the traffic you’re receiving, where it’s coming from, the bounce rate on landing pages, and the amount of conversions you’re generating.

Along with Webmaster Tools (Google Search Console), it’s pretty much essential in gathering SEO insights, such as which pages are generating traffic whilst offering insights on keywords. Webmaster Tools also offers this, with additional analysis on what the world’s leading search engines actually make of your website. In this essence, it’s a great way to identify issues.

Google will also usually send a business warnings in its messaging system if it believes the site is contravening its quality guidelines. Keep an eye on this to make sure you’re not heading into a penalty based on your possible black hat SEO tactics. This Moz guide to Search Console will help you to get to grips with it.

  1. Open Site Explorer

This is another free tool from Moz which is extremely useful, especially if you’re performing your first SEO audit.

Open Site Explorer offers a detailed insights into the links on your site and how this is impacting on your authority or status in the world of SEO. For instance, if you have a load of spammy links you’re in trouble – this tool will identify them, however, and you can then disavow the links. From there, you can go ahead and aim for good quality links to add real authority to your site.