Anybody who knows even a little about SEO will try to convince that it’s so hard to track. In the break room, they’ll probably shrug and say something like, “Yeah, ya know. SEO is a guessing game.”
When that happens, do us a favor. Politely laugh, and with a fresh cup of coffee in hand, go pound out a brag-worthy SEO report like they’ve never seen.
“No-Go SEO Joe” (wow, say that three times fast) is the kind of person who throws around the blanket term “SEO” as a buzzword. He doesn’t really understand the right KPIs or metrics to measure or even what search engine optimization even means.
You might not be an SEO expert, but you know it’s no guessing game. There are very specific things you can do to optimize and see improvements on search engines.
But you need clear results to convince your skeptical manager.
Get yourself the right tools and software you need to impress your boss, and to, well— be a boss.
1. GTmetrix’s “Site Speed Analyzer”
Nobody likes a slow website. In fact, page abandonment decreases exponentially after three seconds of someone waiting on a laggy site.
Reduce your bounce rate by screening your website with the free SEO tool, GTmetrix.
Simply plug in your URL and let the software do its magic. It’ll scan your domain, and within seconds, toss back a report with a personalized grade.
The report might reveal you’re scoring the lowest on your image optimization and explain that your huge file sizes are drastically slowing your load speed. GTmetrix might then suggest reducing your dimensions or compressing the image quality to secure the impatient visitors who are currently bouncing.
This is what we’d call a very top-level platform, as it gives you a quick glimpse of your biggest site loading woes and a few quick solutions. It can be off-putting to see all your problems glaring in one, concise report— but fear not.
Remember, their grade is subjective— what’s concrete is the errors. Glean the largest red flags and make note to dig deeper later.
2. Screaming Frog’s “SEO Spider” Tool
Sometimes there’s chaos behind the curtain that you can’t see. You know some of your pages need a facelift, but with a big site, you get tired just thinking about where to start.
Screaming Frog’s deep datadive is quite ribbiting for curious SEOs looking for optimization suggestions (sorry for the puns, they’re often corny— so we’ve been toad).
Get a handle on your metadata by downloading the trusted desktop app. Once you install it on your computer and enter your website, the froggy crawler will “hop” through your first 1,000 website pages.
The SEO software will give you detailed spreadsheets about your meta descriptions, page titles, tags and site structure. It’ll also expose response code errors like 404s to find dead pages and broken links.
Save the individual reports and create an action plan for each set of fixes.
3. Google AdWords’ “Keyword Planner” Tool
You understand the importance of keywords and, boy you’ve heard all the fancy tricks. Pay for this SEO software, steal your competitor’s ideas, blah blah.
The truth is, you don’t need a special, super fantastical tool to do good keyword research (although SEMRush, as we’ll later mention, is indeed super fantastical for SERP tracking).
Use AdWord’s Keyword Planner to get a sense of terms and topics you should be talking about in your industry. If you’ve got at least three phrases relevant to your company, that’s all you need to get strategic metrics and forecasts. It’ll help you pick new, powerful target phrases and compile an impressive keyword plan to pitch to management.
Anyone with an AdWords account can use Keyword Planner, however, users who are running live campaigns get more refined results. For example, instead of only seeing that the phrase “SEO tools” gets between 100-10,000 monthly searches, paid advertisers see that it actually has an average of 6,600 queries.
If you’re just looking for words to weave into your copy on your site, don’t fret too much about the competition or ad costs for bids. Paid advertising is a whole different animal.
For now, just keep in mind traffic volumes and aim to drizzle keywords with more than 500 average searches a month throughout your site. Here's a more thorough explanation on finding the right keywords for your business.
4. SEMRush’s “Position Tracking” and “Featured Snippets” Tools
How often does your boss pop over to your desk to ask why you’ve dropped two positions on the SERPs for whatever wacky phrase he just Googled? You swear he spends all day creeping to see what positions you’re in today.
It’ll serve up live data to show you what position you’re holding in the United States for various organic queries. You’ll be sitting pretty once you log into your dashboard and see a Visibility Trend bar graph of you climbing ever-higher.
Use your keyword ranking data to make informed strategic decisions. Highlight the phrases hanging out at the top of page two and give these topics more love to boost your rank.
SEMRush has also has a Featured Snippets tool to reveal when you did or didn’t rank for the top of Google’s featured content.
5. Moz’s “MozBar” & “Moz Local”
Sometimes it’s hard to tell at a glance if your competitors have more “authority” over you or if a site is spammy and shouldn’t be trusted.
The MOzBar Chrome Extension is your SEO guardian angel, always giving you quick details right on the page of your search engine results about a business by adding a “bar” under each result with specs.
It’ll tell you the website’s domain authority, page authority and the number of backlinks they have. It adds a button to the search bar too to predict keyword difficulty using a custom Moz score too!
Perhaps one of their more coveted features is the Search Profiles functionality, which performs local SERP tracking. Add a “profile” for your specific city, or the city your second office is in, for an accurate reflection of how the results will appear when searched in that area.
Think of Moz Local as your citation building guide. It’ll recognize if your business is listed on the biggest directories and ways you could further optimize those profiles. Moz also offers a Spam Score to see if sites with questionable content are linking to you, so this platform is packed with useful SEO analysis tools.
Here's some more advice for taking control of local rankings.
6. HubSpot’s “Marketing Dashboard”
The days of jumping between Google Analytics and Search Console for website traffic insights are over. Say hello to HubSpot!
There’s truly nothing like having all your website stats organized in one cohesive marketing dashboard and this platform has it all. From landing page performance to understanding the sales funnels of your personas, HubSpot takes the tracking crown.
See the number of sessions, new contacts and customers and where they came from with their Sources report. Discover how many people are clicking on your calls-to-action and test better workflows.
With their Reports Dashboard, you can customize data and export personalized datasets for easy reporting without time consuming tracking.
Use this data to understand your organic reach and modify your strategies.
Keep the Optimization Ball Rollin’!
Now that you have some of the best SEO analysis tools up your sleeve, don’t wait to start optimizing your website.