Small businesses often face challenges when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). With limited resources, it can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing algorithms and ranking factors used by search engines like Google. However, using the right SEO tools can help level the playing field and improve a small business’s chances of being discovered by potential customers online.
In this article, I’ll share info about how to choose SEO tools, the best SEO tools for small businesses, including Google Analytics and Google Search Console, and tips to use them effectively.
Choosing the Right SEO Tools for Your Small Business
When choosing SEO tools for your small business, consider your specific needs and goals. Keep the following factors in mind:
- Cost: The cost of SEO tools varies widely, so consider your budget when choosing a tool. Some tools, like Google Analytics and Google Search Console, are free, while others, like Ahrefs and SEMrush, require a paid subscription.
- Features: There isn’t a perfect SEO tool that will do everything you need. Each tool has different features and use cases, so think about what you want from a paid tool before narrowing down your choices. The free SEO tools I cover below are must-haves, but it’s still helpful to understand what they can and can’t do.
- Ease of use: The complexity of each tool will also vary, so choose a tool that’s simple to use and understand. Some tools, like Google Analytics and Google Search Console, have a beginner-friendly interface, while others may have a steeper learning curve.
- Scalability: While your site may be small now, your dreams aren’t. Any platform you choose should be able to grow with your business without losing functionality.
Top Free SEO Tools for Small Businesses
As a small business owner, you might have a limited SEO budget. But you can still get started optimizing for search with the free SEO tools below.
Google Analytics (GA) is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It can provide valuable insights into a site’s performance, allowing business owners to see how users interact with their site and make data-driven decisions to improve their online presence. Google Analytics isn’t just an excellent tool for measuring website traffic, but it’s also crucial for SEO. Here’s why:
- Landing page analysis: GA provides detailed information about which pages on your site are receiving the most traffic and how users are interacting with them. You can use this information to identify areas for improvement and optimize landing pages for search engines.
- Traffic analysis: See where people are coming from and which pages they visit. Is most of your traffic direct, organic, paid, or referral? Use this info to adjust your marketing budget or make changes to your campaigns.
- Conversion tracking: Google Analytics provides valuable data about the number of conversions (sales or lead submissions) your site is generating and where they are coming from. You can use this data to further optimize your site for conversions.
- Google Ads integration: Learn more about how well your ads are converting by connecting your Google Ads account and Google Analytics.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool that allows you to monitor and maintain your website’s presence in Google search results. It tracks helpful information about your site’s performance, including any errors or issues that may be affecting your rankings. Here’s why Google Search Console is essential for small businesses:
- Error reporting: Google Search Console provides notifications about errors on your site, such as broken links or crawl errors, which can negatively impact your search engine rankings. The tool also provides information about any malware or security issues affecting your site.
- Keyword tracking: The tool shows you information about the keywords that users are using to find your site, including the number of clicks, impressions, and click-through rates. This can help you optimize your site for the keywords that are driving the most traffic.
- Sitemap submission: GSC allows you to submit your sitemap, which is a file that lists all of the pages on your site and helps search engines understand its structure. This will ensure Google can find and index all of the appropriate pages.
- Link analysis: GSC provides information about the external links pointing to your site. You can also submit a disavow list if you think any of them are toxic backlinks.
Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly Google My Business (GMB), is a free tool offered by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Google Search and Google Maps. It’s an incredibly useful SEO tool for small businesses because it can help you improve your visibility and credibility online, leading to increased website traffic and business growth.
One of the primary benefits of GBP is its ability to improve local search visibility. GBP allows business owners to list their business information, including business name, address, phone number, and website. Google then displays this information to users in relevant local search results making it easy for customers to find your business online.
GBP also allows businesses to manage their online reputation by encouraging customers to leave reviews. These reviews help improve the credibility of your business and its products or services, making it more appealing to potential customers.
Additionally, GBP provides insights into how customers are interacting with your business on Google, including the number of clicks to the website, phone calls, and directions requests. You can use this data to inform business decisions and improve marketing strategies.
Another advantage of GBP is that it allows businesses to post updates, such as special offers, events, and promotions. This helps keep customers informed and engaged and can drive more traffic to your website. It also allows businesses to upload photos, including images of their products or services, which can help boost the visibility of your business online.
Get started with your own profile and learn how to optimize it here.
Yoast or RankMath
Running your site on WordPress? Download Yoast or RankMath to improve your SEO.
With Yoast or RankMath installed, you can:
- Optimize your website’s content for specific keywords and phrases. Both plugins provide a content analysis tool that analyzes your pages and posts for keyword relevance and makes suggestions for improving on-page SEO.
- Improve your website’s readability. These plugins have built-in readability analysis tools that assess the clarity of your content and provide suggestions for making it easier to read.
- Generate sitemaps and manage meta tags. Both Yoast and RankMath allow you to create and manage sitemaps and input metadata, which can help improve your website’s visibility in search results.
These SEO plugins simplify on-page SEO and can help you incrementally improve both your knowledge of SEO and implementation of best practices.
Other Top SEO Software for Small Businesses
Free tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console are essential for any small business looking to improve its SEO. Combine them with a paid tool to further drive your SEO strategy. Here are a few small business SEO tools to consider.
Ahrefs & SEMrush
Ahrefs and SEMrush are comprehensive SEO tools that offer a wide range of features, including keyword research, site audits, and backlink analyses. They can each provide detailed information about your site’s performance, including which keywords are driving traffic to your website, who’s linking to your site, and how your site compares to your competitors’ sites.
These tools both provide a lot of data that can be confusing for those new to SEO. Partner with an SEO agency for more in-depth analysis and recommendations based on your business goals.
For additional info about keyword research tools, check out this post. If you’re more interested in audit capabilities, these two posts can guide you through the process and tool selection:
CallRail is a call tracking and analytics platform that helps small businesses understand the impact of their marketing efforts on incoming phone calls. This is a useful SEO software for small businesses that have a brick-and-mortar location or provide a service that is usually scheduled over the phone — like legal, plumbing, or medical services. A call-tracking service can help you monitor the effectiveness of your SEO strategy and understand how your SEO activities are impacting your call volume.
CallRail integrates with Google Analytics and other SEO software and can also provide valuable insight into the customer journey. The platform tracks the keywords customers use to find your business, the pages they visit on the website, and the keywords that drive the most phone calls.
Tips for Using Small Business SEO Software Effectively
Once you have chosen the right SEO tools for your business, it’s important to use them effectively. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your SEO tools.
- Set goals: Before you start using your SEO tools, set clear goals for what you want to achieve. This will help you focus your efforts and get the most out of each tool.
- Regularly monitor your site’s performance: Keep an eye on your site’s performance to identify and track trends and opportunities for improvements.
- Use multiple tools: While each tool provides valuable information, using multiple tools will provide a more comprehensive view of your site’s performance and better support your SEO goals. For example, you can use Google Analytics to track website traffic and Ahrefs to do keyword research.
SEO is a critical aspect of online marketing for small businesses, and wielding the right tools can make a big difference in the success of your SEO efforts. By using the best SEO tools for small businesses to monitor the success of your SEO strategy, you can improve your online presence and drive more traffic and conversions to your site.
Learn more about how to extract maximum value from Google Tools — check out our free Google tools resources.