Sabtu, 06 Februari 2016

My 15 Favorite Free SEO Tools
I never get tired of saying it – I love me a good free tool.
This article is dedicated to the best – those free SEO tools that I use frequently and give me that warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s nice to have a huge arsenal, but it can be more powerful to wield a few powerful weapons expertly, so I’ve included some links and tips on how to make these tools work harder for you.
At the end of this article, you’ll find the 2014 version of this list with notes on changes. There’s also a bonus list of links to more free SEO tools.
Without further ado, here are my current fifteen favorite freebies.

15. GTmetrix

Having a tool to examine page speed and diagnose opportunities for improvement  is now an essential part of the SEO toolkit. Anything that impacts user-experience impacts SEO, and site speed is a big deal for UX, especially for mobile. Many page-speed tools exist; I’ve found GTmetrix reliable and a good balance between thorough and user-friendly. Other page speed tools that are good include  PingdomWebPagetest (great visual waterfall), and Google PageSpeed Insights. That last one is especially good. 

14. Web Developer Toolbar

web developer toolbar
The Web Developer Toolbar has become much relied-upon during the technical phase of our SEO audits. To learn how to use it for SEO, read Glenn Gabe’s SEO Audits & the Web Developer Plugin: 12 Helpful Features for the Technical SEO.

13. SEO Quake Toolbar

SEO Quake
SEO Quake shows data on traffic, links, social shares, on-page keyword optimization and more. The SEO Quake website has lots of helpful tips on what to do with all this data.


In 2015, social media is typically vital to SEO success. Hootsuite is one of many platforms for managing social media. I’m not saying Hootsuite is the best social platform, but it is what I’m most familiar with and is plenty helpful for promoting new content and staying on top of opportunities to engage with key influencers.

11. Wayback Machine

The Wayback Machine is the Internet’s most complete historical archive and lets you see what a website used to look like back in the day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this free tool for detective work  to crack client cases of missing traffic. For that reason, the Wayback Machine holds a special place in my heart. If the numbers for a site have changed and something about that site has changed but you don’t have a site back-up available to figure out what – the Wayback Machine has your back.
Plus, it’s just fun to see how much better your site looks since the Geocities days.

10. Chrome Developer Tools

“F12” is now the SEO button, because it is the shortcut to major awesomeness built right into Chrome. Some SEO tasks you can do with Chrome DevTools include: examining mobile UX and SEO with the amazing mobile emulator, diagnosing page speed, picking apart source code, examining HTTP status codes, and mocking-up live edits to a webpage (including the title tags and Meta descriptions in the SERPs). Resources below.

9. Google Trends

Google Trends
Marketers who know where the puck is heading tend to win more. Google Trends shows changes in search query volume for specific queries (and topics and entities).
For marketers, especially in volatile industries like technology and fashion, it’s critical to at least keep up with the market. And, if you can master online trends analysis and get a step ahead of the competition, the results can be quite profitable indeed. For search marketers, it’s plain good sense to analyze changes in search query behavior. Even everyday writers can improve their results by understanding which topics are trending. 
Bottom line: while often overlooked, Trends is an extremely powerful tool in the right hands. Below are some helpful articles:


keyword tool
Enter a query in this freemium tool and it will quickly spit out a ton of great keywords based on the autocomplete feature of Google, Bing, YouTube, or App Store Search. is great for generating a ton of keyword ideas containing your seed term, especially long-tail keywords that won’t show up in the AdWords keyword tool due to having  very low volumes. I usually use when I am building a list of potential keywords, especially when I need long-tail keywords. is new to this year’s list (thanks to a reader who shared the tool with me in a comment on last year’s list). Shout out to Ubersuggest, the original tool of this kind.

7. Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing Webmaster Tools (aka BWT) remains extremely overlooked. It’s great for keeping an eye on how Bing (which powers Yahoo) is treating your site and also enables you to have some control in the matter. It also shows you clicks to your site from Bing by search query, and it has a feature for looking up Bing search query volume. It also offers benefits beyond Bing by providing insights into crawling, indexation, on-page keyword optimization, and other elements that can impact your performance in Google.
A while back, I wrote an article on some ways to use BWT. BWT also has a great help section.

6. Google (and Bing)

This is one is so obvious that I forgot to include it last year: the Google and Bing search engines themselves are veryuseful SEO tools. Mastery of search engine functionality is part of mastering SEO. With some Google-fu (and Bing-fu), you can examine indexation and duplicate content, find content scrapers, check keyword rankings, analyze SERP listings, and scout for outreach and link prospects.
Below are useful official help guides, followed by SEO-specific searching tips. Read those and you’ll be on your way to your black belt.

5. Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a website crawler designed specifically for SEO. Within mere minutes, you’ll get critical data on every URL. Best to just download it and take it for a spin. Once you see all that data, you’ll have questions, but there’s resources to help you:

4. Google Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner
Google’s Keyword Planner, the tool formerly known as Adwords Keyword Tool, lets you pull monthly Google search query volume estimates for dozens of keywords in seconds. I can never understate the importance of knowing what people search for.

3. Moz

SERP_Overlay Moz is a suite of user-friendly inbound marketing tools. Below are my favorite free Moz tools:
  • Open Site Explorer is a backlink analysis tool with helpful metrics approximating link equity.
  • Followerwonk shows data on Twitter.
  • Moz Local (formerly Get Listed) lets you see the state of a company’s local citations and is the first place you should go when you first start local SEO on a site.
  • Mozbar is a browser toolbar that lets you quickly get at Moz’s key features for the page you’re on.
  • The SERP Overlay (seen on the right) is part of the Mozbar and shows OSE metrics on individual search results.

2. Google Search Console

Analogous to BWT (yet much richer), Google Search Console – formerly “Google Webmaster Tools” – provides data and configuration control for your site in Google. That’s a pretty big deal. For more, check out our extensive guide.

1. Google Analytics

ga-logoIf you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve used Google Analytics. I think we may have written about it once or twice.
The most valuable SEO data is that which helps you understand your visitors  and how they interact with your site.  No tool I’ve used delivers that data like  Google Analytics, and none of the tools I mentioned does a better job providing data that helps you understand the number that matters most – the bottom line.
Thus, GA is the tool I depend on the most.

17 Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid

Background and Definitions

Black hat and white hat are terms derived from Western movie convention where the good guy would wear a white hat that contrasted with the bad guy's black hat. However, there are instances where this doesn't apply, such as Paladin in Have Gun - Will Travel.
The terms have been adapted to describe SEO techniques approved by the search engines' terms of service (TOS) and those that violate them.
Black hat SEO techniques, encapsulated by spamdexing, entail manipulating how search engines perceive the relevance of a Web page in a way that is often inconsistent with the search engines' guidelines. Hidden text, cloaking, and blog comment spam are examples of black hat SEO.
White hat SEO techniques involve providing users with quality content that is accurate, relevant, and well-organized. Using relevant keywords in the title tag, h1 tag, and anchor text of inbound and internal links are examples of white hat SEO.
What white and black hat SEO have in common is the desire to improve website visibility; where they differ is how they go about it.
Black hat SEO has a negative reputation, and rightly so: It's a shady set of deceptive practices that degrade the user experience and are adopted mostly to make a quick buck. To keep a business legitimate and afloat on the Web, avoid black hat SEO techniques and embrace white hat SEO techniques.

17 Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid
(and 17 White Hat SEO Techniques to Utilize)

1. Unrelated Keywords

Don't: Add irrelevant keywords to the copy for extra page hits.
Example: "Kanye West would use our Dyson vacuum cleaners if he owned cats."
Do: Keep the content focused on a specific topic so users find what they are searching for.
Example: "Our Dyson vacuum cleaners effectively suck up dust, dirt, and pet hair."

2. Keyword Stacking and Keyword Stuffing

Don't: Repeat keywords to the extent that it reads like gibberish in a sentence or image alt text.
Example: "Picture frames picture frames pictures pictures pictures."
Do: Write sentences that make sense, have a reasonable keyword density, and that use semantically related words instead of endlessly repeating keywords.
Example: "Our photo framing services can accommodate large formats to ensure everyone gets the big picture."

3. Tiny Text, Hidden Text, and Hidden Links

Don't: Put illegible text at the bottom of the page, make the text the same color as the background, or format text or images that are visually undetectable as links.
Example"This is a short sentence full of illegible gray text."
Do: Write content that is intended to be read, contrast the text with the background color, and make links obvious.
Example: "The Canon G10 camera has both the features of professional cameras and the convenience of portable point-and-shoots."

4. Cloaking

Don't: Present search engines with one set of content and site visitors with another, tricking visitors from search engines into experiencing a page of substantially different content.
Example: A user searches for "happy octopus", clicks on a search result that appears to be about sea creature psychology, and is greeted with pornography.
Do: Be honest and create Web pages that visitors want and expect to see based on the description on the search engine results page (SERP).
Example: A user searches for "Hello Kitty" and is taken to the official website of the franchise.

5. Doorway Pages or Gateway Pages

Don't: Haphazardly stuff pages with keyword phrases with the primary goal of achieving a high ranking and then automatically redirect visitors to a separate page.
Example: A page, filled with keyword phrases but little coherent content, that uses JavaScript or a meta refresh tag to redirect visitors to a separate and potentially unrelated page.
Do: Create landing pages and information pages for humans that are rich in content.
Example: A sugar manufacturer detailing the advantages of raw sugar over high fructose corn syrup.

6. Bait-and-Switch or Page Swapping

Don't: Get a Web page indexed and ranked and then change the page entirely.
Example: Clicking on a result in the SERP takes the user to a page that is completely different from the keywords used for searching and the description provided in the SERP.
Do: Update Web pages regularly while keeping the overall topics of the pages intact.
Example: An article about The PIrate Bay, a torrent site, is updated with news related to the trial, verdict, and media response.

7. Duplicate Content or Mirror Site

Don't: Copy a substantial amount of content from another website, with or without permission.
Example: A website reprints an authoritative article found elsewhere to increase the number of visitors.
Do: Quote in small chunks, cite sources, and write original content.
Example: An article about the sound quality in various models of headphones cites reviews of headphones found on other sites.

8. Spam Blogs or Splogs

Don't: Blog using software that generates garbled text with keyword phrases for the sole purpose of getting visitors to click on ads.
Example: "Caffeinating the Mountain Dew with MSG is a summer treat safer than Guinness." Do: Put time into your blog posts to write something coherent, novel, and fresh.
Example: "Caffeine is drug that is safe to consume in moderation, but consistently large doses over time may cause anxiety and sleep disorders."

9. Blog Spam or Comment Spam

Don't: Automatically post links as comments on blogs to increase the number of inbound links.
Example: "Great post! |3uy ch34p v14gr4 w1th fr33 5h199ing."
Do: Post insightful and constructive comments related to the article or blog post.
Example: "Thanks for explaining Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis' in such detail. Have you thought about comparing it to Cronenberg's 1986 remake of 'The Fly'?"

10. Trackback Spam

Don't: Abuse trackbacks with links to unrelated links on blogs.
Example: "[…] randomized keyword phrases related keyword more random keywords […]"
Do: Let blog authors know about posts being referenced from legitimate sources.
Example: "[…] read a blog post on Moleskine notebooks that brought up the […]"

11. Spam Ping or Sping or PIngback Spam

Don't: Notify ping servers of new content several times per minute to give the illusion that content is new.
Example: Software that automates the process of notifying various ping servers of supposedly new content.
Do: Set up blogging software to ping centralized services once when a blog post is published.
Example: Populate the "Update Services" box in WordPress settings to notify pingback services of new blog entries.

12. Referrer Spam

Don't: Advertise a website by making repeated requests using a fake referrer URL to websites that publicize referrer statistics.
Example: Scripts that automatically follow links on illegitimate sites can land spam websites in publicized referrer logs.
Do: Link to content that is relevant and allow readers to follow the links naturally.
Example: "Ask MetaFilter is a valuable resource for finding free answers to questions that are challenging to find on the Web."

13. Link Farms

Don't: Seek links from or link to sites with unrelated or low quality content in an attempt to improve visibility in the SERPs.
Example: A long list of unrelated links and with supporting content can be found at
Do: Link to and request links from relevant and high quality websites where a connection between the two websites is logical and beneficial for site visitors.
Example: It is reasonable to ask a blogger who links to Durham, NC pizzerias to link to your page reviewing vegetarian pizzerias in Durham.

14. Cybersquatting or Domain Squatting

Don't: Register a domain with a trademarked word in the name with the intent to profit off of the association.
Example: was originally registered by Russell Boyd.  It was later handed over to Julia Roberts after it was determined in court that Boyd "registered and used the domain name in bad faith".  
Do: Brainstorm and research relevant keywords for an easy-to-remember domain name relevant to the content the website will host. sells personalized candy bar wrappers.

15. Typosquatting or URL Hijacking

Don't: Register a domain name that is a misspelled version of a popular website or a competitor in an attempt to mislead visitors.
Example: may confuse users who intend to visit
Do: Make a website that becomes popular for its richness in content.
Example: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and countless other websites made names for themselves instead of relying on popular keyword phrases or misspellings.

16. Social Networking Spam

Don't: Target demographics on social networking sites and message people with advertisements.
Example: "Visit to see pics of me and my friends ;)."
Do: Network, find people with similar interests, and exchange contact information when there is mutual interest.
Example: "Hello Frank, we met at the Web Design Meetup last week. I like what you had to say about accessibility and usability. What was that site you mentioned that had the list of usability studies?"

17. Cookie Stuffing or Cookie Dropping

Don't: Stealthily place affiliate cookies on computers.
Example: A spammer inserts a URL to a fake image on a message board that puts affiliate cookies on the computers of forum visitors.
Do: Link to retail websites with affiliate links to earn a percentage of sales.
Example: "You can support this blog by following my affiliate links to Amazon."


This list covers the popular forms of black hat SEO, but all shady techniques should be avoided. If ethics alone aren't a deterrent: Performing black hat SEO can lead to a damaged reputation, getting websites banned from search engines, and even lawsuits for copyright infringement.
There are plenty of ways to legitimately improve website visibility in the SERPs. It may take time for a Web page or website to become popular, but it's a process that has a better chance of surviving in the long-term. Remember that the goal is to provide a service to visitors. Once you do that, with white hat SEO, the rest will follow.