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I’ve picked some top tools for technical SEO, on-page SEO and backlink checks. Best of all, they’re all totally free! If you’ve got a favourite tool that hasn’t been mentioned, feel free to comment at the end of this post.
As far as header response checkers go, Ayima Redirect Path is the original gangster. While there may be other ways of checking header response codes, this plugin gives you the information while you’re on the page – plus extras:
It also shows (as the name suggests) your redirect path, exposing inefficient redirect chains and the much hated redirect loop. Clicking each status code bubble gives the server IP address and server information, like if keep-alive is enabled.
Head to the Google Chrome Store to get Ayima Redirect Path for free.
Ghostery is primarily a privacy-enhancing plugin that finds scripts made to track you and lets you block them, including ads. But it’s also a great way of checking what tracking is running on any given page (yours, competitors’ or industry leaders’). It’s a simple way of checking if your Analytics and other codes have been implemented correctly, but also for getting tracking ideas from other sites.
Grab Ghostery for free on all major desktop browsers and for mobile operating systems.
Want to find out what a site’s made with? What kind of server it’s hosted on? If it’s a Magento site or a modded WordPress site? Wappalyzer is your plugin. One click and you’ll get top level info on the page, without having to paste a URL into a tool and wait for it to run. It’s useful for auditing a site, so you can know if you’ll have control via .htaccess or if a developer needs deeper involvement.
Pick up Wappalyzer for free for Firefox or Chrome.
A simple overlay tool that gives so much more insight than you’d think. Panguin hooks up to your Google Analytics account and displays your organic traffic with coloured bars appearing on the dates of major Google updates. This makes algorithmic penalties and impacts to traffic from algorithm changes more obvious, as well as giving you an idea which update caused the issue.
To access this bamboo-munching, fish catching animal mashup, visit http://www.barracuda-digital.co.uk/panguin-tool/.
So, what if Panguin shows that a Panda update spanked your site into the Stone Age? Check for duplicate content with Copyscape and pinpoint your offending pages.
The free option lets you check one URL at a time, but gives multiple results and can be a big help on your key pages. If Panda is your bugbear, head to copyscape.com and get yourself on the unique content bandwagon.
Crystal ball it ain’t, but Google Trends can be pretty good at predicting the future. I wrote a pretty in-depth post about it a while back – check it out.
You can use it to pre-empt emerging keywords and also to phase out those in decline. If nothing else, it’s just super interesting to see what the world is searching for, but there’s an opportunity in them graphs!
The shouty amphibian is a perennial favourite at Koozai HQ. Used daily by the SEOs among us, we’ve become quite attached to the noisy little scamp. Graeme’s latest blog post will guide you through the ins and outs of a tool that covers more SEO ground than most. I thoroughly recommend it.
Download the application for Windows and Mac OS for free and get started with Graeme’s guide.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights should have made the list, but it’s less of a tool and more of a guideline-spewing colour chart of doom. Webpagetest.org is much more clinical and clear on what parts of a URL are causing speed issues – with their actual load times recorded.
It’s one hell of a diagnosis tool for poor speed. Pinpoint the image that needs compressing, see if any elements in the code are returning load inducing errors or see how long your server takes to deliver the first byte of data. It’s a beast.
The new kid on the block is also one of the most complete free analysis suites out there and it deserves a shout out. It channels the power of LinkRisk, Majestic, ahrefs and SEMrush to deliver the best overview I’ve ever seen for free.
It speeds up things like checking out your link profile, but it also helps determine the quality of a site before doing outreach for a guest post. You can even keep tabs on the successes (or failings) of your competitors’ strategies. Can’t go wrong for free! Get the SpiralDB bookmarklet.
Last but not least is one of my favourite sources of SEO nutrition – Feed the Bot.
Not only can you test – but you get an explanation of what, why and guidance on how to fix. All in simple terms. Now that’s something. If you haven’t already, definitely check this resource out for your technical SEO checks. It’s a banger!
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