Search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about ranking highly in the search results, increasing traffic…
12 Website Optimisation Tools for Better Rankings
Having a fully optimised website is necessary for better digital marketing results.
It could improve your search engine rankings, lead more potential customers to your business, and help you achieve your digital marketing goals.
To make the whole optimisation process more effective and efficient, you need the right tools. These tools may differ depending on your goals and niche, but the main point is, you need them.
Today, we’re going to discuss twelve website optimisation tools and how you can start using them. Most of these tools are free or allow you to sign up for a free trial, so you don’t have to use up more resources.
Let’s get started.
More and more people are accessing the Internet using their smartphones. According to a recent survey, over half of all Internet traffic comes from Internet users on their phone.
It’s no surprise that search engines are adapting quickly and making finding information easier for smartphone users.
Google even rolled out its Speed Update in mid-2018. The update made page speed or how fast your website loads a major ranking factor in mobile search engine results.
This means that your website has better chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages than your competitors’ if it’s faster. Yes, quality content is still important, but it needs to work hand in hand with speed.
Start speeding up your website by determining where you currently stand.
PageSpeed Insights is a free tool created by Google that tests your page speed. It uses data from actual Google Chrome users.
To start using it, enter your URL and click on Analyze. It will then scan your website, score its speed, and show you improvement suggestions. Some common improvement suggestions include resizing images that are too large and minifying code.
In the previous section, we stated that it’s important to have a fast website because more people than ever are accessing the Internet via mobile. Search engines want to make it easier for mobile users to find information online.
For the same reason, you also need to have a mobile-friendly website, one that can adapt whether it’s being viewed on a desktop computer or a mobile phone.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, users will find it difficult to navigate. It’ll be hard for them to find the information they need, and even if they find it, the formatting of the content may dissuade them from reading further.
Check if your website is mobile-friendly enough with Mobile-Friendly Test. It’s a free tool created by Google that scans your website and tells you if it’s mobile-friendly or not. Like PageSpeed Insights, it also gives improvement suggestions.
Keyword research is the act of determining which keywords potential customers use and incorporating them into your content. The said content includes product pages, services pages, blog posts, and more.
When doing keyword research, there are several factors you need to keep in mind.
- Search Volume – The number of times a keyword is searched during a specific timeframe.
- Keyword Difficulty – This is how difficult it is to rank for a keyword. Usually, the higher the search volume, the more difficult it is to rank for a keyword.
Ideally, you’d want to look for a keyword with high search volume and a low level of difficulty. However, as more and more businesses aim to get found by potential customers online, it’s becoming more difficult to find the right keywords.
This is where long-term keywords come in.
Before we proceed, you need to know about two types of keywords.
- Short-tail keywords – These are keywords that are composed of three words or less. Examples of short-tail keywords include “thriller books”, “seo consultant”, and “freelance writer”.
- Long-tail keywords – These are keywords that are composed of four words or more. Examples of long-tail keywords include “what is digital marketing”, “online digital marketing courses australia”, and “best books on digital marketing strategy”.
In general, short-tail keywords receive more traffic and are more difficult to rank for than long-tail keywords. However, you might notice that long-tail keywords tell you more about the reasoning behind a user’s search.
For example, a user might use the keyword “freelance writer” for a variety of reasons. They might want to know how to become a freelance writer, want to hire a freelance writer, or they might be looking for freelance writing jobs. The intent behind the search isn’t clear.
If a user uses the keyword “freelance writing jobs for beginners”, you get a clearer picture of what type of information they’re looking for.
Long-tail keywords may drive as much traffic to your website as short-tail keywords, but you can be sure you’re generating the right kind of traffic.
Ubersuggest could play an important role in your keyword research process. It’s a tool by digital marketing guru Neil Patel, and it provides the information you’ll need to decide which keywords you’ll target.
All you have to do is enter the keyword you have in mind, select your location, and click on Search. It will then show you the keyword’s monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, related keywords and related keywords you could also target.
If you have a long list of potential target keywords, Ubersuggest could help you narrow it down.
If you’d like a more comprehensive keyword research tool than Ubersuggest, you might consider using SEMRush.
Unlike Ubersuggest, SEMRush also has the following features:
- Social media tracking
- Site audit
- Competitive keyword analysis
- On-page SEO checker
- Brand monitoring
SEMRush is an extremely powerful website optimisation tool, especially since it gives you a peek inside your competitors’ SEO strategies.
For example, you can use the Keyword Gap feature to determine which keywords your top competitors are ranking for. All you have to do is enter your URL and the URLs of up to four competitors, select your location and click on Compare.
It will then show you keywords you’re ranking for that your competitors aren’t and vice versa. You can even see your respective rankings for each keyword.
Armed with this data, you can make more informed decisions about which keywords to target. For example, you can find keywords you were unaware you already ranked for and optimise your content to further improve your rankings.
Free Broken Link Checker
Most people only associate keywords with SEO, but links also play a vital role.
They tell search engines how your website is organised and which pages should be considered important. If there are no links at all to a specific page, search engines will be unable to find it. All your hard work on that page will go to waste.
They also tell search engines whether users find your content valuable or not. The more links you get from relevant websites, the better search engines will think your content is.
Broken links or links to pages that were moved or no longer exist could negatively impact SEO. They affect user experience and one too many broken links could cause your search engine rankings to drop.
Checking each link on your website may sound too time-consuming and tedious. Not to worry. There are plenty of tools online that can scan your website for broken links.
Free Broken Link Checker is one such tool. As soon as you open the site, all you have to do is enter your URL and click on Find broken links. You will then be asked if you’d like to report distinct broken links or every instance of a broken link.
Once it’s done scanning your website, you’ll see all the broken links and the pages where they can be found. The number of broken links will depend on how many pages you have or how often you update your website.
Save the information about broken links in an Excel file or a Google Sheet and start fixing each link one by one. If you linked to a page on another site that no longer exists, find alternatives from other websites.
Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that’s extremely helpful for optimising web pages and blog posts.
Installing Yoast SEO is quite easy. Sign on to your WordPress account, choose Plugins and click on Add New. Search for Yoast SEO and click on Install Now.
Once you’ve activated Yoast SEO, a box where you can enter information will appear under the editor for web pages and blog posts. You will see fields where you can enter target keywords, page titles, meta descriptions, and more.
If you’re using the free version, you can assign one target keyword to each page. You can assign more than one keyword once you sign up for the paid version. It will then review the content for that page, score it, and provide improvement suggestions.
Common improvement suggestions include using the target keyword in the first paragraph and headings, adding alt text, and increasing your word count.
Aside from checking how optimised your content is, Yoast SEO also grades its readability or how easy it is for users to read. It checks if you’re using high-level words and if your sentences are too complicated.
Google Search Console
For starters, Google Search Console shows you your impressions, clicks, and click-through rate.
- Impressions are the number of times users saw you in search engine results pages.
- Clicks are the number of times users clicked on your website.
- The click-through rate is the average percentage of people who click on your website after seeing you in search engine results pages.
Knowing your average click-through rate could shape how and what kind of content you create to get better results. You can see which of your pages have a high click-through rate, determine what makes them different, and attempt to emulate their success in future content.
Google Search Console also shows you keywords you’re already ranking for along with the respective clicks and impressions for each keyword. You might be ranking for keywords without your knowledge and discover new keywords to target.
In a nutshell, Google Search Console is a website optimisation tool designed to help you improve search engine rankings. Start using it and discover its incredible features.
If you want to go ahead, creating good content is no longer enough. You have to look at what your competitors are creating and create something better.
Buzzsumo is a tool that can help you do just that. It finds the most shared content for your target keyword or URL on various social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.
It can benefit you in several ways.
First of all, if you search for the most shared content for a keyword, you’ll determine what people are truly interested in. You can see what resonated the most with people, examine it, and come up with a plan to replicate its success.
Next, you can find opportunities to connect with authority figures in your niche. You might start to notice that the most shared content in your niche is often from the same blogs. You can then start building organic relationships with these authority figures on social media.
Lastly, if you search for the most shared content from a specific URL, you can see what worked for your competitors. You can mine the results for future content ideas.
Here’s one example of how you can use BuzzSumo.
You have a target keyword in mind, but you’re not quite sure how to incorporate it into a blog post.
You can use BuzzSumo, hit search, and find the most searched content for that keyword. Remember to filter the results based on the date. More recent results will tell you what people are interested in right now while results from the past year or so will most likely show you more long-lasting content.
Ahrefs is also another tool for keyword research, link building, and overall SEO. Its Backlink Checker may be its most powerful feature.
A backlink is a link from one webpage to another. Like we discussed earlier, they’re important because links from relevant websites tell search engines that users find your content valuable. The more links you get, the better.
To use Backlink Checker, enter a URL and click on Check backlinks. It will then show you the domain rating, how many backlinks you’ve managed to generate, and the number of referring domains.
It can be incredibly helpful when you’re doing a competitor analysis.
Let’s say you want to start building more links to your website. You can enter your competitors’ URLs and find which websites are linking to them.
If these websites are also in your niche, you could get links from them as well. You might even notice that several competitors are getting links from the same website.
Backlink Checker also tells you which of your competitors’ pages are generating the most external links. Having this information can tell you what type of content to create in the future.
For example, you might notice that plenty of blogs have linked to a competitor’s how-to guide. You can create an even more comprehensive guide, adding more details and data. You can then contact the aforementioned blogs and ask them to consider linking to your guide instead.
Backlink Checker is just one of Ahrefs’ many features. Depending on your niche, it could help you in even more ways.
Duplicate content is content that can be found on more than one URL. It could happen between web pages on the same website or different websites.
For example, you previously published a blog post. A friend allowed you to publish the same blog post on their blog. That could be considered duplicate content.
If you sell products online, using product descriptions provided by the manufacturer could result in duplicate content. Other businesses might also be using the same product descriptions.
Google doesn’t penalise websites for duplicate content. However, you have to keep in mind that users are the search engine’s top priority. It won’t want to show users websites containing the same information over and over.
It will choose an “original” version and show that in search engine results pages. As a result, blog posts or web pages that you spent hours working on could fail to show up in search engine results pages.
Use Siteliner to check if you have duplicate content on your website. Enter your URL and click on Go.
It will then scan your website and show you the percentage of duplicate content on it. Click on Duplicate Content under the Main Menu on the sidebar.
You will see the pages with duplicate content. If you click on a page, you’ll see the other pages that also contain the same content.
For future reference, you can download Siteliner’s findings in a handy PDF file.
Google SERP Simulator
Page titles are the titles users see when a website is displayed in search engine results pages. Meta descriptions are the brief descriptions that appear under the page titles.
Optimising both pages titles and meta descriptions is essential to better search engine rankings and conversion rates.
The more users click on your page title, the more relevant Google will think your content is.
Meta descriptions do not have an official impact on search engine rankings. However, if written correctly, they can help convince users to click on the page title.
There are varying guidelines available online for writing page titles and meta descriptions. Experts often suggest different word counts for both.
No matter which guidelines you follow, you should see how page titles and meta descriptions will look in search results pages. It’s important because, if you use too many characters, search engines cut the rest of them off. Your call-to-action and other important details may fail to be included.
Google SERP Simulator is a free tool created by Mangools. It lets you see how your page titles and meta descriptions will look in both desktop and mobile search engine results pages. You can also customise how it looks based on your location.
Open the tool, enter your URL, the page title, meta description, and target keyword. You can also choose to include dates, ratings, and ads.
After seeing your page titles and meta descriptions, you can go ahead and make the required changes. For example, you can shorten your meta description to ensure your call-to-action isn’t cut off.
SEO Analyzer is a free SEO audit tool. It shows you your on-page SEO score, the traffic you get from search engines monthly, the organic keywords you’re ranking for, and the number of backlinks to your website.
We recommend the free version if you’re starting to optimise your site and don’t have the bandwidth to learn how to use more complicated tools.
To start using SEO Analyzer, all you have to do is enter your URL and hit Search.
If you click on On-Page SEO Score, you’ll see a list of pages on your website that could be improved further. For example, one page might have a low word count while another could be missing a meta description.
If you click on Organic Monthly Traffic, you’ll see how much traffic you’re getting from search engines monthly. Scroll down a bit, and you’ll see which keywords you’re currently ranking for along with your top pages.
If you click on Backlinks, you’ll see the websites that have linked to your website. You’ll see which of your posts were popular, identify why, and attempt to replicate its success in future posts.
Website optimisation is like a wheel with many spokes. These spokes include keyword research, link building, speeding up your website, ensuring your website is responsive, and so much more.
To ensure your website is fully optimised, you need tools for each spoke.
We’re not saying you should use every tool we discussed in this blog post. Pick and choose what you need based on your digital marketing goals and the unique needs of your industry.
Need help optimising your website to generate more conversions and leads? Cornerstone Digital is an SEO agency in Sydney that can help you find your ideal customer via SEO. Call us on (02) 8211 0668 or email us [email protected]
A self-professed book and digital marketing nerd, Darlyn Herradura focuses on building trust between customers and businesses with the written word. She understands that creating valuable content is the best way to get found online and happily spends her time doing that.