5 SEO tools no marketer can afford to ignore

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It’s no secret that inbound marketing methods, such as content marketing, are changing the way businesses go about generating leads and profits.

In fact, inbound marketing techniques deliver nearly 50 per cent more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound methods, according to the 2014 State of Inbound Marketing Report.

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But for inbound marketing to be successful, it must also be monitored properly. And while you’re at it; it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on your competitors as well.

There are a number of useful online tools available for businesses to help them create and monitor their SEO strategies in relation to content marketing. We have already discussed the merits of Google Analytics, but the following tools do not require you to attach any codes to your website and they are free (for the most part anyway).

Google Adwords

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This is a quick and easy way for a business to do a little keyword research before embarking on a full-blown SEO campaign. One of the best things about Google AdWords is that it’s free, meaning you get a lot of valuable marketing insight for the princely sum of nothing. While the figures aren't 100 per cent exact, this program will give you a good idea of how popular certain keywords are.

It may also give you some new keyword ideas that you can use in your campaign.

Google Trends

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Similar to Google AdWords, this free web facility can be a very handy tool when it comes to SEO. The site will give you an idea of how popular certain search terms have been over time. You can also compare different keyword phrases to see how much interest they have generated.

These two Google applications are particularly useful for content marketing as they allow you to determine which terms or keywords will work best for you.

Open site explorer

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This helpful tool from Moz can give you a good insight into your website’s backlink profile by looking at what your competitors are doing.

Open Site Explorer allows you to look at the type of links that other sites in your field are using, helping you to understand which links may be useful for your website.

Simply enter a competitor's domain name into the program and view their backlinks. If you are using the free part of the service you can view link anchor text, page authority and domain authority for the first five backlinks of a domain. Three reports per day is the maximum for a free user.

You can also use this tool to view your own backlink profile by checking your site’s development on a monthly basis. Things to look at include whether your domain authority is increasing or decreasing and how many sites are backlinking to yours.

Semrush

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Like the previous tool, SEMrush allows you to look at what your competitors are doing. This program focuses on your competitor's organic keywords and their cost per click (CPC). It is particularly useful for firms that are using paid search.

The tool gives free users the ability to run a report on ten keywords by entering the chosen domain name of a competitor in the Full Report section of the program.

Once you have done this, you will be able to view data relating to that domain’s approximate organic ranking, search volume, CPC, URL, per cent of traffic generated, et cetera. This information is likely to give you a good idea of which keywords you could use to help improve your SEO.

Majestic seo

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With links being such a crucial part of SEO it is important to monitor your backlink profile; such as, where new links are coming from, their anchor text.

Majestic SEO allows you to monitor your website’s external links, for example, how many other sites are linking to your domain.

This tool can be useful for helping to gauge the effectiveness of your content. For example, if you have suddenly gained a number of new links around the same time you uploaded a new piece of content, you know it is working. However, you must check that these links actually lead to your new content in order to ascertain whether or not they are a direct result of it.

Conversely, if you gain a multitude of new links out of nowhere, then you know to be wary of spam tactics or other things Google may penalise you for.

The biggest benefit that Majestic SEO gives to businesses is that it allows you to monitor your competitors' backlinks as well as your own site’s. This allows you to get to know your backlink profile inside out, while also enabling you to compare it to similar firms in your industry.‚Äč

More tools in our Ultimate Guide to Effective Content Marketing

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