Absorbing SEO is hard, but these free tools make learning and tracking SEO as simple as can be.
I don’t believe in gated content anymore. If you look hard enough, you can pretty much always find what you need for free on the internet. Of course, there are plenty of bad apples on the web, but in the SEO field, there are scores of free SEO resources and tools at your fingertips.
Whether you’re just starting out in SEO, trying to take the next step in your SEO career or are a veteran looking to try out new tools and learn more from Google’s eye, the following 38 free SEO tools and resources will elevate your career.
THE BEST FREE SEO TWITTER ACCOUNTS:
- Barry Schwartz
- John Mueller
- Danny Sullivan
- Gary Illyes
- Martin Splitt
- Daniel Waisberg
- Google Search Central
- Google Search Liaison
- Google Trends
- Lily Ray
- Glenn Gabe
- Kristina Azarenko
Barry is the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable and news editor of Search Engine Land. The man is synonymous with SEO news and Google updates. If Google is testing even the smallest item — such as a new button color or new symbol in search that few people would even notice — Barry will report on it. If you want to keep up with SEO news, Barry is a must-follow.
John is a search advocate at Google and one of the top SEOs at Google. When people have questions about their Google traffic, an algorithm update or want to learn the basics of SEO, they go to John. John has worked at Google for more than 13 years. Lately, he’s been more accessible via Twitter, podcasts and video series. You will see his name quite a bit in this article.
Danny co-founded Search Engine Land and has been in the digital reporting field for more than 20 years. He joined Google in 2017 as their public liaison between the search-engine giant and the public. His job is to help people better understand search and Google better hear public feedback. As you can imagine, he gets plenty of negative feedback when an SEO’s Google traffic goes down.
Gary’s official title is Google webmaster trends analyst, but he is the comic of the group. Along with John and Danny, Gary helps people build better websites. Pre-COVID, Gary was regularly at the conference scene, helping attendees with their technical SEO. Gary typically joins John on podcasts, although half the time, he just gives John a hard time.
Daniel is a search advocate at Google and really focuses on SEO training. Whether it be Google Search Console (GSC) training or security training, Daniel can help you grasp what various SEO tools are telling you about how to fix a particular problem. Given the magnitude of website security warnings, it’s vital you listen to what Daniel has to say.
The Google Search Central account is essentially the all-in-one Google search Twitter account. Whether it’s a new blog post, YouTube video or conference from Google, this account will let you know. If you followed only one Twitter account from this list to get the most bang for your buck, this would be it.
Google Search Liaison used to just cover Google search news and the blog posts Google writes, but lately, it’s become the go-to source for broad core updates. These are big upgrades Google makes to its algorithm about four or five times a year. Knowing when they hit is key for any SEO, as you must be prepared for traffic changes thereafter.
Google knows what people are searching, and Google Trends tell you just that. Based on industry, people, location and more, Google Trends lets you see what your users and potential users are searching. Using Google Trends is a terrific source for content planning or spotting the hottest SEO trends of the year.
Lily Ray is a senior director of SEO and head of organic research at Amsive Digital, an agency in New York. Having access to so many clients and willing to share those insights online is rare, but Lily does it better than anyone in the business. Her SEO expertise is second to none and frequently speaks at SEO conferences, along with the Googlers above.
Glenn is an SEO consultant at G-Squared Interactive. He focuses on technical SEO audits, but on Twitter, he provides an incredible amount of value after Google updates. Glenn will spot what websites improved or diagressed after an algorithm update and share what he thinks Google targeted. Knowing what hurt you after an update is very hard to diagnose, but Glenn’s analysis makes it much simpler.
Kristina is my final SEO consultant to follow on Twitter. She focuses on e-commerce SEO and even wrote the book on it. If you sell products on your website and want more people landing directly on those products from Google, Kristina is your expert.
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THE BEST FREE SEO YOUTUBE PLAYLISTS
- Google Search Central: Google Search Console Training
- Google Search Central: #AskGooglebot
- Google Search Central: English Google SEO Office Hours
- Google Search Central: Google Search News
- Google Search Central: Search Central Lightning Talks
- Google Search Central: Sustainable Monetized Websites
- Perficient, Inc.: Eric Enge’s Here’s Why
Google Search Console is Google’s way of messaging you about your website. GSC gives you site analytics, speed analytics, security updates, sitemap access, structured data updates and the all-important coverage update. Fortunately, Daniel Waisberg (from above) hosts a GSC training series on YouTube to get you up and running with GSC and goes into detail on every single tool within.
John Mueller answers specific SEO questions ranging from sitemaps and GSC reports to redirects and subdomains. Most videos are under two minutes, and given the access to one of Google’s top SEOs, following this playlist is a no-brainer. Plus, you can submit your own SEO questions.
Every few weeks, John sums up the news at Google. He really takes his new reporting to the next level with this as they try to imitate a real news broadcast. From conference recaps and algorithm updates to upcoming Google changes and link building, John covers the essential items all SEOs need to know.
If you’re trying to make money from your articles online, this is the YouTube series for you. It focuses on monetizing sites that rely on publishing articles. They explain how thin content, duplicate content and user-generated content should and should not be used to grow your site traffic and bottom line.
Eric Enge is one of the most well-known SEOs in the country. He frequently keynotes SEO conferences and is the digital marketing principal at Perficient. Every Monday, he unpacks the“why” behind the “what” in a video series he hosts with other SEO and digital experts. He heavily focuses on what webmasters should be doing to not only rank better in search engines but provide the best user experience for their readers.
THE BEST FREE SEO PODCASTS
- Search Off the Record
- Duct Tape Marketing
- Search Engine Journal Show
This is my personal favorite SEO podcast, featuring the big dogs at Google. John, Gary and Martin banter about behind the scenes workings at Google search, why some decisions are made, conference highlights and more. In addition, Gary tends to bicker with all other members, adding a comic flair to it.
Duct Tape’s podcast branches out beyond SEO, into all marketing topics. They interview top marketers such as Seth Godin and Ben Shapiro, and always focus on users. Remember, what’s good for the user is good for Google, so chances are, you will pick up a few SEO tricks with every episode.
SEJ also goes beyond SEO, but as the PPC and SEO leader in news, reporting and analysis, what they say matters. In addition to these topics, they also discuss social media, content marketing and digital marketing with the top industry experts. Any digital marketer is doing themselves a disservice if they’re not listening to this podcast.
THE BEST FREE SEO HELP DOCS
- Quick Guide to SEO
- Beginners Guide to SEO
- Advanced SEO Techniques and Strategies
If you’re running a site but don’t have time to learn the SEO basics, this Google guide will set you up for success. From learning how Google search works to measuring performance via GSC, this short guide with videos will give you basics to get up and running.
If you’re new to SEO but really want to learn the basics and give yourself a good SEO foundation, check out this beginner’s guide. From setting up GSC to learning how crawling, indexing and optimization works, this one is a must for anyone just getting into the SEO world.
Once you graduate from the above, it’s time to really get your hands dirty. This advanced SEO guide goes into the weeds such as robots.txt files, XML sitemaps, site migrations, international SEO, structured data and more. It also focuses on content SEO such as video, images and news. There is a lot here, but if you master it all, consider yourself an SEO expert.
THE BEST FREE SEO HELP FORUM
- Google Search Central Help Community
If you ever have a question about your site, SEO or Google, but you can’t find it in the help docs above, I highly recommend this help forum. Those answering are trained professionals who are Google-appointed experts (even though they do not work at Google). I have used this forum hundreds of times in my career, and 90 percent of the time, they have the answer I needed. Don’t be shy; ask away.
THE BEST FREE SEO NEWSLETTERS
- Search Engine Roundtable
- Search Engine Land
- Google Search Central
As mentioned above, Barry Schwartz is synonymous with SEO news and Google updates. If you don’t want to miss an update, A/B test or bug, then you need to sign up for Barry’s weekday newsletter. It recaps all stories published, no matter how miniscule the update may be. This one newsletter can save you hours digging through Twitter or the Google Search Central blog.
Search Engine Land dives deeper into updates and changes around Google, Bing and social media. Those of you who handle paid and organic channels need to get this newsletter to ensure you stay ahead of your competition. It comes out a few times a week and focuses on many of the same topics as Search Engine Roundtable.
#SEOFOMO is a weekly newsletter that goes beyond Google updates. They also touch on SEO resources, guides, tips, jobs and events. This newsletter covers Google and SEO news, but it goes more in-depth with its analysis and also helps SEOs change jobs and networks.
This weekly newsletter touches on all of the above, but it also focuses on content strategy, link building, reviews and giveaways. I’d consider this newsletter more for SEO beginners, but an SEO of any level will certainly find value. It’s a simple read that anyone, no matter their experience, can understand.
If you want to hear directly from the search giant’s mouth, you might as well see what Google is saying. The Search Central blog is Google’s way of scalably communicating with webmasters. Here, Google product managers are essentially sharing their release notes with the world. While nearly all their blog posts will be covered by the newsletters above, it’s still good to see how Google shares what they share so you can grasp it yourself.
THE BEST FREE SEO TOOLS
- Google Search Console (GSC)
- Google Analytics (GA)
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Screaming Frog
If you’re an SEO or are just entering the field, you’d better learn and get access to your company’s GSC account. This is Google’s way of communicating how your site is doing with search. From coverage and performance to speed and security issues, GSC is theoretically the only SEO tool or resource you need. As such, it’s vital to set it up and check it daily.
GSC does provide analytics from search, but if you want to see how people are getting to your site from Bing, email, paid, social and other channels, then you should also set up a GA account. Like GSC, you may need developer help to get going, but once you’re in, there will be mountains of data to parse. GA has a paid version that provides no sampling, but plenty of big brands get away with using the free version.
I haven’t touched on Bing much because nearly everything you do for Google also works for Bing. (Also, how many users do you know use Bing over Google?) Nonetheless, you can’t ignore the second-biggest search engine entirely. As such, set up a Bing webmaster account and check it weekly to ensure there are no security, indexing, crawling or traffic issues. It acts much like GSC, but for Bing.
36. SCREAMING FROG
If you need to audit a website, both from a content and technical point of view, then you need a crawler to extract the most important information. Screaming Frog does just that and has a free version that can crawl up to 500 URLs. If you just created a site or are running a smaller site, the free version will do wonders, as it can crawl and find internal links, external links, title tags, metas, robots.txt files, images, alt text, schema and so much more. However, Screaming Frog does not tell you what’s wrong with anything. It merely spits back all the information into sheets that you can export. You then have to analyze the data and know what errors to look for.
My keyword-tracking tool of choice has always been Semrush. Whether you’re content planning, analyzing competitors or seeing how your website currently ranks in Google and beyond, Semrush is the best out there. They offer free accounts where you can track only 10 keywords. However, with this account, you can still see how your website is ranking 10 times per month. That may be enough for many, but if you’re serious about SEO, you’ll need more access to keywords. Their premium plans start at $99.95/month.
Moz has a 30-day free trial before they force you to upgrade to their Pro campaign. Moz, much like Semrush, can greatly help with content planning, content strategy, keyword research, content optimization and link research. Moz can also crawl your site for technical help. Moz’s standard plans start at $99/month.
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