Not sure what SEO is or what all the hype is about?
Let’s fix all of that right now.
Simply put, Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website for Google search with the goal of ranking on the first page for target keywords, getting more new visitors to your website, and improving the visibility of your freelancing business website.
These SEO related optimizations involve everything from improving the website load speed of your homepage, the headings you include in your content, to how many other business websites mention yours. It can be a lot to digest, but if you get the fundamentals right, you’ll already be way ahead of the competition.
In my opinion, SEO is a crucial consideration for freelancers and solopreneurs because it can get your content and work in front of so many people online, without requiring a big budget or connetions like other marketing channels. In fact, the basics are all things you can do yourself with no experience but a willingness to learn and test.
Part of what makes SEO such an approachable channel is the amount of resources, tools, and community behind it. SEOs are fanatics and tend to go really deep on research and instruction when they give it. From this obsession has come some truly awesome tools that makes life much easier for anyone who wants to do SEO, including you!
With that in mind, if you’re not convinced yet, here are some key reasons of why you should consider doing SEO in the first place and why tools are a huge bonus to helping you do it right.
Benefits of SEO tools for freelancers
Tools save lives.
I believe that is especially true for something as complex and with such a shallow learning curve like SEO.
With this in mind, I think all freelancers who use these kinds of tools and resources from the start will have a competitive advantage from the start. There are many benefits from saving time while still providing quality results, task automation, and removing you from the manual work allowing you to focus on the important stuff.
Like making clients happy and growing your freelance business. Here are the top three benefits:
Helps your site become Google and user friendly
Think about the last time you were reading a website that wasn’t indexed by Google…I’ll wait.
Exactly, most of us use Google everyday to search for things we want to learn, buy, and more. That’s why having your content found and indexed by Google and these considerations are crucial.
Without the use of tools, you would be flying blind trying to ensure that you’ve done all the correct optimizations to ensure that your freelance business website is google friendly.
On top of that, you also need to make sure that your website is easy to navigate and wonderful to use by your readers and website visitors. If not, then all the rankings in the world won’t keep them around and turn them into customers. These tools will give you the insights you need to create more user friendly content and build a more user friendly website experience as well.
Allows your content to get seen and rank for lucrative keywords
Even though you’ve got to start with the basics, it’s not enough to have a great looking website that Google knows about. Part of SEO is knowing exactly how people search and what they are looking for.
SEO tools give you insight into:
- Which keywords people search for
- The monthly amount of searches for each of those keywords
- How competitive these keywords would be to rank for in your position
- Which competitors are currently ranking well for these
Without these insights and the information these tools provide, you could create the best content in the world, and it is unlikely that it would get found as easily on its own. Knowing which keywords to target and putting together a plan for ranking well for them iis immensely beneficial to stretching your content far beyond what it would be able to do otherwise.
Automates and speeds up your research process
It’s possible to manually read every website and come up with a list of search terms on your own, then watch your own Google Search Console data pile up over the years to get the kinds of insights that these tools provide.
However, for most of you, you didn’t get into the freelance game to be an SEO data scientist. That’s why using these tools is so great, it allows you to quickly and easily get insights from multiple data points so you can make good decisions.
You are also able to automate certain tasks like editing or outlining that would normally take up a good amount of your time. This automation makes your processes more efficient and thus, make you much more effective at your actual freelancing gig.
Top 9 free SEO tools for freelancers
Since you’ve made it this far, you already know the importance of SEO tools. They can help you get more traffic to your website, increase your brand exposure, and save massive amounts of your time.
With all of that in mind, here are 9 of the best SEO tools for freelancers that I personally use to research, optimize, and grow my own personal sites.
1. Surfer SEO – Best Tool For SERP & Competitor Analysis
Surfer SEO is leading the pack when it comes to free browser extensions and quick keyword and content based competitive analysis. You don’t even need an account with them to use it.
It gives you quick insights into:
Keyword volumes for the terms you searched for
Length of competitor content
Estimated traffic competitor content receives
Related keyword ideas to use in your own content
2. ContentBot – Best Tool For AI Content Writing Help
ContentBot – is the only tool on this list that isn’t completely free, but they do have a free trial. I included them because they have helped me double my content writing output and made my workflow so much more efficient.
As an AI writing tool, you might immediately have thoughts and opinions come into your mind. I certainly did. However, I soon realized that getting ideas for new articles, writing article outlines that I can tweak to fit my unique style, and being able to fill in the blanks on days when I’m not feeling my most creative, to still be able to deliver valuable content to readers.
ContentBot is one of the best and affordable tools out there, perfect for freelancers.
Price: Free trial, then $1 per 1000 words or $29/month for 40,000 words
3. Google Search Console – Best Tool For SEO Performance Analysis
Google Search Console is a free tool built by Google that shows you which of your web pages are currently being indexed by Google, which have other technical issues, what keywords your pages are ranking for, and how many users are clicking through to your website.
Since it’s made by Google, you can trust that the information you’re getting is more accurate than any of the other analytics tools out there. You can use all of the great insights found in GSC to keep your site healthy, user friendly, and improve your SEO performance.
Even though it wasn’t made for freelancers specifically, it’s incredibly easy to get started, and the interface is really intuitive, making it a no-brainer starter tool.
4. Google Analytics – Best Tool For Website Performance And Visitor Behavior Analytics
Ahh, Google Analytics. Some love it, some hate it.
One thing that nobody can deny, is that this tool is crucial to have for any small business.
Google Analytics, just like Google Search Console, is a tool made by Google to give you insights on how your website is performing in order for you to improve it.
As a freelancer, it might take you a week of Youtube tutorials to get used to the interface itself, but the data you get about new website visitors, which of your pieces of content are performing best, how visitors are using the site, and where they are purchasing or getting in touch with you, is invaluable to your freelance business.
5. Woorank – Best Tool For SEO and Website Audits
Woorank is a tool that I’ve used for over 4 years now. I first discovered it when I was looking for browser extensions that I could use to quickly do a live audit for prospective freelance SEO clients.
What I quickly realized was that it was the best free browser based tool out there. Once you enable the tool, you’ll be able to quickly see:
1. On page SEO insights like title tag and meta description length
2. Technical SEO insight like ssl certificate status, indexation status, and sitemap status
3. Content insights like number of pages, if the site has a blog, and frequently used keywords
4. Off page SEO insights like number of incoming backlinks and social profile status
It’s truly a game changer.
6. Google Keyword Planner – Best Tool For Keyword Research
Another classic tool in the SEO toolbox is Google’s own keyword planner.
Overall, there are hundreds of keyword research tools on the market. The challenge with each of these is that it either costs money, or is intended for larger agencies with more complex campaigns.
Google’s keyword planner wasn’t meant exclusively for freelancers, however, when you’re getting a business off the ground, a tool being free and relatively easy to use are the most important factors while you’re proving out your business model.
7. Answer The Public – Best Tool For Market Research And Customer FAQs
Answer The Public is definitely one of the most interesting tools on this list.
They describe themselves as a “search listening tool”, which is very cool, but I would more accurately describe them as a way to learn about how people search, what they search for, and frequently asked questions that they have.
It’s a must for getting new content topic ideas, adding in FAQs to existing content, and getting a sense for what your potential customer or user’s needs are in order to better give them what they want.
8. Hemingway – Best Tool For Content Editing
Hemingway is a really slick browser based content editing tool that takes your error filled mush and tus it into a pristine copy.
Just kidding, you probably have perfect grammar, syntax, and write at the ideal reading level with every piece of content that you produce.
However, for the rest of us, this free tool is amazingly helpful at polishing our writing to become presentable to the rest of the world.
9. IsItWP – Best Tool For Website Load Performance Optimization
Last, but certainly not least, is IsItWP. This is a tool that I only recently learned about, but already I love it.
Compared to other website speed testing tools out there, it’s incredibly straightforward and breaks down the complexity of the code level changes necessary to improve site speed, in a way that beginners and non coders can understand.
All you have to do is type in your site, run the audit, and then follow each of the basic recommendation section insights to make your site load faster. And isn’t that something we (ahem…Google) all want?