I get asked frequently what the best SEO tools for small business owners are.
The truth is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Every business is different and will have different requirements, opportunities, and exposures in an SEO campaign.
However, there are a few SEO tools for small business owners that I consider to be essential to all SMB owner’s SEO success.
So, today I wanted to share the top 5 best SEO tools for small business owners to plan for, implement, manage and measure their SEO efforts.
I’m going to organize these in the order that you should use them in and provide a bit of guidance for each to help some of you get started with your SMB SEO efforts.
They say the best things in life are free. And believe it or not, all of these tools are free or at least have a free version.
Pretty sweet, right?!
Ok, I’m ready to do this, are you?
Here we go.
#1) Local SEO Checklist – Your SMB SEO Starting Point
I recommend starting with this free in-depth local SEO checklist for your business. The checklist is organized into sections for:
- On-Page SEO
- Google + Optimization
- Schema Data Implementation
- Important Directories
- Buiness Citations
- Online Reviews
- Website Conversion
- Social Media
Each section includes the most important SEO tasks that you need to complete. Here are just a few of the items on the checklist:
- Title Tags
- Clean URLs
- Duplicate Content
- Google Analytics
- Checking Schema
- Managing Negative Reviews
Why do I recommend this checklist? Here is why:
- Easy to use – You can open the checklist in your browser and check each item off as you go.
- Covers your bases – All of the most important local SEO factors are covered with this checklist.
- Instructions are included – For almost every item on the checklist there is a link to an in-depth resource on the topic and how to implement it.
With this Local SEO Checklist, you can quickly see the big picture of the SEO tasks your business needs to have implemented. Right away check off everything that is already done, so you know exactly what you have left to do.
Once you have this information and an idea of how much work is on the table, it is time to set your SEO budget and revenue goals.
Which brings us to our next SEO tool for small business owners.
#2) Volume SEO Calculator – Set Your SEO Goals
If you haven’t set clear budget and revenue goals for your SEO project then what’s the point?
Businesses don’t succeed by indefinitely throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. Of course, you are going to have to try a number of tactics to see what works.
But, you have to go through this trial and error process within your budget while improving your results constantly until you achieve your goals.
It is crucial that you have measurable objectives so that you can analyze what is and isn’t working in your SEO campaign and adjust accordingly.
Specifically, you need to have a clear understanding of your resources (costs) and revenues (leads/sales) that you are trying to achieve in an SEO campaign.
We built this SEO calculator to help you do just that. Use the calculator to enter in, and receive, the following:
Enter This Info
- Your Monthly Revenue Goal
- The % of Revenue You Need from SEO
- Your Average Revenue per Client
- Your Lead to Customer Conversion %
- Your Website Visitor to Lead Conversion %
Receive This Info
- New customers Needed Monthly
- Number of Leads Needed Monthly
- Monthly Visitors Needed for Your SEO Goals
With specific measurable goals, you will always have a guide to compare your SEO results with to make sure you are on the right track.
Sure, I consider our SEO calculator to be one of the best SEO tools for small business owners, but in reality, this is just an outright essential tool for your SEO efforts.
Whether you use our calculator or create your own spreadsheet, does not matter. You just need to go through this budgeting and goal setting process.
Our calculator just happens to be free, easy to use, right here and covers the major bases for most businesses.
Ok, now you’ve got your checklist of work to do and you’ve set your budget and goals to get it done. It is time to find the best keywords to target in your SEO campaign.
#3) 5minutesite – Research Your Target Keywords
When it comes to keyword research you have hundreds of SEO tools to choose between.
There is no benefit for me to share this awesome free resource other than to help you out, so thank me in the comments below for saving you many many hours of research, decision making, and moolah (cash money).
Just kidding, but I do love a nice comment here and there 😛 – and this tool really is going to help you.
Although 5minutesite.com looks dated, the tool is extremely powerful and helpful for local businesses keyword research efforts.
You are able to enter 1 or more keywords and then apply tons of regional filters to produce a list of hundreds or thousands of keyword ideas for consumers searching in your region.
Keyword research is an animal in and of itself. So, rather than try to touch lightly on the topic in this post, let me direct you to my in-depth keyword research tutorial that explains how to use this tool along side 3 of my other favorite (also free) keyword research tools. I wrote this legit guide on doing free keyword research that offers a step by step screenshot tutorial to using 5minutesite’s local keyword finder.
Once you have your keyword research done, it is time to audit your website.
#4) BrowSEO On Page SEO Tool – Audit Your Website
The way that humans and search engines view webpages are very different. For example, we can see images but search engine crawlers (robots) cannot.
Instead, robots rely on what is called Image “alt text” to understand what the image is about.
One of the best ways to audit your website for optimization opportunities is to look at your website through the eyes of Google’s search engine crawlers.
With this free tool called BrowSEO, pronounced browse-eo, you can do just that. You are able to enter your website URL and view your web pages as if you were a search engine bot.
Do this so that you can look for the following:
- Each webpage as a Meta Title and Description
- Your brand name + keyword are included in your Meta Titles and Descriptions
- The page content contains your main keyword multiple times along with related keywords
- Your images within your content all have “Alt Text”
- Your “Alt Text” contains your keywords
- Your pages have H1 tags
- Your H1 tags include your target keyword
- URLs are descriptive and optimized (short and contain your keyword)
On-page SEO is essential to your SEO success and BrowSEO is one of the easiest ways to find areas of your website that need optimization.
I wrote this guide to implementing your keywords into your on-page SEO that includes all of the important areas of your website that you need to optimize with keywords and exactly how you should do it.
#5) Whitespark – Manage Your Citation, Linkbuilding, & Rankings
Whitespark is actually the only “paid” tool that made my list of the best SEO tools for small businesses. And even then, it comes with a watered down free version.
Whitespark covers many aspects of local SEO and will do a lot more than just one thing for your business. Here are the areas that Whitespark covers:
- Local Citation Finder – Find citation opportunities for your business with ease.
- Local Rank Tracker – Track your SEO results by monitoring your keyword rankings.
- Reputation Builder – Make it easy for your customers to leave reviews of your business on the most popular review platforms. (Review signals including # of reviews are the 5th strongest ranking factor for local SEO and can improve your SEO results)
- Link Prospector – Automate and enhance your link prospecting efforts to maximize your link building efforts.
As you can see, Whitespark covers a lot of what you will need to do on your Local SEO Checklist that we talked about earlier.
You can try their tools out for free to get started but keep in mind the features and usage will be limited.
It’s Your Turn, Boss
Alright, Boss, it has been fun but you’ve got a business to run. Now that you know the best SEO tools for small business owners, it is time for you to put them to use.
I hope you use these tools to improve your business’ SEO and grow your traffic, leads, and sales as a result.
You can get started for free so you have no excuses. Seriously, not one. 😉
Now get out there and start improving your business’ SEO!
Have questions about using these SEO tools? Just ask me in the comments below, right now!