July 31, 2007
One of the most important aspects of running a website is monitoring the site and its progress. By monitoring your website you will be able to see how it is performing and how it can be improved. This article covers 10 free tools that can help you to optimize your site for maximum results.
1 – Google Analytics
Google Analytics has become the preferred option among free statistics programs. Like any other stats program, Google Analytics provides data on the number of visitors, and page views, referral sources, entry and exit pages, and more. Unlike most other programs, Google Analytics includes the ability to track and monitor pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Other useful information includes the geographic location of your visitors, their internet connection speed, and their screen resolutions. You can sign up for Google Analytics at http://bizsolutions.google.com/services/.
2 – Google Webmaster Tools
Want to know how the largest search engine in the world sees your website? Google’s Webmaster Tools will give you loads of information such as the pages that are indexed, errors found by the Googlebot (dead links), your search engine rankings for specific search phrases, your anchor text on inbound links, internal and external link data, and robots.txt and sitemap data.
By knowing how Google sees your site you will find some basic items that you’ll need to change in order to reach your maximum potential in search engine traffic. You can sign up for Google Webmaster Tools at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/.
3 – SEOmoz’s Page Strength Tool
SEOmoz is one of the leading search engine optimization (SEO) firms and their website provides a wealth of information through their blog, articles and tools. Their Page Strength Tool shows you the “relative importance and visibility” and the “potential strength and ability of a page to rank in the search engines.” SEOmoz provides a quick way to get a basic look at the strength of your page. The Page Strength Tool can be used at www.seomoz.org/page-strength.
4 – Sitening.com’s SEO Analyzer
Sitening is another leading SEO firm with several valuable tools on their website. The SEO Analyzer differs from SEOmoz’s Page Strength Tool in that it checks the internal structure of your site to determine how well it is constructed (in terms of search engine optimization). The structure of a website is the framework for a good SEO campaign, and Sitening.com’s SEO Analyzer will help you to build the right framework. Sitening.com’s SEO Analyzer can be found at www.sitening.com/seo-tools/seo-analyzer/.
5 – Mike’s Marketing Tools
MikesMarketingTools.com has two tools that every webmaster should use regularly. The Search Engine Rankings Tool will show you where your site ranks in several of the top search engines for a specific word or phrase. You can save time by using this tool instead of visiting each search engine and clicking through the search engine results pages to find your website.
The Link Popularity Tool will quickly show you how many inbound links each search engine recognizes for your site. Inbound links are a major factor in search engine rankings and each search engine recognizes a different number of links. From this tool you can also click through to see the specific pages that are linking to you. To use these tools visit www.mikes-marketing-tools.com/free-marketing-tools.html.
6 – Summit Media’s Spider Simulator
The spider simulator shows you “how a search engine reacts to your pages and what can be done to boost your usability.” Search engine spiders see web pages much differently than human visitors do. A page may look attractive and well-designed to a human visitor, but a search engine spider may not be able to find what it is looking for. This page is a great tool to assure you that your site is built for maximum search engine results. The spider simulator can be used at http://tools.summitmedia.co.uk/spider/.
7 – SelfSEO Page Speed Checker
Your average website visitor will have a very short attention span. To have the best chance of making a positive first impression on new visitors your page must load quickly enough that they do not leave right away. SelfSEO has a Page Speed Tool that shows you how long your page takes to load. The tool allows you to enter multiple pages to check at one time. It is a good idea to compare the load time of your page against pages from several other websites. Try entering your homepage and the homepage of several of your competitors. If your page loads considerably slower than the others try to make the file smaller by reducing the number and size of images or by cleaning up the coding. The Page Speed Tool can be used at www.selfseo.com/website_speed_test.php.
8 – Dead Links Checker
Having dead links on your website can frustrate visitors and damage your search engine rankings. However, checking all the links on your site manually is not realistic. Fortunately there are a number of tools online that will automate the process. The W3 Link Checker will crawl through your pages and report which links are broken. To use this tool visit http://validator.w3.org/checklink.
9 – GoogleRankings.com
GoogleRankings.com will show you which words and phrases appear most frequently on your website throughout the text of the page, title, headings and meta tags. This is a useful tool to be certain that your pages are optimized for the words and phrases that you are targeting.
10 – FeedBurner
If you publish a blog FeedBurner’s service is a must have. Feedburner will provide you with statistics regarding your blog’s feed and you can give our readers the option to subscribe by email instead of RSS. There are a number of other features that you can read about at www.FeedBurner.com. With FeedBurner you can always see how many subscribers you have and how many of them are clicking through from your feed to your site.
Author: Steven Snell is a web designer for Vandelay Website Design. Steven regularly writes new articles on the topics of design, blogging, marketing and eearch engine optimization. His articles can be read on the blog at www.vandelaydesign.com.