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The best SEO tools can give you the competitive edge you need to outgun the competition. Unfortunately, most come at a premium, forcing you to pay for apps and memberships.

However:

You do have the option of going for free SEO tool alternatives.

Just because they’re free, it does not mean they lack the punch that paid tools provide. You might even be surprised to find that you can do a great job using nothing more than freebies.

In this post, we’re listing down some of the best SEO tools that provide you with the same data and information that their exclusive counterparts offer.

Best Free SEO Tools

Given the number of tools on the market today, we won’t be able to list down every tool we’ve encountered.

But because SEO covers a lot of ground, some tools are more suited for specific tasks.

For example, some tools are designed for OnPage optimization whereas others are better utilized for keyword research.

In this guide, we will tell you which tools are the best for the task at hand.

We will provide you with alternatives if we found any.

General – Google Search Console

Let’s start with a heavy hitter.

Google Search Console (GSC) was made to identify site pages that can be optimized to increase your search ranking.

Through GSC, you can look up your top-performing pages and improve your pages’ performance so they can go all the way to the top of the SERPs.

It gives you an idea of where to start optimizing pages.

But GSC is capable of doing more than that. It’s an information hub where you can submit sitemaps, report on mobile responsiveness, and correct site errors and redirects.

You will also be able to control your robots.txt file and resubmit your index (if you made significant changes to your site).

You will need to verify your site before you’re given access to Google Search Console. This requirement ensures that only site owners or webmasters can access your sensitive data.

Fortunately, this process is fairly simple.

How to verify your site on Google Search Console

Go to GSC and click Start Now.

google search console - start now

Next, add either the domain or the URL prefix to your list of properties.

google search console - add account

Once added, you’ll now need to verify your site ownership.

There are a couple of ways you can do this. The most common method would involve adding their custom HTML code to your site.

If you’re not comfortable messing with your code, there are other options…

You can use your domain name provider to verify on your behalf.

There’s also Google Tag Manager, a free tool that lets its users manage multiple marketing tags from one line of code. You can insert GSC so it fires along with all your tracking pixels.

Even better, those who already have an existing Google Analytics (GA) account can simply link GSC to the same account and call it a day.

Runner-Up

Speaking of Google Analytics, there is no excuse for you to not use this. Strictly speaking, GA is not an alternative since both tools work parallel to one another.

google search console - google analytics

However, GA also has built-in features that let you see how your site is performing.

Most SEOs would even argue that setting up an Analytics account should be your number one priority.

On-Page Optimization – Beam Us Up

SEO crawlers are quite important for content optimization.

How else will you figure out if you’re missing meta titles, descriptions, or headings?

Crawlers can also detect duplicate pages.

Beam Us Up deserves a closer look. With the tool, you avoid having to check your pages manually. The automatic crawl results can be exported as a spreadsheet so users can investigate more freely and effectively.

beam us up - homepage

The application itself is simple to use. There’s a spot in the main window where you’re supposed to enter the URL of the page you want to be crawled.

beam us up - enter url

Enter your domain and hit Start as soon as you’re ready to begin.

beam us up - click start

This will prompt Beam Us Up to go through all your pages. Once finished, a list of errors will be displayed along the sidebar.

beam us up - list of errors

Clicking on a specific error will bring up a list of pages where the error was encountered.

beam us up - affected pages

In a separate area just below the main section are tabs that show you all incoming and outgoing links. This will also tell you the anchor texts used for each link and image alt text.

You will also know if the backlink has a follow or nofollow attribute attached.

beam us up - outgoing links

An export button is conveniently placed along with the tool’s main navigation. Use it to download the results and work offline.

Runner-Up:

There’s also another free tool that works just as well as Beam Us Up. It’s called Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

beam us up - screaming frog

The tool works the same way as Beam Us Up. In fact, there’s not much difference in both of the tools’ interfaces.

Well, Screaming Frog has a slight advantage aesthetically speaking if that matters to you.

beam us up - screaming frog interface

But as far as functionality is concerned, both crawlers are more than capable of returning the kind of results you’re expecting.

The only downside to Screaming Frog is that the free account is limited to 500 pages per search.

Keyword Research – Keywords Everywhere

It was only a matter of time before we dove into our first keyword research tool.

SEO revolves around keyword optimization. And having a tool that’s geared towards that is not a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have type of thing.

Paid tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs are great but they do come at a cost.

So what’s your alternative? Enter Keywords Everywhere!

keywords everywhere - homepage

Keywords Everywhere is an add-on/extension that’s available for Chrome and Firefox. It makes use of an API key that you activate by clicking on a link that’s sent to your email.
So…
What do Keywords Everywhere do?
It does a pretty neat trick. It pulls keywords straight from your competitor’s landing page. This way, you can see what keywords they’re using to rank higher than you.
Even better, you’ll see the keyword volume right after you enter a query.

keywords everywhere - google query

There are also different filter options that allow you to refine keyword selections.

Keyword suggestions can also be set to appear on the right-hand side of the SERPs if you want to.

keywords everywhere - google sidebar

This section can be used to find LSI keywords that can be inserted to your pages.

After you extract keyword information from your target page, you can use the tool’s filter feature to set results to show one-word, two-word, or anywhere up to five-word keyword phrases.

Setting it up is as easy as adding the Keywords Everywhere extension to your browser of choice.

Once installed, you will need to get the API key by clicking on a link which will be sent via email.

keywords everywhere - email api

The link will bring you to a landing page where you can copy the API key.

keywords everywhere - copy api key

Open the extension and select Settings.

keywords everywhere - settings

Finally, paste the API key in the API key field and click validate.

keywords everywhere - validate api key

Runner Up:

You can consider the Conduction Customer Voice Search App as Keyword Everywhere’s mobile companion.

The app can extract vital information about your topic while you’re on the move.

keywords everywhere - conductor mobile app

The Conductor app generated some buzz around the time of its launch. It might be worth checking out.

Content Creation – Answer the Public

The internet asks a lot of questions. And when SEOs want to capitalize on queries sent to Google, they turn to Answer the Public.

answer the public - homepage

The tool generates search questions and compiles them in a way that makes it easy for users to gather ideas for posts.

You can view the results through a visualization feature that’s built into the tool.

answer the public - playstation visualization

Or view them as a list.

answer the public - playstation data

If combined with a free tool like Ubersuggest, you will be able to determine the search volume for each query.

If you somehow have access to Ahrefs or a similar keyword research tool, you’re bound to yield better results.

But as it is, Answer the Public is a great web-based platform for site owners who’d like to expand on a topic.

This is also useful for ranking on mobile devices since most mobile queries are structured as questions.

If your topic is baby blankets, entering that term will give you several post ideas.

answer the public - baby blankets

There’s even a section that emphasizes prepositions. This is important because queries that start or include prepositions typically have commercial intent.

answer the public - baby blankets prepositions

The versus section can unearth related topics you were unaware of.

answer the public - baby blanket versus

When used properly, Answer the Public could become your ticket to Google Snippets, the coveted position zero spot.

Runner-Up:

Of course, you don’t have to stick to Answer the Public.

Kparser’s Content Idea Generator can also be used to find new opportunities. The tool is free to use. However, you will need to subscribe to the Pro version if you want to see the search volume and CPC for each keyword.

answer the public - kparser

Just enter your keyword and the Content Idea Generator will do the rest.

answer the public - kparser results

While it may not be as comprehensive as Answer the Public, it’s still an easy way of exploring new keyword options.

On-Page optimization ShortPixel

High-resolution images can take a toll on your page load speed.

So it’s a good idea to optimize your images before they’re uploaded to your website.

The problem with image compression software is that they have a tendency to ruin image quality as they’re shrunk down.

That’s not the case with ShortPixel.

WordPress users can install the ShortPixel plugin and have it compress images upon upload. But if you’d rather reduce your image size online, the tool does have an online version.

The online version supports batch resizing (up to 50 files at once). Images can’t be more than 10MB.

You can also use ShortPixel to compress PDF files.

While it is free, this tool has a limit of 100 images per month. It’s also worth noting that thumbnails are treated as separate images. So creating thumbnail versions of the same images will allocate towards your monthly allowance.

shortpixel - pricing

ShortPixel offers three types of compression:

  • Lossy – Images are packed tightly. There’s a higher chance that image quality is reduced. However, the tool does a great job of reducing image size without compromising quality.
  • Glossy – This option is for professionals whose images need to be presented with great detail. This will, however, result in a slightly larger image size.
  • Lossless – Images are barely compressed and will retain their high-resolution.

The tool supports the following file formats: JPG, PNG, GIF, PDF, and WebP.

There’s also an option to backup your images through your server. However, this is not recommended for users that are on a limited WordPress hosting plan.

Runner-Up:

Imagify works the same way as ShortPixel. Just like ShortPixel, it too has both a WordPress plugin and an online version.

shortpixel - imagify

And that’s not where the comparison stops. Imagify also has three compression options: Normal, Aggressive, and Ultra.

Its only downside is that free users cannot upload images that are higher than 2MB. So if you typically upload images that are more than that, you’re out of luck.

On-Page optimization – Rank Math

Rank Math works the same way as Yoast SEO. Only it has features that are only available in Yoast’s premium package.

This plugin helps you write content with SEO in mind.

rank math - homepage

Installing it is easy. If you have Yoast activated, you can even import its settings to make the transition easier.

An installation wizard will guide you through the install.

You can even integrate Google Search Console and configure Google XML sitemap settings.

Even better, you can configure your pages to be more competitive in the SERPs.

rank math - rank math preview

Rank Math will let you know how your pages will perform based on how optimized they are.

rank math - rank math readability

You can even perform a site analysis where your domain will be tested and rated to see how SEO-friendly it is today.

rank math - site-wide analysis

If there are errors found, you will be given a notification so you can fix them without delay.

rank math - basic seo

You’ll also be given a chance to fix performance issues such as CSS and Javascript errors.

rank math - performance analysis

You can even view basic stats for each entry from the All Posts page on WordPress.

rank math - all posts seo data

Broken links can be fixed from the Rank Math plugin settings. You can set where pages are redirected without too much of a hassle.

rank math - redirect

Runner-Up:

SEOPress has a free version that is just as good as Rank Math.

It’s definitely no slouch when it comes to SEO.

rank math - seopress

For some people, the free version is more than enough to get them up and running.

It detects issues with metadata, helps with the sitemap, optimizes pages for Knowledge Graph, and boost social media features.

And like Rank Math, it too can analyze your content so you can make the necessary adjustments so your pages rank on Google.

On-Page Optimization – SERPsim

Some of the free SEO tools we’ve mentioned so far can check metadata information.

But if you need a dedicated tool for this very purpose, look no further than SERPsim.

serpsim - homepage

You can use SERPsim to determine the ideal meta titles and descriptions for your posts. You will also be given a preview of how the post will be displayed in the SERPs once it finds its way there.

Enter your URL and SERPsim will calculate if your post is optimized for the results page.

serpsim - demo

You can confirm through the preview if your titles, URLs, and descriptions are getting cut off.

serpsim - results preview

You’re also able to toggle between desktop and mobile view. That way, you’re safe no matter what device readers are using.

serpsim - results preview mobile

You can then share, copy, save (as a snippet), or download the result as an image.

It’s a simple tool that those who refuse to add more plugins to their WordPress site will appreciate.

The interface is simple and clean. And everything looks self-explanatory.

Runner-Up:

Portent’s Google SERP Preview Tool does the same job as SERPsim.

serpsim - serp preview tool

Portent encourages users to limit their meta titles and descriptions to 600 (pixels) and 320 (characters) respectively.

A live preview shows how it would look like in the SERPs just like SERPsim does.

Either tool will be more than enough to guide you when drafting metadata for your pages.

Link Building – Ahrefs Free Backlink Checker

Ahrefs offers a free version of their Backlink Checker which is awesome.

Now, you can check the quality of your backlinks without hurting your wallet.

Granted, there are limitations in place to encourage users to sign up for an account. To be precise, the free version only shows a limited backlink count.

But even then, the free version already packs quite a punch.

ahrefs free backlink checker - homepage

The Free Backlink Checker identifies a domain’s link profile.

ahrefs free backlink checker - ahrefs results

The results returnlots of useful information.

It gives you a URL rating, domain rating, the number of backlinks, and the number of referring domains.

The top 100 backlinks are also shown along with the sites Domain Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR).

Users are also shown the traffic brought by the backlink.

Having a backlink checker opens the window to more opportunities. For example, you can check your competitor’s backlinks to see what sites are linking to them. You can use this information for possible collaborations so you too can earn a backlink.

Through this tool, you can experience the data accuracy that SEOs have been praising Ahrefs for. And it doesn’t have to cost you anything.

Regular price for the most basic plan will set you back $99.

Runner-Up:

Ahref has a database of 15 trillion links. That’s why they’re considered one of the best.

But they’re not the only ones you can rely on.

Moz has its own Link Explorer.

ahrefs free backlink checker - moz link explorer

It’s just as good as Ahrefs. However, you’re going to need to sign up for a 30-day free trial in order to use it.

ahrefs free backlink checker - moz sign up form

So if you’re going to need a free backlink checker for more than a month, you might want to use Ahrefs instead.

But if you do decide to go with Moz, you’ll be on the receiving end of powerful backlink data for your website.

ahrefs free backlink checker - moz open site explorer

On-Page optimization – LinkMiner

A broken link will do you anything but good.

Good thing LinkMiner is there to help you.

LinkMiner is a Chrome plugin that was developed by Point Blank SEO.

Once installed, the plugin can be used to crawl through a page and check if all the links are working or not.

Simply click the extension and it will then proceed to count all the links in the page.

linkminer - linkminer settings

The green box will indicate how many links are working while the red one will tell you how many are broken.

You can scan through the page and find the broken links. Those that are not working properly will be highlighted red.

Those that are working will be highlighted green.

linkminer - broken links time magazine

Hitting the Settings icon will show you additional options you can experiment with.

linkminer - initial crawl

Under the General settings, you can choose which data provider to use. You can also configure the counter to either display the total number of links on the page or the number of external links.

The Link Checking section will let you configure the extension even further. You can show link data on a URL, prefix, or domain level. You can enable status codes to appear beside working links.

It can even show backlinks if you need this tool to do just that.

linkminer - link checking

There’s even a section that’s dedicated to SERP checking.

linkminer - serp checking

Since the extension is free, we recommend installing the extension and checking it out yourself to get a feel for what LinkMiner has to offer.

Runner-Up:

Check My Links is another Chrome extension you can try.

And unlike our main choice, there are signs that Check My Links is still being updated by its developers.

It is also capable of processing multiple pages at once.

This is fantastic if you use link checkers to find content replacement opportunities on authority sites.

Lead Generation – Find That Lead

Find That Lead is a Chrome extension that lets you find email leads. It’s perfect when used in combination with LinkMiner.

You find broken links on a page then contact the webmaster about your link building opportunity. It’s the perfect marriage between two SEO tools.

find that lead - homepage

Once you have the extension installed, you’ll be able to go to any website and find out who the contacts are as well as see their email addresses.

find that lead - semrush contacts

It’s worth noting that you’ll need to sign up to get the API key. Without it, the email addresses will be hidden.

Another way of using it would be through LinkedIn or Twitter.

Go to the profile of the person you want to contact, click the extension, and boom!

You’ll be given a lead you can actually work with.

find that lead - nike

There is a downside though. The free version only gives you 50 credits. And it takes 1 credit to find the email a person.

The site itself is pretty powerful. There you can find leads by name, domain, company, or by social media.

find that lead - lead search

There’s even an option to search in bulk which saves you time and energy.

find that lead - nike all accounts

Outside of link building opportunities, the tool is useful for finding prospective clients and making a pitch.

Reviews for the product online praise the site’s ease of use and great navigation.

Runner-Up:

Hunter.io works the same way as Follow That Link. No API keys are needed to use this tool though. You only need to register an email.

You do the same thing, click on the Hunter.io extension and it will bring up all the emails it can gather for the site you want to contact.

find that lead - hunter io emails

It will even give you the sources so you can verify if the emails provided are authentic.

find that lead - hunter io sources

You can also do searches from within the Hunter.io website.

find that lead - hunter io search from site

Lead Generation – Gmail Canned Responses

Gmail Canned Responses isn’t a third-party tool you need to install. It’s a feature that’s already built into your Gmail account, only hidden.

It’s a handy feature especially if you’re always on the move. You can draft well-thought responses that you can select and send immediately.

Ever had those times when you’re on the road and the last thing you want to do is compose a long email that’ll win the hearts and minds of the people you’re emailing?

With Canned Responses, you have time to create a template you can send when you’re in those tough situations where you can’t think straight.

To activate, open Gmail and click the Gear icon. Head on over to Settings.

gmail canned responses - settings

Open the Advanced tab. Right where it says Canned Responses (Templates), tick the Enable option.

gmail canned responses - canned responses templates

Click Save Changes when you’re done. That’s it! Canned Responses is now enabled.

Now all that’s left is to draft an email that will serve as your template. When you’re done composing, click Options and select Canned Responses.

gmail canned responses - save template

There you’ll be given an option to save your draft as a template.

From this point on, you can respond to emails by clicking Options > Canned Responses > Insert Template.

Select the template you want to use then send it to the recipient.

Runner-Up:

Those who are in search of a third-party Gmail tool can instead use MailButler.

The company has plans for advanced users but they do offer a free version for those who want to explore the product.

It can be used for both Gmail and Apple Mail. It places additional functionality that otherwise wouldn’t exist in your mail service.

For example, you can assign tasks to emails and they will go to your to-do list.

gmail canned responses - mailbutler assign tasks

And it can also do the same tasks as Canned Responses.

Pipeline creation – Streak

Streak lets you create pipelines for your outreach campaign.

This can be used as part of a whole arsenal of lead generation tools that we discussed in our guide to lead gen.

It’s meant to be integrated into your Gmail account — both mobile and desktop versions.

What it does is track your link building outreach efforts as well as your success rate. You’re basically able to see the progress of all your efforts.

If you’re working with a team, you’ll be able to manage your activities straight from your Gmail account.

Once installed, you’ll notice a submenu called Pipelines in your sidebar.

streak - pipelines

Clicking that will open a pop-up window that gives you a few templates to choose from.

streak - pipeline options

Each template has a specific purpose. But if none of the available templates are reflecting what you intend to monitor, you can start with a blank canvas.

A sales deal will monitor how your lead generation is going.

streak - sales template

If you’re familiar with how sales funnels work, this is exactly what this template is replicating.

And if you add more members to a project you’re working on, they’ll be able to interact with the pipeline.

The one who created the pipeline has control over what members can and cannot do as part of the group.

streak - sales template example

You can even add custom columns for more complex pipelines.

Streak has an additional feature called Magic Columns. These are different from the regular ones.

What Magic Column does is pull data from your emails and use them to fill in your columns.

So if you want to identify the last time your leads sent you an email, you can use Magic Columns to add those dates right into your pipeline.

streak - magic columns

Managing your team and your leads have never been easier.

One can work on gathering leads while the other focuses on contacting each one.

Runner-Up:

HubSpot CRM also does a good job of managing your leads.

It gives you a way to manage all your leads and makes the process easy as pie. It can even pull in data so you have all the information you’ll need to interact with your lead.

Once you’ve secured a lead, you can easily track them and place each one in HubSpot’s own version of a pipeline.

streak - hubspot pipeline

Conclusion

Honestly, there’s no replacing paid SEO tools. Their services and products are constantly updated and should anything go wrong, customer support will be there to assist you.

Not to mention, they have built-in automated features that get things done faster.

But everybody has to start somewhere.

If you’re just a startup and couldn’t afford to invest in SEO tools at the moment, there’s no harm trying free alternatives instead.

Who knows?

Maybe you’ll end up liking them to the point where paying for tools is no longer be necessary.

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