It’s strange to think of something inanimate like a blog having health issues. Be that as it may, it’s possible your blog is a little under the weather in terms of its SEO. If you’re not checking, it’s also entirely possible you have a problem that don’t know about. With this in mind, I’m going to discuss 6 tools to check SEO for your blog, so you can see if it requires medical intervention.
If your blog is suffering from any kind of malaise causing it to underperform you need to know about it quickly. As long as you carry out regular blog health checks, you’ll be able to fix any unseen issues to keep it working in peak condition!
In the course of this post I’ll be identifying:
- Why it’s important to benchmark your blog’s SEO position for future checking.
- Tools to check SEO for your blog.
Why is it Important to Check SEO and Benchmark Your Search Profile?
As time passes and you begin to build up your content portfolio, you’ll want to see more and more people visiting your blog. The number of visitors you receive is direct feedback that what you’re doing is working.
If you don’t have a clear understanding of how your readership is growing, you’ll have no idea about what is or isn’t working for you.
In the same way, if don’t track how often your blog appears in search results or in what positions your posts appear, you’ll have no clear idea about where you need to focus you efforts to make improvements.
Analysis of your SEO profile is a vital part of running a blog. It gives you more granular feedback than visitor growth alone, since it can help explain why visitors numbers are or aren’t growing.
If you can understand why visitors are growing, you can do more of it to grow further. Conversely, if you can see why visitors numbers aren’t growing, you can take steps to move the needle in the right direction.
To get such an understanding, you’ll need processes and tools to check SEO so you can see clearly how and where things are improving or deteriorating… and that’s the reason I’ve written this post!
The Tools I Use to Check SEO
The following are the tools I use to check my SEO position, hence I have absolutely no problem recommending them to you. All of them can be used in some way for free, though some of them require a subscription to use fully unlocked versions.
I’ll identify which ones are free and which ones you can pay to unlock for unrestricted use. However, even the SEO tools with restricted use can still provide you with useful and actionable insights to help you understand your SEO position.
So let’s get started…
1. Google Analytics (Free)
Google Analytics has been the most widely used free web analytics tool for over a decade. It’s basic functions show you all kinds of activity on your blog such as:
- Visitor numbers.
- Landing pages visited.
- Exit pages.
- Bounce rates.
- Pages visited per session.
More sophisticated features enable you to segment data into different subsets, such as visitors based on geographical location or how visitors to certain pages travel pass through your blog.
Google Analytics is especially useful to track visitor numbers to landing pages. When you know which are the top landing pages people visit, you can drill down into how they are finding them. You’ll be particularly interested in the organic channels, which are the ones affected by your SEO.
When you understand which pages are coming as a direct result of someone finding your blog in a search, you have a basis to work on those pages to help push them higher in the results pages for the keywords they’re using to find you.
Herein lies a problem. Google Analytics has long withheld the detail about keywords that people use to find you in organic searches. Practically every keyword is hidden behind the “(not provided)” keyword.
This is a big pain in the rump… but there is a way around it using the next SEO tool I’m recommending. You can learn more about how to do this in this post: The Infamous Not Provided Keyword in Google Analytics.
2. Google Search Console (Free)
Like Google Analytics, the Google Search Console tool is an absolute must for EVERY blogger. It’s so much more than an SEO tool because it provides all kinds of useful insights into the health of your blog.
As a general introduction, Google Search Console enables you to:
- Submit URLs to Google to get them indexed quickly.
- See how often Googlebots crawl your blog.
- Identify potential problems and errors with your blog code.
- Find out if Google doesn’t like something you’ve done and has penalized you for it.
- Understand if their are security issues affecting your site that you aren’t aware of.
These in themselves are all useful for helping you to bolster your blog’s SEO profile. However, where Google Search Console comes into it’s own is it shows you the actual searches people are using to see:
- Which of your blog’s pages are listed in the search results.
- Which ones resulted in an actual click to visit your blog.
This is gold dust! Google Search console tells you specifically the:
- Exact keywords people use resulting in your pages appearing in the search results
- Number of times your page were shown (impression)
- Position in which your pages appear in Google searches.
- Pages that drove a visit.
This information is available to you from the moment you set up a Google Search Console account forwards, so you can track this information historically.
The historical data about keywords is perhaps the most valuable SEO tool you can have. It enables you to understand your current positioning in Google search results so you can work to maintain and improve through an informed SEO strategy for all your pages.
If you don’t have a GSC account, set one up immediately!
3. Google PageSpeed Insights (Free)
I appreciate it seems like it’s been Google all the way up to this point! However, these SEO tools are all free and extremely useful and I’d bet my bottom dollar that most of the bloggers you know and love will be using these!
Google PagedSpeed Insights is tool for specifically testing how quickly your pages load. You don’t need to set up an account to use it, in fact you can check the pages load speed for ANY page on the web and Google PSI will tell you.
Why do I recommend Google PageSpeed Insights as an SEO tool? I’ve explained in some detail before why page load speed is important, so I won’t revisit the detailed reasons why here. As a really brief summary though, page speed is important for SEO because Google tells us so. And if Google tells us something important like this, it’s probably worth listening to!
The PSI tool will look at any page you submit to it and analyze various elements such as your server and web page code and return a speed score. It also details the precise elements causing your pages to load slowly so you can fix them to make page load speed time improvements. The faster your blog pages load, the stronger the SEO benefit you’ll get.
Read more about how to use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool.
4. Moz (Free & Paid)
Moz is a behemoth website providing all sorts of useful things for digital marketing. Its articles on all things search have educated a generation of online marketers since around 2004.
Alongside the excellent and in depth information Moz provides, it also offers a whole bunch of SEO tools to help inform your marketing strategy including:
- Keyword research.
- On page optimization.
- Off page optimization.
- SEO auditing.
- Competitor research.
- Page ranking.
To benefit from unlimited use of Moz tools you’ll need a subscription and it’s probably not priced to be really appealing for new bloggers, but nonetheless they’re super-powerful.
However, you can sign up for a free Moz Pro account, which gives you 30 days using all the unlocked tools the Moz arsenal permits. When you free trial expires, you can still use Moz’s SEO tools but with monthly use restrictions (around 10 free searches per tool).
For new bloggers, a free limited use account will probably cover more than enough information to help you understand how well your SEO approach is working. For others with a little disposable income, the sophistication of the Moz SEO toolset will probably be too tempting not to pay for.
5. SEO PowerSuite (Free & Paid)
SEO PowerSuite is my go-to SEO tool that provides four different components (Rank Tracker, WebSite Auditor, SEO SpyGlass, LinkAssistant) that provide:
- Keyword research.
- Backlink checkers.
- SEO auditing.
- Page ranking.
You can download SEO PowerSuite and use it free for 7 days, after which you’ll need to pay a subscription or use the whole suite free but with restrictions.
Even if you only use the free version, SEO PowerSuite will give you a great deal of detail about the health of your SEO. You won’t be able to save or export information in the free version, but as a tool tool guide you it’s excellent and I highly recommend it.
6. Ubersuggest (Free & Paid)
Ubersuggest is Nail Patel’s foray into the SEO tools market. It’s not as slick an offering as Moz Pro (and possibly not as accurate in its predictions) but it’s an affordable solution for new bloggers and it’s a tool I use to cross-reference.
It provides a pretty comprehensive set of tools to help your SEO including:
- Keyword research.
- SEO audits.
- SEO health checks.
- Link research.
- Competitor research.
- Page ranking.
It’s detailed enough for any new blogger starting out in SEO at a price that will make it really appealing.
I use it mostly for quick snapshots on SideGains’ domain health and competitor research and as such I recommend it highly.
If you’re a new blogger, you’re going to have very busy hands! You might not feel like getting too involved in figuring out SEO, and you certainly might not want to pay for tools to check on it.
I understand this, but keeping an eye on SEO is going to figure at some point in your blogging journey. Setting up tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console are pretty much vital in my opinion. They’re free tools that will help you out a lot and give you a stack of information that will be useful for you going forward. My advice to you is to set up GA and GSC from day one!
Even the using the trail / free versions of the other tools I’ve mentioned will be sufficient for you to cut your teeth, so when you have a moment check them out.
That’s all for now. Good luck!
Which tools do you use to check SEO? Leave and comment below and let’s share the love!
Folajomi Ballo says
SEO tools make blogging easy. What can one do without those Tools? A fantastic list you composed, I am pretty familiar with most of the tools here. I haven’t used some and surely will check them out as per your recommendation. Will continue to check this space – amazing stuff.
Hi Folajomi… nice to see you here! Blogging without using tools to help with the heavy lifting of SEO makes life so much more difficult. Perhaps not at first, but definitely down the road. Although new bloggers might feel uncomfortable adding to their workload by getting to grips with SEO tools, some are an absolute must from the outset, as I say in my post.