7 Best Free SEO Tools for Beginners in 2021 (& How to Use Them)

Squill
10 min readMay 26, 2021
Photo by Stephen on Unsplash

As SEO beginners, you can learn and grow exponentially if you find the right SEO tools to aid your journey.

Here’s a list of 7 amazing SEO tools for SEO beginners (as well as experts) that work well in 2021.

The tools are categorized according to their SEO purposes: keyword research, competitor analysis, local SEO, mobile SEO, and technical SEO.

You’ll find a tool for your every SEO endeavor in this list.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is considered the foundation of any SEO campaign.

If you want to rank well in search engines, you have to find what people actually are searching for, not what you think people are searching for.

However, despite the countless benefit claims of doing keyword research, many beginners usually skip on this and directly approach the nitty-gritty of SEO (which often has very few benefits).

Why does this happen?

Well, the simple answer is…

for most beginners, keyword research is easier said than done.

Seriously, where do you even start?

Source: Giphy.com

There are thousands of platforms claiming to be ‘the best keyword explorer tool’, but you should have a good starting keyword (called seed keyword). That is where most of the frustration and procrastination happens.

So, today we’ll go through three beginner-friendly keyword research tools which will help you get a head-start even before knowing which keywords to search for.

Exploding Topics [Tool #1]

This tool helps you find trending materials before they explode on the market. You have the choice to browse through all the bubbling trends of more than 2000 topics selecting the timeframe of the topic you’re interested in.

A screenshot of homepage of exploding topics

This helps you to create content around these emerging topics before everyone starts doing it. Isn’t that a true advantage against your competitors?

How to Use Exploding Topics?

Simply go to their website and choose your topic of interest. That’s it.

It’s super easy, right?

A screenshot of finding topics on exploding topics

You can also adjust the timeframe.

A screenshot of adjusting timeframe in exploding topics

Truly awesome.

Seed Keywords [Tool #2]

Seed keywords are the primary keywords most relevant to the business which are often modified into other new keywords.

Yes, seed keywords are the exact pain points we talked about earlier.

When looking for keywords on most keyword explorer tools, you type a seed keyword and get returned a list of similar terms. Sadly, like you, thousands of other competitors search for keywords the same way. That’s why you end up in a tough competition with a ton of other sites for the same keywords.

Seed Keywords, unlike other keyword tools, helps you find completely new keyword ideas. These new ideas are sourced directly from the searchers by providing them scenarios.

By using Seed Keywords you can ask your existing pool of customers or friends-family how they search for you online.

Screenshot of a scenario on Seed Keywords asking ‘You are planning to start learning SEO, what would you search for?’

How to Use Seed Keywords?

Make a query scenario related to your website, service, or business. Assuming you have a tattoo studio, let’s ideate a scenario.

You are planning to make a tattoo, what do you search for?

Now go to Seed Keywords and create your scenario. You can find tips to create good scenarios on the same page!

Voilà, you now have the seed keyword URL for your scenario. Share this with your customers, friends, and family.

You can then analyze their submissions and check the valid seed keywords on the traditional keyword platforms to decide which are the best ones.

Wordtracker Scout

The easiest way of finding keywords is to find which keywords are bringing traffic to your competitor's websites. But first, you have to figure out who your competition is.

This is where the keywords you found earlier can come into play!
Type those keywords on the search engines.

All the ranking folks are your competitors.
[Spoiler: We’ll soon talk about another interesting tool to find competitors.]

Wordtracker is an excellent chrome extension to steal keywords from your competitors. This shows the most common keywords appearing on your competitors’ websites.

How to Use Wordtracker Scout?

Go to their website and download the chrome extension on your device.

A screenshot of home page of word tracker scout

Now, the entire web can be your free keyword generator.

Competitor Analysis

Competitive analysis is a crucial part of having a successful SEO campaign. Using competitive analysis, you can incorporate the successful SEO tactics of your competitors into your own strategy. A typical competitive analysis means researching the keywords, content, backlinks, and other factors of your competition.

But to do all these, you have to figure out two things.

Who are your competitors and where will you find them?

Source: Giphy.com

We have already talked about the traditional way of finding your competitors: typing keywords on search engines and finding top ranking sites on the top results.

Here we will discuss a more hacky tool to make that process easier for you.

Detailed [Tool #4]

In 2021, content is the king for SEO. You should pay special attention to your content strategy to stand out among the rest. That’s why Detailed is a great tool addition to your content strategy.

Detailed displays a list of top 50 blogs across different niches and this list is updated every 24 hours.

But there’s more.

It also shows the number of mentions which gives you insight into who has recently linked to or tweeted about your competition.

How to use Detailed?

Go to Detailed Industry Rankings and choose a niche of your choice. There are 24 niches to choose from.

A screenshot of Detailed.com Industry rankings page

Detailed will return the top 50 blogs in the selected niche along with their rankings and mentions. You can analyze what those blogs are doing right and copy some of their best content practices.

A screenshot of Detailed Result Page for niche ‘Health’, WebMD and Medical News Today are top 2 ranking blogs

Mobile/Local SEO

The number of local searches that happen every day is no joke. Almost 46% of searches that happen on Google happen with local search intent! Also, more than half of Google’s organic search traffic is generated from mobile devices. The percentage might be even higher for local searches. So, if you have a local business, you can’t mess up your Mobile and Local SEO.

I have one amazing tool in store for you for strengthening your Mobile and Local SEO campaigns.

SERPerator [Tool #5]

Most SEO tools show SERP rankings that are focused mostly on desktop results but SERPerator shows the exact result page for a particular keyword on more than 35 android and iOS phone models of your choice from any major cities in the world.

The search results vary greatly depending upon your location and the device you’re using to make the searches, especially if you are making local searches like ‘pizza restaurant‘ or ‘plumber’. Therefore, SERPerator is an awesome tool for keeping you up-to-date on your mobile rankings across different locations and devices.

How to use SERPerator?

Go to SERPerator and run the test on your location, device, and search engine of choice.

A screenshot of SERPerator tool comparing mobile SERPS for keyword momo in location Biratnagar for iPhone 12 pro vs Google Pixel

You can also compare the mobile SERPs of two different phone models!

Can you spot the difference in results?

Complete SEO Analysis Tool

The ever-evolving search engine algorithms look at hundreds of factors for ranking the websites on the web which search engines never tend to disclose. However, many SEO tools continuously track the activities of search engines and provide marketers deep insight into the internal working of search engines.

It is a no-brainer that having access to reliable and easy-to-use SEO tools will make your SEO strategy stronger. However, they are often paid tools and are quite expensive. As a beginner, you definitely don’t want to break your bank for getting familiar with such SEO tools.

Therefore, we will be discussing one SEO tool that is not going to break your bank.

Ubersuggest [Tool #6]

Ubersuggest has most of the features found in the top-notch premium SEO tools.

  1. It can give you a domain overview of your site as well as your competitors’.
  2. It shows the top SEO pages on a site.
  3. It generates a great list of keyword suggestions.
  4. It can give you amazing content ideas.
  5. It can give insightful backlink data that might help you to improve your backlink profile.

Ubersuggest has it all but it is free!

How to use Ubersuggest?

Go to Ubersuggest and type any keyword or domain that you’d like.

Let us check how Ubersuggest works with a domain first.

A screenshot of ubersuggest
I am using Coca-cola’s website as an example.

You can then observe and analyze the traffic, backlinks, keyword ranking, top SEO pages, and top SEO keywords of the domain.

Again, let’s test Ubersuggest on how it works with a keyword.

Let’s say you are a florist that needs to do keyword research related to your flower shop. Suppose you’re launching a new service to do floral arrangements for weddings.

We searched for the keyword ‘floral arrangements for weddings’

You can now see and analyze the search volume for the keyword, its paid and organic difficulty, other related keywords you can target, and also content ideas.

If you watch the screenshot closely, you can see that in the content ideas section we find that there are a huge number of Pinterest shares versus the Facebook ones. From this, you can also draw the inference that Pinterest is one of the best platforms to find your probable customers.

Technical SEO

You have the best website for your company. It has well-targeted keywords, excellent Local and Mobile SEO.

But what if it falls short on technical SEO requirements?

Search engines won’t be able to find, crawl, and index the pages of your site. Getting your website indexed in the bare minimum you need to do for having a chance at having your websites rank on search engines. That is why even beginners should pay attention to technical SEO factors.

Today, we are talking about a nifty tool called Screaming Frog which lets you discover your technical SEO issues in minutes.

Screaming Frog [Tool #7]

Screaming Frog is an industry-leading crawler just like Google crawler. Once you crawl a website using Screaming Frog, you can extract your on-site data and audit it for common technical SEO issues. The free version of this tool lets you crawl 500 URLs, which is most probably sufficient for SEO beginners like you.

Using Screaming Frog, you can find different technical issues like HTTP header errors, indexing issues, 404 errors, etc.

It can also help you to analyze other on-page SEO factors like page titles, meta descriptions, headings, pages with thin content, duplicate content, etc.

Using a technical tool like Screaming Frog can get overwhelming for beginners but stay with us till the end. Once you start using it, it will definitely become one of your most favorite SEO tools.

How to use Screaming Frog?

Go to Screaming Frog and download the software for your operating system.

Download the setup file and install the software on your device.

Then crawl a website of your choice using the tool.

As an example, I am using the website of Fusemachines, an AI company.

Let’s discuss some simple things you can do using Screaming Frog and how you can do it.

1. Identify Broken Links

Click on the ‘Response Codes’ tab

Screaming frog shows you a report on the redirected links, 404 pages, and server issues. This way you can analyze and decide what you want to do with the broken links.

2. Visualize Website Structure

Click the ‘Directory Tree Graph’ in Visualizations Menu

You can view the directory structure of the website and also the page summary of each URL node of the website from the visualization.

3. Generate XML Sitemap for your website

An XML sitemap helps search engines to easily understand your website structure while crawling it. You can easily generate an XML sitemap for your website with this tool in seconds.

Click on ‘XML Sitemap’ in the Sitemaps menu
Manage your export configuration as required and export the sitemap

Now you can upload or re-upload your XML sitemap on your Google Search Console.

Make these tools your own.

Either you’re a beginner in SEO or you’re a pro, these 7 free tools will definitely help your SEO strategy.

If there are any tools we’ve missed but you think should make the list, please comment below!

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