Guest blog: Free SEO and analytics tools to help you improve and promote your website

Bootstrapping? Optimise your website for free with tools recommended by analytics guru Phil Pearce
11th December 2017

Every startup knows the importance of getting a properly functioning website, and even if money is tight, there are lots of places which will give you the tools to help you optimise how your site is used and being found.

Here are a few tools I have recommend in previous tech event and conference talks that can help you with everything from where customers are getting stuck and abandoning your website, to saving you money on your Google Adwords spend. Here we go!

 

Yandex Metrica

Free mouse tracker and form tracker

Yandex Metrica is a session-recording tool – it will record where a user is moving a mouse and what they are typing and let you play it back in video form. Yandex will give you 150,000 recordings a day for free.

It’s a very good tool for seeing where your users get stuck on your site. For example, if you’ve made it so you can only enter numbers in a phone number field on a sign-up form, but they are trying to add +44 at the start of their number, then getting frustrated and giving up, you will see it. Playing back the recordings lets you ‘feel their pain’ so you know what to fix.

More importantly, if you aren’t the decision maker on what gets changed, it’s a very useful persuasion tool to show your boss why you need a change or an update.

It also offers activity tracking, so you can sort by users who use a mouse a lot or are scrolling a lot and so on, and see why they aren’t doing what you want them to do.

Other alternatives include Hotjar and Decibel Insight which both do the similar things and have free versions.

 

Wordstream

Free Pay-Per-Click ad analyser

If you are spending money on Google Adwords for your site, using the Wordstream Grader is a great way to get a score of how well your Adwords account is being managed. It’s scored out of 100, and it shows you ways to improve that score. Anything less than 50 is not great, and it’s possible that Google is charging you more for your ads because you aren’t using Adwords properly, so this is an easy way to check quickly if you are doing something wrong.

Wordstream calculates your grade by:
1. Looking at how frequently changes are being made in your account. More is better. The more changes you make the more likely it is you are making improvements.
2. Looking at your ‘account level quality score’ – which Google uses to decide how much you pay. If you have a higher score you are rewarded with a lower cost. If you get more people clicking on your ad you get more clicks because they are playing the volume game.

Why you need to use theses graders is that Google won’t tell you your ‘account level quality score’ and it’s just based on ‘now’ but not your history, so you should use it monthly to see if you are improving.

 

Narrative Science Quill

Free ‘Data as a story’ report

Ladie's face made up out of numbers advertising Narrative Science QuillIf you have an Excel table of website statistics, it’s usually not very readable, at least not by humans. Narrative Science Quill (NSQ) pulls out the important details you care about, for example, whether your visitors and conversions have increased or decreased, and it will email you with the reports its generated. It uses the same tech they use in the publishing sector to automatically generate sports reports from game statistics. You can request a demo for free to see if it would help you.

Google also has a similar thing called ‘Analytics intelligence’ which runs on an app, so it’s good for showing you what’s changed while you are on the move. However, with Analytics Intelligence you need to log in and check, whereas NSQ will email you.

If this interests you you should also check out Wordsmith and Metric Story which provide similar services.

 

Sitebeam Nibbler

Free 5-page SEO sanity check

This is really good for checking for SEO, code and usability errors on your website. It’s very good as a Litmus test or sanity check, and will highlight some easy ways to change your site for the better.

5 pages is all you get for free, but that is enough as a starting point and with a little research, you can fix those glaring errors stopping you powering your way up the rankings.

 

Google sheets GA plug-in

Using comparison reports examples

For anyone using Google Analytics this is a very good tool for automatically grabbing the data from it and adding it into Google Sheets, ready for analysis.

If you are doing a monthly report you just set it up once and it runs behind the scenes, so the data will be there for your reports when you need them.

If you want to show off that data, you can use another free tool called Data Studio  to make it look pretty.

 

Coming soon… Google Attribute

With Google Attribute you can get more sales from the same amount of Adword spend. It uses Google’s machine learning magic to attribute conversions across channels and devices. This data-driven attribution ensures you have the full picture of where your conversions are coming from.

You used to have to pay £90K a year for access to the same functionality within Google Analytics Premium, but now they are (gradually) making it free. It’s in a slow whitelist in the UK and you can sign up for it here: Sign up to Google Attribute