“The best things in life are free,” said Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Coco Chanel and a number of philosophers, most of whom I have never heard of. Regardless, they are right, especially if they were talking about WordPress or SEO. Think they were? Probably not…
I won’t go as far as saying that the best things in life are free – SEMRush is certainly not free, neither is KW Finder – but many come a very close second in the SEO world and for WordPress users who are not running an SEO or Web Design agency or have a super competitive website then many of these free tools will help audit technical elements of your site such as duplicate content, https issues like mixed content, google penalties and so on.
They are all free and they are all friggin’ awesome! They are not in any particular order but if I were you I would be bookmarking each of them into your browser library.
Before I delve into the first two, Siteliner (a duplicate content tool) and Copyscape (a plagiarism tool) I want to differentiate between the two. Both have duplicate content implications but plagiarism is a more specific, ill-intent subset of duplicate content. Funnily enough, both sites are owned by Indigo Stream Technologies.
Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.” Read Google’s article here. Whereas, plagiarism is more sinister in definition – you are essentially stealing someone’s piece of work and passing it off as your own. Not cool…
Duplicate content can sit within one site and may be across a number of domains. Most instances of duplicate content is not intended and may be due to technical errors on your site or the legitimate re-use of content without proper canonicalization (Find out more about canonicalization). However, it is worth noting that quoting content from another site (as I have done in the above paragraph) is still duplicate content, even if you give credit to the source (as I have done).
Whether it is duplicate content or plagiarism you still want to identify these and resolve the issues. Siteliner and Copyscape do just that – and they are free…
Siteliner is a free service that thoroughly reviews your website, revealing any key issues that affect the quality of your website and also search engine rankings. The four reasons I use Siteliner is for:
1. Duplicate Content – Siteliner checks your site internally for duplicate content, whilst excluding structural content such as navigation and menus.
2. Broken Links – Siteliner checks all internal links on your site to ensure they are working, and highlights any broken links so you can remove or correct them.
3. Page Power – Siteliner identifies any pages on your site that I more noticeable to search engines like Google and Bing as they crawl your site based on the linking structure between your pages.
4. Reports – Siteliner provides a detailed report identifying crucial information about each page.
Duplicate content can lower your website’s search engine rankings and can potential reduce traffic to your site. Not only that, broken links (404s) will affect your visitors’ experience and also potentially lower your site’s search engine rankings.
What is Copyscape?
Copyscape helps you to find sites that may have copied your content without your permission. It can also help you find other sites that are directly quoting from your site, which is not necessarily a bad thing and depending on the site is an opportunity to ask for a backlink if it is reputable. May just give a little extra link juice and give you SEO a boost.
Just enter your URL and Copyscape will scan the Web to check for duplicate content of your page.
Copyscape’s plagiarism checker finds similar content online but not make a determination as to which content is the original source. It is your job to review each finding and decide if you have been plagiarized and if so, what action you will take.
Well, plagiarism is probably less about the benefits of SEO and more about preventing the harming of your SEO efforts. Being plagiarized can affect you if Google sees your content as duplicate even though it is yours originally. However, if you are the one plagiarizing then your reputation may be affected and you could also not only face legal action but have your website taken down by the DCMA and removed altogether from Google search results.
3. Why No Padlock?
‘Why No Padlock?’ is a simple tool that will inform you of any elements that are not secure on an SSL page. Just enter your URL (including the https), prove you are not a robot and press ‘Test Page’.
In no time you will get a detailed report about:
- Expired SSL certificates, invalid or missing intermediate certificates
- SHA-1 Algorithm test, POODLE test and insecure form calls
Since 2014 Google has placed more and more emphasis on sites having https and a number of studies from recognized individuals like Brian Dean and SEO companies like Moz have shown a small correlation in higher search rankings between sites with https and sites without.
4. Is My Website PenaliZed?
‘Is My Website Penalized?’ is a free service for website owners, web designers and SEOs to run a quick and secure search engine penalty test that gives you a decisive answer as to whether your website is penalized by Google’s search engine.
Simply enter your website domain name (e.g. www.mattpower.com.au) and press submit. Once all the analysis is done, the results are displayed on the screen.
Google Algorithm Updates
5. Panguin SEO Tool
Panguin SEO Tool is a free SEO tool to help you investigate whether you’ve been impacted by Google’s algorithm updates. The tool was driven by the Panda & Penguin updates (hence the name Panguin) but includes all Google updates from the past few years. Just connect Panguin to your Google Analytics account and away you go!
This is both a reactive and proactive SEO tool. By understanding the changes Google makes to their algorithm you can best optimize your site for SEO. If you have been impacted by a Google update, for example Panda Update’s focus on thin content (having little or no original content) and rewarding content with substance, then you know you need to improve your content, attract more visitors, retain them longer and should hopefully climb back up the rankings.
Website Compression / GZIP
6. Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker is a free online link validator that not only tells you which of your links are dead but will also show exactly where these bad URLs exist. What I like about Broken Link Checker is that it only focuses on links that are broken, so you won’t get lost in the noise of other auditing tools. It also analyses your entire site and keeps track of issues already reported, and won’t repeat unless requested. Simple!
Fixing broken links improves the user experience, if you don’t and your visitor lands on a 404 then they are likely to bounce from your site and if they bounce it sends Google the wrong message that your content is not meeting the user’s needs and you may find yourself slipping down the rankings. Fix your dead links!
Website Compression / GZIP
7. Check GZIP Compression
With ‘Check GZIP Compression’ you can check if your web server is sending the correct GZIP enabled header. Simply enter your website URL and they will test if the web server sends the GZIP command to your clients. Too Easy.
GZIP compression can save at least 50% of your bandwidth usage which means a faster loading site and we all know Google prefers a fast loading web page.
Well there you have it. 7 free, yet incredible, online tools to help you with your SEO efforts. Have I left any out that you recommend? Let me know in the comments.
If you found this article helpful…