We know what SEO is. We know how it works. And, we know how to create SEO rich content that’s reader friendly. But the proof is in the pudding, and having a box of handy tools never hurts.

These are four SEO tools we find helpful no matter your level of SEO expertise. And, they are all free.

Google Analytics

Just as analytics allow you to track and tweak your content strategy over time (see more about that in one of our earlier journal entries), analytics help you track and tweak your SEO optimization. What terms are working? What terms aren’t? What content has a high bounce rate? What pages have multiple repeat visitors? Google Analytics can tell you all of the above and more.

AdWords Keyword Tool

While you could pick your keywords and long tail keywords at random, that’s a lot like trying to find a few needles in a haystack. Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool allows you to see the local and global competition for any keyword.

SEO by Yoast

If you’ve set up your blog on a WordPress site, SEO by Yoast will be right up your alley. It helps you walk through each step of optimizing your pages and posts.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools allow you to monitor your website’s index, keyword clicks, sitemaps and external links to your site. It also plays nice with Google Analytics to give extra insight.

Want more tools?

Bing has its own Webmaster tools you can use to submit your sitemaps and track crawl rates from Microsoft. If you are in the Northwest, it is a good idea to prioritize optimizing for Bing as well as Google.

Need a second opinion on your site traffic? is a great analytics tool that gives real time tracking.

Want to go farther? Bright Local helps us get a birds-eye view of where our clients are ranking across search engines and it can help you as well.