Sometimes, it can be really helpful to get an idea of what other people think of you. To receive an objective viewpoint on your current strengths and weakness that allows you to take stock and do even better going forward.
That’s true personally, and it’s certainly true in a business sense. The opportunity to get a professional look at how your company is performing online has the potential to be worth its weight in gold.
The good news, no, the great news, is that here, the best things in life really can come for free.
Here at We Are Web, we’ve spent a lot of time honing our craft, part of which comes from getting to know the best tools for analysis. We’ve decided to share a slice of that with you, by compiling a list of some of the best tools out there to give you a glimpse into your current imprint across the web, all in under an hour.
Here are the tools you should be making use of:
The first tool on our list actually gives you two brilliant opportunities in one place. Not only will it allow you to understand more about where you rank on Google in a whole host of areas, it also allows you to get a glimpse of how your competitors are performing, including what keywords they target, as well as taking a look at some of their ranks in comparison to yours.
So, how does SEMRush work?
- Functioning as a look ‘behind the curtain’ of your online content marketing, SEMRush provides SEO analysis by looking at your current keyword performance, auditing the content on your website and/or blog, as well as allowing you to track the keyword strategy of your key rivals.
- Philips, Forbes, Paypal; the list of major companies making use of SEMRush is extensive. They do this because of the range of insights it offers, with a detailed report on your Search Engine Rank Positions (SERP) for all your desired keywords available within minutes.
Here are the top five insights that SEMRush offers:
- Detailed Keyword Analysis
A breakdown of how you’re currently performing on all of the keywords you’re interested in targeting and ranking highly for.
- Intelligent Competitor Review
You can select certain competitor sites and see how they’re performing across a range of keywords, recognising where you currently have the upper hand and where you’re lagging.
- Identify Keyword Opportunities
As well as coming in with specific keywords you want to target, it’s also worth being open to what these analysis tools tell you about which you can target most efficiently. Maybe there’s a keyword term you hadn’t yet considered, but is industry-related, has decent search volume and a relatively low advertising cost-per-click. This insight could be very valuable.
- Backdated Ranking Insights
You’ll also be able to look back and see how your rankings performed over time. Whether we see dramatic or gradual changes for better or worse, it will help us identify which areas of improvement and opportunity may be most pressing.
- A Head Start on Advertising Options
Understanding what your target audience is searching for, the terms they’re using, any particular areas of focus, can spark a whole host of advertising pointers. Alongside your own ideas, it’s helpful to see what the current online trends are and where they might be heading.
For anyone with a curious nature, you may have wondered what people do and how they act when you’re not around. Whether it’s a pet, your family, or your workforce, many of us have wished we could be a fly on the wall. SmartLook effectively lets you do that with your website.
Offering a range of packages (including the Free Forever option) this monitoring tool actually watches users move around your website, giving detailed feedback on their navigating habits.
It goes without saying that there’s a whole host of things you can learn from this. Knowing how people are using your website will give you a great insight into its stronger parts and its potential weak spots, enabling you to make improvements that maximise on your site’s effectiveness.
Here are five of the key insights that SmartLook provides.
- Visitor Behaviour Video
You’ll be able to watch video recordings of what visitors do when they arrive at your website; where did they move their mouse, what did they click/highlight and how did they go about filling in any forms, or not filling them in as the case may be.
- Visitor Journey Tracking
This allows you to watch all the journeys of one particular user in one group, giving you insight into users’ ongoing relationship with your site. Maybe they found you through a search engine, took a look around, and came back a day later to make a purchase.
- Website Heatmaps
This offers a really helpful visual representation of which areas on your site are the most scrolled through, hovered over, and clicked on. Once again, this helps you to get a glimpse of the typical user journey and any areas of potential strength or weakness on your site.
- Filter Key Visitors
This allows you to quickly filter through and find visitors who may offer a particularly important insight, maybe those who click onto a pricing page or got part-way through the checkout phase.
- Tag Active Visitors
If you have the ability for customers to have a login on your site, you can tag active users so that you can see who they are as they browse, potentially informing any marketing you send them.
Offering more detailed insight into the overview you receive in some of these other tools, Google Keyword Planner is the signature tool to allow you to identify the keywords you want to target and the amounts you will likely have to pay to advertise for those keywords.
Combining the best of two previous tools (Google Keyword Tool and AdWords Traffic Estimator) the Google Keyword planner gives you great insight into all of the keywords related to your business and helps you with building online advertising campaigns. One of its major strengths, particularly for first-time users looking for a quick snapshot, is the range of information on how keywords are currently functioning on Google search rankings;
- Average monthly searches
This, as the name would suggest, lets you know the average search volume for each keyword that you research. This gives you insight into the popularity of certain keywords and terms, which can often give you ideas towards similar variations on a keyword that you may be able to target. You can also search location-specific keywords to build a map of regional interest in certain keywords and terms.
- Level of competition
This provides you with Google’s insight into the level of other competing sites and pages for that keyword. It may be that you’ve planned to target a particular keyword, but find that there is a similar keyword that is equally relatable to your business, has a similar search volume, but actually has less competition for search ranking.
- Average cost-per-click for Google Adwords placement
This section gives you details on the average cost-per-click for each keyword to achieve placement in the ad section for Google ranks. If you’re not already aware, when you jump the organic ranking process and pay for advertising with Google, rather than paying in terms of space or time, you pay for every user who clicks on your ad link to visit your chosen landing page. This has its benefits, as it means you’re only paying if people are clicking, but there’s also a lot of strategy to the process, as a keyword with £50-per-click can very quickly use up your available budget, especially when there may be a similarly productive keyword available at £5-per-click. Planning with your cost-per-click in mind offers a great strategy insight.
Google Keyword Planner offers a quality free platform to research keywords and terms, allowing you to analyse what the current state of play is for the keywords you want to target and rank for. A lot of tools may offer analysis on keyword options, but where Google Keyword Planner takes it to the next level is that by virtue of being a Google tool, you can then go on to build your AdWords campaign and implement a strategy on how to get the most from your available advertising budget. It’s in Google’s best interests for customers to feel like they’re getting the most from advertising in this way, and they’ve built a tool to help that happen if you use it well.
One of the places that companies are now most talked about, and not always in a good way, is social media. With millions of users and billions of posts every day, it’s important to have insight into how you’re currently performing on these social platforms and whether there’s any areas of influence you can tap into.
As its name may suggest, Mention is concerned with anywhere and everywhere that you pop up in the online social conversation, with an opportunity to request a free demo and get a showcase on some of the following key features:
- Multi-Platform Integration
Gather all of your social feeds in one place, allowing you to engage with users across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in a single easy-to-use medium.
- Work Collaboratively
For anyone in your team involved with social media engagement, there’s the chance to share information and assign tasks to each other.
- Find Influencers
This could be a highly effective tool, particularly for those industries where influencers are most respected, whether fashion, technology or elsewhere. It’s not always about finding the biggest name to generate the most engagement, particularly at a cost-effective rate. If you can find the figures who are respected in a particular field, you can create genuine trust and connection.
As its name would suggest, this is the premier analytical tool offered by the premier name in search engines. Launched in 2005, Google Analytics is now by far the most widely used web analytics service, and the good news is that it’s free.
There are a host of layers to Google Analytics, but at its heart it’s about allowing you to track the quality of your website and its pages, predominantly through tracking the goals that they help to achieve, aspects like a sale, a lead generation, a contact form fill-in or a file download.
With an in-depth understanding of the tool – an understanding we have developed in-house and provide for many of our clients – you can obtain a range of insightful reports into your sales activity and performance online.
However, as a user looking for an initial snapshot, you can begin with the following:
- Review traffic growth
This will allow you to look at the amount of traffic going to your website overall and to specific pages of your site that are of particular interest. Looking at any increase/decrease in traffic will allow you some useful insights on where you may need to focus your attention for any changes.
- Review traffic sources
This will offer you a report into where your site is attracting visits from, whether social media, search engines or elsewhere. It can give you pointers into where you’re currently doing well and can look to capitalise further, or where you’re currently being overlooked. It’s also a useful set of data for apportioning advertising budgets depending on what brings the most return for you.
- Mobile vs. Desktop visits
This will give you some insight into what proportion of your website visits are being made by those on desktop/laptop computers and what proportion is on mobile. You may well be aware that websites display and respond differently on mobile, but if your site isn’t currently designed to be mobile-responsive, you should definitely look into it, particularly if a lot of your web traffic is via smartphones.
- Which of your web pages are most popular?
As mentioned previously, you’ll be able to get specific breakdowns on individual pages of your site, which can provide you with an informed look at how areas of your site are performing. This can be especially useful for looking at key interest pages for generating leads and sales. Getting information on pricing, services and contact pages for example can be useful for providing current performance analysis and informing future strategy.
Social Blade offers a host of analysis around a number of key social platforms, so for those who are actively involved in creating social media content, or interesting in growing their reach in these areas, it can be a highly useful tool.
Currently focused on image and/or video heavy platforms, Social Blade can give you a host of stats on existing YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Twitch accounts, including subscriber numbers, follower and view counts, as well as future projections, allowing you to analyse potential monetisation options. It currently offers the following three key areas.
- Social Account Search
This allows you to view a number of key stats on your social accounts. Simply enter the account username and you’ll be able to see follower/subscriber counts, engagement totals in terms of views/retweets/likes etc, as well as viewing projections for future totals based on how the channels have been performing recently.
- Social Account Compare
This feature allows you to look at all the aforementioned stats, but do so in comparison to other accounts on the same platform, which is obviously useful if you’re looking to do some competitor analysis. You’ll be able to analyse how you currently match up to rivals in your industry on each social platform that you both have accounts, both in terms of total numbers and recent engagement levels.
- Social Industry Blog
This isn’t an analysis of your site or social channels in particular, but Social Blade has one of the better industry blogs out there, with some of the stories they link to helping you to keep your finger on the pulse of media and technology, as well as learning about other useful online tools.
That rounds off our list, which has hopefully given you some ideas on how you can get some really useful looks into your current online performance. Some of the platforms overlap each other to an extent, but they each have distinct areas, so using a combination of them will give you a more fully-rounded look into what you want to know. If you’d like to find out more from us about how We Are Web use tools such as these to build a detailed digital marketing strategy that is personalised to each client, get in touch with us today.