SEO might seem overwhelming at first, but understanding SEO helps the authority of your site and attract residents to your site. There are many free resources that can help you learn the bases of SEO if you don’t have familiarity, like the free SEO Certification Academy by HubSpot. SEO is a long-term journey, and there are so many resources- free and paid- that can help you along the way. Let’s get into it then to set you up for success.
Side note: Most of these resources have paid and unpaid versions- as a good rule of thumb, try the free products first to see if your needs are met and then upgrade as needed.
Best Practice SEO Tools
- Google Analytics
- Google Trends
- Google Search Console
- Screaming Frog
- Keyword Tool.io
Ahref’s offers both paid and unpaid plans that illustrate data relating to SEO features.
Helpful Ahref Elements:
- Site Audit
- Ahref’s site auditing provides many benefits like crawling data to show any SEO mistakes and how to fix them. For example, the system recognizes outgoing links on your website that may lead to a broken page. Another great feature of the site audit is that Ahrefs offer the audit for the mobile version of your site too.
- Site Explorer
- The explorer feature identifies three high-level points of interest for SEO
- Organic search- Helps you identify which keywords your competitors are ranking for and the pages that have the most traffic.
- Backlink Checker- See the websites that are linking to your competitor's websites and the quality of those websites
- Paid Traffic: See if and where your competitors are using paid traffic.
- Track your site’s SEO metrics like domain rating, health score, organic traffic & keywords, and referring domains and backlinks
- Keyword Explorer
- Get ideas for high ranking keywords and accurate search volume for these keywords
- Rank Tracker
- See if your site ranks in SERP features
- Track ranking progress over time visually
- Content Explorer
- Find out what content in your industry is performing well, and sort results by social shares, organic traffic, referring domains, etc. Image Source
- Site Audit
Free and Paid Options. Free Moz Benefits:
- Keyword search
- On-page SEO
- Local SEO
- Rank Tracking
- Link Building
- Competitor SEO Analysis
4. Google Analytics
Filter referral traffic
Compare organic vs. paid traffic
Identify which pages lead to the most conversions and what value they bring to your residents
5. Google Trends
6. Google Search Console
- Check your sites responsiveness- See how your site performs on mobile devices and find new ways to improve responsive web design
- Keywords: Find what keywords are ranking on your pages
- Crawl errors: See if there are any issues with crawling on your website
- Analytics and Metrics: Find which website features are performing the best or worst by viewing impressions, reach, click rate, etc.
- Google Index: See how many pages are being indexed by Google or apply for one
Free/Paid Options Tool
Find keywords that relate to your topic
Receive accurate search volume data
Speed up and optimize the process of finding keywords
Export data into spreadsheets like Google Sheets or Excel
Free and Paid Tool Options
Target organic traffic through SERP and find what features attract the most users
Filter and organize your data to make SMART goals for your organization
The last couple of tools focus on press request alerts (requests that journalists send out asking for sources of information) and help with link building. The success of an organization's link building depends on the right people linking to your site, which develops through relationship building.
12. Source Bottle
Another extremely user-friendly press request alert service that allows you receive notifications from journalists/media sources seeking quotes. The beauty of these platforms is you can put as little or as much work into it as you like since you are receiving all the press request alert services at your disposal.
Local government websites are a niche industry, but that doesn’t mean SEO is not important for them. Constituents receive essential information from these sites, and well-developed government websites are phase one of the process. SEO helps drive economic success and more residents visiting the site translates to having positive feelings towards their community. Use these resources to optimize your SEO and increase site traffic, and pay attention to resident feedback before, during, and after the process.