Top 10 Free Small Business SEO Tools - Page 2

By James A. Martin
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5 and 6. Google Trends and Trendistic. Creating blog or other content that’s tied to a breaking news story or to a hot topic can help you get a boost in search engine results. That’s because among the many algorithms Google uses to rank content for relevancy is something called the Query Deserves Freshness (QDF) factor. QDF determines whether a topic is "hot" and then may temporarily boost the search result rankings of relevant news articles, blog posts or other content.

Google Insights for Search; marketing for small business
Google insights for Search
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Google Trends shows you what the hot topics and search terms are on Google right now. It’s not quite as useful as Google Insights for Search for getting the big picture on trends. But it’s ideal for a quick snapshot on the Internet zeitgeist. Plus, you can also go back in time to see what the top hot searches were on a given day, which is cool.

Twitter is another excellent resource for putting your finger on the pulse. You can use Twitter search to see what the buzz is. Trendistic, however, provides charts to reveal how a given topic has trended in the past 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, or 180 days. The SEOmoz blog offers a helpful video on using Twitter as an SEO research tool.

7. Facebook. Haven’t set up a Facebook fan page for your business yet? A number of recent developments might be just the prod you need.

Google has added Facebook fan pages to the content it indexes. Facebook has surpassed Google as the top source for traffic to major Web portals, prompting some analysts to say that social media networks, such as Facebook, could become the Internet’s next search engine.

More than 400 million people use Facebook now, and 50 percent of active users log onto the social network on any given day, according to Facebook. All told, setting up a Facebook fan page and regularly using your hot or otherwise important keywords can help your overall SEO efforts.

“Facebook fan pages have turned into a very useful tool to market to people who have become your fans,” said Petty. Plus, you can now add Google Analytics to a Facebook fan page, though it requires several steps.

8. Wordtracker Labs Keyword Questions. Increasingly, people are typing natural-language questions into search engines. But what questions are people typing? Wordtracker’s free tool will tell you, based on the search query data it compiles.

So how is this information helpful? You could discover the top questions people have that are relative to your product or service. Then you could write a blog post or add an entirely new page to your site to answer one of those questions.

Tip: Use the specific question in the title of your content. Keep going until you’ve created new content that individually addresses all the most searched-for questions.

Google Local Business Center; small business marketing
Google Local Business Center
(Click for larger image)

9. Google Local Business Center. Have you noticed that when you search for a particular type of local business, Google displays a Google Map at or near the top of search results? Adjacent to the map are links to local businesses matching the description you searched for.

By listing your business with Google’s Local Business Center, you’ll greatly increase your chances of rising to the top of local search results. You can create a separate listing for each of your business’s physical locations. Use important keywords in your listings, and make sure you get happy customers to review your business, too.

10. Google Webmaster Tools. Despite the techie-sounding name, Google’s set of Webmaster tools are relatively easy to use. Once you’ve verified your site, you can get diagnostics to ensure there are no errors preventing search engines from indexing the content -- which is essential to being found in searches. The Webmaster tools also show top search queries used to find your site, the links to your site, and more.

James A. Martin is an SEO copywriter and consultant based in San Francisco and the coauthor of Getting Organized in the Google Era.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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This article was originally published on April 01, 2010
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