Maybe you’re not using any website optimization tools. Or perhaps you’ve tried a couple, but never really given them a chance.
I hear this from a lot of marketers, but let me ask you a question.
What happens to a website that never gets optimized for search and conversions? It dies.
You don’t want to sing a dirge for your site, right? You want it to flourish — and bring in paying customers.
To fulfill that goal, you need the right tools. Search engine optimization (SEO) and conversion rate optimization (CRO) have become too sophisticated for manual optimization, which is where website optimization tools come in. Your competitors have data and processing power on their side, so why shouldn’t you?
Both free and paid website optimization tools exist to help you draw more prospects to your site’s pages and convert them into happy customers. Want to know how? Read on.
What Is Website Optimization?
Website optimization involves improving the aspects of your website that contribute to traffic and conversions. Traffic comes from SEO, paid search, paid social, organic social, and other sources. Conversions come from good marketing.
More specifically, you want to optimize your site for your specific audience. What works for one audience won’t necessarily work for another. Otherwise, we’d all have more traffic and conversions than we could handle.
Website optimization tools help you figure out what you’re doing wrong — and what you’re doing right — and make sure your website has the power to draw as many people as possible and to give them every reason to convert.
Why Is it So Important to Optimize your Website?
Let’s say that you’ve written a detailed article on a topic that’s important to your target audience. You turn it into a literary masterpiece with tons of anecdotes, examples, and actionable advice.
Then you publish it. And you wait for the traffic to pour in.
Only it doesn’t.
Why? Because you haven’t optimized it for SEO. People can’t find your masterpiece because you haven’t focused on a good keyword, you don’t have meta tags filled out, you’re not using a semantically correct hierarchy, and there are no incoming links.
Result: No Traffic.
You figure out why you’re not getting any traffic, so you use the tools I talk about below to optimize for search. You include meta tags, add relevant keywords, and use H tags to help Google figure out what you’re talking about.
The traffic starts pouring in. You’re ecstatic.
But you haven’t figured out the best place to put your calls to action. There’s no form for people to sign up for your email list. Visitors can’t figure out how to buy your products or services.
Result: No Conversions.
What can we learn from this illustration? You need website optimization tools to generate traffic and conversions.
The two go hand-in-hand, as I’ll explain later on, and you can’t have one without the other if you want to boost your bottom line.
The 10 Must-Have Website Optimization Tools (And How to Use Them)
You’re with me now, right? Website optimization tools are essential for building traffic and convincing that traffic to convert on your offers.
But which tools should you use? I’ve compiled a handy list of 10 tools you can’t — or shouldn’t — conduct your marketing without.
In January 2018, Google announced its Speed Update. According to the blog post announcement, the update would add mobile speed to the search engine’s list of ranking factors.
Because of that update, your site’s page load speed will impact your rankings on both desktop and mobile.
Just as importantly, pages that load slowly — whether on mobile or desktop — contribute to high bounce rates. People won’t sit around and wait for a slow page to load. They’ll just go elsewhere.
From this data, we can surmise that page load times impact both aspects of website optimization: traffic and conversions.
GTMetrix offers an awesome website optimization tool that can help you determine how fast your page loads and what you need to do to fix it.
Just plug your website URL into the search bar and click “Analyze.” It’ll take a few seconds to bring up your results.
You get a ton of information just from running this free analysis.
You can see your PageSpeed Score, YSlow Score, and fully loaded time. It also tells you how “heavy” your website is and the average requests.
Scroll down to get even more detailed information.
It not only gives you recommendations about how to improve your page speed, but also tells you what priority to give each recommended fix.
You — or your developer — can use the information here to reduce page load speed and increase your SEO rankings while reducing your bounce rate.
2. Google Search Console
You might remember Google Webmaster Tools. It’s now called Google Search Console. When it comes to free tools, you won’t find more comprehensive information anywhere about how your site’s performing.
Like other website optimization tools, GSC analyzes your website and helps you improve it to rank better and boost conversions.
All you have to do is add your site (called a “property”) to GSC and verify it on your website by installing a code. It’s just a brief snippet of HTML.
Once it’s installed, Google Search Console begins collecting information. It will tell you how much traffic you’re getting, for instance, and where that traffic’s coming from. You can also use it to find your bounce rate, referral sites, and more.
If you want to learn more, check out the video I made on how to increase search traffic using Google Search Console.
3. Crazy Egg
I mentioned earlier that there’s no set website optimization protocol. If there were, you wouldn’t need website optimization tools.
Instead, you have to figure out what works for your website, audience, and business model. Crazy Egg allows you to collect information in the form of user behavior reports, each of which provides you with a ton of data.
It’s also incredibly easy to use. Once you sign up, you can begin running user behavior reports instantly. Just like Google Search Console, we give you a code to install on your website.
From there, you can run reports for as long as you want. Each report tells you information about where people click on your site, when they scroll, where users come from, and more.
Check out the heatmap above. It shows where the most clicking activity happens. Best of all, you can view multiple screen sizes to optimize for different devices.
For instance, if you’re not seeing much activity around your call to action, move it elsewhere on the page. Consider a more prominent position that might draw more attention from your audience.
You can do tons of other things with Crazy Egg, such as recording users’ activity on your site and A/B testing elements against one another to choose the best version.
It’s the best way to get a look at how users actually interact with your site and what you might be able to improve for better conversions.
4. Yoast SEO
I have Yoast SEO installed on all my sites. It’s a handy plugin that makes sure you’re covering your SEO bases each time you create a new blog post or page for your website.
Just install the plugin on your WordPress website and activate it. You immediately get access to its features.
Every time you create a new post or page, Yoast will give you an SEO score and a readability score.
It also gives you an in-depth analysis of how your page is doing on both fronts. For SEO, it will list potential problems, warnings, and good results.
There’s a place for you to enter your focus keyword (or more if you’re using the paid version) as well as your custom featured snippet, which appears in Google SERPs. If you wish, you can use Yoast to change the title tag and URL slug, too.
You can buy the premium version or use the free version — it’s up to you. Both provide substantial value.
I’ve talked about Moz at length many times on my personal blog as well as elsewhere, but it’s one of the most important website optimization tools to put in your arsenal.
The keyword explorer tool, for instance, tells you what people are searching for when they find your site, while the rankings tool lets you know where you stand among your competitors.
The tool shows you any issues that might prevent Google, Bing, and other search engines from crawling your sites, and you can use Moz to get alerts about pressing site issues that could harm your traffic or rankings.
I talk a lot about backlinks when it comes to SEO. A backlink is a link from another site that goes to a page on your site.
When you have more backlinks, Google interprets your site as having more value. Consequently, your rankings improve.
Ahrefs helps you analyze your backlinks. More importantly, it shows you your competitors’ backlinks, too, so you can search for broken or irrelevant links and ask those publications to link to your site instead.
As you can see from the Ahrefs screenshot above, I have over 10 million backlinks.
You can find referring domains and other data about who’s linking to your site. Plus, discover the authority of the sites that link to you so you know whether they’re passing positive link juice to your site.
In case you didn’t know, I bought Ubersuggest and brought it under the Neil Patel umbrella. Since then, I’ve been sprucing up the tool, adding new features, and making it more appealing for my prospective customers.
What’s important, though, is that it offers tons of free data to help you rank better and target the right keywords for your audience.
Just enter your keyword idea into the search box and click “Look Up.” It’s that simple.
Let’s say you want keyword data on “DIY projects.”
Just scroll down to get keyword ideas and other data.
I added CPC information after I bought Ubersuggest. It’s already resulted in a ton of extra traffic because now you don’t have to pay for that information.
8. Screaming Frog
There’s more to Screaming Frog than I could possibly cover in this article. There’s a handy video that helps explain how the Screaming Frog spider works.
It allows you to find broken links so you can fix them with a redirect or some other solution. Screaming Frog features a redirect audit tool, too, and a tool that lets you automatically find duplicate content.
Other features include XML sitemap generation, search console integration, and more. There’s a free version, which might work well for many marketers, as well as a far more robust paid version.
When it comes to user experience, there’s nothing more powerful than hearing directly from your customers. That’s what UserTesting provides.
The site connects you with people who match the criteria you provide. They then evaluate your website based on what they experience as they navigate it.
It’s one of the broadest website optimization tools on this list, so you’ll have to explore it in depth. You can get evaluated for user experience, user interface, and plenty of other criteria.
You can even conduct live interviews with participants to get their off-the-cuff impressions.
10. Hello Bar
Most people don’t visit a website and convert on a product immediately. They explore, comparison shop, and consider their decision.
Where Hello Bar excels is in collecting leads. You can use the tool to set up any overlay you want to collect emails from website visitors using lead magnets, discount codes, and more.
If someone visits your site and isn’t ready to buy, you don’t want to part ways, right? You want the customer to sign up for your email list so you can continue to communicate.
For instance, let’s say a customer decides to exit your site. An exit popup can offer him or her one last chance to convert on your subscription offer.
Top bars, sliders, and other tools can help you become more effective at capturing leads when it matters most.
How SEO and CRO Can Work Together
SEO and CRO might seem like two completely different things. One helps you attract traffic, while the other helps convert the traffic.
They work together seamlessly, though, when you use the right website optimization tools.
Let’s say you find a juicy keyword using Ubersuggest. It’s aligned with consumers at the bottom of the sales funnel, such as a how-to guide.
You write a blog post about the topic and deploy Yoast SEO to make sure you’ve optimized as many aspects of the post as possible. Then you push it live.
When it’s been up for a while, you check Google Search Console to find out if it’s drawing traffic. You might also check in with Ahrefs and Moz to determine whether it’s drawing backlinks and performing well.
Running user behavior reports on that page through Crazy Egg will allow you to adjust design and placement for optimum conversions. Since you’re targeting the bottom of the funnel, you want visitors to sign up for your email list.
Enter Hello Bar. It helps you capture leads when they arrive on your site so you can market to them later.
As you can see, SEO and CRO website optimization tools can be used in tandem to make your entire marketing campaign more successful.
Website optimization tools make attracting and converting traffic easier. Since your competitors are likely using them, you don’t want to miss out.
How you use them will determine the results. If you’re not checking in with these tools running reports, and actively making adjustments, you’ll lose out on potential sales.
You can’t just concentrate on SEO or CRO. You need them both.
And if you’re diligent, you can attract and convert more traffic than ever before.
- How to do A/B Testing and Improve Your Conversions Quickly - May 14, 2020
- 9 Essentials of a High Converting Landing Page - May 14, 2020
- How to Optimize Your Website for SEO and Conversions - May 13, 2020