Basic SEO tools for the beginner (Part 1 of 3)

The world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be quite complex, but it doesn’t have to be, and even a small portion of SEO knowledge can generate a big difference in the end. Most people can easily understand the basics of Search Engines and there are plenty of good resources available for free on the web, including educational articles like this one.

Depending on the complexity of your website, your time commitment and the willingness to learn new things, you may decide to hire an SEO expert to handle things for you.

On the other hand, and if you are willing to try your own Search Engine Optimization Campaign, there are a couple of SEO tools we would like to recommend in order to get you started.


7 great tools for SEO

We have listed the top 7 tools & services which we have taken in consideration as basic, free and easy-to-use for anyone with little experience of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

The list of SEO tools is divided into a series of three articles covering Keyword Researching ToolsLink Building Tools and SEO Monitoring Tools.


Keyword Research

Researching Keywords is one of the most important and valuable activities you need to consider when setting up the SEO workflow. Using the correct kind of keywords will help you target the right kind of audience and making sure your website is ranking for the search queries that are relevant to your business.

When you think about it; it’s not always about acquiring more audience, but about getting the right kind of visitors.

Keyword Brainstorming - SALO ConsultingKick off the keyword research by brainstorming a few relevant words and synonyms on your topic, and keep these as a reference when looking into Search Volumes, Trends & Popularity below.

AdWords: Keyword Tool

First out is Google AdWords: Keyword Tool. The tool that the majority of SEO Professionals use when performing a keyword research. It’s the basis of your detective work and it’s the best free tool available for researching popularity of a keyword in terms of monthly search volumes. The Keyword tool is linked with Google AdWords and the tool uses search frequency from Google’s data centers around the world. Google AdWords Keyword Tool is free of charge and you don’t need to set up an AdWords account in order to use the service.
Some key features of interest while working on your keyword research includes the following:

  • TSEO Tools - AdWords Keyword Toolhe possibility to look at “Phrase”, [Exact] and Broad match volumes can help you determine which match type fits your list of keywords and suggestions returned by the tool. E.g setting the match type to [Exact] will only show the search volume for that exact keyword idea, where a Broad match will return related grammatical forms, synonyms and related words.


  • The “Locations and languages” drop-down under “Advanced Options” is crucial for anyone who is researching international keywords. Tweaking the settings to match the target location and language gives you the ability to compare Global search volumes to Local search volumes.

SEO Tools - Google Adwords Keyword Tool


Insight for Search

Google Insight for Search is a free service that lets you see keyword popularity over time and area. The tool defaults to a global view but it’s easy to drill down to specific regions and countries, using the filters. Google Insight for Search is still a work in progress, and the tool has been in “Beta” since 2004. However, the tool provides a great deal of information about any search term or keyword you possible would want to target by optimizing your website for better visibility in search engines.

We have listed some helpful features that can help you fine-tune your keyword research:

  • Comparing terms and keywords to determine the performance over time. Having access to this kind of data will help you target the most beneficial keywords for your website, article or campaign. Knowing exactly what terminology the “Random Surfer” uses, will increase the chances of being relevant to your target audience.

Google Insight for Search

  • Observing seasonal trends – It doesn’t take very much of guessing to understand that searching for “Barbecue” is most popular during summer, which demonstrates the clear seasonal spikes below. Or try researching “diet book” and you will see that seasonal spikes are most prominent after New Year’s Eve and those Summer BBQ’s.

Observing Seasonal Trends for SEO

  • The tool gives you the ability to dig into regional search popularity, which is great when researching local keywords for specific areas. The “regional interest” report defaults to a global view, but you can easily drill down to look at specific search patterns in any of the 150 countries listed in Google Insight for Search. If your SEO campaign is targeted to one specific country, you also have the possibility to narrow down your research to “City level”.

Regional interest in Insight for Search - SEO Tools


Google Search Box

The “search box” is actually a quite good tool and is more than just a simple search interface. There are lots of useful operators and advanced search commands that can come in handy when researching keywords, but especially when spying on your “keyword competitors” in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).

SEO tools - Google Advanced Search Commands

We’ve listed a few good search commands & URL modifications that can help you understand the state of the SERP you’re aiming for (Click the Adv. Search Command to see examples):

Note that you can combine the advanced search commands as you like. For the full list of operators & URL modifications, please see the chart Advanced Search Commands



Keyword research is one of the most important branches of strategic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and knowing what tools to use when investigating keywords and keyphrases is certainly a good starting point for your SEO campaign. The process of researching keywords draws an obvious parallel to traditional market research, which in a similar way often begins with researching the industry marketplace. To better understand the demand and what audience to target.

Search Engine Optimization is often seen as the most affordable way to give a website the chance of being found by potential new costumers, and the result of a well-done keyword research will ultimately increase the chance of your website to rank well in search engines around the world!

Well …thank you for reading the first out of three articles, covering the top 7 tools for SEO. We hope that you now feel confident enough to kick off your own keyword research. In the second article we will step into the world of Link Building and list which are the basic, free & easy-to-use tools for tracking and understanding your websites backlinking profile.

Feel free to leave a comment below!