Sunday, August 12, 2007

Free Web Tools: Analyse and Optimise on the Cheap

by Paul Coupe

Finding out what's going on with you website no longer needs to be a complicated task. With so many quality free tools available, it takes little effort to get your head around site analytics and optimisation.

We can hardly start without first mentioning Google Analytics. This niftiest of tools provides anything from visitor numbers, referral sites, popular entry and exit pages, whist also offering an insight into your pay per click (PPC) campaigns. Well worth a visit to before doing anything else.

Sticking with Google, the next best thing you can get into are the Webmaster Tools. Google Webmaster Tools offer an insight as to how your site is indexed. You can upload your site map and examine lots of facts and figures such as popular search terms that lead visitors to your site as well as learning about where site errors exist. Right after getting sorted with Google Analytics your best bet is to go straight to

If you are concerned about your page rank it's well worth running a free test with SEOmoz. By visiting and entering your website URL you'll get a report showing ranking statistics with most of the major search engines and ranking sites such as Google, Alexa, Wikipedia etc. For a general SEO health check Sitening provide a speedy analysis of your website structure helping you to tweak a few elements for better performance. Visit: For a quick check regarding search performance for specific words and terms a trip to will provide you with a summary page showing how your site stands up in Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.

With link popularity being one of the major drivers of traffic a visit to will provide you with a quick way to check popularity with Google, Yahoo and MSN. As well as several other useful tools there is the search ranking check you can run against any search term. The result will give you your current standings with 9 of the most popular search engines giving you details of where particular pages rank for specific key words / terms.

If you've ever wondered just how a search engine actually sees you site it could be worth running your URL through a spider simulator. The Summit spider simulator provides a visual display which can be a little tricky to interpret but with a little knowledge can offer some assistance in streamlining your pages for better indexing. See

We all know that web surfers are impatient and when it comes to waiting for slow pages to load there can be no better way to send your surfer running to competitor sites. So with speed in mind it could be worth running your pages through SelfSEO's speed checker. Giving you options to add multiple domains or multiple pages it's easy to see if your site measures up to competitors. Point your browser to and off you go. If speed does appear to be an issue then at least you'll know about it and can begin cleaning up your source code and optimising a few graphics here and there.

Right there alongside speed is always the dreaded dead link. Having your visitors hit a dead link suggests your side is not being very well maintained. But you've guessed it....the W3 link checker will rip through your site and report back all those lovely oversights. Go to and give it a whirl.

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About the Author

Paul Coupe is lead designer / developer with Zoom Online.

Zoom Online - Providing total online solutions. Contact: