Free Search Engine Tools You Need to Know About … and Use

There are countless consultants, companies and software tools that can help you navigate these waters, but it helps to have a reliable map and a good compass to avoid being led astray. The following tools are provided by the search engines themselves and are a great head start towards improving your company’s visibility in a wide variety of search results.

Search Engine Optimization

Once you verify ownership of your site, search engines will share a lot more inside information about how they view your site and content. The following are must-have tools for any website owner who wants to know how their site is perceived by search engines, any obstacles that their crawlers encounter, and who’s linking to you.

  1. Google Webmaster Tools  
  2. Bing Webmaster  

Website Analytics and Testing

Websites are nothing more than digital brochures unless you measure how well they are performing and make changes to improve the results. These tools provide insights into your visitors’ behavior so you can make more informed business decisions.

  1. Google Analytics  
  2. Yahoo Web Analytics  

E-Commerce Product Listings

You mean people actually buy stuff online? Sure they do! And they frequently start their search on a major search engine. Conveniently, it’s easy (and free) to list your products in their shopping engines.

  1. Google Merchant Center  
  2. Bing Shopping  

Multimedia Search

People do waste a lot of time online “researching” the latest viral videos. However, if your company has digital content such as photos or videos, a little legwork can make sure potential customers can check out your assets.

  1. Flickr  
  2. YouTube  
  3. Google Images  
  4. Yahoo Image Search  
  5. Bing Image Search  
  6. Yahoo Video  

Local Search

Claiming your business’ listings in each of the major search engines insures that your details are accurate and up-to-date. This is especially important as their databases are often pulling from outdated sources. Plus, you can upload photos and videos to make your listings stand out.

  1. Google Maps / Google Places
  2. Yahoo Local
  3. Bing Maps
  4. Yelp  
  5. Reviews Sites & Directories  

News Search Engines

Each of the major search engines crawl news sites and curate their own news search sites. If you are a publisher or media site, you need to make sure your content, site maps and data feeds are structured properly to maximize your exposure in news search results, which are also frequently positioned prominently in web search results for timely or newsworthy searches.

  1. Google News
  2. Yahoo News 
  3. Bing News

The biggest mistake I see people making when embarking on a search marketing journey is putting all their eggs in one basket. Don’t fall victim to the temptation to focus only on Google, or ignore the traffic-driving potential of your other digital assets.

Andrew Miller is a Search Engine Marketing Consultant based in Richmond, Virginia, and a frequent contributor to our clients’ success online and offline with SEO, PPC, web analytics and conversion rate optimization strategies.

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