“What is the best free SEO tool?” This is usually one of the most frequently asked questions that can be found in Facebook groups and forums dedicated to SEO. Those who are new to SEO, in fact, want to have access to free or inexpensive tools, useful to be able to carry out partial analyzes of their sites or those of their customers.
There is no tendency for free equipment to allow a complete analysis of the state of organic visibility of a site; at the limit you can use the so-called periods of the suites, with all the limits connected.
Often, however, we ignore or neglect an instrument that Google makes available and which should represent the starting “base” for any type of SEO analysis: the “site:” command to be used on Google search.
The command, aims to show in serp the indexed resources of its site. It can be used to know the indexing status of a single resource or an entire domain like: amazon restricted categories approval. Pay attention to the fact that the command does not show all the resources actually indexed by Google.
In reality, however, it is a valid tool (mostly free) to carry out an overall survey of the site’s visibility status.
Let’s see what can be discovered by analyzing a site using the “site:” command and why I consider it the best among the free SEO analysis tools.
1. Analyze the Meta data
We can know on the fly if the Meta data (title tag and Meta description) are valued; if Google is showing the description we want in serp or if it shows a different text.
At the same time we can analyze the uniqueness (or not) of title tags and Meta descriptions.
2. Discover any duplicate pages
Each site has its own crawl budget assigned by the search engine. The Crawl Budget (scanning potential) is influenced by factors such as PageRank (quality of external links) and number of pages on the site. If we generate a series of useless pages for SEO purposes (which means useless even for users) we will only waste PageRank and Crawl Budget to no avail.
The “site:” command can make us discover the presence of duplicate and / or potentially useless pages, such as tag or archive pages that cannot be optimized, in the case of blogs or news sites, or pages deriving from faceted navigation filters (orders for price, quantity, size, color, etc.).
3. Find indexed pages that shouldn’t be
If you did the “cousin” site and forgot to delete template pages, a “site:” command can let you find out!
At the same time, if we know that our small shop has a few hundred products for sale, but the “site:” command tells us that over seven thousand pages are indexed, we will certainly have to investigate what resources we have given to the bot.
4. Understand the most important pages of the site
Although not always the sorting of the resources shown in serp following a “site:” command, it takes place on the basis of the importance or rank of the same, usually the relevant pages should be shown first in the site tree. The homepage should always be the primary page to appear; if not, something is wrong.
5. Understand if international SEO is implemented correctly
If the site is multilingual, we must ensure that the guidelines related to internationalization, such as the presence of the <link “hreflang” tag in the page headers or in the sitemap. Otherwise, there is a risk of providing the user with a non-optimal browsing experience.