Do It Yourself SEO Software: 5 Tools You Should Be Using (Most Are Free)

Hiring an SEO service like mine can take work off your plate. That said, I know not everyone can afford it early in their business journey. So, I wanted to compile a list of tools that I think are the most useful for developing a search marketing strategy on your own.

This article will provide a deep dive into the most valuable features of each tool and showcase a visual overview of how I use them. I hope it can be a resource you refer to for guidance as you get started. 

5 DIY SEO Tools and Software You Should Use


This is technically two tools, “Google Analytics” and “Google Search Console.” But I’m listing them this way because I feel they go together. I believe every website owner should set up both as one of their first tasks while beginning a search marketing strategy.

Every website I own or manage uses Google Search Console and Google Analytics–I think they’re that valuable. Not to mention, they’re both free.

What Does Google Search Console (GSC) Show You?

GSC shows you tons of data, so I won’t break it all down for you. That said, here are a few of my favorite charts and sections to review. 


The performance tab, which you’ll find in the left-hand margin when you log into GSC, is my favorite. It’ll show you exact data for how your pages perform in Google every day. 

For example, you can see a chart of how your organic search clicks, impressions, and CTR (click-through rate) are changing over a span of time. 

Google Search Console: Clicks, Impressions, and CTR data
(Data from one of my personal websites)

You can also see specific search queries where you get the most clicks and impressions, your top-performing pages, and what devices your website visitors use, among many other things. 

GSC Clicks and Impressions Data Example
(Data from one of my personal websites)
URL Inspection

When you go to the URL Inspection tab (right underneath the Performance one), you can copy and paste any URL from your website directly into the search bar at the top. You’ll then be taken to a screen that shows the page’s status and whether it’s indexed. If it isn’t indexed, you can hit the request indexing button. 

Google Search Console Request Indexing

I use the request indexing feature for every new blog post I create. I’ve found it exponentially speeds up the time it takes for my new posts to appear in the SERPs (search engine results pages).  

Page Experience

The page experience tab ensures your basic technical SEO setup is in check. It’ll tell you whether your mobile and desktop page performance is good and whether you have secure HTTPS pages (SSL certificate properly installed) across your website. 

Google Search Console Page Experience Analytics

What Does Google Analytics (GA) Show You?

Those of you who want real-time data will love GA.  

Home Page

Right when you log in to the GA home page, you’ll see tons of useful data. That can include the number of users you’ve had, users that have visited your website in the last 30 minutes, and average engagement time. 

Google Analytics Home Page
Reports Snapshot

The Reports Snapshot section shows data like how much revenue you generate and the geographical locations of your visitors.  

Google Analytics Revenue Data
Google Analytics Geographical Data
Traffic Acquisition

When you go to the traffic acquisition section, you can also see what channels your visitors are coming from, such as paid search, organic search, or referrals. It helps understand how your individual efforts in PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns, organic on-page SEO, and social media (cross-network referral links) affect traffic generation.

Users by Session Example on GA

My next favorite tool is another free one. Google Trends is an excellent option to discover what keywords and topics are growing in your industry. You can even find some great phrases to target before tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs take notice of them.

Here’s an overview of how it works:

Google Trends Overview

When you get to the Google Trends landing page, you’ll find a basic search bar where you can type any words or phrases for your business/industry. It’s essentially like the regular Google search bar if you were to look something up. However, once you hit enter, you’ll be taken to a screen showing you charts and related queries. 

Interest Over Time

First, you’ll see a chart that says “Interest Over Time.” I usually like to set it to a five-year overview to determine if a topic or industry is growing and if it has any seasonality.

For example, say a company sells home office equipment. They would see this chart if they typed in the phrase “office chair.”

Office Chair Search Volume and Seasonality in the Past 5 Years

You get a lot of information here. You can see that office chairs started getting more searches in 2020 when more people began working from home and then dropped into a steady flow of searches afterward. It’s a solid market to be in with good demand.

You’ll also notice that no matter the month, the search volume stays about the same, so there isn’t any seasonality in the market–the demand is consistent.

You can compare that to the chart that shows up when you type in the term “golf club.” Here, there’s tons of seasonality, with high upswings of search volume in the summer and downswings in the winter.

Golf Club Search Volume and Seasonality in the Past 5 Years
Interest By Subregion

The next chart that’s super useful is Interest By Subregion. This will show you a map with the locations of people searching for a specific phrase. 

For example, if you search for “office chair,” you’ll see that searches are distributed pretty evenly across the U.S. 

Office Chair Interest by Subregion Via Google Trends

However, if you search for “gumbo,” you’ll see a much different map and chart where Louisiana gets the most searches by far. 

Gumbo Interest by Subregion Via Google Trends

This information helps determine locations to target with your marketing and SEO strategy. 

Related Topics

You’ll see this section toward the bottom. It’s an overview of related terms and things people are talking about in the industry. 

For example, when you search for “office chair,” you’ll see people are looking for features like swivel, comfortable, ergonomic, and lumbar support. Those could be great supporting terms to include when creating product descriptions. 

Office Chair Related Topics 1
Office Chair Related Topics 2
Related Queries

This is similar to the related topics section but tailored toward actual keywords people are typing into Google. 

With our example of “office chair,” you see rising queries like:

  • Reclining office chair with footrest
  • Heated office chair
  • Wide seat office chair
Office Chair Related Queries 1
Office Chair Related Queries 2

You could integrate these keywords into your website’s content or even create specific pages for each one. It helps tailor your strategy around what’s popular right now. 

Outside of Google Trends, SEMrush is by far my favorite and most used keyword research and competitor analysis tool. 

As an alternative, some people like Ahrefs, which works similarly. However, I have preferred SEMrush ever since Ahrefs transitioned to their new credit system. I don’t want to have to use credits and rack up my monthly bill for every little thing I click on. And in my experience, SEMrush performs just as well. 

SEMrush is a paid tool with a monthly subscription of about $130. 

Here’s what you get with it:

Competitor Analysis

One of the best things this tool lets you do is search for any website and get an overview of its performance. This is an excellent feature if you have competitors you want to outrank. You can see their domain authority, current organic traffic, and even how many backlinks they have. 

SEMrush DA, Traffic, & Backlinks Example

It gives you some good numbers to aim for in your SEO strategy to determine where you should focus your efforts if you want to outrank them in the search engines. 

You can also find data about which keywords your competitors are ranking for and their current positions. For example, let’s say you run a local landscaping company. Upon looking up a competitor’s website, you may see they rank for stone mulch, mulch edging, and green landscape rock. 

Landscaping Competitor Analysis on SEMrush Example

You can then find the pages on their website ranking for those terms, how many backlinks they have pointing to them, and review the content to see where you can provide better information.

Keyword Magic Tool

Once you’ve completed competitor analysis, you’ll still want to expand the keywords you’re targeting to broaden your reach. The Keyword Magic Tool will help with that. 

It especially works well for finding frequently asked questions (FAQs) people are searching for related to your industry to drive relevant traffic to your website. 

How Does the Keyword Magic Tool Work?

Again, let’s use the example of a local landscaping company. I like to start by looking up a broad term to get a good overview of what people are searching for. The word “landscaping” could work well for that. 

Once you type that in, you’ll see a bunch of results pop up. Most at the top will be really competitive, measured by keyword difficulty (KD %) seen on the chart displayed. New websites won’t want to target high KD words since they won’t have enough authority yet. 

Landscape High KD Keywords Example

To find lower competition keywords, you can add several different filters. I often like to sort for a KD of 29% or lower, and instead of looking at all keywords, I navigate to the questions tab to get more specific questions that people are searching for often. 

How to Sort for Low KD Questions on SEMrush

Doing this for the keyword landscaping, you can find lots of great questions, such as:

  • How to clean landscape rock
  • What is hardscape landscaping?
  • How much does it cost to have landscape rock installed?
  • Do landscapers cut grass in the rain? 
Low KD Informational Keyword Example 1
Low KD Informational Keyword Example 2
Low KD Informational Keyword Example 3
Low KD Informational Keyword Example 4

All of these are great informational topics you could write about while explaining the benefits of your landscaping services. 

Topic Research

The Topic Research tool on SEMrush is one of my favorites, and I think it’s kind of underrated. 

Google’s algorithm likes it when you create content in topical clusters that are all related. It shows topical authority and will help you rank better for your primary keywords. 

With the topic research tool, you can type in one of your main keywords, and it’ll research to show you what topical clusters you should be targeting, along with common FAQs. 

For example, let’s say your brand sells adjustable dumbbells. You could start by typing in the keyword “adjustable dumbbells.” You’ll then see it generates some key sub-topics related to it based on how people usually search for information. For example, when I did this, it generated relevant topical clusters in:

  • Cast iron
  • Home gym
  • Weight bench
  • Strength training
Content Clusters Example Via SEMrush Topic Research Tool

You can then click on one of those clusters, such as “home gym,” and find relevant FAQs, such as:

  • What are the advantages of using adjustable dumbbell sets?
  • What equipment is best for a small home gym?
  • What exercises should I do with 20kg dumbbells at home?
Example FAQs Within a Content Cluster Via SEMrush Topic Research Tool

LowFruits has been a new favorite of mine lately. That’s for two reasons: 

  1. It’s relatively cheap.
  2. It’s a great way to find unique low-competition keywords and FAQs you can target.

LowFruits works by scraping Google auto-complete data. For example, you know when you search for something, and Google starts auto-completing to try to save you from typing everything in? The theory is that if Google auto-completes a phrase, those are usually things that people commonly search for, and it’s a theory that works quite well for SEO. 

For instance, you could type in something like “how to scramble eggs,” and you’ll get auto-complete phrases like:

  • In the microwave
  • Without sticking to pan
  • Without butter
  • In air fryer
Google Auto Complete Example

Those are all content ideas you could write about. 

You could do this process manually. However, it would take forever to rack your brain for all the possible phrases and write everything down. Instead, LowFruits helps by automating the whole thing in seconds. 

How LowFruits Works

Using LowFruits is pretty simple. You just type in a keyword or phrase you want to focus on, hit analyze, and it’ll do the rest for you. 

For example, if you search for “office chair,” you get over 4,000 results displayed like this:

LowFruits Keywords Example

Then, you can pick through which ones you like, click the little magnifying glass icon next to the keyword, and it’ll check for any weak spots in the top 10 search results where you could rank. 

LowFruits How to Analyze a Keyword

Those that LowFruits thinks you could rank for would look like this:

LowFruits Keywords with Weak Spots Example
(The more little green apples next to the keyword, the more weak spots in the search results, such as low authority websites or results that don’t contain the keyword in the title of the page, etc.)

When you write articles for your website, you want to ensure everything on the page will help you rank for your target keyword. Text Optimizer is a great option that can help. 

The tool promotes a paid subscription, but you can access all the features you need for free. So, unless you’re writing multiple articles per day, you shouldn’t need to pay to use it.

How it works is very simple. 

1. You click on Start Optimizing in the top right-hand corner.

Text Optimizer How to Get Started (Example)

2. Choose whether you want to optimize for Google or Bing (99.99% of you reading this will want to optimize for Google). 

Text Optimizer Step 2 (Example)

3. Choose whether you want to optimize a new or existing text. Choosing existing text and pasting your article in after you’ve already written it works best. 

Text Optimizer Step 3 (Example)

4. Type in the keyword you want to optimize the article for. 

Text Optimizer Step 4: Choosing Keyword to Optimize for (Example)

5. Select whether you’ll copy and paste text in or have the tool scan an existing page on your website. 

Text Optimizer Step 5: Importing Your Text (Example)

6. Once you’ve pasted in your text or inserted a link to a web page, you should scroll down to where you see the optimization score. 

For example, when I scanned the rough draft for this article you’re reading now, I got an initial score of 69%. Then, it’ll give you a list of related keywords you could add to your article to help it rank. Usually, adding 15 to 25 of the suggestions will help optimize it. 

Text Optimizer Step 6: Checking Optimization Score (Example)

Completing Your SEO Strategy Using DIY Software and Keyword Research Tools

Now that you have all the right tools in mind, it’s time to put it all together. 

Here are some things I like to aim for when establishing an initial SEO plan for a website. 

Number of Keywords

While these tools will give you an extensive list of keywords, choosing too many to focus on will overwhelm you, causing you to fall off and not put in the work. 

Try to focus on 25 to 50 keywords at the start. 

Around 3 to 5 of them should be your main “pillar” keywords that you really want to generate traffic from. These should be commercial keywords with purchasing intent, such as “brown leather office chair.” The pillar keywords may be more difficult to rank for and have a higher search volume.  

You’ll also want to pick 20 to 45 low-competition and lower-volume informational keywords for regular articles/blog posts. For instance, a good choice could be, “do you need armrests on an office chair?” 

Keyword Difficulty and Search Volume

Pillar keywords should have a higher search volume, even if that means they’re more challenging to rank for. I would say to aim for at least a search volume of 1,000. Finding ones above 10,000 searches per month can be even better, but you will have to put more effort into building your domain’s authority to rank for most of those. 

For example, “brown leather office chair” is a really good one. According to SEMrush, it gets 1,900 searches per month in the U.S. while only having a keyword difficulty of 19%. 

Example of a Good Pillar/Informational Keyword

Your informational keywords should always have low keyword difficulty, with 29% or lower being ideal. However, they can have a lower search volume. 

Informational keywords with 100+ monthly searches are ideal. That said, I’ve targeted ones where keyword research tools said they only got 20 monthly searches, and the articles I wrote generated 300+ clicks each month. These tools are usually pretty conservative with volume estimates, so take some of the numbers with a grain of salt. 

Content Calendar and Posting Frequency

I always advise anyone who wants to start SEO to create a content calendar. Defining which days you’ll write, edit, and post content to your website will go a long way to keep you on track. 

I like to aim for a posting frequency of at least once per week. Adding content more frequently can have additional benefits, but don’t sacrifice quality in the process. 


SEMrush has features that can help you find websites in your niche where you may want to get backlinks. I recommend deploying a backlink-building strategy early on in your SEO process. 

A backlink is when a website in your industry links to a page on your site as a reference. It shows search engines that you’re a reliable resource. 

While backlinks naturally accumulate once you’re ranking, you still need to do some outreach at first to build initial authority and ranking power. You can reach out to websites in your industry by asking for a guest post or collaboration where they would link to you in the process. Try to offer value where it’s a win-win for other website owners. 

Consistent Effort

It takes time for SEO to kick in. Expect 3 to 6 months to go by before you see significant results. So, keep putting in consistent effort to make sure you get there. 

If you have any questions or want to discuss my services that could help streamline the process, you can contact me anytime.

Pierce Reiten
Pierce Reiten

Helping businesses increase sales and build a reputable brand image through SEO, quality website content, and creating a powerful content strategy. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you!

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