Will you be using the full range of Free, Freemium and Paid tools available to review and improve your SEO and content marketing effectiveness?

To compete with SEO, it's essential to have the best tools at your fingertips enabling you to find new opportunities, save time and keep track of how your SEO can be boosted. We think that harnessing the insight available from tools isn't just important for SEO specialists, but essential whether you’re Director of Search for a multi-national business, digital marketing manager, working as an account manager in digital marketing agency, owner of an SME, even if you run your own blog Previously, we have rated the best tools for digital marketing overall, but we wanted to drill down to review the best services for SEO and content marketing to help readers this year.

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6 types of user experience and online audience surveying tools to help create a more customer-centred website and brand

Web analytics tools such as Google Analytics are used by nearly every company since they provide valuable quantitative data on site visitor behaviour. No surprise there. But web analytics systems don't give direct qualitative feedback from site visitors and customers and the surprise to me, is that relatively few companies use these, although their popularity is increasing rapidly. They can be used to support UX improvement projects both on the live site and when getting structured feedback during website redesign. We believe that qualitative website feedback tools are also essential to take the pulse of your website and improve your UX, but surprisingly they are less widely used despite paid services such as Opinion Labs being available for many years and some incredible free tools.

April 2018 update to tools

Thanks for your suggestions in previous…

Use these testing tools to help structure your experiments and boost your conversion rate

A/B tests allow you to run one or more different versions of a page which may include one or more of different features such as a call to action, a hero banner or other page elements compared to a control version. Multivariate testing enables you to test multiple elements at the same time. This requires more traffic and more time spent on set up, but gives the benefit of being able to isolate the impact of each element on conversion and average order value. Improving leads or sales through driving more users down the conversion funnel is the primary goal of these tools. They simplify the process of running these tests, allowing control over the test variables (e.g. how much traffic is sent to the various test versions), provides…

Selecting the best ad revenue options for digital startups

Back in the 'dot-com' days, I was often contacted by site owners with an idea for a new site who were trying to work out how much revenue they'll be able to raise depending on the number of visitors to their site and the different advertising options they select. These days, startups and innovation continue, so this post is aimed at explaining the ad revenue model options available. The main difference today is that you may have a mobile app-only revenue model and that has options for in-app purchases. These can be modelled through tweaking the affiliate model field in our spreadsheet. There's no simple answer to this, but to help, several years ago I created this spreadsheet model which also features in my books as an activity to help students working on this topic. It shows the main parameters you need to…

The best tools for understanding your online customers, competitors and campaign effectiveness?

I find that when running training courses, the tools I recommend to help marketers are always popular, especially the free tools... On courses, I'm oftenasked for a list of “essential tools” for digital marketing, so here they are… 2018 update: I originally created this list in 2012, but keep it updated as new tools are released and some tools become paid... We aim to review and compare tools for managing different digital activities on Smart Insights, so we have many of these tools covered in other posts, so I’ll link to these where relevant. There's a diverse mix of free tools available, one of the enjoyable aspects of working in digital marketing today. I’ll start with the most widely used. Please let us know about the “essential free tools” you use in the comments. For many more tools suggestions - check  out…

A detailed list of the best digital marketing tools we recommend to help you reach, act, engage and convert your target customers

Having the right set of software tools to manage data insights, content and digital marketing is essential! Without the right ones, you won't be able to create a strategy which reaches target customers and follower them through the customer journey - giving you insights into customer journeys, personas, conversion rate optimization and many more digital metrics essential to staying ahead of competitors. The digital tools we recommend will be categorized into our essential toolkits: Search Engine Optimization: Organic search Paid Search: AdWords Analytics Social Media Marketing (PR and influencer) Email Marketing / Marketing Automation Content Marketing The aim is to provide you with a list of the multitude of different tools available and a comparison of features for various industries, products or services. If used correctly, they can help streamline your…

Updated report shows the why, what and how of selecting social media listening tools and engagement

‘Listen!’ is the first step towards creating a social media strategy. To listen effectively you need to choose the right tool. There’s certainly no shortage of choice. Back in 2009 Smart Insights created a comparison of 36 of the best-known online reputation monitoring tools including free and paid tools. Since then, there has been an explosion of new tools on the market, with top vendors developing features beyond listening, monitoring, analysis, or social media management, making the selection process now even more bewildering. Our free tools guides has a select number of services.

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In order to enable companies and…

Product, offer and content recommendation services to help retailers and other businesses nurture prospects and increase conversion

The website personalization tools we recommend in this article enable you to segment visitors and then deliver personalized messages of the 'next best product' or 'next best content' within containers on your website as with the classic Amazon personalized recommendations (read their published methodology from this fascinating whitepaper from back in 2003). I originally wrote this post in 2010 when there were fewer personalization options. I have updated it annually since with recommendations provided via social media - do get in touch if you have a suggestion - TIA! This is the latest 2017 update where we compare the full range of options from free personalization tools to low-cost and enterprise services across these four categories: 1. Analytics tools based personalization 2. Retail personalization 3. Content or commerce management system personalization 4. B2B website personalization as…

The 5 best tools for collecting and showcasing customer reviews

Reviews have become essential to buying and selling online with customers trusting customer reviews over 10 times more than descriptions or claims made by the brand itself. Reviews can also benefit a brands’ search marketing efforts, as often they will feature highly in SERPS, particularly for local results. They enable marketers to collect and request product and customer service reviews. Some tools also curate conversations happening on social media for brands to use as social proof on their websites. Customer review and ratings tools enable marketers to collect and request product and customer service reviews. Some tools also curate conversations happening on social media for brands to use as social proof on their websites. We've researched five of the best customer review and ratings tools so you can decide which is best for your business. These tools have been selected to be particularly useful…

5 tools for assessing your online competitors

Site audience comparison tools provide marketers with industry and competitor intelligence to help inform decisions (e.g. new markets, new content strategies). Some of these tools also provide powerful segmentation capabilities. Typically, they do this either by aggregating Internet Service Provider data, panel data or a mixture of the two. Whether you’re launching a new product, entering a new market or wishing to understand what’s driving competitor growth, these tools can provide the relevant information to help inform key decisions. They’re often used to support business cases, helping to identify opportunities and threats in the competitor landscape. So if you are looking to map your competition, build a case for a new product line or more investment in your website, these tools can be extremely useful.

Key things to consider before purchasing and when using these tools:

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