11 Website Optimisation Tools to elevate your site

If you’ve read our blog post on marketing strategy, you’ll know that every website needs to convert visitors into customers – driving real results and adding value to your business.

Considering that 1 in 6 people on the planet use Google and it takes a mere 0.5 seconds for the average person to decide whether they’ll stay on your site, it needs to tick all the right boxes. In other words, it needs to be optimised for SEO, user experience, clicks and conversions.

optimise the site

Think of website optimisation as the scientific process of carrying out tests and experiments that determine how to improve your site.

More commonly referred to as “A/B split tests”, these experiments see two versions of the same page get a portion of the traffic, with the best converter becoming the version that gets all the traffic after the test. Usually version A is your current site, and B a version with some changes applied.

Often it’s not 100% clear which page has won. What if a tweak gets you more conversions in the short term, but over the long term those conversions actually spend less. It’s insight like this that you need to be wary of.

Luckily, there are tons of handy optimisation tools available that can assist in your optimisation efforts. Website optimisation tools can help you establish whether what you’re doing is right or wrong, acutely informed by data and proven user behaviour.

In this blog post we’ve curated our top pick of the 11 best website optimisation tools and how to use them, to help you achieve a high-performing site. Some are free and a few have free trials for you to see if they is something you would like to use long-term.

Ready for some inspiring website optimisation tools?

1. Google Search Console

Let’s start with Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools.)

This free, easy-to-use optimisation tool analyses your website to show how you can improve your ranking and boost conversions.

To get started:

  1. Add your site to Google Search Console by inputting your URL
  2. Verify it on your own website by installing the code provided
  3. Once you’ve done this GSC will start collecting information

Optimise the site

This optimising tool offers invaluable insights into how your site is performing including:

  • How much traffic your site it is getting
  • Keywords and queries where the traffic is coming from
  • Bounce rate
  • Referral sites

Plus, there’s another super handy feature that will help boost your search ranking:

  • Within the tool you’ll find a list of all the pages that are driving search traffic to your site in order of popularity
  • From the list, click on a page that you wish to increase search traffic for
  • This will generate a list of traffic for the selected page
  • Select ‘queries’, and you’ll receive a list of all the keywords that are driving traffic to your page
  • Now, you can integrate these keywords into your web page content.

Ensure it sounds natural and avoid keyword stuffing as Google considers this spam. Adding in the extra keywords is a great opportunity for you to make your content longer and more information rich. This improves readability. Plus, content with 1,000 words consistently receives more shares and links than shorter content. That’s a good thing for your SEO and user experience.

Next, add these keywords, or the main ones, to your meta description and title tags. This way, Google knows what your content is all about as well as the main keywords you’re focusing on.

Finally, submit your page into GSC. Within a short time, you should find you’ve got an increase in search traffic.

2. Moz Pro

 Moz is an essential web optimisation tool for any digital marketer.

There are several aspects of the tool that are extremely useful.

For guidance with keywords:

  • The keyword explorer tool lets you know what people are searching for when they find your site – this helps you refine your keywords list and observe which keywords are effective. So, if you’re focusing on keywords that aren’t driving traffic, you’ll want to consider changing these. Once you’ve made the changes head back over to the keyword tool where you can measure improvements. For more help on finding the best keywords check out our guide to keyword research.
  • Moz makes sure that you’ve got maximum potential to rank for your chosen keywords by scanning your content and consequently suggesting improvements.
  • Knowing how well you rank for keywords is crucial for any SEO strategy. This tool goes a step further by also tracking your competitors.

For help identifying issues that are harming your SEO:

  • The tool makes you aware of any issues that may be preventing search engines from crawling your site. Knowing there’s a problem is the first step in coming up with a solution and driving improvements to your site. The tool tells you how to fix any problems, giving you peace of mind that harmful issues aren’t affecting any elements of your site.
  • You can also set up alerts for any important issues that are harming your traffic or rankings. Any urgent problems that are negatively impacting your site can be flagged up and resolved immediately.

For help with finding link opportunities:

  • Finally, the tool helps you find link opportunities. As we’ve touched on previously, links are essential to SEO. Moz seeks out new links as well as telling you how to maximise the effect of existing links.

3. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a handy plugin that you can install on your site to help monitor your SEO, letting you know what you’re doing right and wrong.

This useful optimising tool gives your web pages an SEO score and readability score spanning ‘ok’ / ‘good’ and ‘needs improvement,’ as well as offering an in-depth analysis of how well your site fares for both.

It will list good results, any warnings, problems and how to make the right improvements.

If your site fares badly in terms of SEO or readability, it will tell you exactly what you need to improve it. Having made the changes, Yoast SEO will immediately update its results to show if your changes have made improvements.

Within this tool you can also enter your chosen keyword (or several if you’re using the paid version) on top of a featured snippet which will appear in search results. The tool will tell you how well your content is optimised for your chosen keyword. So, if you’re overusing it, or not using it enough, the tool will indicate this.

4. Hotjar

With Hotjar you can gather qualitative data that helps you understand how real people are using your site. After all, 79% of people who don’t like what they find on your site will go back and search for another. User experience is a hugely important factor in determining whether someone will stick around or land on your competitor’s page instead.

Website optmisation tools

The main features of the tool include:

  • Funnel tracking means you can track your sales funnel and see exactly at which stage a user leaves
  • Heat mapping that shows where visitors to your site are spending their time and where visitors most frequently click
  • User polls and surveys allow you to gather feedback on what users think about your site directly from your audience
  • Visitor recording allows you to record a user’s entire visit, meaning you can learn exactly how they move through your site

Let’s say that your CTA is ineffective and doesn’t receive many clicks, you need to optimise it. With Hotjar you can see how users navigate your site, observing which parts of your site get the most clicks. Let’s say it was the top right corner – try moving your CTA here and see if this drives improvements.

Similarly, if one of your pages has a high bounce rate, make changes and edits to drive improvements. You can then run tests and see if it’s worked.

Having such insights means you can optimise your site according to how real people are using it.

5. UserTesting

 This is another great free website optimisation tool that helps you see how real people are using your site.

When it comes to user experience, how better to find out how your site fares than going to users directly? That’s where UserTesting comes in.

In this tool, you can watch someone else navigating your site. The site will connect you with people who match your ideal customer criteria. The users will talk through their experience letting you know what they think works or doesn’t, where they encounter any problems, and how they think your site can be improved.

This helps you uncover real problems or issues that searchers are having with your site. It might be the case that users find your check-out process too lengthy, or your CTA unclear. Gathering this information first hand means you can optimise specific elements of your site that users find confusing or ineffective.

6. Ahrefs

With Ahrefs you can analyse your backlinks. Any digital marketer will know how important backlinks are when it comes to SEO. Having a backlink from another site to yours is highly valued by Google. A link from site A to B is seen as a vote for B from A. This subsequently improves your ranking.

Ahrefs provides useful insights into your backlinks, showing how many backlinks your site has, referring domains, organic keywords, organic traffic and traffic value. It also shows your competitor’s backlinks too. This is important. It means you can search for broken or irrelevant links and ask those sites to link to your webpage instead.

Ahrefs is known for holding the largest link database of any of backlink checkers, but you might not know that they also have an on-page web optimisation tool that’s really effective too.

Their site audit will scan your website, checking for more than 100 of the most common problems with SEO. From this it will tell you what can be improved and how you can do it.

If you’ve signed up for an Ahrefs account, this is a really handy feature which means you won’t need to swap between different tools.

7. Google PageSpeed Insights

 Google PageSpeed Insights is another great, free to use tool offered by Google that shows how well your page is performing.

Simply type in your chosen URL and Google PageSpeed Insights will give your site an optimisation score out of 100 for both mobile and desktop.

The score fits into one of three categories:

  • Poor: your page isn’t optimised. It performs slowly and needs work.
  • Needs Work: you page is underperforming in some elements which could badly affect user experience. Optimisation is needed.
  • Good: your page performs well.

This tool will then generate a list of recommendations on how you can optimise your site and boost performance.

This is great for identifying poorly performing elements of your site, letting you know what elements to optimise.  What’s more, this tool offers both desktop and mobile insights, meaning you can optimise your site for both.

8. Google’s Mobile Website Speed Testing Tool

 With that in mind, we thought we’d mention a mobile optimisation tool – Google’s Mobile Website Speed Testing Tool.

Your site not only needs to be optimised for desktop, but in a world where 52.2% of searches are carried out on mobile, your site needs to be mobile optimised too.

Within Google’s Mobile Website Speed Testing Tool enter your URL and click ‘Test Now.’ Having run its tests, Google will show you three results, giving you a score out of 100.

  • Mobile friendliness: this tells you how easy it is for searchers to use your site on mobile. Can users easily navigate, swipe, read and tap your site on their smartphone?
  • Mobile speed: how quick is your site to load on mobile? Consider the fact that mobile users typically have less patience when it comes to waiting for a webpage to load. To retain visitors your speed needs to be up to scratch.
  • Desktop speed: this is how quick your site is to load on desktop.

You can then view or download a more detailed report which Google will send you via email within the hour. Within the report will be specific details and recommendations on how to improve your site and how to fix these problems.

If you’re unsure how well your site fares on mobile, it’s time to get testing and optimising!

9. GTMetrix

GTMetrix is a super useful site optimization tool that allows you to check your site’s speed. This is particularly important since Google announced its speed update in January 2018 in which they declared that mobile speed will affect search ranking. What that means is that your site’s page load speed will affect your ranking on both mobile and desktop.

What’s more, slow page load speeds correlate with high bounce rates. You can’t expect a searcher to wait around for your page to load – they’ll scroll away and head onto your competitor’s website.  If your site takes between 1-3 seconds to load the probability of bounce increases to 32%. For a site that takes up to 10 seconds to load, this increases to a whopping 123%. Page speed matters.

The GTMetrix tool will determine how fast your page loads and what you can do to improve this. What’s more, it lets you know which improvements you should be prioritising. Improved page load speed time is not only good for your SEO but for decreasing your bounce rate too.

Check out this handy tool here.

10. Screaming Frog

 Screaming Frog is a desktop application that carries out a deep crawl of your site to detect problems and signpost what elements of your site need optimising for SEO.

The main features of the tool include:

  • Detecting broken links: Screaming Frog identifies any broken links meaning you can fix the error
  • Analysing page title and metadata: letting you know whether these need optimising for SEO
  • Generating XML sitemaps: search engines crawl your website using sitemaps. Screaming Frog shows how your sitemap is created in real time for all the URLs having information of when modified, how it’s been changed and how important the link is.
  • Finds duplicate content: this tool finds duplicate scripts from your site to ensure your content is accurate and well optimised.

This allows you to analyse and review your site, making improvements and optimising for search.

11. Spyfu

Last but not least, Spyfu is a powerful tool that offers valuable insights into what your competitors are doing. If the competition are doing well, imagine the power of finding the secret to their success.

Spyfu is a keyword competition tool that allows you to see exactly what keywords your competitors are using. This is a great way of gathering an insight into valuable keywords that are proven to be effective.

Simply type in your competitor’s URL and Spyfu will generate a list of the top 50 keywords they are using, as well as how well those keywords are performing. Obviously, if your competitor is using a high-performing keyword, you can add this to your keywords list as well. You can make their success yours, as well as avoiding their mistakes.

With Spyfu you can also uncover the exact content and backlinks that lets your competitors outrank you. You can boost your own performance by learning what others are doing well and how they’re doing it.

Next Steps – ready to optimise your website for success?

We hope you enjoyed our top pick of the best website optimisation tools out there. Using these tools, you can help improve your site’s SEO, performance, user experience and conversions.

If you’re ready to take your website to the next level the Report Central team are here to help. We’re scientific in our approach to optimisation, using our experience of what works and what doesn’t to make immediate improvements to your site and campaigns.

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