Free resources to grow your business during lockdown

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May 20, 2020 3:49 pm

30-second summary:

  • Lockdown and self-quarantine are causing consumers to spend more time online. 
  • To encourage growth, companies may need to pivot the way they interact with customers or the goods and services they supply as demands change. 
  • Organizations need to optimize their SEO strategy, website and online presence to stay relevant among competitors. 
  • Several free resources are available to analyze SEO and websites. You can use them to make changes and improvements so that during lockdown your business continues to grow. 

The Coronavirus outbreak is changing life as we know it. As billions of people shelter in place, they’re spending even more time online. This is good and bad news for businesses. 

The good news is that there are more consumers online, more of the time. The bad news is that they have time to be more discerning in their choices and that your rivals are looking to capitalize on this and grow their companies just as much as you are… 

Getting ahead without crunching your pocket

To ensure your business stays relevant in this strange new world, you’ll need to up your game. This involves interacting with customers in novel ways, creating attractive campaigns and special offers, and possibly pivoting the goods and services you offer to meet new consumer demands. 

Digital marketing and SEO have always been cutthroat, and they’re even more so in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown. The changes that you make to your company – to ensure it survives and even thrives during this time – may mean that your current marketing strategies are no longer optimal. 

With all that in mind, updating your organization’s website and general online presence is crucial. Reviewing and refreshing these should always be a regular habit, but as the world’s economy and demands are changing so much, it’s especially important right now.

Luckily, there are several resources to help you with such updates. A lot of them cost money, but there are some excellent free options if you’re looking to cut back on expenses. Some of the top free tools that can perform tasks like checking if your pages are indexed by Google, analyzing onsite SEO efficiency, and evaluating content are listed below. 

1. GTmetrix

Search engines (Google included) are increasingly giving preferential treatment to sites that load content quickly and putting them higher in their search results. GTmetrix analyzes sites’ load speeds, identifying the specific features that make a site too big, too slow, and satisfactorily fast. It also supplies a list of practical suggestions for you to speed up your load times.  

Enter a URL into the tool, and you’ll get a thorough report highlighting the areas that need improvement. 

Free resources GTmetrix

2. Linkody’s Free Google Index Checker 

As a big part of your site’s health and growth is impacted by Google crawling it, you need to stay on top of indexing. With this free index checker, you can determine whether a specific page or an entire domain is indexed. All you need to do is enter your URL and Linkody alerts you about the current index status. Not indexed can indicate that Google hasn’t crawled a page or site yet, or that a page is considered low-quality or even worse, a site as a whole is de-indexed. Indexing problems happen to the best of us (looking at you, Linkedin) so a basic check should be part of your SEO routine. 

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3. Ahrefs Academy’s: Blogging for Business 

The video tutorials on Ahrefs Academy are informative and easy to understand, making them great resources. Blogging for Business is no exception, and includes sections on everything from basic principles of blogging to growing companies, to creating content that promotes itself. Scroll down the site and watch all of the short videos in order, or jump to the section you’re interested in. 

4. Harmon Brothers University Script Challenge

Marketing masterminds Harmon Brothers are offering a free resource, a 14-day Video Script Challenge, where they’ll give you everything you need to write a video script that will successfully sell a product or service. The step-by-step instructions are scalable so they can be implemented no matter how big business grows. 

5. Shopify’s 90-Day free trial

As part of Shopify’s COVID-19 response, the multinational ecommerce company is offering several informative free webinars and giving new clients a free 90-day trial of its services. Businesses can sign up and create their virtual stores in just a few minutes, complete with attractive themes and customizable responses. 

6. Chrome’s SEO Ruler

SEO Ruler is a free Chrome extension that provides over 25 tools in a single package. Link Tools, OnPage Copy Tools and SERP Page Tools help to maximize your SEO, while OnPage Viewer, Schema Viewer, and Quick Google options enhance user experiences so that they search for – and find – much more. 

7. SEOAURA’s website responsive test

Search engines have also started to prioritize websites that look good across all platforms, regardless of their orientation or size. In other words, if your site is equally attractive on desktop, tablets and smartphones, you’ll rank higher on the SERPs. 

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Make sure your website’s looks and functionality are perfect on every device by putting it through the SEOAURA Website Responsive Test. If your site doesn’t pass muster, consider updating it yourself or consulting a professional designer. 

8. SERPerator by MobileMoxie

MobileMoxie offers a range of tools that enable companies to analyze their mobile websites and improve their traffic, which ultimately boosts revenue.  

The tools can all be tried free for a period of seven days, and the SERPerator SERP test is available for five runs per day at no charge. Just enter the business details, the search term, the search engine and the phone language and run the SERP test for two mobile devices of your choice. 

9. Free courses from Moz Academy

Software as a Service (SaaS) giant Moz offers exceptional software and educational materials on SEO. Now you can access a lot of their online courses for free to help you take your marketing strategy to the next level. Until May 31, 2020, check out the full course content for Page Optimization, Backlink Basics, and all their other subjects, which usually retail for over $100 each. 

10. Moz Local

One of the top SEO products that Moz offers is its Moz Local, which helps companies check their local business listing, automate online deletions, and optimally manage their profiles in real time. Various plans are offered for different prices, but you can perform the simple task of checking business listings’ online presence by heading to the Moz Local page, selecting the Check My Online Presence button, and entering the company’s physical address. 

11. Scout Suggest

This keyword tool allows online marketers to find phrases, synonyms and modifiers for your keywords to use for any subject. Simply enter a keyword, select the region that you’re interested in, and run the tool to get a report with thousands of related terms, phrases and questions. You’ll also get N-grams which groups related keywords into clusters that make it easier to plan for your next content piece. 

12. Calendly’s Virtual Meetings Integration

Finally, to keep companies and marketing campaigns on track all involved stakeholders have to meet regularly. But these meetings don’t have to be physical, and at the moment they can’t be. Calendly offers free GoToMeeting and Zoom integrations until the end of June 2020. Everyone who works remotely can stay on track with projects and, just as importantly, connect with co-workers and clients too. 

Closing thoughts

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, no one is sure what the final fallout will be. While waiting for the dust to settle, you might need to pivot your business several times if you want to continue its growth. Reviews of its SEO performance should be conducted whenever you make changes – and at regular intervals, as a matter of best practice.

Bibi Raven is a procrastinating writer, builder of relationships and Cheerleader Extraordinaire over at Linkody.

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