5 Free SEO Tools for Newbie Digital Marketers

Posted 5 months ago by Miguel Patungan

Not willing to invest in digital marketing tools? Below you’ll find my picks for the top 5 free SEO tools that you can use to improve the marketing value of your website.

Everybody likes free stuff. It’s just one of those universal truths. Especially for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I often get asked what are the best tools on the market. Unfortunately, not everything in the world is free. That’s just another one of those universal truths.

But luckily there are some excellent free SEO tools out there and for those of you who want to know (and have) them, here’s my top list of 5 essential free SEO tools for Newbie Digital Marketers.

  1. Google Analytics
    Let’s start with arguably the best free Digital Marketing tool ever, Google Analytics. Google Analytics provides what all Digital Marketers want – data, data and more data. Google Analytics offers accurate, high-quality digital information on any website that has their code in it. From site visitors, web traffic, bounce rates, source location, and even conversion tracking, with Google Analytics you can have it all.
  1. Google Webmaster Tools
    The Google Webmaster Tools, or as the cool kids now call it – Search Console – are Google Analytics baby brother that keeps on giving. What I mean is that Search Console provides some key features and information that Google Analytics doesn’t have, such as what links point to your site or if there are issues with Google’s ability to crawl your website. You can also link Google Search Console to your Google Analytics account and share your data to between both tools. This gives you even more accurate information about your website.
  1. Google Keyword Planner
    Google just likes giving us free stuff, don’t they? The Google Keyword Planner is one of the most useful tools for keyword research which is one of the most crucial steps in Digital Marketing and Search Engine Marketing (SEM and SEO). If you don’t have the appropriate keywords to work and strategize with, you’re dead (figuratively speaking, of course)! Google Keyword Planner can help you avoid any major mistakes by providing you with additional information for keyword suggestions, such as Average Monthly Searches and Competition Difficulty.
  1. Screaming Frog
    At last, a free tool not from Google. Screaming Frog is one of the best, if not the best, website auditing tools in the market today. It provides comprehensive information regarding any website in existence (as long as the site doesn’t block crawlers). The only downside to Screaming Frog, IMHO is its not-so-user-friendly user interface. The UX can be intimidating for a beginner, but once you master using it, Screaming Frog will be your best friend. (Note that the free version of this tool only allows you to crawl 500 pages. If you want to crawl more than 500 URLs, you’ll have to upgrade to the paid version that lets you crawl infinite number of pages.)
  1. Backlink Checker by monitorbacklinks.com
    Good backlinks increase traffic to and improve the ranking of your site, while bad backlinks can have dire consequences and cause serious damage to your site’s reputation. It is, therefore, a must to monitor your backlinks. If you don’t have the budget to pay for an Ahrefs or Link Miner account, monitorbacklinks.com’s Backlink Checker is a decent alternative. Of course, it won’t be as accurate or comprehensive as the others, but it will do the job if you need to check backlinks without a budget.

There you go: 5 free SEO tools that will help you in your digital marketing campaign. These tools are great for acquiring and presenting data. You should use them to benchmark the status of your site and then track your performance regularly. The next question is what to do with all this new-found information?  In order to be useful, you will want to extract insights from the data and use these insights as the basis for recommendations on what steps you can take to improve your site’s rankings. This is where the SEO experience of a digital agency can provide real value. Especially if you are short on time and require quick wins, it makes more sense to take advantage of the deep experience of a digital agency. Digital marketing agencies such as Mixolutionz employ experienced specialists that can provide the necessary insights from the data acquired from these tools and make recommendations that translate into positive results. This will enable you to focus on your core business rather than spending precious time attempting to learn about and solve these issues yourself.

You’ll find more information about Digital Marketing on our Services page,

We are happy to talk with you about how to grow your business. Ping us and let’s start talking!

How do we make requirements gathering easier? Let users tell the story

Posted 7 months ago by Julius Chua

The only thing that is constant is change.” – Heraclitus

Change is constant and software requirements change constantly. Gone are the days when people sat around with their laptops and printers and got busy wasting time on setting requirements in stone. Thanks to Agile methodology, regular scrums ensure progress towards deliverables that are released on schedule in sprints, without burning out your team with overwhelming business jargon and turning them into gears in the assembly line.

So how do we make requirements gathering easier? By telling a story –  clearly and concisely –  that comes directly from the users.

Users are the best sources of requirements. Sure, stakeholders and decision makers can give their inputs and spend time debating what’s right and what’s wrong but, at the end of the day, they are not the ones who will use the software. Numerous technology projects fail because users are not involved in the project or, if they are, they join during the last part of the project as acceptance testers.

Telling your Requirements Like a Story

Unlike traditional requirements gathering, which involves creating lots of documents containing needs and wants, user stories start with post-its stuck on the wall, categorized by modules and priority and then grouped and scheduled into sprints.

User stories need to be short and sweet. They should aid in punchy communication, not tell the lengthy version of the story. Sticking to this will provide the great advantage of keeping your requirements easy to comprehend while avoiding overlap.

User stories follow a simple format:

As a/an [role], I can [feature] so that [reason]

Where:

  • Role – is who you are in the business or software. This is crucially important especially when scenarios are opened and explored.
  • Feature – a functionality that you need to be able to do.
  • Reason – why do you need the feature?

Pretty simple, right? You are not limited to the example above. You can slightly modify it, for example:

  • As a [role], I want [feature] because [reason].

Can you show me how? Sure! Let’s have some real-world examples:

  • As an event manager, I can get a list of participants for the upcoming Mixolutionz National Conference, so that I can arrange adequate catering.
  • As a membership coordinator, I want to send automatic emails to members so that I can alert them when their membership is coming up for renewal.

Now you might think, “Yes, this is a wonderful idea! People can just tell what they want on sticky notes and post them accordingly, but how are we supposed to know all the different acceptance criteria to achieve this?

Of course, I’ve got you covered! On the back of the index card, write the acceptance criteria by following the template below:

Given [context]

And [some more context]

When [event]

Then [outcome]

And [another outcome]

From this, in a straightforward manner, developers and QA will be able to confirm whether the developed functionality works according to specifications. If you see yourself writing more than three acceptance criteria, you might want to rethink your user story (split it into two or more stories) or maybe the overall requirement.

Connect the Dots

Once you have gathered all the users’ stories, it’s time for the team to connect the dots! Yes, you have stories straight from the users and stakeholders, but it won’t make sense if you are not able to connect them and form an effective and consolidated set of requirements with corresponding acceptance criteria. Mixolutionz can help in every step of your journey, as well as making your requirements come alive in services that help you reach, acquire, maintain and grow your customer base.