Free Tools for Web Analytics, Search, Social Media & Competitive Analysis

Last week I was on a “Measuring Success” panel at PR+MKTG camp in Seattle. Someone from the audience asked if there were any tools for a newbie to start measuring PR & Marketing efforts and learning. I uttered the names a few tools that came to my mind.

Considering that there might be many others in the same situation I decided to write this blog post. In this post I am listing some of the tools that you can start using for free. Please note that this is not the most comprehensive list of the free tools.

Side Note: All the panelists unanimously agreed that you need to first figure out your measurement needs based on your business requirements and KPIs and then find the tools that meet your needs. One of the biggest mistakes most companies make is that they pick the tools first and then try to modify their measurement needs according to the tools they have in place.

However, I recognize that someone who is not familiar with the various measurement tools needs some exposure to the tools to really think about the questions they might want to ask before making an investment in a paid tools.

With that, here is the list of tools that you can start using today for free:

Web Analytics

For monitoring the on-site behaviors of your users and the performance of your site, use the following free tools

  1. Google Analytics – http://www.google.com/analytics
  2. Yahoo Web Analytics – http://analytics.yahoo.com/

Search

Use the following search tools to learn what keywords your customer/potential customers are searching for so that you can optimize your site accordingly.

  1. Google Adwords Keyword Tool – https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
  2. SEOMOZ has set of Free tools – http://www.seomoz.org/tools
  3. Google Webmaster Central – Provides you data on how your sites in crawled and indexed by Google.
  4. Bing Webmaster Center – Provides you data on how your sites in crawled and indexed by Bing.
  5. Google Trends – http://www.google.com/trends
  6. Google Insight for Search – http://www.google.com/insights/search/#

Social Media

I already mentioned two tools in my blog post titled “Free Social Media Monitoring Tools for Small Businesses”, here they are again (and two new ones) :

  1. Google Alerts – http://www.google.com/alerts
  2. SM2 by Techrigy – http://sm2.techrigy.com/
  3. Twitter Search – http://search.twitter.com/
  4. Yelp.com – Good for small and medium size businesses. Find out what customers are saying about you and your competitors.

Here are some more but I have not used all of them, http://mashable.com/2008/12/24/free-brand-monitoring-tools/

Competitive Analysis

Want to know how your competitors are doing compared to you? Use some of the tools listed below. Keep in mind that all of these tools use different ways to collect the data and hence the actual data you get from one tool will differ from the other but overall it should provide you good competitive information.

  1. Search and Social Media Tools – Many of the tools listed above can provide you competitive information as well. E.g. Set SM2 to monitor the keywords that describes your competitor and you can start to see what customers are saying about your competitors
  2. Alexa – http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo
  3. Compete – http://www.compete.com/
  4. Quantcast – http://www.quantcast.com/
  5. Google Trends for Websites – http://trends.google.com/websites
  6. Google Ad Planner – http://www.google.com/adplanner. Here is my review of Google Ad Planner

Like, I mentioned above this is not the most comprehensive list but it should get you started. Do you have a favorite free tool that is not on this list? Leave a comment on this blog post or send me an email with the name of the tool.

Comments? Questions?


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Comments

  1. David Coombs says:

    Hi Anil,

    Great post, thank you. I think this will be of real interest. Metrics and measurement is a real passion of mine. Do you mind if I link to this post from my blog? (www.davecoombs.net)

    In terms of paid for systems for monitoring social media and online reputation, do you have an opinion on the best systems to use. Radion6 comes up a lot but I wondered on your thoughts.

    Thanks
    Dave

  2. Justin Kistner says:

    Anil, I got my start in social media monitoring using a mashup of Yahoo! Pipes, Netvibes Dashboards, Dapper.net, and PostRank. Those are still great, free tools for intelligence gathering on the web.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you seeking your information.

  4. mike1144 says:

    hey Anil
    you post is very good and informative. these information's are very good thanks for helping by your post:)

  5. Dave says:

    Hi Anil,

    Also check out WP-Stats-Dashboard; It's a free wordpress plugin for tracking metrics from 50+ social media websites

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-stats-dashboard/screenshots/

    Cheers,

    Dave

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great thinking.

  7. seo reseller says:

    Thanks for the links towards social media and other analytics softwares. I happen to use google analytics as a standard but I am availing of dedrio, a cross platform / social media analytics tool.

Trackbacks

  1. Quora says:

    What, in your expert opinions, are the best analytic companies to measure your businesses social media traffic?…

    This is a really great question – with a TON of tools out there. I look forward to following the answers. There are a lot of “It Depends” to answer this question. Questions such as “What’s your budget?”, “What are you trying to measure?”, “How …

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