In this guide, we review Free Online Search Engine Optimization, Free Online Tools For Social Media Marketing, Free Online Training For Digital Marketing, Free Platform For Blogging, and Free Press Release Sites For Seo.
The first thing you need to do to get your business found online is optimize the way that Google, Bing and other search engines find your website. By optimizing the way your site shows up in their results, you’ll have more potential customers visiting your website and finding out about who you are, what products or services you offer and how they can reach you.
Free Online Search Engine Optimization
In this post we’re going to walk through some of the most effective ways for small businesses can start improving their rankings for free with these top-notch tools:
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that provides website owners with information about their site’s performance in Google Search. It gives you access to data about your site’s performance in Google Search, including:
- Search Analytics — the ability to see how many times your pages are being crawled and indexed by Googlebot, how often they appear on the search results pages (SERPs), and how often they’re clicked on.
- Historical data — all of your historical data and reports can be downloaded into a spreadsheet format.
- Crawl errors — errors found by Googlebot when crawling your site’s pages.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a great way to make sure that your business information is accurate and consistent across the web.
When you create a free account, you can add the address of your physical location and add photos of your storefront. You can also update phone numbers, website URLs, hours of operation and more.
Once you’ve added all of this information, Google will use it to:
- Show your business in search results on maps (Google Maps) as well as in search results on Google Search
- Give people driving directions from their current location to yours!
- Offer reviews from customers who have been there recently or previously
Bing Webmaster Tools
- A free service that helps you manage your site’s presence on Bing.com
- Provides a number of services to help you get the most out of your site’s presence on Bing, as well as access to other valuable tools such as web analytics and keyword analysis.
Yext Pages for Google My Business and Microsoft Bing (Free Setup)
Yext Pages for Google My Business and Microsoft Bing (Free Setup)
Yext is a customer relationship management platform that allows you to create, publish, and manage content across the web. The service can be used to connect with customers on social media using a single login. Yext also integrates with Google Maps, allowing you to add business details like store hours and directions from your location. It even includes an option for customers who have never been inside your store before to reserve or schedule items for pickup at the location nearest them!
With this integration between Yext and Google Maps, you’ll be able to fill out basic information about yourself in both places simultaneously – it’s as simple as clicking one button on either side of the screen!
Moz Local Listings Management
Moz Local Listings Management
Moz Local Listings Management is a free tool that helps you manage your local listings on Google, Bing and Yext. Some of the features include:
- Syncing data with Moz Pro’s Open Site Explorer (OSEO) API to help you monitor your site’s quality score and learn how it impacts rankings.
- Generating reports of all the places where your business appears online to help you stay on top of changes in your listing information.
- An interface that lets you manage all three platforms without having to log into each one separately.
SEO is an important part of any marketing strategy, but you can’t do it all on your own. Google Search Console, Google My Business, Bing Webmaster Tools and Yext Pages for Google My Business and Microsoft Bing (Free Setup) are free tools that can help you optimize your site and improve your SEO. Moz Local Listings Management is another free tool that helps you manage local listings across multiple platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare or Apple Maps.
Free Online Tools For Social Media Marketing
Taking care of your social media presence is just as crucial as creating brilliant content for your audience. Not only do you share valuable information with them, but you can also engage with them, receive valuable feedback and ideas for topics, connect with other people in your industry, and reach out to influencers, among other things.
However, since there are so many popular social networks you need to be a part of – plus new ones are continually being added to the mix – it’s nearly impossible to manage all of those accounts manually. Fortunately, there are plenty of free social media management and scheduling tools you can use to make your job and your life much easier. Let’s take a look at the 6 most effective.
Instagram is one of the most popular social networks, with over 1 billion users active on the platform each month. Later started as an app dedicated to Instagram as a scheduling tool, but since its inception, they’ve added support for other social networks and are continuously adding new features. The app has a strong focus on visual content. Whether you want to schedule in-feed image or video posts, stories, or carousel posts — Later supports all of these options. Later has a free plan available that you can use forever, but you get features such as analytics, saved captions, scheduled stories, and more for paid plans. Their paid plans start at $9/month.
Those who rely on Twitter to get their message across will find much to like about TweetDeck. TweetDeck is a free application that enables you to manage multiple (unlimited) Twitter accounts from a unified interface. You can create your own customizable social media dashboard that allows you to send and receive tweets and manage and monitor your Twitter profiles. You can use TweetDeck as a web app, Chrome app, or desktop app. TweetDeck can be set to post scheduled tweets, build Tweet lists, and more. And the extra special part is that it’s always free.
Social media is increasingly becoming more and more visual. Canva is an excellent tool for anyone managing social media accounts to use. You can create designer-level marketing assets using any of the thousands of ready-made designs they have available to you. Now, you can even connect your social channels and publish or schedule directly from Canva. They have a free version available, which gives you decent access to great pre-made templates. The pro plan gives you access to all of the templates for only $12.95/month.
Hootsuite is one of the most established and popular apps for social media scheduling and marketing. You can use it to schedule posts, receive in-depth reports, and collaborate with your team members, thanks to built-in teamwork features. It enables you to view multiple streams at once and monitor what your customers are saying. There is a free limited plan available for 3 social profiles and up to 30 scheduled messages.
Buffer is also one of the best apps for managing your social media presence and scheduling your posts. The app also comes with analytics tools that enable you to track your audience’s activity and figure out when it is the best time to post in the future. We especially love its Chrome extension, which integrates itself seamlessly and never gets in the way, yet it is always there when you need it. It is a more straightforward and more effective way of managing your social media, and you are never more than a few clicks away from setting up anything you want. Buffer supports over 7 different platforms – you can add up to 4 on the free plan.
Planable is a social media collaboration tool helping marketers work together better & faster. So, if you care for efficiency, this is the tool to consider. It’s one of the most visual platforms allowing marketers to create, plan, collaborate, review, and schedule social media content. It supports the most popular social media networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, and Google My Business. Planable is 100% focused on collaboration and approval so it allows you to get feedback on each post, have conversations, request & get approval, and schedule automatically. They’ve got a free plan to get you started — so you can test all the features for the first 50 posts.
ContentCal is the ultimate tool for bringing your team together. You can share ideas with, create approval workflows, build your content plan and then publish that content to multiple platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google My Business, YouTube, and Medium). ContentCal’s analytics will help you understand your content performance and the latest ‘Respond’ features act as a shared inbox for monitoring and responding to mentions, messages, and comments across social media.
One of the star features is the fact that ContentCal integrates with over 2000 other applications so that you can create the perfect social media workflow by connecting ContentCal to tools you currently use (think of things like Slack or Trello) and also distribute content to channels beyond social media, like emails and blog posts. The best content is created together. Involve your team (and clients) into the content creation process, share ideas, gain feedback and watch your content performance soar!
While managing your social media presence and getting your content to reach a wider audience is a challenging task, there are some things you can do to make it easier on yourself. That includes relying on apps to help you handle the jobs which don’t require you to use your creative capacities, and that includes scheduling. We hope you will find these apps helpful. Good luck!
Kenneth Waldman is a Professional Writer and also a Blog Editor at Essay Mama. The areas of his interest include the latest education trends and technologies, digital marketing, social media. You can get in touch with him on Twitter.
Free Online Training For Digital Marketing
Who will benefit from a free digital marketing course?
If you’re new to digital marketing, it’s a great idea to educate yourself on fundamentals before digging into specific channels. Taking a free digital marketing course or two will upgrade your knowledge or refresh your memory (if it’s been a while since you engaged with any one platform) without straining your finances. And you never know—an unfamiliar channel could capture your interest and lead to a new career path.
What will you learn from a free digital marketing course?
With the many free digital marketing courses available (literally) at your fingertips, it’s almost impossible to find a topic that’s not covered. You can learn everything: from fundamental marketing principles to crafting an omnichannel strategy, and everything in between.
And don’t think that because you’ve been in the field for several years that you “know everything”—the only constant in digital marketing trends is change! You can find courses geared to all levels of experience.
Whether you’re new to the field or are interested in becoming an expert on a particular channel, you’ll definitely acquire some great knowledge that you can use in your day-to-day job or even apply towards building your personal brand online. Just take some time to identify your goals before selecting a course and choose the ones that will help you reach them.
Our top free digital marketing courses
So, in no particular order, here are our top free digital marketing courses of 2022. Enjoy!
CareerFoundry Digital Marketing Short Course
CareerFoundry is known for its top-quality instructors and mentors, up-to-the-minute curriculums, and students who graduate with a rock-solid understanding of course concepts. Created by the same experts who crafted our Intro to Digital Marketing course, this five-day, self-paced course is jam-packed with nuggets on conducting campaign research, fundamental marketing metrics to guide strategies, and hands-on exercises. Aspiring digital marketers will get exposure to real topics that professionals deal with every day, helping them to decide if digital marketing is a career path that suits them. Beginners and newbies, this free digital marketing course is for you!
Coursera Digital Marketing Specialization
Coursera is well-known for a wealth of courses on a virtually unlimited number of subjects, which are often created in partnership with colleges and universities. Created by the University of Illinois, its Digital Marketing Specialization class offers students seven courses encompassing everything a digital marketing newbie would need to know. The program even goes beyond digital marketing to cover pricing strategies, 3D printing, and data visualization.
Each course consists of several videos and complementary readings, and is taught by an expert in the field. Coursera suggests spending five hours per week; at that rate, it will take you an estimated eight months to complete. It may seem like a big time investment, but it’s a great option if you’re keen to start a new career or break into the field of digital marketing. You also have the option of only engaging in the course topics that interest you the most.
While a paid option is available, you can audit the class for free.
EdX Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
If you’re eager to gain a holistic understanding of digital marketing, you can’t go wrong with EdX’s Fundamentals of Digital Marketing class. Part of the University of Maryland’s Digital Marketing Professional Certificate and taught by their esteemed marketing professors, this self-paced video course offers a high-level education on marketing principles, concepts, and strategies.
Course topics include omnichannel marketing, mobile marketing, the marketing mix, multi-sided platforms, attribution, and more. The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course is the perfect class for beginners—even those with minimal marketing knowledge—and provides an excellent foundation for future learnings.
EdX estimates it will take students approximately four weeks (spending three to five hours per week) to complete the class, and you can audit it for free. (Note that if you choose to audit, you’ll only have access to the materials for a month—paid subscribers get unlimited access.)
Google Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
You can’t go wrong with a Google course! Its sprawling educational offerings cover the bread and butter (paid search, organic search, and analytics) but also go into other more general aspects of digital marketing.
The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course is geared towards digital marketing newbies and consists of 26 modules that will take approximately 40 hours to complete in total. Each module includes videos, key knowledge highlights, and a quiz. Topics include planning an online business strategy, building a web presence, tracking and measuring web traffic, and more. (Naturally, there is a heavy emphasis on Google products.)
While beginners may benefit most from this class, more experienced marketers will be surprised at what new nuggets they can glean from it. It will trigger long-forgotten memories of concepts and principles that are still relevant and helpful.
Quickstarter by Constant Contact
Constant Contact is one of the oldest email service providers, dating back to the dark ages of the mid-nineties (yes, email existed back then!). While it may be best known for email marketing, its Social Media Quickstarter content hub delivers a great educational foundation and actionable tips for successful social media marketing.
Its comprehensive offering covers all the heavy hitters—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.—and provides step-by-step instructions for building a brand presence and engaging with potential and current customers. Each social media platform has a lengthy list of blog articles on topics that range from beginner-level (e.g., “How to Set up an Account”) to advanced.
You can choose which social media platforms and content you’d like to educate yourself on, or go whole hog and gorge on all the amazing content.
Meta Blueprint Facebook Digital Marketing Associate Certification
You’ll want to include Facebook in your strategy if you’re looking to increase your brand presence on social media. Its nearly three billion users (a whopping one-third of the earth’s population) spend almost four hours per week on average scrolling through the Feed, watching videos, chatting, and shopping on the addictive platform.
The Facebook Certified Digital Marketing Associate program is a series of videos covering the basics and nitty-gritty of crafting a presence and advertising on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram (Meta also owns the latter two). You’ll also learn how to analyze the results of your campaigns using analytics tools native to the platform.
If you’re keen to show the world that you’re a social media marketing guru, you can even take the exam to earn a certificate that you can add to your resume or digital profile.
Sendinblue Academy Email Marketing
Email has been around for 50 years—though it was only really adopted en masse in the 1990s. Its indispensable functionality helps explain why it remains one of the most powerful marketing channels today, delivering an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent.
Its ubiquity means that savvy digital marketers need to have a handle on how to run effective email marketing campaigns—and Sendinblue Academy’s email marketing course will help you do just that! To earn the official certification, students must complete an eight-module course consisting of 63 videos, 62 questions to test their grasp of the concepts and terms, and four e-books to help round out their knowledge.
This crash course on email marketing will teach you about A/B testing, email deliverability, segmentation, even GDPR. It even goes into strategies for building a subscriber list and how to optimize key performance indicators, like open rate and click-through rate.
Free Platform For Blogging
Looking for some free blog sites to help you start sharing your writing with the world? Whether you just want to share updates with your family and friends or you want to start a blog and build a broader audience, we’ve put together ten great sites where you can start a blog for free.
We’ll also try to steer you towards the specific platform that’s best for you so that you can easily create a blog for free. Here’s what you need to know:
Best free blog sites to consider in 2022
Here are the best free blogging sites you can use to start your own blog today:
The nice thing about Wix is that it has free hosting included, so you just need to arrange the layouts, pick a template, and you’re all set. It provides a nice collection of free and premium themes and templates for different purposes, including blogging.
To launch a Wix blog, just sign up and make a choice: you can either let the Wix ADI create a site for you based on a questionnaire or build your blog yourself – which includes selecting a template and arranging the layouts via the WYSIWYG editor. If you go with the second option, all you need to do is to find a beautiful template and start customizing everything on the front-end, in a live preview mode.
You can add multiple elements to your pages, from multimedia widgets to backgrounds, menus, typography, forms, video boxes etc. When you think the site is ready, click Publish and start blogging your stories. After publishing, you can return anytime to edit the content blocks.
👉 Read more about the differences between Wix and WordPress and see some great Wix website examples.
WordPress.org is the king of free blogging sites. It is a free platform, but you need to build the site mostly by yourself afterward. You also have to host the software yourself. While you can find some free WordPress hosting, a better long-term strategy is to pay a moderate amount for a solid WordPress host.
This is where Bluehost comes into play. Not only is it very cheap (the Basic plan starts at just $2.75 per month when you sign up for three years), but it also provides solid features, including a free domain name, 50GB of disk space, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL, and 100MB of email storage per account. At this very moment, Bluehost is the cheapest sensible WordPress hosting you can find out there.
Because you’re hosting the WordPress software yourself, you have full control over how your site looks and functions, as well as how you make money from your site. But the flip side is that the setup process is a little bit more hands-on.
Here’s what the WordPress interface looks like when creating a new post:
On the opposite side, there’s WordPress.com, which is the other face of WordPress – a platform used mostly for personal blogs because it’s easy to set up and free (if you’re okay not having a custom domain name). However, you’re also quite limited in the way you can customize the site.
And especially if your plan is to monetize your blog in any way, the free WordPress.com version will prevent you from doing that.
Considering this, we recommend you to get started with Bluehost. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee in place – in case you change your mind with the whole blogging experiment, just ask for a refund.
You probably didn’t see this one coming. LinkedIn isn’t most people’s first choice when considering which of the free blogging sites to choose. That being said, it really does deserve some attention!
Two main reasons for this: easy to use tools, and pre-existing audience.
About that second thing – the audience – what’s great about LinkedIn’s user base is that those are highly focused users, professionals and business owners. In fact, it’s reported that more than 30 million businesses are active on LinkedIn. And they’re not just there for the sake of it. Other data indicates that 94% of B2B marketers use the platform as one of their primary lead sources.
In short, LinkedIn just works as a platform where you can get exposure, and this makes it one of the best free blogging sites of them all.
From a technical point of view, publishing on LinkedIn is easy. Just go to your LinkedIn feed and use the “Start a post” widget at the top of the page. To convert your status into a full post, click on “Write an article on LinkedIn” to open the full-screen editing window.
This is where you can find all the editing tools that you’re used to – for text formatting, adding images, and more.
If you want to learn more about how blogging on LinkedIn works, read this in-depth guide.
Weebly is another website builder that you can use not only to blog but also to sell products or showcase your portfolio. It is somewhat similar to Wix to the extent that it provides a WYSIWYG editor with drag-and-drop elements. If you want to add a certain button, you can simply drag it to the page and customize it. The same happens with photo galleries, slideshows, and any other multimedia element.
Weebly provides sidebars, media boxes, forms, ad spaces, social media icons, newsletter subscription, and many more. Moreover, the platform comes with built-in analytics and lets you use your own customized domain (for which you need to pay).
On the free plan, you get five custom pages, a Weebly subdomain, 500MB storage, and ad spaces.
Medium is a multipurpose platform tackling diverse topics, where anyone with an account can write. Unlike most other free blogging sites, the big advantage of Medium is that your articles will be exposed to a wide audience since the platform is visited by 60 million readers (*) per month (and the number increases every year).
It’s super simple to use – you pretty much just sign up and start writing. But the downside is that all your content is on Medium. That is, you’re not really building your own “space” like you would with WordPress. Read this post for more on the differences between WordPress and Medium.
This is another WordPress-like blogging platform. While the Ghost software can be downloaded for free, you need paid hosting for fuel. DigitalOcean is a great service that supports Ghost: it is cheap and comes with a bunch of nice features to get you started.
The downside is that installing Ghost isn’t as straightforward as WordPress, and you might have to get your hands dirty with some server work – depending on the host you choose for your blog.
To create a post in Ghost is easy once you set up your website. The editor is simple and minimalist, and it offers a live preview of your text on the right side of the screen. On the front-end, you get a Medium vibe, so it’s nice. Near the editor screen, there is a sidebar with settings, where you can choose your preferences.
Blogger is one of the oldest free blog sites, though its popularity has dipped in recent years.
It’s a solid solution for personal blogs, but it’s not the best resource for professional use. It works just like the other hosted platforms: you need to create an account first in order to use it. After you create it (which is simple), you have to pick one of the default themes and you can start writing your thoughts down. This platform has an interface similar to a Google+ profile and the editor looks like a Word page.
Blogger delivers a bunch of themes to choose from, each providing different skins, advanced color filtering, and various minimalist gadgets (aka widgets). But nothing too fancy or any advanced design customization. In general, Blogger has simple appearance options, so the focus stays more on the writing part. A nice part about this site is that it comes with ad spaces that you can place within your content pieces.
Tumblr is one of the original free blogging sites on the web. It’s just a bit ‘milder’ than the others on the list. Unlike the rest of the platforms that are mostly created for publishing purposes, this one here is more oriented to multimedia or social media-like content. The interface of Tumblr is more playful and is easy to get started with – you can simply sign up and then you’re allowed to start posting.
Just like a regular blogging platform, it provides multiple post formats for different types of content. The thing with Tumblr is that it is purely for personal use and wouldn’t put up a great solution if you have business-oriented plans. It is simplistic, offers basic customization options and, like I said earlier, has more of a social media vibe.
Despite not being built for business, it does let you display ads on your page, use affiliate links, and integrate your blog with Google Analytics.
Joomla is similar to WordPress.org but not as obvious when considering the free blog sites available out there. Just like WordPress, the software is free but needs hosting and a domain. As in the WordPress case, we recommend Bluehost because it is both very cheap and reliable (and it includes a free domain).
In general, Joomla has a flexible interface that can be used not only for blogs but also for more complex websites (you can choose from a variety of templates and extensions to add custom functionality).
When it comes to the ease of use, the platform provides an old-school editor, that somehow looks like Microsoft Word. It allows you to choose the font, color, size, emoticons, tables, or background. I mean, the tools in the menu make you feel like you’re in a Word window.
The Joomla editor is tabbed. The first tab is the classic texting window per se, then you need to switch tabs to select the post categories, tags, date, meta description, keywords etc.
Free Press Release Sites For Seo
On content-driven, information-rich websites we use press releases for more than the basic announcement. We also use them to release free white papers because we know they offer more opportunities for inbound links and the SEO benefits required to get a landing page ranked well in Google.
Since Google now holds us responsible for the inbound links that come to our site, we decided to update our annual guide to the best paid and free press release sites by completely eliminating the sites with low SEO scores. What started out as a 50-something list is now down to just nine.
These PR distribution services are deemed both credible and SEO-friendly, which are the only inbound links we truly value.
Download a FREE copy of Best Email Subject Lines for Selling Premium Subscriptions and Memberships and discover an extensive list of email subject line frameworks that are consistently proven to sell and boost revenue for publishers.
Our Top Paid vs. Free Press Release Sites
The differences between paid and free press release sites:
Free press release sites
I read recently about a test of 60 different free press release sites. The winner of their test was PRUrgent.com because it was the only one that got them in Google News. Unfortunately, that site had low ranking scores, and still does, so I didn’t include it in this list. It might be worth trying, though. The second place was OnlinePRnews.com, which I’ve added to the list this year because it’s almost up to snuff with the others and lets you include a live link. Their free option only keeps the press release up for 90 days.
We’ve consistently found PRLog.org to be the best free press release site. It allows links, tagging and branding for free, but most importantly, it has the highest ranks, unique traffic numbers and inbound links of its competitors. In our own comparative distribution tests, it also ranked higher than any other release.
As mentioned, we only included free sites with good domain authority, because you are who you associate with when it comes to search optimization and inbound links. Their rank tells us about their SEO potential for any live links we put on their site. Over the years that we’ve maintained this list, PRLog has always remained at the top, but even sites like PR.com have lost rank across all search reputation monitors. Also, many of the formerly free sites have gone paid. It’s a shorter list, even shorter this year than last year.
Download a FREE copy of Best Email Subject Lines for Selling Premium Subscriptions and Memberships and discover an extensive list of email subject line frameworks that are consistently proven to sell and boost revenue for publishers.
Paid press release sites
It used to be a toss up between PRWeb and PRNewswire for the best paid press release site. PRNewswire had the highest score of all the paid sites and offers a huge arsenal of tools for optimizing your release with wide distribution and a hefty price tag—the average cost of a release with all the bells and whistles can cost as much as $1,000. PRWeb offered a robust release around $300 and a basic one for $99 and both offered activity and SEO reporting on press releases. However, Cision owns them both now and their sites look almost identical, even though they still have their unique URLs.
Once logged in, you’ll find that PRWeb is similar to before, but PRNewswire is a higher touch option, and you can’t even set an account up without talking on the phone to one of their representatives.
The list below started as a 20-something site list and has been slimmed down quite a bit. But hey, you only need one good distribution service, right? The sites listed here are also known to cache your press release indefinitely. Some sites delete them after 90-180 days. Our preference is PRWeb for their high domain authority, (they’re all in the 90+ range) and their approachable pricing.
Tips for choosing the best press release distribution service
The “wire” isn’t the only way to get buzz out there these days, though. Try out some of these alternatives for unique and possibly even more valuable press coverage:
Promoting freebies through press releases
Most of the time we use free press releases to promote our free downloads. When we launch new freebies, we want the world to know! Here’s how we recommend organizing this process.
1. Create a press release and submit it to free press release sites, and paid ones if you want.
2. Post the press release on your site.
4. Work out an arrangement with your partners for them to promote the freemium and Rapid Conversion Landing Page (RCLP) to their lists using the copy from your circ-builder.
5. Send out Tweets and posts to Facebook about the new freemium. Direct readers to your RCLP and attach a unique tracking code.
Work with a copywriter to craft 12 unique promotional Tweets about the freemium.
Schedule those unique promotional Tweets once per day for 12 days.
Schedule them again once per month for 12 months.
On Facebook, promote your Freemium and its RCLP on the day it launches and at least once per month.
Test to see which formulas perform best.
6. Get in touch with industry bloggers and send them the PDF of your freemium, or access if it’s digital. Include a link to the RCLP and a short bulleted list of take-aways to make their job easier when reviewing the product. Collect their Twitter addresses too, so you can @ them (just once, don’t be that person!)
7. Create a document that keeps track of everywhere you posted your press release, and all of the sites who wrote about your freemium. Create an ongoing press list from this so that you can focus your efforts more effectively the next time.