A few basic but necessary tools for use in your SEO work
There are a number of online tools that I use in my SEO efforts. Some of these tools are free and some cost money. I suppose you could do your SEO work without most of these tools, but who would want to? They make life easier, and they make your SEO efforts more efficient and effective.
A good keyword tool is critically important
I have to tell you, as far as I am concerned the single most important tool in your tool kit is a keyword tool. As I’ve said before, if your keyword phrases are not ever searched for then your search engine optimization efforts are in vain. First you need to find out what people are searching for in regards to your topic, and then do your optimization.
There are a lot of keyword tools out there if you do a little searching. Some are free, but I use WordTracker which costs me about $60 for a month subscription. It’s an online tool, and you just log in and use it whenever you need it. I usually end up subscribing for a month every few months. The thing is, it is so valuable that it would be worth way more than 100 times that price. Thank god for competition.
With WordTracker you can find out how many times a keyword phrase is searched for, how many sites are competing with you for that keyword phrase, and how many times your search engine listing would be seen per day if you were on the 1st page of the search engine results page. It also finds keyword phrases for you in various ways. Once you subscribe you have a wealth of information available as to how to effectively use the tool.
Google webmaster tools are invaluable in achieving a high ranking on Google.
I am a firm believer in using Google’s webmaster tools. For crying out loud, if Google is willing to tell you what errors and problems your site has, then you should listen! The webmaster tools tell you things like which keywords it sees in your sites content, what it sees in the link text on other sites that point to yours, which of your pages are being pointed to from other sites, and more. The tools tell you when you have duplicate title tags, not enough words in your meta description and when the meta description is duplicated on more than one page.
You can submit a sitemap to make sure all of your pages get spidered. Sitemaps can be very simple, consisting of just a list of URLs in your site. Google spiders your sitemap within hours of it being submitted, and it then tells you if there are any errors. It’s simply amazing.
Google Analytics is another good SEO tool
Google analytics can provide you with a wealth of information about your visitors, where they come from, and the paths through your site they take, the entry and exit pages and tons more valuable information. And it’s free. You can see at a glance your visitor bounce rate, number of visits over time, page views, and keyword phrases used to find you and so much more that I don’t have the space here to go into details. It’s very easy to check out, so check it out.
Link Popularity Checking Tool
Marketleap has a great little tool for checking your link popularity; marketleap.com. This tool lets you measure your website’s online awareness and overall visibility. This SEO tool helps website owners find out who is linking to their site and gives a useful benchmarking report to quickly show where you stand in comparison to competitors and other major online players. You can also track your links over time by checking every so often. The site keeps records; some of mine now go back 4 years!
The Compete tool helps you compete!
I’ll conclude with a wonderful tool I use to find out the approximate traffic that any particular web site has; compete.com. You put in the URL of the site you are interested in and the tool gives you a number of statistics including the approximate traffic that the site receives. You can compare up to 5 URLs at a time and the tool gives you both numbers and graphs to view. Obviously the more traffic a site gets the more accurate the estimate. I’ve tried several and compete gives me the most accurate figures of the ones I’ve tried.
I like to see what kind of traffic a site gets when I am considering trading links and when targeting specific keyword phrases I like to scope out the competition to see if it’s worth doing.
There are many more tools that you can find online, but this gives you a very good start, and possible all you really need to perform expert professional SEO on your webpages.