We all know that proper SEO has its advantages and one that we can not live without, specially if our objectives online is doing business (in any form). Good SEO allows us to “compete” or par with anyone and the beauty of it, is that if you rank well, you can drive that much desired traffic to your website or web pages for free. The only investment required for this to be achieved is to make it happen. To make it happen, you need to take action and start by reading the best SEO Tips and practices, in case you missed that one out.
Something to think about: SEO is a competition. You have to be more popular and more relevant than your competitors to succeed (exclude friends, family members and your community). Keep it clean, and remember to take action. Taking action in itself is already a competitive edge, from those who don’t.
If you have not done so already, the route towards your SEO should start, by submitting your site to Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo Site Explorer, and Bing Webmaster Tools. Once you’ve done that, the second step should be to submit your sitemap to all three of them. Now, you can start rolling. The basic steps:
- Submit to Google, Yahoo and Bing (site URL, validate and sitemap)
- Apply best SEO tips and practices (on-page and off-page – see link above)
- Monitor your SEO progress
- Adjust or adapt
- Rinse and repeat (steps 2 – 4)
Now, the tools and plugins I will share with you today are “best” based on my experience and lots of devoted time on researching. They might not be all that are available (that’s for sure), but these ones work. In case you are still looking for the best SEO tools and WordPress SEO plugins, let me give you here a jump start to save you time :). Please note that this post is somewhat long so brace yourself and have several cups of coffee. After finishing this post, I realized that this was way too long (over 3000 words), so I decided to break this down into two parts. The first part will cover SEO Tools, and the second, SEO plugins. That said, the tools (same goes for the plugins) that are here, are either new or greater emphasis are being given to use them. Links are either pointing to inner pages for additional info, or directly to the websites providing such tools. Towards the end, click on “more” to see other useful and recommended SEO tools.
Best SEO Tools 2011
Google Webmaster Tools (GWT): This is a free SEO tool that I can not live without. The vast amount of information that GWT provides; traffic sources, keywords, CTRs, sitelinks, html suggestions (for duplicate content issues), search queries, site errors, etc., makes it ideal for beginners and advanced users. In addition, GWT provides plenty of information that can help you identify problem areas that need attention to further improve your SEO. Aside from providing you with a wealth of “must have” information, you can use GWT to provide you with data that can help improve your conversions.
Google Search Based Keyword Tool: Over and over, this is probably the one word that pops up every time someone talks about SEO, keywords. Keywords are the main component to get your SEO lit up and if you do a proper research, this free tool can be of great assistance to you, specially if you are trying to find “keywords” to help your business grow. In addition, Google’s AdWords Keyword Tools has added an extra feature which now allows users to search for volume data for mobile search. Very good to include in your keyword research. If you are interested, here is one example of how I use this tool for business purposes.
SEO Quake: A FireFox extension (I think it is available for Chrome), this SEO tool allows webmasters to obtain tons of information regarding SEO parameters on any website. I won’t talk much about it here as Michele of NewBizBlogger.com has done a thorough review of this tool, including video on how to install it (image is hers too). Just head over there and find out more about SEO Quake.
Blekko: If you have not heard of this before, Blekko at first glance seems to be another search engine. I like to think of Blekko as an “All-IN-One SEO Search engine” and If you have not tried it before, I’m telling you that it is a powerful SEO tool where you can even get “nasty” (positive side) information that “other” search engines will not provide you with.
[note]On August 20122, Blekko decided to charge for their SEO tools. You may want to stir away from this one for now.[/note]
CuteRank: Remember, SEO requires a lot of work and one of them is to monitor your progress. This free keyword rank checker tool (software) is a desktop application which is designed to automatically help you check keyword positions and track their performance on multiple search engines such as, Google, Yahoo, Bing (MSN), Ask, and AOL. Instead of trying to figure out what position your are in, just insert all the keywords you want or let CuteRank automatically detect keywords for you, and let it do its magic. One thing I really like about this app is that it returns results in near “real time”. This really is a time saver and the free version has absolutely no catch. It is free for life and safe to use. The only limitation is that you can only check your rankings for one website at a time. Here is a report that I checked today for one of my websites, just for you to have an idea: This is now one of my favorite tools in my arsenal, and I got the premium version which allows me to create reports with my own credentials (logo, address, etc), plus a little extra in features (e.g. unlimited websites). Great for people who offers services of SEO or keyword monitoring service. Yeah! You can make money with it too and pay for itself. I’ll cover this on a future post but if you can’t wait, just drop me an email and I’ll reveal you some secrets :). Anyway, and as I said, the free version is all you need.
SEO Doctor: As the name suggest, it will analyze your website and do a checkup of critical SEO elements. It is really a simple tool, but the results are tremendous and easy to understand. One of my favorite analysis is the “PageRank” flow. It simulates how much “juice” your pages are giving away and I think you might get surprised that some links do not carry the same weight as the other. Your general objective here is to get an SEO score as close to 100%. The SEO doctor checks for page load time, checks bad “tags”, verifies “PageRank” flow, inbound links, and much more. What I like best about this tool is that it is not for sale :).
You can find a more in depth explanation of how SEO Doctor tool works over at Vladimir’s page, the developer. Vladimir has excellent SEO plugins and I will covering those on the next part of this mini-series. This is a FireFox extension and is not available for any other browsers (yet).
Bing SEO Toolkit (Microsoft): Countless times I have recommended the use of this excellent app, free form Microsoft (not a whole lot free from them). Once your site is established, you will find that often times there are “things” that do go wrong. Things, such as broken links, tags you forgot to use, images without proper alt attributes, violations, duplicate anything, etc. The difference between this tool and SEO Doctor, is that it runs an audit of your whole website automatically, finding problems, and recommending individual solutions. Curiously, it does not calculate “PageRank” flow (can you guess why?). SEO Doctor does the same but you have to do a run on every single page you have. I use SEO Doctor for my homepage and Bing for the rest. Very, very powerful, but slightly techy. Why hire an auditor when you can DIY? WebPageTest: Page speed or load time, is a factor that search engines are taking into consideration. However, my take on this is that internet users benefit from this greatly as it is really annoying to go ta a website and wait, wait, wait, until… Back button or worst, never to be visited again. You risk of loosing potential audience because of poor loading time, so best thing is to see what’s going on and remedy that situation if needed. This tool will analyze your load time, has options to keep the test private, provides an “optization checklist”. Alternatively, WebPage Analyzer is equally a good tool in case you wish to compare results.
Monitor SEO Progress: You’ve done your SEO homework and optimized just about anything you can possibly have. Obviously, you won’t be able to see how things are performing without monitoring and verifying your progress. In addition to CuteRank above, this link will take you to a specific post that provides you with the tools of the trade, all free.
More SEO Tools: Tools that have been recommended in 2010, but are still valid and totally recommended, today. That’s it for part one. The second part of the Best SEO Tools and Plugins min-series, will be out in a day or two. Until then! In the meantime, what SEO tools are you using that you would recommend? Do you think that they are important, or just a waste of time? What say you?