Have you ever heard the saying “A workman is only as good as his tools”? Well the same can be said for SEO. Even the most knowledgeable webmasters are limited by the effectiveness of the programs they have at their disposal. So, to make sure you’re staying ahead of the ever-changing game that is SEO, we at Think Traffic have included 7 useful tools that you shouldn’t be without.
1. SEO MOFO
Despite the rather brash name, SEO MOFO is a simple yet invaluable tool when it comes to on page SEO. It simply simulates how your pages’ titles and meta descriptions will look in a real Google search engine results page, (SERP for short).
Getting your titles and descriptions the right length is vital. Too long and they will be shortened with ellipses in SERPs, too short and you’re wasting valuable SEO real-estate. This tool means the end of ellipses and the start of a perfectly optimized title and description!
For the record, most sites will tell you that Google will cut off your title if it exceeds 70 characters, however these days; Google measures your title on pixel length, rather than some arbitrary number of characters.
You can use the “bold words” feature so that you can see how your snippet would look with your target keywords bolded.
2. Google Analytics
You know what Analytics is don’t you? If you’re not using it, you should be, it’s free and really useful. It gives you a whole host of tools and functions to assist you in gaining a valuable insight into your marketing strategy and can also help you direct your budget and man hours where it matters.
The biggest problem with Analytics is that it does too much, and 99% of people don’t know what to do with it. So learn how to use it properly and try to focus on actionable insights – sure you got X visits this month, but so what? How can that information help you to get more traffic next month?
3. Majestic SEO
For those who haven’t heard of majestic, it is essentially a link analysis tool, it helps you to understand who is linking to you and who is linking to your competitors, making it awfully handy for developing a solid link building strategy.
Majestic works in a very similar way a search engine. It crawls the web by following links and indexes all the data in a hefty database. Majestic’s tools include site and search exploration, keyword checker, backlink history and clique hunter.
Possibly the most powerful feature however, is Majestic’s implementation of ‘flow metrics’. There are two types of metric; trust flow and citation flow. These metrics are a visual representation on how your site is perceived in the context of the internet. For example; Trust flow is a prediction of how trustworthy a site is based on how reputable the sites are that link to it. Citation flow on the other hand is the influence of a site based on the number of sites that link to it.
Need to work with all the data that Majestic provides? Just download it in csv format and open in Excel! Now you can organise and analyse to your heart’s content! Better still, you can upload the opportunities that you find into Buzzstream.
Any SEO worth their salt will tell you that the largest part of the job is link building. You could make the snazziest website ever, selling the most desirable products at the most competitive prices on the net. However, without other sites linking to you, no one is going to find you.
Buzzstream doesn’t automate your link building – and that’s not something you would want anyway.
It is essentially a platform to help you manage relationships and to make your link building more effective and higher quality. Buzzstream is a great tool for anyone wanting to keep all their outreach in one place. Here is a list of all the reasons that you should be using Buzzstream for your outreach:
5. Moz Tools
Moz is like the mac daddy of SEO. If you’ve never heard of Moz, then chances are you’ve been living under a rock, cave, or in outer Mongolia perhaps for the past 10 years. For those who do, they need no introduction.
Since their inception, Moz has developed an abundance of tools for the SEO buff. No longer will you have to search far and wide for SEO tools, you can find them at Moz, all under one roof, (although they are not the cheapest toolset out there).
Budget aside, there are lots of pros as to why you should trust Moz with all your SEO needs. Firstly, they are the industry leaders when it comes to search engine optimization. So in a nutshell; you get what you pay for.
The tools included in Moz’s subscription are:
- Analytics – For measuring and improving your traffic, keyword rankings and search visibility. Use this tool to see exactly what your competitors are up to and how you can take actionable steps to outrank them.
- Web Explorer – Find new link building opportunities and monitor the world wide web for mentions of your site or brand.
- Rank Tracker – This tool is useful for getting instant reports on where a page or domain is ranking in Google for any given keyword.
- On Page Grader – The ultimate on-page SEO tool. Gives you an immediate insight into your pages’ keyword usage, whilst giving you recommendations on how to rank higher on your targeted keywords.
- Keyword Difficulty – Gauge your competition for a specific term or phrase whilst also finding out how difficult it is to rank for said phrase.
- Crawl Test – Allows you to run a full site audit to check for broken links and crawlability for search engines to index more thoroughly.
Moz also offers a few free tools such as MozBar (a browser plugin) and MozCast (which monitors fluctuations in Google’s search algorithm).
6. SEO Tools for Excel
This is a new tool set that I came across as I was researching this post. As I haven’t used these plugins yet, I cannot comment personally on their usability or effectiveness. However, they are worth a mention because their range of tools looks pretty interesting and if you use Excel a lot you will probably be able to find at least some useful functionality. Best of all… They’re free!
They host a whole range of SEO related tools… All integrated into Excel.
This is extremely useful if, like me, you manage a large proportion of your outreach within a spreadsheet. These tools can make your tasks a whole lot easier and more fun, provided you get to grips with using them first.
What really caught my eye with this Excel toolbox is the ability to fully integrate Google AdWords and Majestic with your Excel data! As I said, I have yet to test the usability of it but this sounds like an incredible step in the right direction when it comes to data collection and maintenance. So definitely worth a look!
7. Wayback Machine
If you haven’t come across it before, the Wayback machine is essentially a historical web page archive, cataloguing over 485 Billion web pages over the course of their existence. Aside from being a novelty tool wherein you can view how your site has evolved, it also offers some assistance you might need in your SEO, such as figuring out why a client’s traffic has decreased. Sometimes it’s due to alterations of their site, and when they don’t have backups of their website, this tool may be your SEO Samaritan.
You can also look at how your competitors’ sites have evolved over time and try to look for patterns or signals that indicate their current strategies, any particular promotions that they like to run often and any parts of the site that were added or removed recently.
And there you have it. 7 tools to add to your SEO utility belt, if you haven’t already. Just remember, these tools are great and all, however they are not a replacement for forward thinking and smart marketing strategy. A workman may only be as good as his tools, although it’s the skill of the workman that decides the effectiveness of his tools.