Improve your online effectiveness
Having an SEO tool kit is an essential part of search. No matter how confident you feel about your knowledge of your niche and the needs or wants of your customers; it really is essential to have tools which provide valuable insights for optimizing your search The tools we have selected have been grouped into categories to help you make better sense of when and how to use them and are shown below:
SEO site auditing tools
Do you know if your on-page elements incorporate your keywords appropriately? Is your site crawlable? Are there high quality inbound links which point to your site?
Tools: www.covario.com this tool uses knowledge about search engines, their algorithms and best practices to produce actionable results and recommendations
URI Valet provides audits and user statistics on a range of parameters which include download time, external links, text to HTML ratio and much more.
Link Analysis/management tools
Are any links broken on your site? Who is linking to your site and what keywords are they using? Who are your competitors receiving links from?
Link checkers are extremely useful; whether you are interested in optimizing your site or not. Once you have created a few pages, run a link check to make sure you do not unwittingly make any errors in your links. Many link checkers are available including many paid services:
Tools: Link Alarm: www.linkalarm.com this will automatically check links on your site and send you a report – a paid service
Xenu Link Sleuth home.snafu.e/tilman/xenulink.html – this is a free service and a popular one too. The program works quickly; checking tens of thousands of links in just a few minutes. It is also user-friendly, producing a report that is displayed in your Web browser that shows the pages containing broken links. Click a link, and the page opens so you can take a look. Use the program to check both internal and external links on your site.
WordPress also has a broken link checker plug in which is easy to install and pretty good too.
Tool: 301 redirects tell search engines that a particular URL really points to another URL. Google uses a 301, for instance to point google.com to www.google.com.
301s are useful when you need to move pages or change domain names. Simply Google 301 redirect in Google for more information
Competitor Intelligence, Traffic Analysis and Keyword effectiveness
Which keywords are responsible for driving the most traffic to your site? How can you expand your keyword lists? Which are the sites that are referring visitors to your site? What percentage of your traffic is from paid search? Natural search?
Tools: It is obviously fundamental to track the traffic that is going to your site. It is also important to track how people get to your site. For this I suggest Google’s Analytics tool at analytics.google.com; another useful one worth checking out is www.crazyegg.com
Tools: For competitor intelligence www.compete.com and www.comscore.com are two excellent sites to gain vital competitor intelligence. For keyword analysis, there is the paid www.wordracker.com resource which will give you in-depth information about the keywords which are key to your niche. Wordtracker is perhaps the most popular commercial keyword tool among SEO professionals. It has access to data from a couple of large metacrawlers, and a large British ISP. A metacrawler is a system that searches multiple search engines for you, for example Google, Yahoo! MSN/Bing, Ask.com.
Tools: The importance of keyword density is an ongoing debate; nevertheless it is worth checking your keyword density as you do need to create pages which are relevant to a visitor’s search. What the exact keyword density should be is again subject for debate. To check keyword density try either of www.keyworddensity.com or/and SEO Tool’s Keyword Density Analyzer at http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/keyword-density/
Tools: Alexa Toolbar download.alexa.com- can be a handy tool if you want to assess the traffic of other websites too. If you are approached with an advertising pitch for instance, the toolbar can help you assess the potential based on the traffic. You could also try the popular SEO Toolbar from SEOmoz, called the MozBar. This gives you a glimpse of the page authority and domain authority you are interested in and also gives you a link analysis assessment for anyone looking for opportunities.
Tool: Shared count will give you the social statistics that pertain to your site. Find out the number of Facebook likes, Tweets, Google +1s, Diggs and Stumbles you get.
You can use the following tools to get information about how people are searching:
Google Trends: – enter a list of search terms, separated by commas, and Google will display a chart showing how often the terms have been searched over a specific time range along with headlines that may related to particular peaks. www.google.com/trends
Google Insight: A great resource to help you compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, and timeframes. www.google.com/insights/search/
Wordtracker (again): – provides free reports of the top 500 searches. freekeywords.wordtracker.com/top-keywords/
If you want to check your ranking or that of other sites you have several options. A personal favourite is www.googlerankings.com.There are also services through programs that are installed on your computer such as www.webceo.com; and Rank Tracker – www.link-assistant.com/rank-tracker.
The best way to keep you informed with the most up to date information is by faamiliarising yourself withi what the search engines themselves have to say. Here are some great places to start:
Google’s Webmaster Pages
Google will not tell you everything it knows but it will tell you everything you need to know. It is worth reviewing the advice at the following places:
Google Webmaster Guidelines: www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html
Google Webmaster Help Centre: www.google.com/support/webmasters
Google’s SEO Starter Guide www.google.com/webmasters/cocs/search-engine-optiimization-starter-guide.pdf
MSN/Bing SEO information
Visit www.bing.com/docs for access to a comprehensive range of information on optimizing pages for submission to MSN/Bing.
Yahoo! Search Help
Although Yahoo! Is now powered by Bing it still provides very useful information; go to http://help.yahoo.com/1/us/yahoo/search/basics
Search Engine Watch –
here you will find a wealth of information about a wide range of subjects. A formidably good site. www.searcheginewatch.com
The Official Google Webmaster Help Group
Peep into the mind of Google via these two useful sites:
- Google Webmaster Central Blog - googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com
- MattCutts.com www.mattcutts.com/blog
Photo Credit: Enokson
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