SEO Software, Tools and Websites

There’s no doubt that having a bunch of SEO Tools and plugins won’t make you an expert SEO. SEO is an ongoing, time consuming process of testing, more testing, and analysis and tools won’t make up for a lack of knowledge and inexperience.

Working on multiple sites and trying to do everthing manually just takes too much time, so below are some of the tools, websites and software I use to speed up the process and make life that little bit easier.

These tools concentrate more on the analysis side of things rather than the creativity side where software and tools are obviously lacking.

Google Webmaster Tools is as important as any tool, and one of the first things to do after developing a site is to add your site. GWT provides a great guide into how Google treats and sees your site.

The control panel provides alot of information, including information on crawl errors, 404 errors and links to your site. In the HTML suggestions section Google gives you feedback on duplicate and short meta descriptions and page titles. Improving these reduces duplicate content issues and helps your site perform better.

Amongst other things you can set the geographic target of your site, so for example is you’ve a country neutral domain such as a .com you could set it up to target Google.co.uk. There’s also the option to set the preferred canonical domain, and stop your site from multiple indexing and a weakening of it’s authority.

With Google seemingly attaching more importance to page load times you should keep an eye on the speed of your pages. Website Optimization provides a free website performance tool, and Google also seems to be rolling out a speed testing service in GWT.

Stats & Analytics

Google Analytics is an another awesome free analytics tool. Stats Counter is a free alternative. Google Analytics shows less traffic than Stats Counter as Google Analytics won’t count robots since it only works on javascript enabled browsers. GA also uses cookies to record visit details, so Google can also determine whether a visitor has arrived before and dismiss multiple visits.

Advanced Web Ranking is great for running keyword reports to show clients. No doubt SERP rankings for a website is a factor in judging the success of a site but shouldn’t be taken as the one and only factor. Many less experienced and knowledgeable clients may think this. I tend to favour a broad approach rather than just judging the success on the trophy keywords.

Page Rank

Download the Google Toolbar. One of the features of the toolbar is that it lets you see the toolbar Page rank of a page you’re on. PR although much maligned for me is still useful in that it definitely flags up warning signs and gives indications of the value that Google places on a page. So if you’ve a page that continues to accrue no PR it might be a warning sign that Google simply sees the page as a duplicate, untrustworthy or just content filler.

IP Address

Hide my Ass lets you surf the internet anonymously with no personalisation. Search from a different IP address in a different country and see how the results differ.

This Reverse IP Lookup from YouGetSignal lets you see who else is on your server. Enter a domain or IP address and discover other sites hosted on the web server. If there’s sites with explicit or improper content on a shared hosting environment then that’s a concern.

Broken Links, 404’s

You need to keep an eye on indexing issues, especially 404 status codes being returned. GWT is becoming a one stop solution for many of these issues and will identify these error messages. Xenu’s Link Sleuth is another alternative good tool for finding broken links on your site.

Site Map Generator

XML-sitemaps does what it says on the tin. For a larger dynamic site you might have to look at a different solution.

Content

The plagirism checker from Copyscape allows you to easily check for duplicate content. So you can check whether a page is duplicated and possibly being ripped off or whether a content writer has done the same work and presented you with it.

BackLinks

Yahoo Site Explorer allows you to check how many backlinks your site has and displays the top 1000. I’m sure there’s a way to display more, or atleast I think I came across it but of the top of my head can’t remember it.

Backlinkwatch is good in that you can see how strong the links are for your competitors and the amount of keyword anchor text they have. Rather than simply competing with getting the same links and a few more, try to look for different angles and plot your own campaign.

SEO Majestic’s compare backlinks tool lets you compare the domain name backlink history of sites. You can check how aggressive the linking campaign of your competitors is over a certain time period. Are they ramping up their campaign?

Run a bad neighbourhood test on your site and see if any flags are raised for deeper investigation.

Domain Age

There’s no doubt that Google places a great emphasis on domain age and authority. SEO For Firefox comes in handy for checking the age of the domain, but there’s other tools out there that do this.

Keywords

Google Keyword Suggestion Tool is certainly good for keyword digging, start at the top of the tree and check out the competition and what keywords they are obviously targeting.

WordTracker offers a free month trial and one month minimum term £28. If you’re putting a monetary site together and want to have a wide as reach as possible then well worth the investment.

Google Adwords itself is a great place to find keywords. If you get the call to work on a site that has had a PPC campaign running with tracking set up then Google Adwords can provide you with valuble keyword information, the better the campaign the more you’ll be able to see which terms work and which you should work on.

The way back tool allows you to check the history of a domain name. It certainly comes in handy if you’re about to invest in a domain name and build a
site on it. Last thing you want is to buy a domain that has had a penalty against it.

Link Search Tool is a keyword suggestion tool from Solo SEO. It certainly comes in handy when you wish to dig around for potential links.

Plugins FOR Firefox

SEO For Firefox helps me look at search engine results and make quick judgements based on the age of a site, the number of incoming links,
whether they are listed in directories such as DMOZ, Yahoo, the likely advertising budgets, and the extent to which a site has been promoted and whether it is continuing to be pushed.

HTTP Live Headers allows you to check the header status of a page. For instance if you’ve redirected pages on your site to a new page you can quickly verify that the correct HTTP status is returned. Does the redirect that’ve you’ve set up from an old page to a new page return a 301? This plugin will let you know.

How do you tell whether a link is a NOFOLLOW or DOFOLLOW link passing page rank and anchor text relevancy? This NOFOLLOW Plugin for FireFox is the answer. If you’re chasing Page Rank on do follow blogs, then it might interest you. It’s also an interesting tool to see wheter a site is breaking Google’s guidelines on selling links for Page Rank either unintentionally or not.

Firebug is a cool plugin for Firefox. This plugin lets me quickly see the source code for a webpage and to make sure the markup is correctly applied.
When I click ‘Inspect Element’ it will show the exact code for the section of the webpage you’re mousing over.

The Web Developer ToolBar allows you to quickly disable javascript and CSS, amongst other things.

The W3C Markup Validator tool which is also an option on the Web Developer Toolbar lets you check the markup of your page. Not that I’m convinced that valid CSS HTML code improves ranking and according to Matt Cutts it doesn’t matter, but it’s always good to check how valid your code is and to avoid any potential problems.

Browser Checking

A browser screen resolution checker shows what your web page looks like with the viewer’s monitor set to different screen resolutions.

One of the most painful things in building a site that isn’t structured with HTML tables is checking that it works in different browsers. This website comes in handy and can highlight the problems with cross browser CSS issues.

SEOBrowser will show you exactly what Google sees of your page rather than what the user sees. Obviously this is very important for SEO purposes. If you’ve just a page with paragraph markup, no headers, sub headers, and no keywords then the relevancy of your site might not be hitting the mark.

Others

Google Alerts allows you to recieve email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on the terms you select. Keep an eye on a keyword term that you are targetting or a competitor.

Search Google and return just the page titles and URL’s.

Not strictly a tool but running commands certainly comes in handy when searching for relevant sites. Pretty much like the Solo SEO you can run a number of Google Operators to mine for decent sources of links.

“Add URL” +”your keyword(s)”
“Add link” +”your keyword(s)”
“Add Website” +”your keyword(s)”
“Add a website” +”your keyword(s)”
“Add your website” +”your keyword(s)”
“Submit link” + “your keyword(s)”
“Submit your site” +”your keyword(s)”

You get the picture with those examples above.

Hopefully these websites and tools might come in handy and help you. If you’ve any other tools *worthy* of a mention then just let me know.



4 Responses to “SEO Software, Tools and Websites”

  1. Paul AnthonyNo Gravatar Says:

    Bit of a monster post Michael – great stuff!

    A small relatively unknown feature in Bing – is reverse DNS. You’ve mentioned a third party service here – some would say this inclusion hints that the engines are taking notice of this data, or at the very least their architecture lends itself to finding this at the drop of a hat.

    a query of “ip:81.17.252.70” (without quotes – also returns the other sites on that server.

  2. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Paul.

    That’s a nice and interesting find.
    Hope it’s all going well.

  3. Arlena LaceyNo Gravatar Says:

    Hello, I came across this blog article while searching for help with JavaScript. I have recently changed browsers from Google Chrome to Firefox 3.2. Just recently I seem to have a issue with loading JavaScript. Every time I go on a website that requires Javascript, my computer does not load and I get a “runtime error javascript.JSException: Unknown name”. I cannot seem to find out how to fix the problem. Any aid is very appreciated! Thanks

  4. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Arlena,

    Sorry not sure what the issue is, trying running a search on Google to see if anyone else has posted this error.

Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced web developer based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own web design company.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 923383 or use the contact form.

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