by Chris Horton
There are tons of great SEO tools out there that you can use to help you on your journey to top rankings on Google. Many are really good and some are just, not. I did my best to keep the “nots” off of this list. Some of these are downloadable, some you use online, some are free to use, some are not. But if you were to use these tools to your advantage, top rankings on Google is literally days away.
Google Webmaster Tools
If you’re not using this tool, then you should be shot and hung. All that’s required is that you actually own the site. You verify your ownership by adding a meta tag or uploading a page to the root directory and then you have access to a wealth of information. Everything from broken links, title tag issues, backlinks and more. It’s only shortcoming is lack of competitive analysis, but it’s all here and it’s all FREE.
This is by far the mack daddy of SEO tools to have in your arsenal if you’re expecting to make it up the charts. I have brought companies to the top of Google without using this tool and also with it. And I can tell you that using it makes the process not only easier but hundreds of times quicker. It will shortcut your efforts by weeks if not months. It shows you everything from what your competitor is doing, what keywords you should use, how to structure your code, keyword ratios, and the entire gamut. It’s amazing and will literally get you to the top of Google very quickly. Get it.
(http://www.goodkeywords.com) – Download here
This program is limited, but it spits out some amazing keyword suggestions. The program is free, which is even better. You type in a basic keyword you’re interested in and it displays a laundry list of alternate keywords from Google, Yahoo and others. It does a good job of also not straining Google resources which obviously is good to avoid being banned.
IBP (Internet Business Promoter)
I shouldn’t give away this secret, but I use this tool very heavily. It has keyword tools, web optimization tools, competition analysis and a very, very cool reporting feature that spits out 50 page reports in seconds showing analysis of what the top 10 competitors are doing and suggestions about how you can fix your site to be in line with what they’re doing. It’s amazing. One of my favorite tools on the list.
SEOBook is one of my favorite websites because they offer tons of really cool SEO tools that mostly are plugins to IE and Firefox (Firefox mostly) that can check your web rankings, get PPC data, Google toolbars and much more. Lots of useful stuff and most of which is, yes, Free.
PPC Web Spy
This program is designed to basically spy on your competition while you’re browsing the web. It’s a plug-in for your browser that shows you the keywords that your competitors are focusing on which ultimately gives you an advantage to capitalize on words they’re probably missing. It literally will show you all of your competitors ad copy for Google AdWords. their cost per click, their position, and even how much they’re spending. In reality, this is very covert and is really a crazy amount of information to be able to get. A very dangerous tool. To your competitors.
By far, the best information you will get ANYWHERE on search engine strategies and the ongoing changes to the big 3 (Google, Yahoo, MSN). If something changes with their algorithms, rules change, something stops working, you’re about to get ripped off on your PPC campaign, problems, changes, etc., these are the guys you go to. Every month, they send you incredible 30+ page newsletter highlighting the best directories to get into, best deals, AND you also get a HUGE and I mean HUGE Unfair Advantage book that walk you through extensive step by step tutorials on how to get your site up to speed. No joke. Don’t hesitate on this one.
A pretty amazing piece of software that is also completely FREE and is literally beaming with greatness. Plug in the keyword you want and you get a treasure trove of long tail keywords that your competitors are most likely missing. Then you can take that list and tweak it out, multiply results and much more. Oh yeah, and it’s free.
Another FREE program that does have a paid component for it, but it offers so much free content out of the gate, that it’s hard to ignore. You can get some pretty amazing information here from keyword research, code alteration, and some very valuable tips. And again, it’s free.
Google Keyword Research Tool
Google Adwords is imperative for anyone to use if you’re just starting online. It’s even moreso to know what your competitors are doing and while the tool doesn’t offer specific numbers, it will tell you what keywords are the most competitive and that will eat you alive in click through cost and what words no one is bidding on for some reason. The new alterations give you approxiamate numbers and estimated numbers for next month. An invaluable FREE tool.
There are many people that talk about SEO and how easy it is. Give me a break. If it was incredibly easy, most of you would never see the first page of Google. Brad Callen has an amazing insight into the world of SEO and has practiced what he preached for years. No one has logged more documented proof than Brad of his successes and in this book, he pretty much shares it with the world. And you can get it here. And don’t forget the FREE book over there on the right sidebar. Yeah, it’s free.
One of the toughest things to do is to get people to link to your site. This is a major part of the ranking puzzle and especially if you’ve found yourself trapped on the second page and you can’t seem to budge. Enter Cyberlink Pro which for a very small fee will get you thousands of one way links. This does actually work for that extra boost, but just keep an eye on your backlinks via Google Webmaster Tools to weed out any bad ones that appear from naughty sites. They don’t create links on these sites, but when you have a ton of links created fairly quickly, some of these leech sites will post your site on thers without your permission. A great service though that actually does work, and very fast.
For real? If you don’t know what it is or how to use it, you are beyond help. You sign up for free, you put a code block into your web pages and then you have a ridiculous amount of data at your disposal, for free. Traffic patterns, what keywords you’re being found on, e-commerce, where they’re leaving from, what keywords theyre finding you on and tons more. Free.
Wordtracker has been around forever and while they do offer a free version of their keyword tool, the paid version offers a wealth of information that will simply blow you away. You’ll have such ridiculous insight into keyword conversions that you might actually get sick by the spinning array of data. It is SO worth every dime.
One of the most important things about ranking well on Google is backlinks. People linking back to you. This tool makes it not only incredibly easy to know how many you have, but also spends an inordinate amount of time analyzing them which is fantastic.
SEO Chat is awesome. It has tons of free tools that you can use to optimize your website and use for ad campaigns such as AdSense calculators, meta tag generators, analyzers, robots.txt generators, and just a bucnh more. Oh and all free.
Ever wonder what your competitor is spending money on for their Adwords ads, what their ads say, what words they’re targeting and more about their advertising budget? Look no further than SpyFu. You can give it a test run but it really does not give you the complete picture compared to the paid version.
Search Engine Genie
Ever use programs where you’re trying to check your position on the web and you get blocked or it’s saying you’re not there when you know you are. Your IP is being blocked. Somehow, with the exception of Yahoo, Search Engine Genie’s website has been able to sneak by and even Yahoo allows it for about 10 searches. Check your position and feel good about yourself all at the same time.
Yet another service that offers a free unlimited trial run that will give you a good bit of info, but the paid version gives you ridiculous analytics type views of your competitors. You can see who is sending them traffic, how they’re being found online, what keywords they’re focusing on and which ones they’re missing, traffic data and much more.
Ultimate Guide To WordPress Plugins
While this is more specific to folks that use WordPress, the major difference between a blog that gets a few views as opposed to hundreds a day is obviously traffic (and compelling content). And using the right plugins in WordPress is imperative to that effort. This little guide documents the plugins that you must have by all means necessary and others that will tweak the blog beyond anything you could imagine. And it’s cheap.
Web Conf’s released this very cool tool that allows you to plugin a keyword and it will spit out a list of websites that are relevant to that word that you could approach for getting links with.
Bad Neighborhood Checker
Have you added links to a bunch of websites and instead of leaping you’ve lunged into the ranking abyss? Maybe because one of the websites you ranked to is viewed as a spamming site, adult site or just a “bad neighborhood”. This site will help you track down those sites that are doing you more harm than good.
A strange but true service that allows you to submit to over 300+ search engines for only $2.99. While most people scoff, others love the fact that they can click a button for $3 and be done with this piece of the puzzle.
Dead Link Checker
Nothing is worse than having a bunch of broken links on your site. Use this tool to find them. That is, of course, if you’re not using Google Webmaster Tools, you idgit.
Using social bookmarking services like Digg, Delicious, Yahoo, Buzz, etc. is imperative to getting good backlinks for your website. But like many people, who in the world has the time to bookmark websites going site to site. Enter Social Marker, a free service that asks you for the basic info one time, then you check the services you use from the list and it takes you to each website one by one pre-filling in all of the information for you. Sweet.
If you’re curious as to what people are searching for right now and what’s the most popular? Look no further than Google Trends. A glimpse at the most common searches at that given time. You can then use this info to write blogs or articles that are guaranteed to snag traffic.
This is similar to Google Trends above except that it displays what the most ppular blog topics are at any given moment. A very good thing to know when you’re trying to figure out what people want to read about and apply it to your business.
If you’re into the whole affiliate marketing scenario, then you probably don’t want to be without Affiliate Elite. A program that gives you the hot products that affiliates are targeting, what they’re using to sell them, and tons more. It’s really ridiculous and has people making over a grand a week selling stuff for other people and carrying no inventory at all. Pretty insane stuff.
Need More? Okay, here are some short blasts for you.
Keyword Popularity Tool – Are you marketing for a keyword that’s just going to be an uphill battle?
SEO Blueprint Secrets – Download a bunch of SEO videos for free here.
Keyword Strategy Guide – A strategy guide for finding the right Google keywords that will actually make you money.
Google vs Yahoo Graph - Top 50 display of a term on both Yahoo and Google
Keyword Density Analyzer - analyzes how much you’ve used certain keywords and terms
Multi DC PageRank Checker – checks Google multiple data centers
Alexa Page Ranking – Check your Alexa Ranking.
W3C Markup Validation Service – You’ll almost never be in full compliance so don’t kill yourself.
Browser Screen Resolution Checker - Better check that your site doesn’t go wacky when the resolution is changed.
Domain Dossier - Get background info on just about everything you’d want to know about a domain name.
Online XML Sitemaps Generator – Sitemaps are important to Google and this will make your life much easier. Dynamic sites will get mixed results though.
Dynamic to Static URL Changer – Search engines like dynamic URL’s much better than static. This tool can be implemented into your .htaccess file and will alter the files into static ones. Lots of folks use this tool and for good reason. You don’t have to, but you can if you’re trying to get a little edge when you’re right on the heels of a competitor and you need that extra umph.
Page Rank Tool – Check your Pagerank across multiple Google datacenters all at once OR
Google PageRank Prediction – Let this predict what your Pagerank will be after you make those adjustments.
Rank Pulse – Keeps an ongoing watch on the most popular and least popular keyword terms to the tune of 1000 of them. Find out what people are searching for most frequently.
Copyscape – Think your content may have been lifted? Search for copies of your content on the web by using this tool.
And every time I find another cool tool I’ll post it here. So expect this page to be updated regularly. Bookmark it baby! Got an indispensable tool that I missed? Tell me about it.