You can find inspiration in the strangest of places.
I happened to find my ray of light whilst re-organising my SEO related bookmarks. Yes, they may have been messy and a clean out might have been overdue, but if I didn’t do it today, the day I happened to be thinking about what to blog about then we would have never arrived here, would we?
Trying to structure my bookmarks made me very aware of what was current and what was out of date. It made me realise what tools I could, and couldn’t live without. What blogs I could and couldn’t stop reading. And most importantly, what people I could and couldn’t stop listening too. The top blogs and people are another post altogether so you will just have settle for the most valuable tools and stay tuned for the rest of the series. So without further ado, here we go, the top ten SEO tools and plug-ins you literally couldn’t live without:
This powerful tool is compatible with a range of browsers and gives a user a wide range of SEO parameters. It saves you so much time it must be similar to hiring a personal assistant, without the tea making ability. You can utilise it to see a quick overview of number of links to page and domain, number of internal & external links from individual pages, age of domain, keyword density and other important SEO factors of a page. Go see for yourself.
Open Site Explorer
This is one of the best link analysis tools around (without paying) Essential for any link building campaign , it will show you up to 10,000 links to a page or site based on Page Authority OR Domain Authority. You can even see the anchor text used, compare two domains side by side, and which content is drawing the most links on your competitor’s website. AND if that wasn’t enough they even offer a good sorting and filtering option for reports and can be exported to CSV for further analysis. How considerate of them.
This tool lets you check what type of redirect is in place for any individual page. A programmer’s nightmare as we are now able to see very quickly just how lazy they have been by implementing 302’s instead of 301’s.
SEO Book Tool Bar
Where would a workman be without his toolkit? This is another great toolbar which contains a lot of valuable and essential tools of the trade. It has many of the same features as SEO Quake but also a few more hidden up its sleeve. You can compare up to 5 different sites which is great for link analysis for competitor research and another great gem is an easy no follow link highlighter.
Ever wondered what a spider sees when it crawls your page? Is it giving you endless sleepless nights? Then worry no more with our star prize this week. This spider simulator tool displays shows the source code of a page, and identifies all outbound links on the page, provides cached copies of the page, the number of indexed pages in major search engines, and common words and phrases found in the page copy.
XML Sitemap Generator
Creating XML sitemaps is a key part of technical SEO. It helps you monitor broken links and is particularly useful if your site has dynamic content or has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to.
This tool lets you enter your full website URL and some optional parameters and then provides a detailed sitemap page, including the number of pages, broken links list, XML file content and a link to a compressed sitemap. It is FREE up to a maximum of 500 pages and you can manually or automatically adjust the priority of pages.
Great for domain ‘who dunnit’ mysteries and snooping around online. You can check important server and hosting details via this tool.
Google Webmaster Tools:
I had to have one Google based tool in here. Webmaster tools let’s you see an overview of your site, including broken links, http error pages, Geo Targeting and the option of resubmitting of sitemaps. Two of the more recent additions is the search query feature, which lets you see the number of impressions for search queries, the CTR you are achieving for it and an average ranking position. Another addition is the subscriber stats for your site. Go have a look and boost you ego.
As explained from the horse’s mouth “this tool determines how well a site is targeted to region-specific search engines”. This tool is great for small local businesses as it helps you understand where search engines think you website is located, and how this may be affecting targeting a specific audience. It also highlights your local online presence by providing a list of local search results for the 3 major search engines for your brand name and website.