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August 21, 2008

Fast, Free, and Easy Tools To Get You Going

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Time to talk SEO tools. Jennifer Laycock will moderate this one with speakers Matt McGee (KeyRelevance), Scott Allen (Hybrid6 Studios) and Joe Abraham (SageRock). This should be fun, let’s do it.

Up first is Matt McGee. He’s like a cute teddy bear. I just want to take him home and place him on my coffee table or something. He’s also one of the most personable speakers on the planet. Okay, I’ll stop gushing now.

SEO Tools: Firefox and Friends

(Only 10 people in the audience admit to NOT using FireFox.)

  • Firefox Web Browser: There are all kinds of add-ons; that’s why Matt likes it. It makes it powerful.
  • SEO for Firefox: When you’re using Google or Yahoo, instead of just getting the plain ten listings, you get all sorts of extra data like the PageRank, domain age, how many links Yahoo reports pointing to that domain, if it has DMOZ listing, etc.
  • Search Status: Exists at the bottom of your browser and a pop up comes up when you click o nit. It offers a lot of the same data as SEO for Firefox, but it provides the data as you’re looking at an individual link page, not on the SERP.
  • SEO Quake: Lots of people like it, but it slows down Matt’s browsers.

Keyword Research Tools

  • Keyword Discovery: His tool of choice for keyword research. You give it a search term and it spits back all the data that it has on that search term.
  • SEO Book Tool: Many search engine optimization agencies swear by this. It provides tons and tons of data about any query you give it. You can compare daily search estimates across search engines.

Backlink Tools: Tools to help you analyze links to your site or to a competitor site.

  • Yahoo Site Explorer: The ultimate backlink tool.
  • Link Diagnosis: Takes the Yahoo data and rearranges it and adds to it. Will show you the links, the anchor text used, if it’s a nofollow link, etc.

Link Building Tools

  • Hub Finder: You give it a keyword and it spits back the top ranking sites for that keyword. It then goes out and analyzes the sites that link to those high ranking Web sites.
  • Traffic Marks: It has a free and a paid version. It presents the same data as Hub Finder. Matt says the interface is a little cleaner and easier to use.

PPC Tools

  • Local Keyword List: Free. You provide a zip code, radius, and a bunch of keywords. It takes the data you gave it, looks that up against a zip code database, and then spits back all the city and town names and adds them to yours.

Domain Tools

  • DomainTools: Provides WHOIS info. You give it a domain and it tells you the page title, the Meta description, how many link it finds, additional data like if its listed in DMOZ, what category it’s in, what the description is.

Spider Tools

  • SEO Browser

Wow, that was a lot of info. Up next is Scott Allen.

Competitive Research Tools:

Compete: Collects data from ISPs and other sources and then gives you info on your competition. You can start with their free tools which let you compare traffic on different Web sites. From there, they also provide premium tools which give you really in-depth tools. Even though the best data isn’t free, it’s still an important site to put on your radar.

Google Trends for Websites: It’s similar to some of Compete’s tools but it’s less in-depth. You can get what regions visitors are from, other sites they’ve visited, the keywords other sites’ visitors have search for and derive who your competitors are.

Spyfu: Excellent PPC data for competitors. You can find data by domain or keyword. You can see what competitors are spending on PPC campaign and see ad data. Find out what keywords they are bidding on. Gives you the ability to drill down and download data for further analysis. Spyfu UK also recently launched.

Google Insights For Search: Google provides data specifically for marketing based on what people are searching for. Use it to decipher trends. Locate appropriate regional markets.

Competitious: Store data about competitors. Create matrix to compare competitor features/attributes. Pulls in RSS feed and search results. You can click and save anything that looks interesting from search or blog feeds, Setup different profiles.

Using WordPress as an SEO Tool

WordPress is one of the most popular blog platforms out there. It’s really well-suited for search engine optimization, especially with a few modifications. One of the great things about WordPress is the great developmental community around it. There are tons of plug-ins around to expand its functionality. It can be used by experts or beginners.

WordPress Search Engine Optimization Benefits: Helps users create basic optimized content even with little SEO knowledge. Once setup, all you have to do is write (for best results 2-5 times a week). You can use it to build links and awareness. Great for social media marketing

Recommended WordPress Settings:

  • Search Engine Friendly URLs: Go into Settings — Permalinks — Month and Name.
  • Indexable by Search Engines: Settings — Privacy — Blog Visibility – I would like my blog to be visible.
  • Communication with other blogsL Setting – Discussions…

WordPress Plugins:

All in One SEO Pack: Helps you with your on-page SEO. It helps you will your Title tags. It prevents a lot of duplicate content issues on the site. It generates your Meta description tags automatically.

WordPress Related Posts: Internal Linking Plugin. It’s very important to improve internal linking throughout blog. It helps expose users to other content and improves search engine rankings.

Sociable: Good social media plug-in. It makes it easy for visitors to submit your content to social media sites.

RSS Footer: RSS Feeds are published but rarely optimized with out of the box blog factor. RSS Footer adds a copyright notice and a link to your Web site.

WP Super Cache: Caching plug-in. Traffic spikes can cause server to buckle under the load. If your site is unavailable for long periods of time your rankings can suffer.

Joe Abraham is next.

Google Keyword Suggestion: Now gives you the approximate search volume. Lets you search by specific term. You can just type in a URL and see what Google thinks it’s about. Do it to your own site, as well.

WordTracker: Good tool but don’t go by the search volume numbers.

Microsoft adCenter Labs: Free Demographic tools. Input a URL on a list of phrases and get back predicted demographics. He mentions both the demographic predictions tool and the keyword forecast tool. Type in any URL and get the make up for who’s visiting that Web site – gender, age ranges, etc.

XML Sitemaps: An XML file lists all the URLs on your Web site or all the ones that you want indexed. List relative importance of pages. Allows the engines an easy way to find pages. Does not guarantee inclusion. Google, Yahoo and MSN all support this protocol.

SitemapDoc.com: If you have under 500 pages on your site, this will generate all the code you need for an XML Sitemap. You just copy and past the code into a text document and save it as an XML file.

Google Webmaster Central: Once you have all this info created, you can submit your sitemap through Google Webmaster Central. Once verified, you gain access to some Google Data o your site like content analysis, top search queries, and Web crawl stats. Can be added to iGoogle.

You can double check your robots.txt file in Google Webmaster Tools.

CrazyEgg: Heatmapping tool. Creates different visual overlays of site with statistics. Creates a heat map, using color to indicate activity.

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3 responses to “Fast, Free, and Easy Tools To Get You Going”

  1. Sarasota SEO writes:

    First let me start off saying I am a huge Matt McGee fan, and he knows it. :-). This is a fantastic, detailed list. It is amazing how much time I spend on many of these daily.

  2. Rachel Phillips writes:

    Wow! Talk about an amazing recap! Great job live blogging this session.
    And just for the record, I’d have to agree with you on your Matt McGee sentiments. :)

  3. Knit Hat writes:

    I’m looking for a tool that will tell me ANOTHER site’s top referring URLs.

    Any thoughts?



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