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October 21, 2008

Five Unexpectedly Obvious SEO Tools

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Tools are a critical part of any SEO’s arsenal. Competitive research tools, keyword research tools, link analysis tools, project management tools, check server tools, rank checking tools, rep management tools, analytics tools — I could go on. There are free tools and not-so-free tools. There are tools you use every day, tools you use every month, and tools you don’t even know exist. Then there are the tools you may have forgotten were tools! Here are five unexpectedly obvious tools that are so integral to your daily activities you may have forgotten they could even be used as SEO tools.

1. Search

Okay, so you probably didn’t forget about this one. Chances are that if you’re reading this, search has already taken over your life. You used it to figure out where to go to lunch this afternoon. You used it to book the hotel you’re staying at for PubCon. You used it to write that blog post this morning, and you’re about to use it to find that hilarious clip from the Daily Show you saw last night so you can share it with your office mates. But when it comes to the job, search is an excellent tool for competitive research. It lets you know who your main competitors are and, through link commands, who is linking to them. Keyword research is also possible with search — a functionality enhanced through search suggest features, as well.

2. Images and Multimedia

Didn’t that picture at the top of this post catch your interest? Not only can images and multimedia get the attention of human users, but they can grab the attention of search engines as well. Images and multimedia are a sound way to get listings in a variety of locations. Image search and blended results will eat your pictures and videos right up and serve them back to hungry users.

3. Phone, Email and the Occasional Lunch

Rather archaic tools by today’s standards, phone calls, emails and face-to-face time can go a long way in the workplace. One of the keys to successful SEO expectation management is communication. While you may prefer text messages or Twitter, your clients may be most comfortable communicating the old fashion way. Also addressed through communication is project management. Large scale projects need to be tracked through software programs or spreadsheets, but nothing can replace a meeting or team email to keep everyone up to speed on the stages of the project and how everyone’s efforts are coming together.

4. Blogs

As a number of panelists at the Search and the U.S. Presidential Campaign session at SMX East said, blogging can be a powerful connection tool that provides a means of listening to customers or consumers. The community that can be developed through a blog can be a priceless and long-lasting benefit to your business. For SEOs, reading blogs is one of the main channels of staying up-to-date on the developments of the industry, or in other words, continuing your education. Plus, blogs are a solid way of updating and adding content to a site.

5. Social Media

Social media, like Twitter, allows us to ask questions of our peers, do research, get and give recommendations and more. I’ve watched bloggers make a call for post topics. I’ve helped out marketers that ask friends to visit certain pages they’re testing. I’ve seen requests for the best tools that do this or that. There are vast amounts of community knowledge that can be leveraged through social media. It just goes to show that one of the very best tools we have at our disposal is each other!

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One response to “Five Unexpectedly Obvious SEO Tools”

  1. matthew writes:

    “Great topic & it has covered several points regarding
    search engine optimization. But I got a question, do you think onpage factors or offpage factors play a bigger role for SEO? Please advise”



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