SEO and Webmaster Tools we recommend.
Ok so I have done a post on all the tools/software I use and the boys and Dolphin Promotions use day to day but I left out any SEO/Website tools as I think it requires a post of its own, and also some of these tools are not free.
- Digital Point Keyword Tool – An oldie but a goodie, Digital Points Keyword tool uses data from both wordtracker and overture. My only gripe is the annoying Captcha, but that is because I am thick and always mistype the letters in.
- Domain Tools – Mainly used for WHOIS data but also provides some useful website and server data. Some of the advanced feature does require a subscription but I would say they are not worth it unless you are a power user.
- Google Analytics / Google Webmaster Tools – Both of these are tools a lot, if not most web masters use. Webmastertools allows you to add an xml sitemap to Google, which in theory should ensure your pages get indexed; it can also provide some rankings, though I find them somewhat inaccurate. You can also set the preferred domain which I find quite useful as our servers are IIS so we cannot set the domain with a 301 in the .htaccess. Google Analytics is a pretty thorough analytics tool, and you can set it up to differentiate between Adwords Traffic and Organic Traffic. Google Analytics also uses jscript for analysis so it may not be for everyone’s taste.
- Google Keyword Tools – Another handy little Keyword tool, this is nice to find out the cost of the Keywords with Adwords.
- IWebTool Web Tools – I do not actually use this set of tools that often as I find most of the tools I would use are already available in the extensions I use with Firefox. However it is popular and does have a nice set of tools. Yes it is an affiliate link, the tools are free to use but if you do buy something off there then I may as well try and earn something out of it.
- Overture Keyword Selector – Yes another keyword tool, don’t really use this one as it is used in Digital Points tool, however since the DP tool wouldn’t be the same without it I thought I should mention it.
- Ping-O-Matic – A useful tool to ping blogs when you make a post, not really needed if you use wordpress as you can set it up to auto ping.
- SEO Digger – Not so much a tool that is much use for us Brits as I believe it uses data from the US Data centres however it is fun to use and can help with investigating competing websites.
- Sitening SEO Tools – Not used very frequently however the SEO Analyser can be useful for finding out areas a site can be improved on.
- Who Is Hosting This – Again not used that often but it useful to find out who hosts certain websites.
- Xinu – A great little tool for analysing a website. Can quickly check Pagerank, Backlinks, Indexed pages, and more. Installed on our servers though the original created is based here.
- XML Sitemaps – Why write your own XML sitemap when you can create it automatically; however it is limited to 500 pages so it is not always ideal.
Paid for Tools
We find most SEO and Webmaster tools that require payment or subscription to be no better than the free alternative or in some cases to be more damaging that useful. The only 2 I have/still use are:
- SEOmoz – Many of the tools on SEOmoz are free, the monthly subscription provides added tools and access to certain tools without restriction. It also provides guides and some other minor added features. The main reason I have found for paying for this tool is the Keyword Rankings. I always used to be a bit old fashioned or a purist when it came down to checking rankings for client sites so I have always done this manually. The occasional time I have tried software that tracks rankings I have found them to be inaccurate or not target the UK data centres. While some ranking software/websites are more accurate than others I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes down to accurate ranking and SEOmoz is the only tool that I have found to be accurate enough to my tastes. The only problem with this tool is you need to check each keyword individually, which can be time consuming as I check over 1500 keywords each month. However I imagine if they allowed users to run the rank checker as a batch process it would create a huge demand on the server resources so I cannot blame them for implementing the tool in this way. The tool also archives your rankings and will provide information on the change in rank when you recheck a keyword.
- Wordze – Another keyword research tool. This is another tool I have paid for partly out of laziness, compared to the other keyword tools I find this very easy to use and can provide a large list of keywords in a very short time, I also think it is good to research Keywords from multiple sources in order to improve accuracy. This is especially so with Wordze as I have found some of its results a little odd/inaccurate in the past.
Ok not all of these are SEO or Web related tools but I find them very useful and some of them will help protect your computer. If your not already using Firefox get it now, it is much better than IE
- Adblock Plus – A brilliant add-on for Firefox, it removes most/all advertising from websites. I find the only adverts I ever see are the Sponsored Listings on Google, it does remove Google Adsense Adverts from other sites though. While I love this add-on I think as it gains popularity more and more people will look into ways to bypass it. If everyone had this add-on it would essentially ruin most of the Web 2.0 companies out there as advertising income would plummet.
- IE Tab – Another useful one allowing web developers to see how a web page is displayed in IE.
- SEOpen – A useful SEO analysis tool, you can right on a website and check for backlinks, pages within index, whois, HTML validator etc
- Google Toolbar – Not very important but its nice to see the page rank of a site, I also use it to check Gmail etc
I am always looking for new tools to use so if you have any suggestions please comment.