Similar to how a tradie has their own preference of tools they would use to get a job done, every SEO has their own arsenal of tools to analyse, audit and optimise a website. Here’s a list of tools that I use on a regular basis that I cannot live without.
1. Google Keyword Tool
Great tool from Google which is completely free. Predominantly used to get keyword ideas for setting up PPC campaigns. Great for finding popular keywords to target. Make sure you are logged in to your Google Account, select exact match and choose the appropriate location and language..
2. Uber Suggest
This scraper tool that returns keyword ideas based on Google Suggest and other suggest services. Pretty cool tool that allows you to get keyword ideas based on a seed keyword. Not only great for keyword discovery but awesome to get content ideas from.
3. SEM Rush
If you ever want to know what keywords your competitors are ranking well for, this is a brilliant tool. All you need to do is enter a URL, pick the search engine and country, you will get a list of keywords ranking in the top 20. It even has historical trending data to see how rankings have improved over a period of time. A tool worth subscribing to!
4. Screaming Frog
This is an uber-super-duper tool that can help you uncover issues on a website. It crawls a website’s links, images, CSS, script and apps. It allows you to easily identify any errors, duplicate content, canonical tags, redirects and the list goes on. The tool is free but has a restriction of 500 URI crawl limit. The paid version is only £99 a year.
5. Xenu Link Sleuth
Before the existence of Screaming Frog, there was Xenu. They do almost the same thing. This tool has been around for ages. I use this together with Screaming Frog, export all data in to Excel and make sure that I cover all bases. Xenu can sometime pick up things that Screaming Frog does not – vice versa.
6. Google & Bing Webmaster Tools
I login to GWT and BWT every single day. They both have extremely valuable information about a website’s performance in the search engines. You can get information about the crawlability and indexability of a website. The new ‘Index Status’ report in GWT is awesome.
7. Web Developer Toolbar
Another Firefox plugin that I use religiously. I use it to check and troubleshoot code. I also love the Net Panel which monitors GET requests.
9. SEOmoz’s SEO toolbar
If you are not already using this amazing toolbar by SEOmoz, you are missing out big time. You have easy access to important SEO metric at a glance. Easily check the domain authority and page authority of web pages. My favourite feature is the ‘Analyze Page’ overlay – all the important things you will need in one interface. You can also easily check for dodgy cloaking using the user agent switcher.
10. SEO Browser
As their tagline suggest “see your website like a Search Engine sees it”. If you sign up for an account with them, you get some pretty detailed information of any website you enter. It is a pretty clunky tool but has a lot of hidden gems.
Link Analysis & Tracking
11. Open Site Explorer
Another product by SEOmoz, OSE is probably the most popular link analysis tool. What I like with OSE most is the ability compare several websites side by side with a range of metrics such as domain authority, page authority, linking root domains, internal and external links, FB likes, FB shares, tweets and Google +1’s. For $99 per month, it is well worth it. You not only get access to OSE but their entire suite of tools including FollwerWonk which they acquired not too long ago.
12. Majestic SEO
A link analysis tool that rivals Open Site Explorer. Majestic SEO’s backlink history report is second to none. It is great to analyse how a website’s link growth overtime. About 2 weeks ago, they announced that they moved from updating their index every day to updating every hour. This is a HUGE step.
13. Link Data from GWT and BWT
If you are investing majority of your time building links and authority to your website, you will want to monitor and make sure that these links are getting found by the engines. The ‘Download Latest Links’ feature in GWT is great. When Yahoo retired their Site Explorer tool, I was devastated! When Bing announced that they were bringing it back in to BWT, it was good news all around.
Reporting & Tracking
14. Advanced Web Ranking
My favourite keyword ranking tracking tool, I have been using AWR since I started working full-time as a SEO. The tool has evolved so much over the years. What I like best about the tool is the ability to use proxies for faster crawling. You can setup whitelabelled reports, integrate with Google Analytics and most recently integration with SEOmoz’s Linkscape database. The tool is extremely flexible and probably covers every single search engines anywhere in the world.
15. Google Analytics
This is a no brainer! You got to track performance and make sure that all the on-site and off-site efforts are translating in to traffic and conversions. I am a big fan of the dashboard functionality of GA. I have dashboards setup for myself, which contains more advanced metrics and dashboards setup specifically for clients where I make sure that I demonstrate metrics that show value of SEO.
There you have it, these are my tools of trade that I cannot live without. What are yours?
Image credit: Dave’s Bike Tools by Bre Pettis