One of the questions that I get asked at least every couple of months is what kind of basic tools do you use for SEO? The truth of the matter is that while I might use a specific tool to research keywords or a tool to watch traffic closely, I find that there are a few tools available- all of which are free which are indispensable and help me with my day to day projects. Whether you are looking at your competition, tracking your page rank or looking to find a weakness in your site or blog, the following tools are a great way to get an understanding and conduct research.
I know by now everyone has already heard or is using Google Toolbar, but it deserves a mention. Obviously one of the most practical features for SEO/SEM experts is the Page Rank checker that shows up automatically anytime you visit a page. But I find that Google Highlight which makes it easy to search and locate specific keywords throughout copy on a page is essential as well. Google Toolbar is available for Internet Explorer and Firefox and of course for those that use Google Chrome browser. You can install it at the following link: http://www.google.com/toolbar/ie/index.html
I’m a big fan of Firefox and one of things that I love about this browser are the addons. I kind of see addons as the precursor to mobile phone apps. One of my favorite SEO addons available for Firefox is SEOQuake. As you can see in the screenshot below, SEOQuake gives you a wide variety of information for just about any webpage you land on. From left to right, you can see it tells you the Google Page Rank, the amount of links from Yahoo, Google and Bing, Alexa Rank and the age of the website. You can also click the many buttons for Who is information, keyword density, etc. Other features tell you whether the site has a robot file and sitemap.
For those SEO and SEM professionals that look at lots of web pages each and everyday, a great little tool like SEOQuake can be extremely helpful especially for research purposes. You can visit SEOQuake at the following link for more information and to download the addon. It is available for Firefox, Chrome and Safari. http://www.seoquake.com/
The web is a truly international marketplace and knowing which country a website is hosted in can be helpful for certain projects. While one can always access IP data, doing this manually does take time and is inconvenient. I use FlagFox. FlagFox is an addon for Firefox that easily shows you the server’s country of origin with an easy flag image. You can also quickly click on the flag to pull up Who is info as well, the ISP, city and even local time. I like to use this tool to research competition for some of my international clients and prospects. This tool is a particularly great way to research sites in the UK and Australia. http://flagfox.servehttp.com/
If you are looking for an easy way to analyze keywords, one choice is KGen. Within a few seconds, you can analyze just about any webpage with content, easily seeing its frequency and the placement of the keyword. Obviously, this is very important when researching competitor sites as it can help you determine your competitor’s keyword strategy. It is also helpful when writing content for your own site to determine whether or not your site has correct keyword density. In addition to this indispensable tool, KGen allows one to transfer your findings to a clipboard (CSV) file where you can use the keywords in other pieces of content. Find more info at: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/kgen/
There are plenty of great SEO tools available to SEO/SEM professionals. While this is a short list, there are many other high quality and effective tools available pretty much for all browsers. Definitely visit the above tools as well as do some research for the others available, it can streamline your research and give you essential information about your site or others instantly.