In recent weeks I’ve come across three SEO tools that I’ve found to be very useful. Here is a look at each of these (free) tools.
Aaron Wall of SEO Book recently released a powerful new Firefox add-on called Rank Checker. If you’re working on moving your site up in the SERPs, you’ll obviously want to know where you stand and to be actively tracking your progress.
As a Firefox add-on this tool is both free and very convenient to use. With Rank Checker you can input the URL that you want to track and a list of keywords that you are targeting (or just researching). You’ll then be able to choose which search engines to check (including all of the international versions of Google). The tool will then go out and get the data and bring it back to you in one convenient place.
There are plenty of other ranking checkers out there, but this one is different for a few reasons. First, it’s a Firefox add-on that can be used easily from within the browser. Also, it has a number of customizable options, including the international versions of Google, other search engine options, and the time delay between queries. Additionally, you can save preset lists of keywords so that you don’t have to enter all of your keywords every time you want to use the tool. This is a great feature if you are working on multiple websites and each one has its own unique keywords to track. What makes this tool even more powerful is that it can be automated to run the reports on its own at set time intervals.
After you have run the Rank Checker you can easily export the results as a CSV file to use in Excel or another program. Aaron created a quick 5 minute video at the download page to explain the tool and how to use it. After spending just a few minutes to download the add-on and watch the video you’ll be able to use this tool with no problem. That’s what I like best about Rank Checker, it’s powerful but very simple to use.
SEO Quake is another Firefox add-on that you’ll probably want to download. With SEO Quake you can optimize your site by gaining tons of information about other pages that are ranking well. After downloading and installing the add-on, run a Google search for the primary search phrase that you are targeting. Under each of the listings you’ll see addition information provided by SEO Quake, such as the PR and Alexa ranking of the page, plus the number of pages indexed from that URL and the number of inbound links (you can customize a lot of this data to meet your needs).
If you are looking to gain new inbound links to your site, you can find one of your competitors that has a high number of inbound links (you’ll probably want to use the data coming from Yahoo for this) and click on that number, which will open up the page displaying all of those inbound links. This will give you a list of sites that may be interested in also linking to you.
SEO Quake also has plenty of options, including the ability to save data in a CSV file. One thing to be aware of is that SEO Quake will slow down your load time when you’re surfing, but you can easily de-activate it when it is not in use.
Open Source Link Analysis Tool
(UPDATE: This tool is no longer available.) Patrick Altoft of BlogStorm has created an open source link analysis tool that does some of the same functions as SEO Quake. Patrick’s tool is not a Firefox extension, so if you are not a Firefox user this may be a good choice. One of the reasons Patrick chose to release this as an open source project is to allow for others to develop and customize it further, so keep your eyes open for continued improvement.
Here is Patrick’s description of what the tool does:
* Uses Yahoo Site Explorer to find all pages on a site
* Pulls in link data for every page on the site & orders results by pages with the most links
* Allows you to drill down 2 levels deep into the link data for pages linking to the target site
* Accepts Google sitemaps imports
* Accepts single URL imports
* Lets you check the rankings for any page on any search engine