Search-engine optimization is a discipline practiced by people halfway between creative marketing roles and technical developer roles. SEO folks need to understand and be able to communicate with both sides of an organization. These five SEO tools are my go-to sources for data to help me analyze sites and develop strategies that will meet the marketing and technical needs of my clients.
SEOmoz: A very well-rounded tool, SEOmoz offers friendly and attractive reports on everything from rankings to link profiles to to Twitter data to crawler reports. Its graphics and layout make it easy to drop screengrabs right into a presentation destined for less technically oriented folks who appreciate attractive reports. Some of the tools are available for free with limited datasets. The professional subscription offers a lot more depth and detail in each report, however.
Majestic SEO: A detailed link-profiling tool, Majestic SEO provides the most easily digestible visuals for a page’s or site’s link quantity and quality. Many of the tools are free, including the link profile visuals and an excellent snapshot of the number of domains, IP address, .edu, .gov, and other types of links that may interest an SEO professional. Naturally, the full dataset is available to subscribing members.
Google Keyword Tool: Optimization begins with keyword research, and the Google Keyword Research Tool offers a solid toolset for free. Enter any word or phrase and Google will report the number of times it has been searched for in an average month, and how strong the competition is for that phrase.
Google Webmaster Tools: Another free toolset from Google, webmaster tools offers a series of preferences and reporting functions to help manage your site’s SEO. Some are simple selectors like crawl speed or country targeting, and others are detailed reports like search phrases your pages have appeared in search results for and pages that link to your site.
Rex Swain’s Server Header Checker: It’s not pretty, but this server header checker will record every response from a server for a given URL, including redirects and other server header errors. When you really need to know how many times a page 301 redirects and what the intermediary URLs are so you can discuss solutions with developers, Rex Swain’s Server Header Checker will tell you in plain ASCII text.
Jill Kocher is a seasoned SEO professional and all-around technogeek. By day, she manages Resource Interactive’s SEO practice here in Chicago and serves as contributing editor at Practical eCommerce. By night, Jill landscapes her home in the far northern suburbs of Chicagoland while enjoying a glass of wine and thinking about SEO some more. Family discussion centers primarily around SEO, analytics, social media, mobile apps, android, iOS, how-was-your-day and cats.