Are you having SEO problems? Are you struggling to jostle for that ever so coveted first page position on major online search networks? Perhaps your SEO approach is a bit off. Now before I proceed, let me make something clear: I’m not here to say that I know precisely how the Google Algorithm works, so it’s not like I have all the answers. But there’s a few things I do know about improving a site’s online visibility (for the conceptual primary stuff, check this out, and this), and today, I’d like to share with you all a list of tools that can regularly help not only SEO consulting services, but the average Joe out there who is trying to boost his website’s rating all by himself.
To me, SEO is more about fixing technical issues than it is anything else. Many websites are buried underneath a pile of similar but “inferior” websites (from a UX standpoint) because Google considers them “unnatural links.” To put it as curtly as possible – Google can be stupid at times. It penalizes a website for being linked to a bunch of random, crappy websites, even if the website owner wasn’t the one actively linking his website to other corners of the web. This is why I say SEO is more about fixing technical issues than it is anything else, because when you’ve got crappy links associated with your website, you need to identify those crappy links and disconnect from them. I know it sounds like an almost impossible task to diagnose every crappy link out there, but it’s either making an effort to do so or being destined with a life of online invisibility and isolation.
Just to be clear, I’ve only shared with you one example of what could be holding your website back from getting the online exposure you want and crave. There are doubtless many more, and it would take an entire hundred-page treatise to cover each and every one. I know you don’t have the time to read all of that, and I certainly don’t want to expend to much of my mental energy researching and writing that treatise either. I think a list of valuable SEO tools will suffice for now.
And now, it’s time. Let’s take a moment to briefly look at these game-changing SEO tools.
This is by far the most useful tool in the SEO world. If you don’t know what Google Analytics is, read no further. Exit out of the tab that you’ve dedicated to this article and go open a wiki page and learn a thing or two about Google Analytics. Then go and open up a free account. Play around with it and get to know it. It will soon become your best friend. But in short, Google Analytics is used to identify and analyze your site traffic – i.e., how many people have viewed your site, how many people leave shortly after visiting the homepage without taking any other action (they call this the bounce rate), etc. It’s an incredibly powerful tool.
Not as powerful and useful as Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools serves a purpose nonetheless. It’s purpose: to notify you if your website has any major issue or penalty. Google will send you a direct message to let you know if such is the case.
The name of this tool isn’t even its best asset. Screaming Frog is shooting through the roof in value! It shows you your Title tags, Canonical tags, Meta Descriptions, URLs, and so on – all in one clear and concise spread sheet. I use this all the time, because parsing through HTML text to find certain tags can be a lot of legwork and extremely time consuming. Time is money, and Screaming Frog can save you a whole bunch of time.
If you want to find out what sort of redirect a particular page may have, this tool is just what you’ve been looking for! I personally like to see 301s as opposed to 302s or anything else for that matter. Regardless of the report, I know that I’m gleaning something of value by using this tool. There’s always something I can learn about my site. Intuitive and easy-to-use, Rex Swain’s HTTP Header Viewer can be used by even web technology neophytes. So easy-to-use, no wonder it’s number one.
Talk about the best tool around for learning about a website’s back-links! Ahrefs can be a major time-savor; I actually will go so far as to call it a life-saver. Find those suspect links quickly and effectively. Figure out what may be holding your site back from online visibility. Also, use it to find out what suspect back-links are linked to your competitors’ pages.
I don’t use any other tool for keyword research. Google Keywords Tool has everything I need to learn about the phrases and search terms my target audience uses to access the stuff similar to what I offer on my website. A very powerful tool – arguably the most powerful tool not named Google Analytics.
No, I didn’t forget the e. They spell it that way. Toggle is a free time tracking software. I use it all the time to find out how long it takes me to complete a specific task. As a matter of fact, I’m using it right now to keep track of how long it is taking me to write this article. This isn’t exactly an SEO tool, I know, but it can be used to greatly improve your productivity, whether you’re writing an article like me, or doing something SEO related. It’s just an all-around awesome tool that I had to include in here. All web-developers know about it – and love it.
If you want to know how and where exactly you spent your time, this time tracking tool is the ideal one to use. In addition to accurately tracking time, it also gives you data on the websites visited and apps you used. This helps in monitoring, evaluating and improving productivity. Plus, it gives you a nudge when you lose focus on the task at hand. That makes it overall a fantastic time management tool.
If you want to know your Google Toolbar PageRank, use this tool. If you want to know how many pages a given site has indexed, use this tool. If you want to know if your site is linked to a domain like archive.org, use this tool. I can go on and on. PageRank Status is a great tool, and one I’d highly recommend to all: SEO mavens and novices alike!
So this is a list of just a few of the many valuable tools out there. I’m hoping you folks give at least a few of them a try. And, of course, if you think I missed anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m always eager to add another tool to my already powerful toolbox.