Nine SEO tools you should be using
Regardless of your niche, getting a lot of traffic to your site through natural search is essential for affiliate marketing success when you’re a beginner.
When you make the most out of natural search, you’ll get more traffic, and more commissions, without the complexity and expense of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
You’re also developing a traffic source that lasts over time.
You certainly know that the more traffic you get, the more profitable your site will be.
But do you know how to manage your search engine optimization to get more traffic? While the SEO game is getting more complex every day, the foundation of good SEO is simple. Great content leads to great traffic.
In order to make sure that you’re creating your content in a way that’s friendly toward the search engines, and targeting the most profitable keywords, you’ve got to do your research first.
Over the years there have been a lot of different tools claiming to make the job of optimizing your website easier. Some are worth buying, some are not. And some of the free tools are often a better value than the paid ones.
This list of nine SEO tools will do a great job as you work to maximize the traffic to your site.
SEO Toolbar combines competitive research data and SEO research tools. This Firefox extension pulls in a number of useful data points allowing you to get a holistic view of the competitive landscape of your market. As you browse, the toolbar pulls useful market research data right into your browser, including:
- Domain link, page link, .edu and .gov links from Yahoo!,
- Unique linking domains from Majestic SEO,
- Listings in DMOZ, dir.yahoo.com and BOTW,
- Google PageRank,
- Domain age from archive.org, and
- A number of other advanced options.
SEO Toolbar also helps with competitive research links and keyword research. It can highlight no-follow links and has a built in Rank Checker. But one of the most useful tools is the SEO X-ray, which analyzes content and behind-the-scenes meta information.
Like SEO Toolbar, SEO Quake is a powerful Firefox toolbar, which also comes as a “light” version for Chrome and Safari. It allows you to obtain and investigate a number of important SEO parameters on the fly, including Google Trends information, Quantcast Rank, Digg index and Seodigger details.
With these two toolbars, all important SEO analytics are at your fingertips.
Google Analytics is the only stats package you’re ever going to need, providing you with rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. You can learn where your traffic is coming from, what each visitor does when they arrive (including bounce rate), and track them right through to a sale, allowing you to determine exact ROI figures for all paid advertising. Google Analytics is very powerful, very easy to use, and very easy to understand. We recommend that you plug it in to all of your websites.
Google Webmaster Tools helps you learn how and when Google crawls and indexes your website. Once you verify yourself as the owner of your website, it opens up a suite of powerful tools for determining how your website is performing in the Google search engine results pages (SERPs). This tool not only tells you how many visitors you received for your keywords, but also how many times your site appears in a SERP but wasn’t clicked on.
Another useful feature of Webmaster Tools allows you to submit your sitemap to Google. This ensures that every page of your website is indexed. Other features include the option to receive an email alert any time Google detects and error or malware on your website and analysis of the backlinks to your website.
Google’s keyword tool is a part of AdWords, but you don’t need to run a PPC campaign to use it. It allows you to determine what keywords people are searching for in your particular niche, how many searches are made each month, and local search trends. It also suggests keywords you might not have thought of, and allows you to export your final list as a CSV, either to be used in AdWords or your own database.
SEO Powersuite is a suite of four different tools:
Rank Tracker helps you discover profitable keywords and check your website’s current rankings for those keywords.
WebSite Auditor helps you build search engine friendly webpages targeted toward your list of keywords.
SEO SpyGlass lets you analyze a top-ranking competitor and understand why they rank well, which gives you a blueprint for a #1 ranking.
LinkAssistant helps you with link building campaigns, digging contact info, managing emails, building a link directory and monitoring your link popularity over time. Each tool can be purchased separately, or together as a “PowerSuite.” The Enterprise version sets you up as an SEO professional, writing formatted reports for your SEO clients.
SpyFu is a search analytics tool which allows you to “spy on” the keywords that competitors use and improve SEM and SEO strategies based on those. It shows the keywords that your competitors are buying on Google Adwords as well as the keywords that websites are showing up for within search results.
The service also gives cost per click and search volume statistics on keywords and uses that data to approximate what websites are spending on advertising. Historical advertising budgets offered by SpyFu also help advertisers project what an advertising campaign will cost in the future. A monthly subscription is currently $69.95.
Open Site Explorer is an online link popularity and backlink analysis tool put together by the nice people at seomoz.org. The free version provides basic summaries of linking domains and pages, plus anchor text distribution and the like, but a paid membership gets you a full list of link metrics. A monthly subscription is currently $99.00 and the service is used by household names such as eBay, Sun Microsystems and Walt Disney Pictures.
Raven provides a full service suite of tools that covers all aspects of your internet marketing. They help their customers research, manage, monitor and report on SEO, email, social media and other internet marketing campaigns. Raven is used by thousands of online marketers worldwide, from Fortune 500 companies to solo SEO shops.
Have you tried these tools? What do you think of them? Are there SEO tools you think others should be using? Let us know in the comments!