Toolbox

15 Indispensable SEO Tools

You know the power of organic search to drive mountains of traffic to your website. However, with the release of Google Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird (what’s next Kangaroo?), the increase of “not provided” search queries, and Google’s 500-600 annual algorithmic updates, even the smartest marketers are left with major SEO challenges.

How can you win at SEO today? How can you beat your competitors in rankings and click-throughs from the SERPs? How can you capitalize on your most important organic search opportunities?

Thankfully there is a bevy of SEO tools to help you become an SEO champ! Check out some of our favorites, below:

1. Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Google AdWords Keyword Planner

AdWords Keyword Planner is a staple SEO tool, providing Google search volume stats, keyword-specific competitive levels and keyword suggestions. The statistics are extremely useful, but remember that the actual numbers are directional in nature rather than absolute.

2. WordStream Keyword Tool

WordStream

WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool is similar to Google’s keyword tool, helping you to identify keywords to target. The tool provides suggestions of keywords based on a database of over a trillion keywords. WordStream also offers a free niche finder to find terms based on a specific topic. For example a search on “project management” provides 2,747 niches to search within like software, training and jobs.

3. Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a cornerstone of any SEO campaign, providing valuable insights, data and diagnostics to help ensure that your website is fine tuned in line with Google’s best practices. Here are just a few of our favorite features:

  • URL Crawl Errors: Offers URL error reports for desktop, smartphone, feature phone, and news
  • Fetch as Google allows you to submit and render URLs as Google sees them
  • Links to Your Site: Lists top external link domains, your most linked content, and information on how your data is linked
  • Search Queries: Provides metrics on the top queries driving traffic to your site
  • Load Speed: Diagnoses impediments to faster load speeds for your web pages

4. Raven

Raven

Raven is a comprehensive platform with 30+ tools for managing your organic search, content marketing, social media and paid search campaigns. On the organic side, Raven audits your website, displays keyword rankings, details competitive info, manages links and performs diagnostics. The tool does so many things, it’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market.

5. MOZ

Moz

Moz Analytics, similar to Raven, is an all-purpose SEO and inbound marketing solution that helps with everything from search to social, brand and content marketing. MOZ tracks your rankings, and provides on-the-page SEO diagnostics, external links data for your site and your competitors, and social metrics.

Complementary to the main Moz Analytics solution, the MozBar, available for Firefox or Chrome, offers fast access to on-the-page SEO metrics, such as on-page SEO overlay analysis, page authority, internal & external link detail, and social metrics.

6. XML Sitemap Generators

An XML Sitemap tells Google and the other search engines about the pages in your website, ensuring that they recognize and index the full breadth of your site, even pages that may not have been discoverable during the search engine’s normal crawling process. Unsure how to create an XML sitemap? Use one of these handy tools:

7. SEMRush

SEMRush offers valuable competitive insights for both organic and paid search, helping you to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Specifically, the tool reveals where your competitors are ranking in the top 20 Google and Bing results across 106+ million organic keywords.

8. SEO Site Tools on Google Chrome

SEO Site Tools on Google Chrome provides on-site SEO analysis and suggestions, provides PageRank data, SEO Title information, Alexa traffic ranking, external links, and a wealth of other information. Since this tool lives directly in your toolbar, you are never more than a click away from discovering new ways to boost performance!

9. Firebug

Firebug, available for Firefox (a lite version is available for Chrome), is a useful web development tool, allowing you to look under the hood of your website in great detail. With Firebug, you can inspect your HTML elements, modify styles and layouts in real-time, debug your JavaScript, and analyze your network usage and performance.

10. Site Crawling Tools

Need a list of a your site’s URLs or putting together 301 Redirects for migration of an old site to a new site? There are several spidering tools out there and they each provide different information, some offering the URLs only, others also providing status code data, title and description tag information, site speed metrics and more. Beware, none of these tools is fool-proof and they often miss a URL or two. With that said, though, here are two good ones:

11. URI Valet

URI Valet is a one-URL-at-a-time testing tool, providing one-off, detailed information when you’re looking to do a deep-dive on a single page. URI Valet is a server header checking tool that provides a summary of head information, including server response codes, total number of objects (http requests), page speed and more.

12. Majestic SEO

For external links, Majestic SEO is the tool of choice. It has created the largest link intelligence database in the world. Majestic SEO is constantly revisiting web pages and sees around a billion URLs a day. You can use Majestic SEO to uncover external links pointing to your site, as well as investigate the links of your competitors. Although other tools provide external link data, Majestic SEO is the most comprehensive.

13. Buzzstream

Buzzstream is an excellent resource for your offsite SEO initiatives and is actually two tools in one. First, it’s a linking tool that helps you to prioritize and organize link opportunities. Buzzstream tracks your links and notifies you of new, updated and dropped links. Second, it’s a PR and outreach tool, scaling your outreach with personalized, relationship-based communications.

14. BrightLocal

For local search, BrightLocal is an easy yet very powerful solution comprised of seven SEO tools to provide you with geo-specific insights. Track your local search rankings against competitors, analyze your site against 300+ local-specific SEO factors, and optimize your Google+ Local profile. The solution also helps you manage your local citations and manage your reputation.

15. Google Trends

Google Trends reveals what’s hot and what’s not. Uncover the popularity of your target SEO keywords, or explore new topics on which to focus. Many SEO tools are diagnostic in nature based on your web properties, and therefore work on a micro level, whereas Google Trends provides you with a macro view for strategic planning and for greater context of your SEO performance analysis.

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There are of course many other SEO tools that are useful, but these are some of the ones we think are totally fab! How about you? Tweet us your favorites @Stratabeat!