In August you want to launch a new website. During such a makeover more than usual, you very busy with search engine optimization (SEO). Because you want to change a lot, but you also want to keep your positions in Google. And even after the launch of that brand new site, you’ll still be sitting on the oat box like a goat. I use these 10 tools for search engine optimization (SEO).
Recommended for Reading: The Step-By-Step Guide To Success With Modern SEO
Some of these SEO tools I use almost daily, others I used temporarily during the creation of a new website. You will also find (where applicable) the links to the relevant tools and some information about their use and possible costs.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. SheerSEO
- 2 2. Yoast WordPress SEO
- 3 3. Safe Redirect Manager
- 4 4. Google Analytics statistics
- 5 5. Google Webmaster Tools
- 6 6. Clicky website statistics
- 7 7. Mozbar
- 8 8. Swiss Made Marketing
- 9 9. Cemper Link Research Tools
- 10 10. Google Spreadsheet
- 11 Final Tips Search Engine Optimization SEO
Keep an eye on your Google positions for specific search terms
I’ve been using SheerSEO for almost 4 years. I think it was one of the first (better) tools to check your rankings in Google. Nowadays there are more, but SheerSEO remains my favorite. It’s very useful to see the search volume (the number of times a month that Google searches for that term).
Above you can see how SheerSEO displays rankings. Some competition-sensitive information, so most of it is blogged, but you can see that for the term “SEO tips” (search volume 880 searches per month) we are at 6. Red and green arrows indicate decreases and increases since the previous measurement. By clicking on the graph icon you can view the historical development of the positions for that search term.
Costs: From $7 a month
Demo/trial period: Yes, free trial period of 2 months and live demo available.
2. Yoast WordPress SEO
Efficient on-page search engine optimization for your WordPress website
Although there is more to be done nowadays than on-page optimization, it remains an important basis. The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin helps you to efficiently fill in and check all those basics (search density, search terms in URLs and titles, optimization of images, meta tags, etc.). We use the plugin ourselves, but we also install it on every WordPress website we build for our customers.
Yoast gives you information at a glance about the way you have used your search term on your page. You can also see how Google will probably display the page in its search results. Behind the tab “Page Analysis” there is even more useful information.
Costs: Free (there is also a paid version with more options)
Demo / trial period: N/A
3. Safe Redirect Manager
Passing correct “change of address” messages to Google
This is also a WordPress-plugin and this is also part of our “standard package” for customers. With a new website, it is very important to let Google know in the right way by means of a so-called 301-redirect, that certain pages have changed their address (which is very often the case with a new website). With Safe Redirect Manager you can control this directly from WordPress.
An example of a 301-redirect with which we tell Google that the content of a certain page on our old website has definitely moved to another address on our new website. Also, links from other websites to that old page will continue to work well in this way.
Demo / trial period: N/A
4. Google Analytics statistics
Free, very extensive (but sometimes a bit complex)
Of course, we measure visits and activity on our website with Google Analytics, which is pretty much the standard when it comes to website statistics. It’s free, so there’s no better price/performance ratio. I do think that Google Analytics has become more and more complicated over the years and that’s why I also use another statistics package (see later in this article).
A useful feature in Google Analytics is the possibility to make (date-bound) annotations. This way you can gauge whether large events (such as an update of Google or a website migration) have had an influence on the traffic on your website.
Demo / trial period: N/A
5. Google Webmaster Tools
To sign up for your sitemap, but also gives a lot of other useful information
Google Webmaster Tools should be used to register your (XML) sitemap with Google. But this tool also offers a lot of other useful information and you can pass on certain information to Google yourself. If big “weird” things happen on your website, you will see that very quickly in Google Webmaster Tools.
There may be problems on your website that you, as a layman, don’t know about. Google Webmaster Tools informs you about possible security issues, inaccessibility of pages, whether your website is properly indexed and more.
Demo / trial period: N/A
6. Clicky website statistics
An affordable alternative with features that Google Analytics doesn’t have
As said before, I sometimes find Google Analytics a bit complicated. That’s why I use a different statistics tool: Clicky. We also offer this product to our own customers under the name “ProStats”.
Clicky may be a bit less extensive, but that also makes it easier to understand. Moreover, it offers functions that Analytics does not have (or can only be achieved with workarounds). For example, you can see by default whether people download files from your website.
Especially for people who do not work with website statistics every day, Clicky is easier to use than Google Analytics. You come in on a (customizable) dashboard and from there you can click through to all the information you can expect from a good statistics package.
Costs: $10 a month or $80 a year. There is a free version, but it has a lot of limitations. Under our label “ProStats” you can use Clicky for € 2,50 per month per website (only if your website is running with us).
Demo/proof period: Yes, free 21-day trial and online demo available.
Keep an eye on your competition…
By definition, search engine optimization means competing. Mozbar is a plugin for Firefox or Chrome that allows you to get a rough idea of why your competitors are doing better than you, from searches in Google. You’ll see a lot of information about the incoming links, which is an important factor for Google.
You don’t get to see everything, because you have to upgrade to Moz’s complete and paid SEO analysis tool (price: 99 dollars a month). But you can also draw many conclusions from the free information.
If you turn on the Mozbar add-on, your black bars will appear in Google searches. You can click through any bar for more information about the links to that website (where does your competitor get those so important links from), domain authority and page authority.
8. Swiss Made Marketing
Rank tracking / Keyword research / Traffic analysis
SwissMadeMarketing offers various tools that you can use within one dashboard. Classic up-selling, because I already use three of them and it is not very cheap. But honest is fair: good stuff.
RankTracker: the functionality is similar to SheerSEO, and that’s why I’m going to say goodbye to it again soon. But it also does its job very well.
SECockpit Keyword research: with the keyword planner from Google Adwords you can also do it for free, but this works easier and faster.
TrafficAnalysis: since Google hardly shows you which keywords visitors use to reach your website, you only have to make one move. TrafficAnalysis does show it.
The tools of Swiss Made Marketing are not cheap. But if you spend a lot of time on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you will save a lot of time, because in one environment you get all kinds of information that you would otherwise have to collect in other, often cumbersome, ways.
Website: swissmademarketing.com/Internet-marketing tools (overview of all tools)
Costs: RankTracker: from $37 per month
SECockpit Keyword research: from 40 dollars per month
TrafficAnalysis: from 30 per month
(with payment per year discounts from 20% to 30%)
Demo/proof period: No, I do have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
9. Cemper Link Research Tools
Is your link profile still “healthy”?
This is a tool for “advanced” and quite expensive (from 99 euros per month).
Link Research Tools maps out in detail which websites link to your website.
In the past, the more links to your website, the better, and it didn’t really matter what those links looked like or where they came from today. Since the Penguin updates from Google, that has changed dramatically.
Link Research Tools gives you a risk analysis of your link profile so that you can take measures if necessary to eliminate ‘low quality’ links to your website.
Probably not a tool for the novice webmaster, but on the site of Link Research Tools, you will also find interesting (but very long) case studies on link risk and link cleaning. Interesting matter!
Example of a link profile analysis, giving a global overview of the risk distribution. In the tool of Link Research Tools, you can click through to very extensive detailed information on the basis of which you can decide whether or not you should mail webmasters with link removal requests.
Costs: From 99 euro per month
Demo/pilot period: No, but very extensive product information and case studies available.
10. Google Spreadsheet
To keep an overview…
A spreadsheet is of course not a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool, but I do use it to keep track of all the SEO-focused actions that I perform or want to perform on our website.
That would be possible in a normal spreadsheet, but I can easily access a Google Spreadsheet from any computer. Moreover, the spreadsheet in Google is automatically saved almost every second and that’s not unimportant with all the information I have in it now.
The sheet consists of multiple sheets with actions (“done” and “todo”), new ideas for SEO, backlink opportunities and more. Because I can export from many of the aforementioned tools, I can also easily bring together information such as Google positions and keyword volumes in the spreadsheet.
It’s a bit laborious, but it’s an indispensable help if you’re working intensively on SEO and want to keep track of things.
Website: docs.google.com (but just Excel is also possible)
Demo / trial period: N/A
Final Tips Search Engine Optimization SEO
Do you do a lot of search engine optimization (SEO) on your website yourself? Or are there real SEO doctors in the room? I am very curious about which SEO tools you use. Feel free to let us know by commenting on this article, and then it might become a very nice complete list.
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