While the importance of having a great website sporting original and engaging content should never be underestimated, search engine optimisation remains vital for the success of any blog or website.
Most of us have already heard plenty about popular free tools like Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, but there are many other applications, both free and paid, available to help you give your SEO campaign that much-needed boost.
The following resources, ranging from keyword research programs to fully-featured toolkits, will help you to stay on top of this highly competitive industry:
Made by one of the world’s best-known online resources for SEO, Moz Open Site Explorer is an extremely useful tool for tracking the progress of your link building strategy, a crucial part of any SEO campaign.
Open Site Explorer is a search engine for links, allowing you to find out who is linking to your website, as well as other data such as page authority and social media metrics.
Having a thorough overview of your website’s link profile will help you to find the links which are likely holding you back as well as which ones are more likely to increase your search engine ranking and draw in traffic.
Open Site Explorer is also useful for carrying out research on your competitor’s websites, which is a great way to look for link new link opportunities.
It’s free to use, however, if you want more data or want to run more reports you’ll need to subscribe to Moz pro.
Moz Open Site Explorer
A browser plugin available for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, MozBar is a useful free tool for streamlining your SEO efforts.
It provides quick and convenient access to a range of powerful and popular SEO tools and related data such as important metrics such as pagerank and the number of links to a particular page.
You can create custom searches using any search engine or region, and you can conduct some everyday keyword research by determining how challenging it is to rank for a particular keyword.
Other features include a page analysis tool, a preview and validator tool for various markup codes and metrics for Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
3 – Majestic SEO
Providing a full range of both free and paid tools to help you supercharge your SEO campaign, Majestic SEO is one of the world’s largest link intelligence databases.
It features a Site Explorer tool that brings back such data as backlink history (as a useful chart), anchor text profile, and type of backlinks your website has. While the Search Explorer tool allows you to learn more about the keywords you intend to target.
Other useful features include a keyword research tool, a backlink analysis tool, and for paid users, a whole range advanced reporting options and access to Majestic APIs.
Majestic SEO Site Explorer
Related: Find all your backlinks
Humble Excel; where would be we be without you?
The industry standard of spreadsheet software, Excel can also serve as an invaluable tool for SEO, and there’s a good chance that you have it at your disposal already.
Many SEO tools allow you to export data for file formats Excel can handle, such as .CSV. So it’s a convenient way to open and start analysing.
Excel is invaluable when collating keyword research and link building data – especially the “remove duplicates” feature, which will become your best friend when compiling a backlink profile for your website.
5 – Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a must-have for any SEO! It scans your site URLs and provides you with an accurate overview of precisely what the search engines see when they attempt to crawl your website.
Amazingly there is a fully functional free version of this tool available, although purchasing a license will remove the 500 URL crawl limit and allow you to access all of the configuration and data export options.
Screaming Frog allows you to export key SEO elements (such as URLs, page titles and meta values) and view crawler errors which may hinder your website’s standing in the search results. One of the best uses for this tool is identifying broken links on your website which you can either fix, or redirect to a relevant page.
Analysing H1 tags with Screaming Frog
6 – Wordstream
Wordstream provides a suite consisting of both free and paid keyword research tools. Its free keyword tool provides a similar level of functionality to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, providing thousands of keyword suggestions using trending search queries to help you decide on what terms to focus on.
Another tool is the Keyword Niche Finder, designed to help you find the most profitable keywords for your industry. Online marketers can also use the Negative Keyword Tool to help identify irrelevant keywords in their PPC campaigns in order to optimise their performance. A free trial is available.
7 – Copyscape
Duplicate content is one of the most common SEO issues. When the search engines crawl the Internet and find two or more pages of identical content, they have problems identifying which page should be ranked (and it which order), since Google try to never display the same content in the search results.
Whether intentional or accidental, duplicate content can hold your SEO efforts back immeasurably and can even penalise offending web pages.
Fortunately, Copyscape can help to identify such content to determine whether or not what ends up on your website is original and unique. Copyscape is also useful for seeking out and identifying stolen or plagiarised content.
While thorough search engine optimisation will always take time to come to fruition, the above tools can greatly help to simplify the process right from the outset.
With the right set of tools at your disposal, you’ll more easily be able to identify the things which are holding your website back, such as poor quality backlinks, and the things which are driving in traffic and increasing your search engine ranking – not to mentioning saving valuable time!
What SEO tools can you not be without? When launching a new campaign what are the first tools you reach for? Let us know in the comments below.