Anyone who has spent any time doing search engine optimization knows the effort basically breaks down into on-page and external factors (such as link building). There is probably a multi-page discussion to be had there about the true significance of on-page factors compared to off-site factors but for the purposes of this post, I just want to capture my favorite tools for dealing with “bread and butter” on-page optimization:
1. SEOMoz – I really like SEOMoz, their tools and the community. SEOMoz is basically one of the two contenders for a primary SEO tools (SEOmoz vs RavenTools). I tried both of them out and I just found myself a lot more inclined to the tools at SEOMoz so I stuck with it. I think my first biasing factor was unlimited access to OpenSiteExplorer (OSE), which is the best link-building research tool I’ve found so far (off site factor). But it is also just a really nice set of tools for standard SEO efforts such as periodic ranking reports, keyword competition analysis, and the like. The other stand-out feature that I really like is the support. They have really great community, Q&A, and blog/training materials. The Whiteboard Fridays video blog series with Rank Fishkin in invaluable! In my mind, this is the single best tool to equip an in-house SEO team with for this combination of reasons.
2. ScreamingFrog – A free and downloadable utility for SEO audits. I really like this tool for getting deep into the details of what’s going on when things aren’t quite clicking for a site’s rankings. Discover HTTP header issues such as 404s and 301/302s, duplicate headers, missing alt tags, etc. I would generally use this tool at the end of an on-site optimization effort to check my work, or later when a site just isn’t getting traction and I’m trying to figure out why.
3. IBP – Internet Business Professional (IBP) is a downloadable software platform that I started using back in 2004, as I felt it was the best thing out there at the time. Honestly, SEOMoz and RavenTools are probably better for a lot of its core features now, but it still not bad and doesn’t incur that monthly fee! It also has a couple really nice features I occasionally use: First, I like the Top 10 reviews – you type in keyword for it to search in Google and it will then find the top 10 ranking results and analyze them looking for common elements that you may be missing in your site. This can be a nice resource for finding and reminding you about on-page details you may have overlooked on a competitive basis. And Second, it is still a pretty good resource for running those periodic ranking reports on your sites. You can configure it to run in the background on a schedule and output PDF reports as needed.
5. WebConfs – A set of free mini tools available for free at WebConfs.com. While this isn’t the shiniest tool in the toolbox, it is free and can be rather useful for sending links to others to show them your point. I particularly like their HTTP header check tool. It works beautifully!