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Starting a new site, taking on an existing project or performing a new role, search engine optimization can be a daunting task if you don’t have a lot of experience. Everyone has to start somewhere and with the use of automated tools and web based services, you can learn SEO fairly quickly and start to yield pretty amazing results with hard work and dedication.

1. SEO Plug-ins

  1. ExtensionsSEO for Firefox – With usage statistics of over 130,000 webmasters, SEO for Firefox is one of the most popular SEO plug-ins on the web. This tool displays metrics directly into a search engine result page based off of your selected criteria. You can breakdown the PageRank, site age, total links, etc for sites 1 through 10 and gain some competitive intelligence all on your search results page.
  2. WordPressAll-in-One SEO Pack – does a great job for those wanting to optimize their WordPress blog without putting in all the effort of multiple plug-ins and extensions. Optimize title tags, no-indexed page logic, and page structure with ease. Those looking for a little deeper dive check out a more extensive list of WordPress plug-ins from Michael Gray.
  3. JoomlaSite Management Plugins – Over 200+ plug-ins can be found in Joomla’s extensions community. Top picks are sh404SEF, Title Manager and SEO Canonicalization Plug-in.
  4. DrupalScribe SEO Analyzer – Labeled as a content optimization assistant, Scribe SEO Analyzer helps tweak content, keywords, site structure and link with a click of a button. A must-have for Drupal.

2. Xenu Link Sleuth

Xenu finds broken links, 301 redirects, a high level overview of your site taxonomy, title tags used and site map all in a nice, easy-to-use interface and reporting system that can be emailed or downloaded.

3. Yahoo Site Explorer & Open Site Explorer

The two best free link analysis tools on the web – the legendary, but fading Yahoo! Site Explorer and the SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer. Research and discover all the links pointing towards your site, the keywords and phrases used in the link anchortext, strength of sites linking to you and how valuable each link really is to your site.

Take it a step further and use these link intelligence tools to their full potential by comparing your site to your competitors to discover potential link targets, areas of improvement on your site and weaknesses to target based on your competitor’s link metrics.

4. SEO Toolbars

Toolbars are a great way for users to get easy access to SEO metrics and research tools all-in-one place in your browser. Instead of visiting 10 sites and tools, toolbars aggregate everything to get your link metrics, competitive data and more with the click of a button.

  1. SEOBook – Created by the ever popular SEO Aaron Wall, the free SEOBook SEO toolbar provides everything you need to know about a website and more in a toolbar. Discover link information, advanced metrics such as directory and social media interaction, a built in RSS feed reader, keyword research tools and great tools like the Compare Websites competition checker and Rank Checker, a search engine ranking tool.
  2. SEOmoz – Created by the just as popular SEO company SEOmoz, their “mozBar” is also free and provides similar features as SEOBook’s toolbar. However, instead of aggregating from multiple third party sources, SEOMoz has creating their own link and web index allowing them to generate their own proprietary link count, page value and ranking and weighting system.
  3. Web Developer Toolbar – This toolbar was specifically made for web developers, but it’s so useful that it’s essential to any SEO as well. Discover the technical side of SEO with the web developer toolbar by disabling JavaScript, CSS and Images to see what your site really looks like to search engine spiders. With the click of a button resize your browser to different sizes, view DIV order, outline header tags or display image alt tags across the entire page.

5. Keyword Research Tools

Discover estimated traffic volumes for keywords and phrases so you can optimize for how visitors are actually searching for products and services in your industry.

  1. Google Keyword Tool External – Google’s free keyword research tool that is a part of their AdWords platform. Discover the broad, phrase and exact match volumes according to Google (with a little skewing), find related synonyms, filter by adult content and more.
  2. Wordtracker – With a free and paid version of their keyword research tool, Wordtracker is one of the main web-based keyword analysis services on the web. Using data from metacrawlers instead of search engines, they do make an assumption that the keyword usage and volume are very similar to search engines. Use Wordtracker to find search volumes, related keywords and other KPI’s such as their “keyword effectiveness index” which weights and ranks keywords by ease of optimization based on search volume and competiveness.
  3. Keyword Discovery – The other big keyword research competitor, Keyword Discovery, also offers a free and paid version of their tool. With data aggregated from over 200 search engines worldwide, they claim to have a database of over 38 billion search updated monthly. Perform keyword research, look for related industry keywords, spelling mistake optimization as well as seasonal search trends and KEI metrics.

By: Christopher Kelly

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