8. August 2012–
From Andre Alpar to Ron Hillmann: These are the SEO tools the experts are raving about!
Search engine optimisation (or SEO) has officially progressed from being a tech buzzword to the key measurement tool determining the scope of websites. Joel Kaczmarek has raided his professional network and harassed the leading SEO experts in Germany to find out which SEO tools they're using. The result? A list of 31 essential SEO tools for your online business...
SEO analysis tools
Advanced Web Ranking: Understanding and trading
Advanced Web Ranking is a website rank checking tool that brings together search engine rankings, link analysis, keyword research and Google analytics data and can be used for reports or link building strategies. The tool is priced in the mid-range, the standard version (which is adequate for most needs) at $99, professional version at $199, enterprise version at $399 and server version at $1499.
AuthorityLabs: A trimmed down SEO Tool
Julian Barkow recommends AuthorityLab as a keyword-montitoring service as it takes over the daily checkups after you enter your site details. For $99/month, 1000 keywords and 50 domains can be monitored and AuthorityLabs also acts as a solution to white labeling. If you think that is too expensive, the smaller package costs $49 or $24/month, while the product goes all the way up to $450/month for the enterprise version.
Google Keyword Tool: SEM background, SEO users
This free tool is a must-have for SEO users. Google Keyword Tool analyses keywords, providing alternatives and highlights the monthly search requests for terms along with competing terms. This lets users pinpoint ideal keywords that have few competitors and a high search rate without being too generic.
Google Webmaster Tools: A must-have SEO Tool
Andreas Graap says that Google Webmaster Tools is a must have as it is a free service which can be used to check a website's indexation status and visibility on Google. The Sitemaps and Robots.txt can be viewed with Google Webmaster Tools and they also let you see what your site looks like from the perspective of a Googlebot.
LinkResearchTools: The all-rounder of the SEO tools
LinkResearchTools were recommended by almost all of the experts as they are the jack of all trades of SEO analysis. The tools perform link profile analysis through repeated domain comparisons, plan link-building strategies and run an all-inclusive backlink check. When it comes to the price, LinkResearchTools come in a variety of versions, ranging from the cheapest “quick” variety at €29 and going up to the enterprise version at €990. Start off with the quick version, you can always upgrade if you need to.
Majestic SEO: Understanding link structures
Ron Hillmann’s pick of SEO tools, Majestic SEO, examines internal and external link structures. The tool is the self-proclaimed “biggest link intelligence database in the world”. URLs and Domains can be researched in detail to establish backlink history. The corresponding data is documented in standardised and detailed reports, which can be transferred via an API.
The price increases from silver to gold and platinum, or €39.99, €129.99 and €299.99 respectively. While fairly cheap to start with, MajesticSEO's drawback is that other SEO services have a broader range of functions. But the sky’s the limit with this tool, you could find yourself spending €599.98 or €1199.96 for the best editions.
Screaming Frog: If you need an overview in a hurry
The SEO Spider Tool from Screaming Frog spiders and analyses websites’ links, images, CSS, scripts and apps. The tool lets users quickly analyse, audit and review a site from an onsite SEO perspective. Andreas Graap considers The Screaming Frog as a fee-based and feature-rich alternative to Xenu Link Sleuth.
Searchmetrics: The luxurious SEO tool
The SEO tools from Searchmetrics is the most comprehensive analysis tool on the webosphere. In the full version, agencies, in-house SEOs and online marketers can monitor their own and competing domains along with selected keywords. The Searchmetrics Suite saves the history of viewed words and domains, creates individually configured reports and alerts and checks backlinks for text, page rankings and inventory.
But these features come at a price: the basic version is €398/month and if you won’t settle for less than premium be prepared, it's yours for €675/month while the ultimate version will set you back €1325/month. What do the experts have to say about it? Online marketing veteran Ron Hillmann says “I like to recommend Searchmetrics to customers that can afford it!”
Sistrix: The standard for every SEO
The Sistrix-Toolbox can be used for for a variety of different tasks, from determining how successful your link-building is, analysing your competition or a link profile analysis of your own site. The Sistrix Toolbox comes in modules and costs €100 per month, although rebates are given with multi-module purchases. Sistrix founder Johannes Beus says the tool helps you see “what competition there is, which keywords are being used in certain areas and which are being used for adwords.”
SEMRush: Analysis of search terms
SEMRush is an analysis tool that, by spying on your competitors, lets you establish a list of the best search terms for site optimisation. SEMRush users can discover which search terms competitors are using for search engine optimization and for AdWords. The pro version of this SEO tools is available for $69.95 while the guru version isn’t much more-at $149.95. SEMRush is also available as a Firefox plugin.
SEOlytics: Visibility for SEOs
SEOlytics is an analysis software which shows you the visibility of your website on Google and Bing. SEOlytics provides SaaS solutions and is currently available in 19 countries in a basic or pro version at €39 or €299 /month respectively. SEO Campixx maker Marco Janck was quick to praise the usefulness of this SEO tool.
SEOmoz: Information for crawling
SEOmoz counts as a standard SEO tool which can be used for a variety of function. Marco Janck tells me “you can analyse keywords, research backlinks, do on-page analysis, find accessibility issues and track rankings all in one easy-to-use management platform." At the same time, your own keywords are monitored and on-page suggestions created. SEOmoz is avaible in three varieties: Pro, Pro Plus and Pro Elite, at $99, $199 and $499/month.
Übersuggest: For quick keyword brainstorming
Übersuggest is not simply an SEO analysis tool but rather works as a keyword suggestion tool. It's free and uses information from Google Suggest and other services after you enter the term, language and choose the source of information and picks the best keywords. Christoph Burseg finds Übersuggest “very helpful for quick keyword brainstorming: it reads the suggestions from Google and provides a nice overview of useful themes and additions.”
Xenu Link Sleuth: Unpretentious but analytical
Xenu Link Sleuth is an unpretentious analysis tool that according to Andreas Graap still performs valuable services. Xenu Link Sleuth trawls through websites to find broken links and directs link verification for “normal” links, pictures, frames, plug-ins, backgrounds, local image maps, style sheets, scripts and java applications. This process can be sorted via different criteria and can be examined in reports as you go.
Xovi: A package of analysis tools
Xovi also offers a package of different features for SEO Analysis, including keyword monitoring and research, a backlink tool, a link manager, an SEM tool, a reporting tool, alongside an affiliate and on-page tool. Jan Borgwardy from LBI uses Xovi for “interesting, supplementary web page analysis.” The cost varies according to your needs: the basic version is €99 plus €10 for each customer account, while the business version is €149, €30 for full access and €10 per customer account. And if you don’t want to work on it yourself, Xovi’s in-house agency can take over the link building and offer useful advice.
SEO linkbuilding tools
Buzzstream: Link management in the web
Buzzstream is a link building tool that is predominately focused on link management and is designed as a link building CRM. The web-based software helps manage word of mouth marketing for campaigns to create buzz and encourage a correlating link buildup. Buzzstream comes as a free test-trial, after that it’s $29.99 or $249.
Linkbird: Effective link building
Linkbird promises to support SEO with their link-building by monitoring, evaluating and adjusting links. A back-link checker provides detailed analyses from all built up links along with an overview of staff and projects to ensure an efficient workplace. The cost of Linkbird varies depending on the product, starting at €26.10, €44.10 and up to €89.10.
Linkbutler: Link building, CRM and link management
Linkbutler lets you manage and analyse your links. Although Linkbutler is predominately a project management tool, it also works well as an CRM service, using link collection and corresponding contact management. The product is available at a price of five and up to €119.20 or €199.20.
Boomerang: Link-building via mail management
What’s Andreas Graap’s secret SEO tip? Boomerang, the high-performing supplement to Google’s Gmail. Boomerang can be used to schedule emails so they are sent at a later time or date, set timers on emails so they are renewed in the inbox at a certain time and set email reminders from smartphones. But be careful as Boomerang has a harsh limit of free emails: up to 10 per month are free.
Http Fox: Performance optimisation for techies
Jan Borgwardt recommended Firefox plugin Http Fox. Borgwardt uses it to analyse “Http headers, cookies, POST data and query strings". Sound cryptic? Maybe slightly. To put it simply, Http Fox analyses all in-and-outgoing Http traffic between the browser and web server, allowing performance optimisation.
PageSpeed: good for analysing loading speed
Pagespeed is a tool from the Google family that can automatically speed up the loading of web pages. Using a set of SEO plugins, best performance practices can be developed to increase viewer engagement through website optimisation. PageSpeed is available as a Firefox and Chrome SEO plugin.
Rapportive: An SEO Plugin for your contacts
Rapportive is a supplement of Google’s Gmail which can be used to gain professional connections. Within the Gmail inbox, Rapportive provides a compact overview of contacts, including where they’re from, what they do and what their interests are. Andreas Graap recommends this article from SEOmoz as a guide to how to use Rapportive.
SearchStatus: Everything in a glance
I personally use SEO plugin SearchStatus as a quick and multi-functioning tool. SearchStatus adds a toolbar to Firefox that shows the page ranking, the Alexa position and or SEOmoz information. It also provides a fast keyword density analyser, highlights keyword, nofollow, backward, related and canonical links, WHOIS and robots, amongst others.
SEO Book Toolbar: Tune your browser
SEO Book Toolbar is a browser plugin that provides a quick impression of the site you’re visiting, providing the SEO data including the page ranking, backlinks and other onpage factors. It also provides the details of sites, such as how old it is and the use of no-follow links etc., along with comparisons with other websites. All this info can then be exported to a csv format.
Linkparser: Linkanalysis from the browser
Andre Alpar raves about Linkparser as it can be used to analyse all links on a web page being browsed. In total, Linkparser distinguishes nine types of links: internal, external and sub-domain links along with the follow and no-follow varieties. These can be individually marked so Linkparser can create a suitable SEO plugin to be used for intensive link analysis.
Seerobots: Website details in overview
Seerobots is an SEO plugin that, when summoned by a website, presents data from the robots-tag in a meta domain. If needed the data from the X-Robots-Tag of the HTTP header in the status bar can also be recognised. In summary, Seerobots offers a simple method of finding out if the website you’re currently visiting is blocking crawling by search engines.
SEO Addon for IIS7: SEO for Techies II
The SEO Addon for IIS7 is, if I’ve understood correctly, an interface between Microsoft server format and the user. IIS7 can be used as a spider on websites to discover any slow pages, broken links, or pages with incorrect titles. Jan Borgwardt recommends this tool for technical and content analysis from search engines, particularly Bing.
SEO Quake: An SEO standard plugin
SEO Plugin SEO Quake is one of the standard browsing improvement tools and allows Firefox, Chrome and Opera users to receive information about websites they’re visiting. It includes a page rank, Google index, the Alexa data and more. It also has a keyword density tool that can determine how often a keyword is used in texts. Christoph Burseg from The Reach Group loves the convenience of this tool as it shows the key figures in the URL/site.
SeoTools for Excel: Table calculations with a difference
SeoTools for Excel is a tool from the Niels Bosma stable and translates SEO functions directly into Excel. Some of the tools include onpage analysis and debugging, SEO reports, back-link analysis and the monitoring of duplicate content. Andreas Graap says SeoTools for Excel can be used as a “back-link checker, but also as an extensive analysis of your own and competitors URLs, including the social metrics.”
Speed Tracer: Technical optimisation brand from Google
Web Developer Extension: SEO for techies
The Chrome Web Developer Extension, as the name suggests, brings different Web Developer Tools together in one browser and can be run as an SEO plugin for Firefox or Chrome. The Web Developer Extension lets you check the structure of your website directly in the Chrome browser and recognises titles and performs link analysis. The Chrome Web Developer Extension is particularly useful for technical SEO.
Thanks to the experts
I need to thank the following people for lending me their time and knowledge. If you’re after some more SEO advice please contact them or their agencies! If there are any other tools you'd recommend personally, let us know below!
- Andre Alpar from AKM3Jan Borgwardt from LBi
- Julian Barkow from SEOSEO
- Christoph Burseg from The Reach Group,
- Andreas Graap from Angron
- Ron Hillmann, online veteran and now founder of Yachtico
- Marco Janck from Sumago, who also ran the SEO Campixx
- Nicolai Kuban from Linkbird,
- Andrea Reitmeier from Mirapodo