Before jumping into more tools, I'd like to address a comment posted for "SEO Tools, Part 1" that suggested "...throw away all of your SEO tools and focus on producing great content -- content that your prospective customers will truly benefit from reading/knowing..." I agree wholeheartedly.
The very essence of SEO is developing good quality content that gives your visitors what they need: the right information they're looking for. Additionally, if the search engines see that you have the type of content that users are searching for, they'll reward you by sending more traffic your way.
The tools I cover in this two-part article won't solve your problems if you have poor content. But they will help identify problem areas you should address.
As a beginner, the list of SEO best practices you need to keep up with may seem overwhelming. These tools, and any others you find, are simply aides to help you manage and monitor the key aspects of SEO. So let's look at a few more that might be beneficial.
SEO Browser Toolbars
Many types of toolbars and add-ons provide extra functionality to your browser. The advantage: these tools provide you key information on each page you browse. A word of caution, however: while some are helpful, some just tie up computing resources and will slow you down.
I recommend using them sparingly. If they don't really seem to add value, uninstall them and move on. I prefer a minimalist approach. Find good, solid tools that work for your purposes and get rid of all of the rest. Sometimes less is more.
These toolbars are helpful because they generally provide information like PageRank, backlinks, directory listing, page analytics, and other useful information for each Web page you browse. Remember, you don't just optimize your home page; you optimize every page on your site.
These tools help you analyze each page and provide a quick read on how it stacks up. For those of you who like comparison charts, take a look at this nifty chart the compares three of four above.
Domain Name Online Tools
Having the right keywords strategically placed in your site is very important for SEO, but having them in your domain name is better. If you're building a new site with a new domain and you need to research domain names that might work for you, then you might benefit from some of these tools: Domize, DomainsBot, or Bust a Name. They'll quickly show you what's available and offer creative alternatives.
Site Analytics Tools
These tools provide an outside perspective of your site. With a good analytics tool set up, you should be able to get most of this information already for your site. But because you won't have access to your competitions Web analytics tool, these are the next best thing.
Let's start with Compete. This tool allows you to type in your site and one or more other sites for a comparison. Of course, for a fee you can unlock more features.
Quantcast is another great tool. I like this tool mainly because it provides a glimpse of demographic information. By better understanding your visitors, you can update your content to create a better experience for them.
One caveat is that if your site is small or new there might not be any information to view. If this is the case, you might have better luck with Alexa, which provides similar information. Remember, these tools attempt to provide you with information based on their limited data access, so be careful not to take it too literally.
Again, I'd like to emphasize the importance of good relevant content on your site. If you keep that forefront in your mind and use these tools to help you to that end you will find success.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!