The ongoing SEO responsibility of attaining and retaining a productive organic search engine presence requires patience, tenacity, and a focus on every detail that might have an impact. Moderated by Thom Craver (@thomcraver), Web and Database Specialist, Saunders College (RIT), The Tools of the Trade for SEO panel at SES New York 2012 pulled together more than 40 tools in this whirlwind session.
Your Comprehensive List of SEO Tools
Michael King (@iPullRank), SEO Manager, Publicis Modem, came up first with his presentation, “Tools for Pulling Rank – Nearly Every Tool You’ll Ever Need – EVER”. King's presentation provided the comprehensive list of tools for the advanced and aspiring SEO professional to investigate.
Here is a short list of most (certainly not all) of those tools covered:
- On-Page SEO Tools: Screaming Frog for onpage links, Scraper for Chrome, HTTPfox (header response codes, 301s etc), Page Speed Plugin
- Keyword Research: Keyword Eye, Soovle, Ubersuggest, Scrapebox, SEOGadget Adwords API Excel Plugin
- Content Generation: Michael’s own GoFish (pulling Twitter updates via keyword search), SEOGadget’s Google Docs Tool, SEOTools by Niels Bosma, ImportXML
- Social Media Profile Link Information: Link Research Tools, Link Detective
- Competitive Analysis: Searchmetrics Essentials (Keywords, Domain Data, etc)
- Persona Development: Facebook Ad Creator, Facebook Insights, Doubleclick Ad Planner
- Infographic Data and Conceptualization: World Government Data, Google Public Data and Infogr.am, Dipity, Storybird for building graphics
- Open Link Data Sources: Ahrefs, Blekko (use the /seo slashtag), and Link Diagnosis
- For Rank Monitoring: STAT
- Link Building Toolkits: Followerwonk, KnowEm, MentionMapp, Ontolo (Link Prospecting), IFTTT, Rapportive, Boomerang, Buzzstream, Zemanta
- Blog Management: ManageWP (launch and clone blogs from one spot)
Some of the tools above were proprietary or built upon functionality inherent to the understanding and administration of available resources. King's perspective: "the ability to code gives you super powers."
Fortunately for conference attendees and Search Engine Watch readers (and writers), King was kind enough to provide his presentation on Slideshare. What was King's most important tool for SEO? His brain. More on that connectivity a bit later in the session.
What About SEO Tools in Asia?
There actually is a relatively non-Bing, non-Google world online. In Asian markets, Baidu commands as much as 80 percent of the market and only in Japan has Google teamed up to provide a search engine presence.
How do you find SEO tools: webinar, reviews, peer recommendations, or by performing a search? The majority of SES New York attendees used peer recommendations or performed searches. According to a SkyRocket survey, 77 perent used peer recommendations to find these types of tools. Bottom line: recommendation.
For keyword research, Baidu Insights is an excellent option with free user demographics. The only drawback? Lack of English UI. Harrington noted that for certain brand-based keywords, search results look much more like a branded microsite. Baidu also puts a significant amount of paid search ads in the left-hand side.
For monitoring, Advanced Web Ranking for works well for Baidu. There is also SERP Update Monitoring for Yandex (Russia): Update Analyzer. In China there was also “Super Manager” for ranking monitoring (unfortunately uncertain about the link reference on this one).
Bing Webmaster Tools In-Depth: Innovation Worth Reviewing by SEOs
Duane Forrester (@duaneforrester), Senior Program Manager, Bing Webmaster Tools, was next and took the audience through some of the key changes and functionality that (hopefully) will bring site owners back (or to) Bing.
Highlights and key points from Forrester's presentation:
- Keyword Research: Bing Webmaster Tools is launching an organic keyword research tool with up to six months of historical data available. SEOs will no longer be limited to the last 30 days of data from “other tools”. More importantly, this is ideal for long tail keyword research, since the data is based completely off of organic information and not paid data.
- Markup Validator Tool: When inputting a URL into this tool, site owners not only see the markup on the page but are informed of issues with their code as well as error messages for invalid markup.
- XML Sitemaps: Forrester recommended adding an XML sitemap for relevancy as well as RSS feed information. A 1 percent error rate acceptable in a sitemap but higher percentages will cause Bing to question validity. RSS is best for notifying Bing of the most up to date content on the site.
- Crawl Management: This function alerts webmasters as to how Bingbot crawls the website and controls how often and how hard Bing crawls site. This is good for organizing and prioritizing times to crawl website against traffic patterns and times of importance.
Why markup? Forrester stressed that rich search engine results and higher click-through rates (CTR) are becoming even more critical for most businesses and as changes roll out in Bing search. CTR is a measure of satisfaction and retained presence. Not the only factor, but a factor worth monitoring and seeking to improve.
Bing Webmaster Tools shows traffic Bing sent to the site as well as the impressions in search results your site appeared for. Forrester highlighted a ratio webmasters should pay attention to (in the dashboard). The closer the ratio gets to one, the more positive impact the site is having in Bing search engine results when it appears.
While site owners may not see measurable impact in low digit numbers, sites with higher ratios trimming down should see much more significant results.
Finally, Tools are Tools – Use Your Head Too
Todd Friesen (@oilman) wrapped up the session with an important and fundamental summation: "use your head." There are lots of tools out there (recollecting Web Position Gold, InfoSeek, etc.) but it comes down to absorbing all of the data collected and finding meaningful action.
Organize, compare, trend, store, analyze, and connect.
The one tool Friesen indicated that he uses every day is the web developer toolbar for Firefox or Chrome. Tools gather data but what will make your SEO program successful is what you end up doing with that data.
Not enough tools? Here are 78 Resources For Every Internet Marketer's Toolkit.
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!