A never-ending argument is that of the ultimate SEO browser plugin/extension/add-on setup. How a SEO uses and displays tools within the browser is a reflection of personality and demeanor, therefore arguments can understandably get pretty heated between even the best of colleagues. As it turns out, a lot of energy can be saved when focusing the foundation of the argument on categorizing add-ons by task orientation.
For example, a set of extensions will be more relevant for helping find link building targets and a different set when auditing a site. Keeping these things in mind, this article will explore how SEO extensions for Chrome lack the ability to display metrics at a glance and utility functionality when compared to Firefox add-ons.
Firefox Still Wins
While Chrome is super-fast and has a lot of great SEO extensions available, Firefox still wins according to a decent-sized data set (people I’ve asked around the office). Here’s why:
Visualize Page Metrics
Right clicking a toolbar and choosing customize allows you to drag-and-drop visual aspects of add-ons next to the address Bar. You can even create new toolbars for specific tasks (like a Link Building Toolbar), then choose which one you want displayed by right clicking the toolbar and checking or unchecking the name.
Here you can see a combination of the SEOmoz Toolbar, with combines visual aspects of the SEOBook and SearchStatus add-ons inserted into the navigation bar.
Checking out the picture above, we can see from the amount of PageRank shown that this webpage is not only indexed, but authoritative, and the Moz metrics below back that up. Link indices of MajesticSEO and MOZscape support that the page itself has 8000 plus links, while the domain has somewhere between 384,000 to 560,000 (SEOBook add-on). Finally, the grayed out C to the right of the URL indicates that the page contains a meta link canonical pointing to itself (SearchStatus add-on).
While Chrome can accomplish similar visual effects, I was unable to find any extensions that allowed me to see Majestic SEO numbers on page load (possible with a single click in Chrome though).
Chrome does have a great extension called Meta SEO Inspector that surfaces meta data relevant to SEO such as noindex, follow and meta link canonical tags. This little pop-out stays in the bottom-right corner of the browser and is very useful when doing quick tag checks on multiple pages.
Another reason Firefox wins the overall battle of usefulness is the overwhelming number of utility add-ons like:
- FoxyProxy - Visit websites while using a proxy IP (Chrome extension Proxy Switchy! looks promising).
- Live HTTP Headers - Check a URL for multiple redirects.
- Rank Checker - Check a domain’s ranking for up to 100 keywords in Google (Chrome extension SEO SERP checks 1 keyword at a time).
- SERP Trends - Displays changes in position over time.
- Web Developer - A slew of useful tools (Chrome also).
These just haven’t been replicated into Chrome extensions and if they have, not to the same extent it would seem.
Firefox is The Winner But it Can Be Slow
Firefox is the winner because of the metrics-at-a-glance and utility factors, but there is still one complaint...slow. It seems the more add-ons installed, the slower Firefox gets. To prevent this from happening be sure to go through the options or preferences for all the plugins and turn off unnecessary functionality. Many SEO plugins pull the same data and perform the same function so be sure that only one, for example, is highlighting nofollow links.
Personally, I use Chrome as my default browser and fire-up the Fox whenever things are getting a little dirty. Here’s a list of currently active extensions to check out if you don’t have them installed already.
- Live HTTP Headers
- Multiple Tab Handler
- Page Speed
- SEO Toolbar (SEOBook)
- SEO Quake
- Web Developer
SEO browser extension set-ups are as unique as the personalities of the individuals who use them. Let me know anything we’ve missed or if you have an idea that is especially innovative!