We use a thorough range of SEO tools – both paid for and free – every month for every client. We need the information we gather to be as accurate as possible so that we have a solid platform of information which we can interpret and act upon to benefit our clients.
We thought it would be useful to just give you a small list of tools we regularly use so that you can have a slight insight into the way we approach our digital marketing from an SEO perspective. This list is by no means comprehensive, but we hope that you can take something of value from it.
This tool makes the often complex task of doing an initial audit of a website relatively simple. It will crawl a website for you and flag up the essential things which need to change on it. It analyses broken links, titles, descriptions, H1 tags, images, canonical tags etc. and makes it clear where issues exist. This allows us to pull out information which we can use to make changes to client websites so that they become better optimised for search engines.
The other thing we like about it is that it’s regularly updated in line with major search engine updates. For instance, we’ve been impressed by how quickly they’ve reacted to recent changes involving the optimum length of page titles and meta descriptions at Google. They were quick to alter Screaming Frog so that we could see the all-important pixel width of both at the click of a button. As Googles methods of SERP display have changed, so have the measurements they use to flag data as being poorly formatted. It’s an effective SEO tool by anyone’s measure.
Internet Information Services (IIS)
This Microsoft tool compliments Screaming Frog very well and it does almost exactly the same job. It highlights what it terms as ‘violations’ (problems with the site that could hinder its SEO performance). It’s most obvious advantage over Screaming Frog is that it lists everything very clearly in a table. However, it does have a tendency to highlight false positives and not everything it highlights is actually important to modern SEO.
From a more basic point of view it’s always good to double check the data you’re getting from anything, so this really helps in that respect.
It’s a given that we’d mention this free AdWords tool, but it really is vital for SEO keyword research. You simply have to type in the keywords which you believe would be most important to your client and it can search for new keyword ideas for you. Alongside every suggested keyword you will see its average number of monthly searches, and it’s often the case that it will have suggested a relevant phrase which receives a large amount of traffic which you hadn’t even considered targeting.
Once you’ve whittled all the information down for your purposes, the list of words and phrases you are then left with can then be mentioned in your blog content, landing pages and meta data. It’s an essential tool.
If you want to find out who’s been recently linking to your site then this is the tool for you. It’s not perfect – the ‘first seen’ dates are often wildly inaccurate and particularly old links are not shown – but it does offer a lot of value.
Once you have the list of recent links, you can see at a glance where exactly the link originated from and see the anchor text of it where applicable. It also shows you the Alexa rank of the websites which can give you an immediate idea as to which links are of higher importance. The overview dashboard is also useful as it gives you a good general idea as to how many links you’re getting and what the overall trend is when it comes to the number of sites linking to you.
Two other benefits are that it’s easy to split results by top-level domain and that it automatically provides you with a solid breakdown of your anchor text profile.
In a similar vein, Majestic also provides you with a detailed look at backlinks. You can make it look for ‘fresh’ or ‘historic’ links. It should be noted that the fresh links are not as fresh as those found using Ahrefs, but that the historic ones do go further back in time that the ones found through Ahrefs.
The main benefit of it for us is the ‘Clique Hunter’ tool. By using this you can insert a list of competitors into a table and it will pull out websites which link to more than one of them. This provides you with a good basis for link prospecting as the chances are that these sites will almost certainly be interested in what you have to offer.
This works well as a very, very broad guide to the quality of a website, which can be useful if you’re having to look through a lot of them very quickly in the SERPs. It’s also a good way to be able to quickly see the meta data of a particular page.
This acts as a great way to find a lot of link prospects quickly. In effect, it trawls Google so you don’t have to. There are various ways you can go about doing this, but what’s worth noting here is that the prospects it finds can be as specific or as broad as you want.
Used correctly it can really save you many hours of work which frees up time for you to focus on the more technical aspects of SEO.
We hope that this has been of use to you and if you’d be interested in our SEO services then please do get in touch. We’re always more than happy to have a chat about what we could specifically offer you, and bear in mind that we work with clients ranging in size from billion pound multi-nationals to local tradesmen, so whatever your enquiry is about, you can approach us.