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2015 - Your Favourite Google Targeted SEO Tools

     
5:16 pm on Jan 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Google has changed and so have the SEO tools. Let's talk about our favorite SEO tools that help us to rank in 2015.

Please avoid self-promotion in accordance with our forum charter [webmasterworld.com].

If you see a tool reviewed and would like to add information, please post your comment. The moderators will then move your comment to the original post reviewing the tool.

Only one tool per post, please.

Here's a template that we ask people to use:

1. NAME - LINK

2. PURPOSE

3. FREE or PAID

4. WHAT I LIKE

5. WHAT NEEDS IMPROVING

6. WHAT HAS CHANGED (ONLY APPLIES TO OLDER TOOLS)


Check out the previous Favorite SEO Tools thread [webmasterworld.com] (October 2013)
3:31 am on Jan 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I still cannot live without the Screaming Frog spider tool.

[screamingfrog.co.uk...]

This tool does so many useful things, I don't have time to type them all in. But its best use is that it will spider your site as though it were Google, and give you nice exportable files so you can see where your dead outbound links are, which pages don't have analytics codes in them, your 2--, 3--, 4-- and 5-- response codes, how many clicks from the home page your internal pages are - like I said, too much to count.

It costs 99 british pounds a year which is something around $150 US, and worth every penny. There is a free version, but it'll only crawl 500 URLs. They are always adding significant improvements, and they are very open to suggestions - you can always hit them up on Twitter.

I also make heavy use of SEMRush (semrush.com, again you can have a free account but you can't really do much unless you sign up for paid, which start at $69/month. If you do this stuff for a living, or have a team, it's worth signing up for a higher level)

SEMRush is great for checking rankings from a neutral source (no personalization), competitor research for organic and paid traffic (and they just added product ads too) and keyword research and suggestions.

Those are my two "won't give up till they pry them out of my cold dead hands" tools.

I also like the Built With Chrome extension (builtwith.com for the desktop version, or get it in the chrome store) because I'm always looking to see what the competition is using to build their sites. The extension is free; they have paid services but I haven't needed any of them so far.
6:25 pm on Jan 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I don't do SEO daily but I think this one is useful for a number of concepts, albeit a more corner case. I've used it for a couple of years.

1. Mozrepl - [addons.mozilla.org...]

2. Total control and automation of firefox, basically anything you can do with or create for Firefox can be replicated here. You connect to mozrepl via telnet.

3. Free

4. Aside from learning the basic mechanics of Firefox and its various components, it's entirely fired by Javascript, so it has a lot of power if you're proficient in JS already.

- Good for imitating real users.
- You can operate the browser over telnet, so it can run on a remote machine.
- Example usage
-- 100 lines of JS collects a bunch of keyword suggestions and data from Google's Adwords tool
-- Imitating real browsers that would otherwise get caught by basic bot blocking
-- Visiting SERPS

5. No gripes with it. Limitations tend to be in Firefox itself
7:03 pm on Jan 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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1. Supermetrics for Google Drive

2. Pull data from Google Analytics, GWT, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Moz into Google Sheets

3. Freemium. Free for 10K rows; Pro ($49/month) if you want more than that or if you want it to email you reports on a scheduled basis.

4. Pulling all sorts of stuff into one report at the press of a button.

5. Sometimes network issues mean that your data "refresh" is actually a data delete. I don't think that's a Supermetrics problem - one day GWT is fine and the next it won't refresh; one day another site I'm pulling from not using Supermetrics at all is fine and then next it won't refresh. So it's more a problem with Google Sheets than with the tool, so it's possible Supermetrics for Excel would be better (but pricier).
12:01 am on Jan 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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1. URLtoDomain - [urltodomain.com...]

2. It 'removes' the URL part from a domain name to create a disavow file for Google or Bing Webmaster Tool. Other than that, programmers or marketers may find it useful too. I use it heavily a couple of times a month to be up to date with disavowing bad links. During the days one of the websites I manage was bombarded with bad links, I had to use it every day and it saved hours of manual / semi-manual jobs.

3. Free.

4. Free and does exactly what it says. Originally I thought it was official Google tool for creating the disavow file. Then I found WebmasterWorld ;).

5. I had a sporadic problem with some very strange / garbled characters copied from some domain finding tools. It might have been encoding problem, but the tool usually finds malformed URLs.
2:33 am on Jan 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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2015 is, I think, the year of Schema markup and I know few tools to aid in the process, but there are some freebies right here at WebmasterWorld.

1. [freetools.webmasterworld.com...]

2. Generates schema markup for movies, books, products and a few others.

3. free

4. Simple tool that generates schema markup, which can be dizzying to get your head around. You can take existing schema markup and put in at the bottom and fill some field so you can add where you need to or use it to some extent like a validator.

5. The bad part is that you still have to do this... and it's another task that is easy to put off, but at Pubcon last year I heard Pierre Far say at least twice to "mark up everything" in discussions about whether or not schema markup mattered. He seemed pretty emphatic that it is a good idea. It won't help with rankings, but it ensures that Google classifies you correctly.
3:33 am on Jan 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Link Research Tools [linkresearchtools.com]

I trialed LRT recently and here is my experience. For competition analysis and link building purposes LRT has deep backlink metrics which help me understand what the top competition's backlink profile resembles in order to create a baseline to use for the purpose of comparison with a clients profile, which I can then use to sketch out what needs improvement, and to identify what might be sketchy because it diverges from the norm. I am into statistical analysis (because that's one of the tools search engines use for ranking and spam fighting) and LRT gives me that kind of deep information. A professional opinion carries more weight when there is hard data behind it. That's what LRT delivers for client work. It's also useful for backlink research for link building purposes. So it does double duty. It should be useful for backlink research for disavowals with reports easily downloaded, so if you're doing that for clients then LRT will pull triple duty for you. Maybe the data would be more useful if the person using it has an understanding about why the data is useful. LRT kind of takes it for granted that you know it.

Majestic [majestic.com]
I recently did a test drive of Majestic and I was head over heels with their Topical Trust Flow. It's like having X-Ray vision for backlinks because it instantly reports if the backlinks of a site are relevant or not. This is not like TrustRank or MozTrust. In my opinion it is a million times better. Topical Trust Flow divides the backlinks into niche buckets then gives it a score that relates to how many links are relevant to those niche buckets. It instantly gives you a graphical representation of what niche topics the backlinks of a target site consist of. If the backlinks are irrelevant the tool will show it immediately. No more having to meticulously research the backlinks. Just run the URL through Majestic and get a snapshot of what niche topics the backlinks fall into.

Google's mobile friendly test
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ [google.com]

Google Page Speed Insight [developers.google.com]
8:30 pm on Jan 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I usually do everything programmatically, but am working on things lately that require a lot more manual touch, which makes some things a real hassle, such as adding proper tracking to links. I just discovered this

1. [gaconfig.com...]

2. builds your tracking code for various Google Analytics "events"

3. free

4. good - simple tool that does one thing

5. bad - simple tool that does one thing
2:30 pm on Jan 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Nibbler covers more than just SEO, but I really like it:

1. Nibbler [nibbler.silktide.com ]

2. Website best practice checklist, review & recommendations.

3. Free.

4. Positives: Great for spotting things you might have missed.

5. Negatives: It only reviews the first 5 pages it finds to get a snapshot of your site - which isn't very many. (Though it's enough to identify major issues...)
9:48 pm on Jan 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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1. Deepcrawl - [deepcrawl.com...]

2. PURPOSE - Crawls your site to discover technical SEO issues (internal redirects, broken links, duplicate/missing tags, duplicate body text, missing canonical tags, nofollow links, noindex pages, URL status codes + much more)

3. FEES: Paid - has a few monthly subscription options that are priced according to number of pages crawled.

4. WHAT I LIKE - Great user interface with historical charting, what elements improved or regressed compared to the previous crawl, downloadable reports, and custom crawl parameters to help reduce costs.

5. WHAT NEEDS IMPROVING - One feature that would be very helpful is a specific report that shows if there were any changes in key SEO elements since the last crawl (title, description, canonical tag, URL, etc).
1:39 am on Feb 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's too bad the old Yahoo Site Explorer is gone.
8:58 am on Feb 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's too bad the old Yahoo Site Explorer is gone.

I very much agree. It had a lot of good features. There was some talk that Bing was going to supply an equivalent tool, but it's not here yet, and it's been quite a while.
6:07 pm on June 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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incredible and really useful stuff - usually these devils go on for quite a long time!