Ranking high on the SERPs is essential for getting your site noticed. Many small businesses forgo search engine optimization (SEO), due to the fact that many companies charge an unreasonable amount for their services and because of the lack of awareness of great tools that can aid in boosting their site rankings. With the right tool set, you can optimize your website both onsite and offsite. SEO tools all small businesses should take advantage of include:
- Google AdWords Keyword Tool is Google’s free tool designed to help marketers find the best keywords for their Google AdWords campaigns. This tool shows advertiser competition levels, global monthly search volume, and local monthly search volume.
- Google Analytics is available to you if you have a Google account and have added Google’s analytics tracking code to your site or blog. Analytics is a great all around tool, you can measure where visitors come from, the number of pages they view, how long they stay on your site, and much more.
- Google Webmaster Tools is an amazing tool for offsite optimization. Webmaster tools will show top search queries used to find your site, the links going to your site, crawl errors, as well as +1 metrics.
- WordPress blogs are great for SEO in general. WordPress has many plugins that give you the ability to set social statistics and provides you with the tools to make yourself an expert in your field. Blogs also allow for greater linking opportunities and can help bring traffic to your site.
- Xenu’s Link Sleuth is a great tool for performing site audits. Link Sleuth downloads directly to your desktop and has a very friendly user interface. This tool analyzes your site and produces a report containing any broken links, lost mail servers, and even produces the different types of code being used on specific pages. Link Sleuth not only is a great tool for site audits, but can be your best friend when scraping your site for link opportunities.
- MozBar from SEOmoz is possibly my favorite off-site tool. The MozBar gives you an instant look at the page authority and domain authority of any indexed page and provides you an in depth link analysis, which is useful when mining for quality links.
- Rank Checker is useful for when you would like to check multiple rankings at once and have little time. The Rank Checker tool offers an easy to use interface and runs directly off your internet browser; however, running off the browser isn’t always a good thing. Rank checker will automatically localize search results since it is attached to your browser, but negatives aside it is a great way to quickly analyze where specific pages generally rank.
- Shared Count moves away from traditional SEO and moves on to the social side of SEO. Google’s +1 is sure to have a factor on rankings in the future, especially since Bing already indexes Facebook likes when you are signed into your Facebook account on Bing. Shared Count gives users the number Facebook likes, Tweets, Google +1’s, Diggs, LinkedIn shares, Google Buzz’s, as well as Stumbles from StumbleUpon. Shared Count even offers an open API so advanced users can build tools to place in the open area.
Gaining the top ranks can be difficult without some help. These tools mixed with some general know-how, can provide users with the capability to reach their goals and make it to the top spot.
Matt Polsky is the Search Marketing Manager as well as the Online Reputation Manager for Veterans United and VA Mortgage Center. Matt keeps a special spot in his heart for military veterans and enjoys working with the nation’s leading provider of VA home loans. Connect with Matt on Twitter @mattpolsky.