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Each year, SEO takes a new approach with various search engines. Here are some tools to help keep you competitive.
Please also check out our other article on Search Engine Optimization for 2018 for more tips on helping to improve your SEO campaign.
Google Adwords for SEO Keyword Research
Keyword planning and research is essential for you to have a successful SEO campaign. Researching keywords is a process that determines which keywords will be efficient for your website (which target your audience and have highest search volume). One of the best areas to start is Google Adwords. You can start doing research by making use of broadest keywords related to your website. In Adwords, decide on your target audience, your preferred language, and the location of your audience. If you want to target global audience then you should set filters to all countries.
You will come up with the list of 10 to 15 keywords related to your article or website. Select which keywords are relevant and continue the same process eliminating the least relevant ones till you find only three to four strong key words to give you best relevance and search volume.
To be successful these days in SEO, you need good, relevant content that integrates all your chosen keywords. Do your research and plan your content accordingly. You can also get help from websites or marketing agencies (like iNet Ventures – visit now) that can help you write content or help build links to your content for optimal searchability.
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, education is incredibly important. Your expansion into SEO should not only include publications from Moz or Search Engine Land, it should also include the more technical aspects – like information technology and development,
This is where CBT Nuggets comes in. CBT Nuggets offers on-demand IT training videos that helps anyone interested in IT and development stay current or get certified. They offer courses on Cisco, CompTIA, Microsoft, AWS, Juniper, even Salesforce, MS Office, and Project Management.
CBT Nuggets’ trainers are considered “celebrities” in the IT world, as they are experts in the field. What is most appealing about CBT Nuggets, is that their trainers make courses incredibly easy to understand and the information retainable.
Screaming Frog “spiders websites’ links, images, CSS, script and apps from an SEO perspective.” So, if you want to crawl your site to see the amount of meta descriptions over 160 characters, pages that are missing title tags, images missing alt tags, or canonical issues, Screaming Frog provides that information in a clean, simple format. You can then take that data and immediately make improvements to your website.
Some of the higher level functions that SEO’s would be interested in, is the ability to find redirect chains, external link status codes, the ability to crawl sites as different user-agents, and get the page word count to see what pages are too thin. Screaming Frog’s tool makes it easy to slice and dice SEO data quickly .
Social Media is gaining in importance everyday. It is an important medium for interacting with customers, capitalizing on topical information, attaining backlinks, diversifying traffic sources, and increasing brands awareness.
Sprout Social is your one-stop-shop for social media optimization. With Sprout Social, you can:
- Monitor conversations and hashtags
- Engage customers or target audiences
- Syndicate messages through social quicker and easier (even scheduling posts)
- Track and analyze social performance
- Collaborate with team members
Although there are lot of social media tools out there, Sprout Social could easily be the only one you need in your toolbox.
Back in 2011 Ahrefs emerged as a backlink checker and site analysis tool. Today it has grown into one of the most powerful SEO toolsets. The guys behind Ahrefs are constantly adding new and new features, and are always looking for ways to improve.
Ahrefs is known to have the fastest and the most efficient crawlers in their industry. This makes it a perfect tool to check and track backlinks to your websites and to spy on your competitors’ link building activities.
Besides, Ahrefs package includes advanced Organic Traffic Research and Keyword Research tools as well as a special Content Explorer tool. The latter is especially valued by content marketers and copywriters, because it helps them find the most promising topics for their content.
Open Site Explorer is really Moz’s h3est tool. It has recently been enhanced, with the inclusion of Spam Analysis – a site score based on 17 key indications that a site may be spammy. This is akin to a next-level “bad neighborhood” checker.
Open Site Explorer is great as both an internal and a competitive analysis tool. It features the ability to:
- See current inbound links (filterable by Target, Source, and Link Type)
- A site’s “just discovered” links
- Top Pages
- Linking root domains
- Anchor text distribution to check for over optimization
- Competitive link metric analysis, which include social metrics
- Links to reclaim through 404 errors
- Brand mentions online that are currently not linking back to a site
- Links that your competitors have that you currently don’t
Besides Google products (Analytics and Webmaster Tools), this is one of the foundational, integral SEO tools. Your SEO toolbox is incomplete without Open Site Explorer.
SEMRush has emerged as one of the most important keyword research, competitor analysis, and site monitoring tools.
SEO’s can use SEMRush to see if any of their prospects, competitors, or own sites have been hit by a Google penalty by using SEMRush’s Organic Research – Positions tab. SEO’s can also use SEMRush’s Backlinks tab to get a download of current backlinks pointing to a site.
SEO’s use SEMRush mainly for their keyword reports, that gives users an Excel scrape of the keywords that a site (yours or a competitors) are relevant for. In this Excel, you receive key information, like:
- Keyword Position
- Previous Keyword Position
- Google Global Search Volume
- Ranking Page URL
- Keyword Traffic %
- Keyword Traffic Cost %
- Competition Level
- Number of Search Results
- Keyword Trends
A cool feature, that should be highlighted, is that you can get this information for 25 different countries, which is especially important if you are doing any international SEO.
Lastly, SEMRush gives users a nice set of easy to understand charts and graphs that aesthetically breaks down the data for quick analysis.
Need content ideas? Curious about the content your competitors are creating? Want to know what content really attracts links, likes, shares, and tweets? Buzzsumo is your online tool.
Simply type a topic or a domain into the search bar, hit enter, and you will see a list of the top pieces of content and its social metrics and backlinks. With this information, a SEO could see what type of content end users find popular, what a competitor found gold writing about, what pieces of old-successful content could be updated, and more.
There are dozens of rank trackers out there, but one of the best is Agency Analytics, formerly My SEO Tool.
Agency Analytics monitors and tracks keyword rankings and backlinks, as well as syncs with Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, social media properties, and PPC campaigns.
The feature that SEO’s like in this tool is that one can not only monitor US rankings, but also rankings in other countries, as well as locally.
Check My Links is a very nice Google plugin link checker that crawls through a webpage to look for 404 errors.
SEO’s can use this tool to capitalize on competitor backlinks that have 404’d. For example, a SEO could use Open Site Explorer or SEMRush to see what link a competitor has attained. They can then go to the linking site, and use the Check My Links plugin to see if that link is still active or if it has 404’d. Then they can reach out to the webmaster to see if the site could replace the 404’d link with their link, and voila! – you’ve just stolen a backlink from a competitor.
Check My Links is a very simple tool, but effective and has an elegant look to it, which is its added value.
Last but not least, is Google Webmaster Tool’s Mobile Friendly Test.
The main idea behind this update is that if your mobile site is not optimized, or better yet, not mobile friendly, then your mobile rankings could be affected. However, Zineb from Google said that desktop rankings would not be impacted if your mobile site were not optimized.
The Google Mobile Friendly Test shows you what your site looks like on mobile and how Googlebot sees your page. It will then give you steps and tips to make your mobile site friendlier.