Keyword Research Tools
Before conducting any search engine promotion it is extremely important to know the ‘terrain’ of your online marketplace. The following tools will aid you by providing a glimpse into the search habits of your prospective customers.
- KeyWordDiscovery ($) **** Highly Recommended!
This is an impressive tool that will provide you with a glimpse into the annual search frequencies for particular search terms. Also of relevance is a graph provided in the paid version which outlines the seasonal use of keywords (i.e. when is your phrase searched for less during the year). This type of seasonal data can help you plan the keyword targets for varying seasons, ultimately saving you money.
- WordTracker ($) – This tool has been around a while so the services it provides are time tested and informative. WordTracker is used and recommended by the best in SEO.
- Google AdWords: Keyword Tool (FREE) – Where better to get your keyword intelligence than from the source itself? Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool is a powerful alternative to the paid options. It doesn’t offer any of the project saving capabilities or advanced query search options but the data is undeniably useful.
Website Analytics Tools
- ClickTracks ($$$) or ($ via CSP) **** Highly Recommended
Chi-Sky uses ClickTracks almost exclusively because we find their software and support to be second to none in the analytics realm. We love it so much that we now offer ClickTracks reporting services to our clientele.
- Google Analytics (Free)
Opened to the public as a free service in August 2006 this program is very powerful and flexible. It features integration with Google Adwords promotion and a whole host of very cool reports. Google Analytics does not, however, provide fraud reporting and analysis for pay-per-click marketing – a significant disadvantage over ClickTracks. In addition, the segmentation capabilities that were added in late 2008 are a welcome addition but they still lack some of the capabilities built into ClickTracks.
- Omniture ($$$$)
Probably the most complex and full featured web analytics program available today. Our experience with Omniture has been very positive but the system is too intense for small business. If you have a large company or a site with loads of traffic (think millions of unique visitors per month) then this is the program for you.
- WebTrends ($$)
We had extensive experience with this program in the early years of Chi-Sky’s web development and it was a great tool then but it’s time in the limelight appears to be waning.
Competitor Analysis Research Tools
Need to research a competitor? Are you planning to do this yourself? If so here are three of the top programs you need. Think of them as your personal SEO detective kit.
- OptiLink ($) : Discover where your competitor’s backlinks are coming from by compiling a list of their backlinks and automatically analyzing them with OptiLink. This program is reasonably priced and provides awesome support plus updates for life – you can’t ask for better. This is a mandatory tool in our SEO toolbox.
- OptiSpider ($) : Similar to OptiLink this tool will take a different angle when analyzing your competitor’s site. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know just how your competitor’s have optimized their website’s? This tool will crawl and catalogue their site just like a search engine spider and provide you with a very revealing report.
- WebPosition Gold ($) : Monitor the ranking position of your competitors. With this tool you can keep an eye on your competitors and reveal which search engine keywords they are ranking for. This kind of information can be gold if you are new to the market and don’t want to invent the wheel; benefit from their experience and consider targeting the same keyphrase’s! Download a free trial of WebPosition here.
- SEO for Firefox (Free) : A great plugin from SEO Book for analyzing websites while you surf the web in the excellent (and free) FireFox web browser.
- XENU Link Sleuth (Free) : A popular tool for many SEOs, XENU can quickly analyze your own or a competitor’s site.
- Compete ($) : This great tool can provide a statistical comparison of up to 5 different websites. Excellent for competitor analysis but the final data should be taken with a grain of salt because Compete can only produce stats on the limited data available.
- WWW or Not? (Free) : Is link popularity split between two versions of a domain name (i.e. domain.com vs www.domain.com)? If so, this tool will tell you. This is valuable if you want to see if your own website has extra link popularity sitting on the sidelines from other sites that have linked to the ‘wrong’ address.
- PR Prowler ($) : Although PageRank is not nearly as black and white as it once was, PR Prowler serves as a helpful method for finding the best sites to get links from or to advertise on.
- Check Server Headers Tool (Free) : This somewhat technical tool that is offered free of charge by a company called StepForth. It provides valuable insight into the setup of yours or your competitor’s servers. For example, Chi-Sky uses this tool to verify that our clients have properly set up their server redirects (301’s) so that duplicate content issues are avoided. It is also used extensively within our competitor analysis reports; it is useful to see how your competitors might have an edge over you.
- DomainTools.com (Free) : Domain Tools is one of my favorite sites for competitor analysis. The most useful component, the Reverse IP Tool, allows me to plunk in a single competitor’s domain and then see every other website that is hosted on its server. In rare instances where the co-hosted domains are owned by the competitor I can get a hint at any future marketing plans my clients should be made aware of.
- Robots.txt Syntax Checker (Free) : There is nothing worse than making an error in a Robots.txt file and accidentally dropping a site out of the search engines. The free Robots.txt checker will review your Robots.txt file; ensuring it is properly created and it will provide you with the rules within the file in plain language to ensure everything meets your approval. This is a valuable tool for avoiding serious indexing issues.
Not so sure you want to tackle your own competitor research?
Chi-Sky offers basic to advanced competitor analysis services. Click here to learn more about this service.
Ranking Reporting Tools
Keep an eye on your search engine rankings across the major and minor search engines; should you see a drop or increase in your rankings you will be better informed and know how to respond.
What, That’s It? Yes, we recommend no other service because we cannot find any that compare! Of all the programs we have tested WebPosition is the only one that has reliable data (more often than not) and has exportable/email-able reports that are actually easy on the eyes. If you would like to submit your software for review please let us know but expect that we will require a full professional copy of the software to test the program.
SEO Friendly URL Solutions
In many cases website URL’s are the reason that web sites are not fully indexed by visiting search engine spiders. Here are a few rewrite solutions that you can employ to correct your unfriendly URL’s and open the door to search engine spiders:
- Apache Servers: Mod Rewrite (Free, capability comes with Apache)
In Apache servers the URL rewriting feature is named Mod Rewrite. Here is a link to a search engine watch forum thread discussing this feature and how to enable it.
- Windows (IIS) Servers: ISAPI Rewrites ($)
This is a 3rd party software program designed to enable custom URL rewriting features for Windows IIS servers. More information on ISAPI Rewrite.
- Windows: .Net Rewrite
Ok, I am no programmer or system administrator so I am getting out of my depth here but I believe this is another tool that would work for rewriting URL’s for web sites using .Net (this link is definitely for techies only!)
Are you unsure if your site uses unfriendly URL’s? Contact Chi-Sky to ensure you have not missed anything else that may be impeding your online success.
XML Sitemap Creation Tools
The following XML sitemap creation tools are extremely handy for creating and maintaining website XML sitemaps for submission to search engines:
- Vigos Google Sitemap Generator (Free) : this great free tool will make your life easier by spidering and automatically generating a slick XML sitemap for your website. Plenty of useful controlled page update options are also provided.
Not sure you want to tackle this all alone? Click here to learn more about how Chi-Sky can prepare and configure your website for online success.
Tags: .Net Rewrite, Apache Servers, Bad URLS's, Check Server Headers Tool, ClickTracks, Compete, Competitor Analysis Research Tools, DomainTools.com, Fixing Bad URL's, Google AdWords, Google Analytics, ISAPI Rewrites, Keyword Research Tools, Keyword Tool, KeywordDiscovery, Mod Rewrite, Omniture, Optilink, OptiSpider, PR Prowler, Ranking Reporting Tools, Reverse IP Tool, Robots.txt Syntax Checker, SEO for Firefox, SEO Friendly URL Solutions, Vigos Google Sitemap Generator, Web Marketing, Web Marketing Tools, WebPosition Gold, Website Analytics Tools, WebTrends, Windows Servers, WordTracker, WWW, XML sitemap, XML Sitemap Creation, ZENU Link Sleuth