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SEO Tools

When it comes to traffic sources, nothing beats search engine traffic. Not only is this traffic highly targeted (you can't get more targeted than people actively searching for what you have to offer), it is also sustainable over long periods of time. However, powerful this source of traffic is, your website can only benefit from it if you use the right keywords and content. SEO tools lets you get an idea as to the right keyword and content strategy to pursue.

How Can SEO Tools Help You?

5 results - showing 1 - 5
 
 
Details Ratings
October 28, 2011    

SEOmoz SEO Tools lets you research keywords and see how and what your competition do in both adwords and organic search. SEOmoz is a service for web publishers, webmasters, organizations, agencies and enterprises with various plans and led by SEOmoz, Inc.

 
4.8 (1)
October 28, 2011    

SpyFu SEO Tools lets you research keywords and see how and what your competition do in both adwords and organic search. SpyFu is a service for web publishers, webmasters, organizations, agencies and enterprises with various plans and led by SpyFu, Inc.

 
4.6 (2)
October 17, 2011    

SEMRush SEO Tools lets you research keywords and see how and what your competition do in both adwords and organic search. SEMRush is a service for web publishers, webmasters, organizations, agencies and enterprises with various plans and led by SEOQuake Team.

 
4.5 (1)
November 14, 2011    

Searchmetrics Essentials SEO Tools lets you research keywords and see how and what your competition do in both adwords, organic search, social networks and their visibility. Searchmetrics is a service for web publishers, webmasters, organizations, agencies and enterprises with various plans and led by Searchmetrics, GmbH.

 
3.6 (2)
November 14, 2011    

iSpionage SEO Tools lets you research keywords and see how and what your competition do in both adwords, organic search and their visibility. iSpionage is a service for web publishers, webmasters, organizations, agencies and enterprises with various plans and led by iSpionage, Inc.

 
0.0 (0)
5 results - showing 1 - 5
 
 

SEO Tools

SEO Tools Resource & Information

Evaluating SEO Tools

There are many search engine optimization tools available on the market. These SEO tools range from free tools like Google's AdWords Keyword Selector Tool to integrated software packages like Market Samurai. Also, there are other tools that are completely web based like SEMRush or Spyfu. What they all have in common is the emphasis on keywords. I cannot emphasize it enough. Keywords are the bedrock to a successful search engine optimization campaign. It works as simple as this: Users of search engines use keyword phrases to look for your website. Naturally your website must target the keywords that people are looking for and there must be enough search volume for that keyword for you to get any sizable traffic from the search engines. It may seem simple. It may seem straightforward. However, there are many intricacies involved. There are also many tactical decisions that need to be made.

When evaluating SEO tools, you have to factor in several key considerations so that you can choose the right tool for you. It bears highlighting, although it is quite obvious, that there are differing SEO tools for differing users. Every web master or website owner is different. Some website owners run huge websites that would like to run pay-per-click campaigns. Their needs are different from an owner of a small blog that is looking to get more traffic for a limited range of keywords. Each situation is different. Another factor that contributes to differing needs is motives for search engine optimization. Not everyone is employing SEO techniques so they can make more money from their website. Others just need more traffic to influence more people, like in the case of blogs. Many people are blogging for influence or to brand their writing. They are not necessarily blogging for people to click their ads and make money or click on ads to make commission on product sales. Others run online stores that have multiple product categories that carry hundreds, if not thousands, of products and they need specific objectives to be met. They need their products to be sold. They need to collect e-mails. There are differing tool suites that matches differing motivations as well. Depending on what you are seeking to accomplish and what your particular resources are, you have to evaluate this data along with the considerations below. If you come up with a match, then the SEO tool you are considering more likely than not is the tool that you should purchase or subscribe to.

1. Does the tool allow for competition research?

Believe it or not, SEO can be quite easy. How? Your competition has already done your homework for you. By targeting certain keywords, they have already put in the time and the effort to weed out other keywords that are obviously not worth their time. This is especially true for niches and content categories or product categories that are very competitive or moderately competitive. By using SEO tools to reverse engineer your competition's SEO strategy, you are several steps ahead of the competition because you are spending less time. Also more importantly, you are then in a position to build on the work that they have started. You can see the weaknesses in their strategy and you can come up with strategies to compensate for those weaknesses. In essence, you get to stand on your competition's shoulders.

The downside to this is they can do the same thing to you. Linking patterns are publicly data mined information. Anybody with the right tools can have access to these. Be very careful of what you target because your competition can easily shift their strategy to target those. If you are targeting certain keywords, make sure that those keywords fit your return on investment (ROI) objectives. If you are not factoring in your ROI and you are just targeting keywords for the sake of targeting keywords, you might just be giving your competition free ammunition to shoot you with.

Other strategic concerns regarding competition research include finding the keywords that your competition ranks for but is neglecting. This is very important. Big sites eventually rank for keywords that they are not actively targeting. Some of these keywords actually get a lot of search traffic if targeted specifically. You can use competition research to find keywords that your competition ranks for passively and then run another filter on those keywords to see if they are low competition keywords, so it is relatively easy to rank for them. Also see if those keywords get a decent enough volume of searches. If the neglected keyword passes this two core criteria, then it is a keyword that is worth pursuing. Make sure that it is specific to your niche and your site is geared towards that keyword. To pursue this keyword, you just have to build content for it and maybe add it to your content architecture. Standard SEO tactics apply like picture tagging, putting the keyword in titles, adding it in the structure through a category system, and also putting it in a page description if you are building specific pages.

2. Does the tool allow you to find keywords that you should be targeting?

We have already discussed the situation where your competitor ranks for keywords, but they are neglecting those keywords. However, a more common case is when, by looking under the hood of your competitor's SEO strategy, you see keywords that they are ranking for but you do not rank for. These are keywords that you are neglecting. Again, you gather all these keywords and filter them through search engine volume and competition level. The next step is you look at your particular niche. Are these keywords that you should be targeting? Do they fit squarely into your content mix or into your content category? If so and they have a fairly low level of competition, then you should be targeting these as well.

3. Does the tool allow you to find existing keywords you rank for?

Many SEO tools allow you to find keywords that you are already ranking for. This is actually a very basic feature. However, they do not all display the data the same way. Some tools just show you what keywords you rank for. They do not show you the exact rank. Others show you your rank, but that is all they do. You should look for a tool that not only shows you the keywords that you rank for, but also your ranking and what the search volume is for that specific keyword.

Be careful of tools that only list broad phrases or broad search terms. These are worthless. The traffic volume that is displayed for broad search terms is worthless information. You should look for exact traffic. If somebody types in the keyword exactly, then that is the traffic volume you should look for because broad term searches actually bundles up search volumes for a whole range of search terms, not just for that keyword. For an exact profile of the search traffic volume for a particular keyword, make sure that the tool is reporting exact searches.

Once you have found the keywords that you already rank for, analyze them in terms of competition level and search volume. What you are looking for are keywords that you are already ranking quite decently in, at least first page or at most second page. This type of ranking, with little to moderate effort, boosts them up so you can get as much traffic from these keywords as possible. However, if you are relegated to a fifth page or tenth page, there just might be too much work involved that it does not pass the cost benefit analysis. The key here is to gather as many different small streams of traffic to form a river, but doing so without costing too much time, money and effort on your part. You find all these keywords that you already rank for and the next step is you look for competition level. The less the competition is, the better. They have to be specifically related to you. What is the point of getting a low competition moderate traffic keyword, but your website has nothing to do with that keyword? It is worthless or maybe it is tangentially related. What you are looking for is useful traffic, people that would not bounce out of your pages, but would click through so that they can perform the behavior that you want them to perform whether that behavior is bookmarking your site so they can read your site again and again and treat you like an authority.

The desired behavior could also be a click on an ad so you make money with AdSense or they click an ad and they buy a product and you make money with commissions. Regardless of what your motivation is, there is a fixed set of objectives. Make sure you are very clear when you are filtering your keywords that you keep your objectives paramount in mind. Now that you have weeded out keywords that you rank moderately high for but are not number 1 in, they have low to moderate levels of traffic and these keywords have low to moderate levels of competition. The next step is o actively target these keywords by either writing blog posts for them, building new pages, and integrating this new content into your existing structure. Actively monitor these keywords to see if you are moving up for them. The objective is to find keywords that you already have a good shot of cornering all its traffic and gathering lots of tiny streams of traffic for them to go to your website. The strategy is it is better to fight a hundred battles that you have a really good shot at winning than to fight one major battle with a lot at stake and a high pay out, but you are at a serious disadvantage in terms or probability of victory. Choose your battles carefully by running this type of keyword search strategy. You are fighting a battle from a position of strength. You have basically won one-half the battle already since you already ranked for the keyword.

4. Does it tell you the value of the keywords?

Since keyword researchers are not all shooting for pay per click campaigns, the value of a click is not important to everybody. For example, the value of a keyword when it appears on a Google AdSense does not really interest a person that is blogging for authority or blogging for branding or any other non-advertising related purpose. However, if you are looking to buy certain keywords, then you would need to know what those keywords cost. If it is much easier to actually just buy that keyword rather than rank organically for it. Other SEOs try a hybrid strategy which is they try to rank organically for it, but in the meantime they buy the keyword on a pay-per-click basis. Also the pay-per-click value of a keyword is very important for those who are doing arbitrage.

Arbitrage is when you buy lower priced keywords normally for a penny per click and the page does lead to show ads that pay a higher amount per click. Right before Google came up with quality score system for their AdWords advertising service, it was very common to see people buy credit card long-tail keywords for a few pennies each. These keywords would then pull up ads that would pay upwards of 50 cents to several dollars per click. Google frowned upon such practices because the people that were doing this would drive the traffic to pages that just consisted of an ad. It did not really add any value to the user who clicks the ad that appears in search results on blogs that display AdSense ads. Sensing that its servicing a brand was being undermined, Google instituted quality score system. This quality score system assigns a score to the quality of the landing page and this influences how much you are going to pay per click. The end result is people cannot do arbitrage anymore if they were using lousy landing pages, meaning they were just trying to make money off the differences in click prices. People are still doing this though with Yahoo! publishing and buying AdWords clicks. However, due to recent changes, Google's quality system is rapidly evolving so arbitrage is getting more difficult to do.

What many enterprising arbitrage entrepreneurs are doing is that they are using Facebook ads to drive to AdSense powered pages. Depending on your niche, this is still lucrative because Facebook's advertising system is not as stringent as AdWords and Yahoo! publisher network. Arbitrage still works in that situation. Regardless of whether you use a keyword for PPC because you are actually trying to sell something with a landing page and you are trying to boost the quality of the landing page. If you are trying to do arbitrage, PPC costing is a great feature to look for when evaluating SEO tools.

5. Does it cover the basics?

The tool must cover basic SEO data sets. The most basic is where do you rank for a keyword? Secondly, what is the search volume for that keyword? Third, what keywords are related to your target keywords? These are basic functions and every tool must have them or else it is not worth the money unless it is a free SEO tool.

The Bottom Line

There are many SEO tools available on the market. Many of them offer their services in a monthly subscription basis and others offer software. Regardless, there is money involved while others are free. If a tool costs money, make sure that you evaluate it using the considerations discussed above and keeping your particular objectives firmly in mind. This is the only way you can successfully avoid being ripped off or buying a fancy piece of software that you rarely use or worse, you only use a portion to get data that you could actually get for free somewhere else. Be very clear as to what data sets you are looking for and what you are trying to achieve, and then select your tool accordingly.