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Useful SEO Tools and Resources

SEO can be a difficult and extremely involved task; it’s particularly time and focus intensive and can often be very frustrating. You need to be able to keep track of your rankings (which can often run into hundreds of keywords), perform backlink checks, ensure your keyword research is accurate, find sources of links, etc. However there are numerous tools, websites and resources – both paid and free – available to help make your life a little easier. So to give you an idea of what’s out there and how you can improve your SEO output, here’s a handful of the more useful tools we’ve come across:

Keyword Research

The most obvious place to go for keyword research is the Google Adwords Keyword tool; which is free and is widely used by SEO’s across the world. You’ll need a Googlemail account to sign in, which will also come in useful when signing up for Analytics and Webmaster tools. The tool is extremely easy to use, but can present misleading information if you’re unsure how to use it correctly.
You can search for as many keyterms as you like, simply seperate each phrase by pressing return. Then click on ‘advanced options’ and ensure you’re searching in the correct country, and that you have ‘ideas containing my keywords’ ticked. You can then click search, and when you’re returned results scroll down the page and you’ll notice a small box on the left of the page with boxes entitled ‘broad’, ‘exact’ and ‘phrase’. Make sure that ‘exact’ is the only one ticked and you’re ready to use the information presented to you.

The accuracy of Google’s keyword tool is currently being debated by SEO’s, but it is the most widely used tool for general keyword research and will give you a good idea of the level of competition and searches per month for each term.

A lesser known tool is the excellent Spy Fu, which allows you not only to complete in-depth keyword research but also allows you to complete research on your competitors. You can find out exactly what they’re ranking for, what PPC keywords they’ve targeted, how their PPC budget has increased or decreased over time as well as a wealth of other information. The main drawback with this service is that it’s quite expensive, with the cheapest UK service coming in at £49.95 per month and rising to £159.95 for both UK and US information. You can use the basic service for free though, so it’s well worth checking out.

Link-Building

Link-building is an integral and ongoing part of the SEO process, which is why there are numerous online tools and software packages available, all designed to increase the success and output of your link-building campaigns.

Guest blogging is one of the most effective SEO link-building techniques, but it can often be tough to find suitable blogs to try and publish your guest posts (particularly ones that will allow you commercial links in the copy or bio). That’s assuming you can write high quality, unique content in the first place. Ideally, you’ll be able to write expert articles in the industry your business is based, although you can always outsource the work to a freelance copywriter if you’re struggling. To help you find suitable blogs to publish your articles, you can make use of a site such as MyBlogGuest, which puts blog owners looking for content in touch with people who have articles to publish.

Another effective approach to link-building is article marketing, which allows you to build considerable numbers of links through ‘spinning’ articles. This refers to the process of producing an original article and then re-writing each sentence in order to produce hundreds of technically unique articles, all with links back to your site. There are quite a few article marketing sites out there, although probably the best ones are Article Ranks, AMA and SEO LinkVine. All of these sites require payment in order to publish articles, although if you’re desperate for a free account you can sign up for one at Free Traffic System.

Blog comment placement is another technique widely utilised by SEO’s; the main issue with this approach however is that is takes time to find blogs with DoFollow comment links. To help with this, you can use Fast Blog Finder, which has both paid and trial versions available.

Checking Rankings

Checking your rankings in the search engines can be a long-winded exercise, particularly if you’re checking them manually. If you are checking each keyword manually in Google, you can make your life a little easier by adding &num=100 to the end of the search URL. This will provide you with 100 results per page rather than 10, making it easier to look through several pages of results quickly. You should also make sure you’re signed out of Googlemail and that you add &pws=0 to the end of the URL too, which will ensure your results aren’t personalised.

There is an excellent website available if you don’t want to scroll through pages of results manually for each keyword; the brilliant SeoSerp. You can only search for one keyword at a time, but the results seem to be fairly accurate.

If you’re looking to track lots of keywords for several different sites, you might want to consider signing up to MyWebPosition, although you’ll need to pay for the service. The site isn’t too expensive however, and allows you easily track huge numbers of keywords for numerous different URL’s.



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