Many of our SEO clients are “do-it-yourselfers” or will be after learning a few things from us. A website owner or SEO consultant who is just starting out usually want to know what tools we use to track keyword positions, see what the competition is doing to get links, research keywords, analyze on-page optimization and find new places to acquire incoming links. There are dozens of tools out there to do all of these things, but usually not all in one package. Online tools are the most common, but the problem we sometimes have with those is that if the third party’s site goes down, so does your tool kit. We found this out the hard way last month when two of the third-party online utilities we sometimes use took a brief vacation from usefulness.
Let’s take a look at one of the more popular, and most comprehensive, self-contained SEO tool sets, “SEO PowerSuite” from Link-Assistant.com.
SEO PowerSuite is actually four different applications bundled together: Rank Tracker, Website Auditor, SEO SpyGlass and LinkAssistant. This feature-rich toolset has everything you need to do SEO yourself – except that little bit of insanity required to do it well.
Everybody wants to know the score. Rank Tracker is a great way to monitor the progress of your SEO campaign without all the hassle and confusion that often comes with checking your rankings for lots of keywords. What a lot of SEO newcomers don’t know is that checking your search engine positions by doing a Google search for your keywords is unreliable. Google’s personalization and localization can influence the results – even if you are not logged in to a Google product and have turned off browsing history. Rank Tracker eliminates that, and makes it pretty easy to track dozens or even hundreds of key phrase variations. You can also monitor your competitors’ positions for the same keywords, check a variety of different search engines (not just Google, Yahoo and Bing) and see how your website ranks in different parts of the world.
Even if you are not doing your own SEO, Rank Tracker is a very useful way to monitor your keyword positions and add other keywords that may not be in your SEO service provider’s reports.
One drawback of any keyword monitoring utility is that Google frequently changes how data is made available, which can break many trackers. Rank Tracker occasionally has its problems with sudden changes at the search engines, too. But when it does hit a snag, you can count on the automatic update to appear before too long to let you know an update is available that will get you back on track. When tracking keyword positions, it is best to have several options available since results can vary from one tracker to the next. If you don’t want the hassle of using multiple sources for your tracking, Rank Tracker is very consistent and reliable enough to be the only one you use.
Good “on page” optimization is absolutely essential to real SEO success. Even with a smaller website, finding all of the technical issues and elements that need improvement can be a time consuming process – and even experienced optimizers will sometimes miss a thing or two in a website SEO audit. SEO PowerSuite has that covered. The Website Auditor component of the PowerSuite will find:
- Duplicate content on your site
- Broken links (internal and external)
- 404 “missing” errors and other server response codes
- Pages that are blocked from being indexed by search engines
- Titles and meta descriptions that are too long or missing
- HTML code errors and other technical issues
It crawls your entire site and lets you know what can do to improve your on page optimization. Favorite features: XML Sitemap generation and broken link checker.
One of the first things to do when you start looking for links to your website is take a look at where your competitors have been getting their links. With the demise of Yahoo Site Explorer last Fall, this became much more difficult. SEO SpyGlass is still quite capable of finding just about all of the links to a site – and it also gives lots of actionable intel about where those links are coming from – domain and linking page PageRank, number of external links, the anchor text and URL and a bunch of other useful info to determine the value of your competitors’ backlinks. You can also use it to verify that the links to your own site are still where they should be. Very useful.
Since we do our link building a little bit differently than a typical SEO company, this part of SEO PowerSuite has seen the least use here. But if you need to do lots of link building, LinkAssistant will help you find potential sources of links to your site, dig up the webmaster’s contact info, manage your correspondences with other webmasters, and monitor the status of the links.
One thing we do use this for is when we need to contact websites to request the removal of links when working to help a website recover from Penguin or an unnatural links penalty.
If you are looking for just one set of tools to help you do your own search engine optimization and link building, the SEO Software from www.Link-Assistant.com is very capable, feature-rich and quite easy to learn how to use. You may not need everything it has to offer, but each component is quite useful, informative and sooner or later you will have a need for them.