Some Useful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools & Resources

Mar 24, 2011 5 Comments by

Here are some useful tools and resources for your  Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Use these to help you catch the digital trends and do better business online – and make more money faster with less stress.

SEO is important, but here’s an over-riding point to bear in mind…    Following good SEO practices is smart and ignoring good SEO practices is dumb., but don’t just focus on SEO. Ultimately it is the relevance and quality of your content when humans find it, consume it and respond to it that will determine your success.

(For your convenience, the links will open in new windows.)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools & Resources

1.  The Google Keyword Tool Box

The Google Keyword Tool Box is  Google’s collection of links to Google’s own free tools for keyword analysis, trend analysis, analytics, advertising, video trainings and a whole lot more.  It’s worth checking it out just to see what Google offers to help you use Google more effectively. Some of the most useful tools include:

  • The Google Keyword Tool to help you find and assess keywords for your website or promotional campaigns;
  • Google Trends which allows you to compare the world’s interest in your selected topics, how often they’ve been searched on Google over time, how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, and in which geographic regions people have searched for them most.
  • Google Insights for Search allows you to compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties. As an example, you can use this to assess seasonal or geographic factors that may alter your business or your industry.
  • Google’s  Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, which is a 22 page PDF originally written for Google staff but now available online.  According to Google, it is “for webmasters who are new to the topic of search engine optimization and wish to improve their sites’ interaction with both users and search engines. Although this guide won’t tell you any secrets that’ll automatically rank your site first for queries in Google (sorry!), following the best practices outlined will make it easier for search engines to both crawl and index your content”.
  • Google Webmaster Guidelines
  • Google 101: How Google crawls, indexes and serves the web.

If you want to try to stay on top of what Google is doing that sooner or later will  impact on your website, then also check out Google’s Official WebMaster Central Blog.

2.  Market Samurai

This piece of SEO software was developed in Australia and is now being sold globally with great success.  It is good software, and it’s also priced to be good value – it’s just under $150.

A marketing genius friend of mine put me onto it last year – and I bought it, use it and now happily recommend it to others.

One of the strong points of this software is the fantastic training videos the developers have produced which not only teach you about the software, but also about keywords, SEO techniques and so much more.

You can use Market Samurai for keyword research, finding high traffic keywords, finding long tail keywords, avoiding targeting the wrong keywords, assessing the strength of competition for keywords and much more. You can create and monitor multiple projects and really track how you are progressing with your SEO.

As a business owner, you may not want to learn to use it yourself, so let your marketing person play with this for a while.

As a tip, when you are selecting marketing consultants or advisers, ask them about Market Samurai. It will probably be a good sign for you if they already use it. It is ‘professional grade’ software and when used well, really can give you an competitive advantage in the marketplace.

To learn more, it’s probably good for you to read their sales blurb here. You can also sign up for a free trial of the Market Samurai software here. (links will open in new window)

3.  Axandra’s iBusinessPromoter

Here’s a tool that I have not used personally, but others have – and many swear by it.

The German firm Axandra have developed iBusinessPromoter or IBP. They guarantee that people who use the IBP tool will get Top 10 rankings in Google.

Of course no-one but Google can guarantee this really, however Axandra claim that their IBP tool has a success rate of more than 98% and so they will give you your money back if you are one of the few people who don’t get top 10 rankings on Google with IBP.

This free ebook from Axandra will tell you a whole lot about SEO techniques – and also introduce you to the IBP tool. The book also contains “What can happen” chapters that tell you what can happen if you don’t optimize your web pages correctly. It’s fully searchable, and keyword index helps you find information quickly about a special topic.

The book is 160 pages, but it’s easy enough to read, digest and start to use. You can download it out here. (link will open in new window)

Selecting an SEO Consultant

Getting your content found can be a challenge and it’s often good to get external help from people skilled in the SEO field. The world abounds with people claiming to be able improve your listing in Google and other search engines.  Not all web development firms or digital marketing agencies are good at SEO and many seriously struggle in this specialized area.

Good SEO is about establishing the relevance, value and credibility of your content – and then getting your content (rather than your competitors’ content)  easily found by others when they  search online.

Selecting the best and most relevant keywords for which to optimize your site and your content is part of the challenge.   Then you need to use a bunch of smart techniques on your website and with your content.  (And by ‘smart techniques’, I don’t mean spammy junky ‘black hat techniques.  Avoid them at all costs. Even if  some new black-hat SEO method may work temporarily, sooner or later you will get slapped by Google and when Google slaps you it can hurt your business big time.)

After that, the relevance, value and credibility of your content is generally determined automatically by algorithms used by search engines such as Google.  Google puts a lot of weight on the number and quality of “back-links” – which are the links from other websites or other web content back to each of your specific pieces of  content.  The more high quality sites containing different pieces of content that have relevant back-links to you, the better Google will assess the  relevance, value and credibility of your content.

Recently, Google have added a social media element to their algorithm to allow content that is relevant, valuable and credible to come from those people close to you in your social networks.

Here’s an extract of what the guys at Google have to say about hiring someone else to do your SEO work for you.  You can find the full details here.   (And to avoid confusion, SEO below stands for “Search Engine Optimizer”, one of many new professional expert niche roles in the online world.)

If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.

Some useful questions to ask an SEO include:

  1. Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
  2. Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
  3. Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
  4. What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe?
  5. How do you measure your success?
  6. What’s your experience in my industry?
  7. What’s your experience in my country/city?
  8. What’s your experience developing international sites?
  9. What are your most important SEO techniques?
  10. How long have you been in business?
  11. How can I expect to communicate with you?
  12. Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?

That’s what Google have to say and as noted above, you can find the full details here.  It’s a good start, but there are four more  critical questions I would suggest you add to ask a potential SEO consultant:

13.   How can you help me find the right or best keywords for my content?  What is involved and what will you need me to do to help you make it successful?

14.   Will you help build good back-links to my content, and if so, how will you do this?

15.   What experience do you have using different social media to assist with SEO?  Can you give me some examples of your recent successes?

16.   How do you charge for your SEO services, and what is the likely ball-park price for you to provide me with what I need?

It’s all about weighing up the results you may get for the money you will pay.   Not many good SEO firms will offer you any guarantees, but ask anyway!

Please let me know how you get on…

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