When it comes to SEO, the tools available are a dime a dozen. But how do you choose which ones are the most effective? In a sea of link wheeling and other black hat techniques, how do you make the most of your SEO efforts? We dug into our Mary Poppins bag and pulled out a few of our favorite things:
Google Keyword Planner
How we use it: Keyword planner is one of the first tools we reach for whenever we’re implementing on-page optimization for a website. With this tool, we can build groups of similar keywords to inform how we optimize a ‘Home’ page differently than an ‘About Us’ page.
Why we love it: Keyword planner doesn’t just give you the search volume, competition, and suggested bids for a particular keyword. Rather, this tool takes the guess work out of finding other keywords related to the focus keyword you’re trying to optimize for.
How we use it: In order to stay on top of the game in this age where content is king, a key part of our content strategy is letting trending topics guide our content development. Google trends analyzes search volumes and breaks traffic down by region, time frame, and related search queries.
Why we love it: This tool gives data in real time, rather than just average search volume from previous years. If your team is big into planning content a year in advance, this tool will help identify key search volume spikes over time.
Yoast SEO Plugin
How we use it: Yoast is our go-to on-page optimization tool for our blogs. This tool rates the readability of the content itself as well as the keyword usage within search engines.
Why we love it: Yoast SEO gives you the ability to optimize each piece of content on your site, ensuring proper meta title and meta description character length. But that’s not all! It also gives you a stoplight grading system that allows you to see the quality of your optimization in real time. Red light stop, green light go!
SEO Powersuite: Rank Tracker
How we use it: We run this particular report from the SEO Powersuite weekly. This tool gauges how the keywords we’re using are doing across Google, Bing, and Yahoo search engines over time long periods of time, as well as week by week.
Why we love it: In addition to showing our expected monthly traffic, organic sessions, and overall visibility within the search engines, Rank Tracker also displays your visibility compared to your competitors. We love celebrating the small wins like surpassing the competition for a particular keyword.
Google Search Console
How we use it: From crawling errors to overall site health and appearance in the search engine, Search Console is one of those tools we monitor on a weekly basis to inform our current strategy.
Why we love it: Ever made changes to your website and wished Google would index them faster? Search Console gives you the ability to tell Google when to crawl your site, ensuring those key changes are discovered faster.
How we use it: Google Analytics is the Mac Daddy of SEO tools. It takes all of those other SEO tools, tactics, and strategies and evaluates the who, what, when, where & why of traffic coming into the site.
Why we love it: Google Analytics allows you to create custom dashboards to pull together the key metrics and data needed to evaluate individual campaigns, as well as providing data on where your audience lands on the site and the journey they take once there.
Every good SEO strategy starts with these tools, taking the data provided and utilizing it to inform keywords, content creation, ad copy, and all other aspects of digital marketing. One thing to always keep in mind though is the customer experience. If you optimize for the user and not just for Google, you’ll see more effective results over time.