As an SEO, I love tools. I can’t help it. As most of the new generation of SEOs, I don’t come from a techie background, so I use tools of any sort to help me in my daily tasks. And most of them are free.
I could probably write a book about the tools that we use here at Verve Search, but today I thought I’d put together a blog post about a few lesser-known tools, that I only discovered accidentally.
Meta Description Crawler
Most of you know Screaming Frog as the best on-page optimisation tool out there and probably find it as invaluable as much as I do. However, if you don’t have a paid license, you may find yourself hitting the page limit quite quickly. The other day I wanted to review all the meta description tags of a website to see if there is anything that we could do to improve CTR (click through rate), so I used Meta Description Crawler. It’s free and seems not to have a limit to the pages that are crawled Remember: meta description tags don’t affect ranking, but do have a direct impact on the chances of your website/blog being clicked – think about the user.
Class C Checker
While doing link building, I often check the IP address of link prospects. Let’s assume that you approached a good website where you would like to have your content posted, and the webmaster comes back to you telling you they have a bunch of sites they control where you could have some more articles published. Before spending more time and energy on writing original content for these other sites, it’s good practice to check their Class C. I use this tool: Class C Checker; quick and free. What does Class C mean, though? As explained here, it’s just the third set of number in an IP address. Taking this bogus IP 12.345.67.890, 12.345.67 is the Class C, so if you have a website hosted on 12.345.67.001, you are sharing the same Class C as my example. It seems that websites that have the same Class C could make Google think they are owned by the same person/company, so they only express one vote of confidence. Although it won’t directly hurt you, having a high percentage of links coming from the same Class C, could trigger a search engine’s spam signal.
Link Detox Tool
In a post Penguin world, many webmasters have started worrying about their backlink profile. If you have received one (or more) of those dreaded unnatural link warnings from Google, you may want to check Link Detox by Link Research Tools. It’s free to use once (correction: you have to tweet about it in order to get access to it) and shows a list of potentially harmful links, with the emails of the webmasters, in case you want to contact them to remove the link(s) pointing at your site.
It also provides you with the reasons why Link Detox thinks those links are bad, and a degree of dangerousness. Nobody can ensure that removing the links will help your reconsideration request, but you may want to give it a go!
My favourite. I almost don’t know where to start… First of all, it’s free (yay!). You have to download it in order to use it. I know we all like our tools to be online and not on our machines, but this one really gives you an edge when link prospecting or evaluating the links you’ve already got this week/month/whenever-you-want.
Basically you upload a set of URLs and in exchange Netpeak Checker returns any parameter you may think of, from Alexa Rank to WHOIS Domain Age. And they all come from authoritative sources, including SEOmoz and Majestic SEO. You can check the whole list on the software’s page.
I have a passion for good design, so the guys at Ahrefs.com immediately conquered my heart with their sleek interface. Ahrefs is a Backlinks & SERP’s Research Tool. We all like data, but sometimes struggle with making sense of it– not in this case. I find it invaluable for competitor research; you cannot only find your competitors, but also the keywords and the country for which you are competing. I invite you all to explore the possibilities you have with them, even with a free account.
This was only a short list of the tools I started using recently, but I’m sort of a tool geek, so I may be using completely different ones next month! Please share your thoughts about these, or any other tools you may use.
Let’s share some SEO tool love!