A few years back in what I like to call “the car dark ages” (because I had a crappy car), I was having some car troubles and needed to replace the starter. Now, I am not a car guy, however I had replaced a starter in a car before so I figured I would do it again and save some money. So I went and bought the part, popped the hood and got down to work. I found the starter and the bolts I was going to need to remove and that’s where things went sideways. One of the bolts was in a really tight spot and no matter what I tried I just could not get a good hold on the bolt to get it off. A neighbor of mine was a car guy and worked as a diesel mechanic so I asked his advice. He told me it was simple, for the type of car you had to have a special tool to get the last bolt off. At this point I was feeling pretty dumb that I had not thought of that, anyway he had a tool that would work and offered to help. With the right tool, a job that I had spent a couple hours on getting no where was done it no time at all. Having the right tool for the job saves lots of time and makes one able to do quality work. SEO is no exception to this.
Recently I have been introduced to a couple of new SEO Tools. And not only have I found the right ones for the job, but they speed things up and make it so I can focus on solving problems–not finding them. The first one is the SEO Tool bar by our friends over at Moz.com and the second one is SEOquake.com. Both of these are tool bars that plug into Chrome or Firefox and give you quick SEO information at the top of the web browser. The information loads the same time as the web pages does and gives all kinds of great information. Like any other tools, it’s what you do with the tools that counts so let’s look at just a couple of the many things these tools can do.
Right now I am working on a social media campaign for a social impact game startup and am doing a lot of research on our target demographics and other game companies. Because I am looking at a lot of webpages and companies I don’t have the time to go into in-depth research on all the sites I am surfing. Using the SEOquake tool bar has been extremely helpful in getting some basic information quickly so I know what website I want to dig deeper into or when to keep moving along. Some of the information that I look for is Page Rank and what kind of following they have in social media channels. I love the fact that the information’s just there and with a quick glance I can tell what social channels they are active on and have a general idea of their influence as the toolbar shows me how many people are following them and where. This has been a great time saver. In researching game companies to see which ones to follow and learn from this information has made it easy to see what they are up to and if I should spend more time looking into the site. One website that I found is that of Double Fine, a successful game company with a decent social reach as you can see from the toolbar screenshot below. Also as it turns out this company used Kickstarter to get this going and that is my current project and they have been very successful so it’s one I want to learn as much as I can from. My biggest complaint with SEOquake’s tool is that the links in the tool bar don’t always want to work–other than that I like this toolbar.
Once I have found a webpage I want to look into a bit deeper I then turn to the Moz.com SEO tool bar to get a quick look at what the site has going on. Working with a start up company with a website getting ready to go live by next week I want to make sure we have all our bases covered with regards to SEO. The Moz.com tool gives me a snap shot of basic one-page elements to see how the other guys are doing it and a whole lot more. With any new website link building is a big need. I want to make sure the links are the right ones for the website and are helping, not hurting ranking efforts. The Moz.com toolbar has a pull down window that show all kinds of information including link data. This quick look gives me the break down of Page Authority, Internal, External and total links and how well they have been followed. Looking at Double Fines data I found they have over six thousand external followed links and the window will take me right to the full link analysis with just a click to get ideas of what websites I can approach for link building.
Looking at the link data we see that Double Fine is not showing any internal followed links. This could be caused by any number of reasons, however Double Fine could use this information to start looking into the internal link following issue and thus improve the site SEO. I do wish this tool worked with Safari as well, maybe one day.
I find that I like both of these tools and have started using them quite a bit. I know I am not making full use of the tools yet, however as I use them more I will get better with them. Remember a tool is only as good as the use they are put to, so use your tools well and often.