An SEO’s best friend (other than a stiff drink) is a good tool. Tools save us time and energy and streamline the process so we can get to making money instead of researching. They provide the information you need when you need it. But it is important to remember that knowing when to use a particular tool and how to use it is more important than any list.
This is why I’ve created Yoda’s ultimate tool to put all the tools one would need in 1 place. Since this list is too massive to fit in one post, it will be a multi-part list that will cover: Competitive Research, Keyword Research, Must have Firefox plug-ins, Reputation Management tools, PPC Tools, Domainer tools and my favorite non-conformist miscellaneous tools
So here we go: Part 1 – Competitive Research
Step 1: Who is your competitor and where have they been?
A great tool, this shows you how many pages are indexed in google competing for your key terms. This will let you size up the competition and market saturation.
Archive.org will show you what their website looked like the past as well as give you the age of the site
By adding this bookmarklet to your firefox browser you can find out the whois information for the site you are viewing simply by clicking on it.
Step 2: What kind of marketshare and traffic do they have?
Compete.com is one of my FAVORITE sites. They have a lot of great free tools (and some really cool paid for ones). You can compare sites, get traffic information and get an idea of how much your competitors are spending.
The first time I saw this was on SEOBook, (Aaron has some amazing tool’s listed there as well, so you should definitely check out that list too). Index Rank is incredible useful in showing you how many times Google is indexing your site compared to competitors sites.
SEO Quake is a pretty cool tool that shows you PR, # of pages indexed, Links, Alexa ratings, Age, whois info and density of every site you open in Firefox.
Who is linking to your competitors?
Backlink and Keyword Tracker
Totally free tool can be used to check search engines for the number of back links to any specific URL over time
Link Diagnosis is a is a great link hunting tool especially if you want to see what kind of anchor text your competitors are using.
Another great one, from a fellow chicklet’s site, is SEOmoz’s Backlink Analyzer. This shows the backlinks to a competitor’s website and the common anchor text. In general the SEOmoz tools section is a must read
What keywords are your competitors buying?
There are a several different tools that do this that vary in prices. Spyfu is a good option, that is not too expensive ($300 a year or about $40/month). It lets you see what keywords your competitors are buying up as well as see what they optimizing their site for.
Have they made any changes?
WatchThatPage will email you with any changes made to a competitor’s site or your site (although you probably should know that already)
Search for Broken Links
Xenu’s Link Sleuth will search for broken links on sire
Great Overall Site Analysis Tools
Last but not least, LinkVendor. This is a site filled with awesome research and site analysis tools.
. . . . . Next Week Part II: Keyword Research