At a high level, rock-solid, "white hat" SEO basics don't vary widely. Create great content that viewers will want to link to via social media, blogs or other online sites. Make sure your content is easy to find with relevant keywords. Ensure that your website has no technical issues that could prevent search engines from indexing its content.
But how exactly do you do this-and how do you measure success? That's where search engine optimization (SEO) tools come in.
The following 20 SEO tools, listed in no particular order, come recommended by three experts:
- Jill Whalen, SEO Consultant at High Rankings
- Nicole Munoz, CEO and founder of StartRankingNow, who recently offered a session on her favorite tools at the Online Marketing Summit in Santa Clara, Calif.
- Matt McGee, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land and Marketing Land
SEO Tools From Google
1. Google AdWords Keywords Tool Google's free keyword tool is designed for those who write ads that run on Google's search engine results pages, in Gmail and on other affiliated sites. It provides information such as the domestic and international search volume for a given keyword phrase, how competitive the phrase is and related keywords. Google's tool is highly useful for any Web content developer, and it's one of the tools most SEO experts use regularly. "It's pretty much the only tool I use or recommend for doing keyword research," Whalen says.
2. Google Analytics McGee, Munoz, Whalen and many other SEO experts rely on Google's free site analytics tool. Whalen calls it "the most critical tool of all" because it helps you figure out why a site has lost-or gained-traffic. Google Analytics enables any website manager to see the keywords used to bring visitors to the site, the bounce rate for each site page, visitor demographics and lots more.
3. Google Webmaster Tools Google Webmaster Tools, another essential and free toolset, helps you diagnose website crawl errors and perform other tasks to improve your site's "health." Though it's not particularly difficult to use, those without much website management experience may be a bit confused.
4. Google YouTube Keyword Tool YouTube videos can rank highly in Google searches when they're optimized with the appropriate keywords. Munoz recommends using this tool to find keywords that will help your YouTube videos rank in Google searches as well as in YouTube searches.
5. Google Suggest Whenever you begin typing a keyword phrase in a Google search box, Google suggests related phrases based on your own search history as well as terms popular with other users. A quick way to get keyword ideas, then, is to simply start typing a phrase in Google to see what the search engine suggests, Munoz says.
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