Optimizing your website is mission critical, but it isn’t a black box. You can do a lot of it yourself with any of these search engine optimization (SEO) tools. If you are a small business owner that has dreamed of showing up on page one of Google or Bing, this post is for you.
To show you a bit of how the professionals optimize, I left the phrase or keywords that they use when titling and organizing their own websites. You’ll see that most of these savvy firms open their website title with what they do and not their company or brand name. I’ve bolded their company name for emphasis.
As usual, the tools listed here are web-based and do not require a phone call to the sales team to “schedule a demo” (transparent pricing) nor do they mail you a software CD:
SEO Software. Simplified. | SEOmoz is one of the 800 pound gorillas in the web-based SEO software market. They have a robust (serious understatement) community and blog. They provide many free tools in addition to their paid plans starting at $99/month with a 30-day free trial. Open Site Explorer lets you check which domains are linking to your site and their corresponding authority. It offers a few results as a free tool, but most of the power comes with the paid plan. Their MOZbar is a free add-on for Firefox and Chrome to quickly see page level details like how content is organized (keywords, titles, etc) and ranking details.
SEO Book.com ~ SEO Training Made Easy positions itself as an SEO training program, but it is rich with useful tools that come with your membership. Founder Aaron Wall is one of the anchor experts in the professional SEO community and shares a lot of insights and expertise. He also authored one of the most successful DIY SEO ebooks that has sold over $1,000,000 in volume. When you become a member of SEO Book, you get access to Aaron and his team of experts. They have many free SEO tools, as well.
Internet Marketing Tools for SEO and Social Media | Raven simply has a cool brand name and you have to check out a company that aligns its positive image a bringer of light, truth, and goodness. I used this service for a few months on a client project and was super impressed with how it helped me figure out keywords to focus on and cut down on my research time. Interestingly, their research assistant tool taps into SEOMoz and Majestic SEO applications. Plans start at $99/month with a free 30-day trial, no credit card required.
Simple SEO Software – Scribe is from Brian Clark of Copyblogger fame. If you haven’t seen his blog and the tools/services that his company provides, then you’ll want to head over there today. Brian and his team know how to keep things elegantly simple for small business owners. Here’s how Scribe explains the first three steps:
- Keywords – Scribe shows you the language searchers use before you begin to write. Once your content is created, Scribe reveals other profitable keywords.
- Content – Scribe analyzes your natural, reader-focused content, and tells you how to gently tweak it to spoon feed search engines based on 15 SEO best practices.
- Links – Scribe helps you build back links, crosslink the content within your own site, and identify influential social media users who want to share your stuff.
Scribe plans start at $17/month with a 30-day money back guarantee. Copyblogger Media is also the creator of StudioPress, a premium WordPress theme and framework product that I’m going to review soon.
Majestic SEO : Site Explorer is one of the largest link indices that is publicly available. You can test it out immediately by simply typing a web address into the search bar on their home page, but you need to register for a free account to see much detail. Paid plans start at $49.99 per month.
BruceClay – SEO Tools – Search Engine Optimization Tools, SEO Software is another well-known brand in the SEO, PPC (pay-per-click) and Internet marketing circles. They appear to be more consulting and service focused and less a web-based software provider, but I did discover this monthly option under SEO tools on their site starting at $29.95/month per domain with 30-day money back guarantee.
SEO Software | SEO Tools | SheerSEO is free for two months, and then light plan starts at only $7/month. Their first page of content spells out why a small business owner will want to use an SEO tool. “Research shows that 60-70% of the users of search engines will only use the results in the first page. This means that getting to the top 10 results of the search engine is critical for your business.”
SEO Software for Your Small Business | DIYSEO is unique with its do-it-for-you SEO level plan in addition to its DIY namesake option. Monthly DIY plans start at $33.25/month and $149/month when they do the SEO tasks for you. I was intrigued by their Local Report Card that will analyze your local presence on Google, for free. You have to enter your contact details to get it, though. Fair enough.
SEMRush – service for competitors research, shows organic and Ads keywords for any site or domain immediately highlights why many small business owners pay for tools like SEMRush – you can see what keywords your competitors are using on their posts, buying in pay-per-click, and more. That can help you to better position your own site content. Their paid plans start at $79.95 per month with a 7-day money back guarantee. They are also the makers of the free SEOQuake for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari which lets you see SEO parameters (ranking, links, and more) when you do a search on Google or Bing or Yahoo.
The Keyword Tool for the Long Tail | HitTail is one of the newer (started in 2006) SEO software players on the field, but shaking things up with affordable plans and real-time focus. As each new website referrer (or visitor, if you prefer) comes to your site, it will show on your screen as it occurs. You can click through to view the referring page or, even better, re-create the user’s search. Pretty cool. Plans start at $9.95/month with a 30-day free trial. HitTail Owner Rob Walling is also the author of a popular ebook and email newsletter for software startups at Software by Rob.
Here are a few media/blog resources that may also help you to understand search engine optimization and search engine marketing.
Here on Small Business Trends, Lisa Barone is our resident expert on the stuff SMBs should think about around SEO (and many other content areas, too). This is a great primer: 4 Ways SMBs Can Get More From Their SEO. Tom Demers also wrote a great piece in May: How to Choose the Right SEO Tactics for Your Small Business.
BlogWorld posted on: Link Building: The Best Marketing Strategy You’ve Never Heard Of.
Search Engine Land is one of my favorite sites for keeping up with SEO, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and more. It is worth a bookmark.
Last, don’t miss this controversial and popular post by my colleague at Forbes, Ken Krogue, who writes: The Death Of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, And Real Content.
From building links to monitoring your keywords, these SEO tools can help your site show up in the search results. You may choose to hire consultants or contractors to help you navigate this space. Buyer beware is the last bit of advice as there are many who treat this specialty like the dark arts and you’ll want to be incredibly careful as you consider vendors.
But these tools are all about the do-it-yourself mindset and many of them offer the tutorials and education that any small business team can use to become proficient at search engine optimization and marketing.
SEO Photo via Shutterstock