3 Search Engine Optimization Tools You Need

Recently someone asked me, “what’s the best tool to find keywords for search engine optimization purposes?”

We discussed her needs, and it turned out she wanted something to tell her more than just suggested keywords. She also wanted to better monitor her website’s rankings for each keyword. And she wanted to find other high quality sites to link to.

In the end, I recommended 3 tools, all of them from SEOBook.com. I thought you might find this information valuable, too. Here are the tools I recommended and why:

  • SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool — This tool allows you to find suggestions for related keywords. Keywords are important for bidding on pay-per-click ads. But I also use them in writing search-engine-friendly  copy on this site and in my articles. The hardest part, though, is thinking up good keywords. That’s where a tool like this comes in handy. It will suggest related keywords and show you how many estimated daily searches appear in Google, Yahoo and MSN for each suggestion. You’ll also find links to numerous vertical databases such as Topix.net and Del.icio.us, so you can see other resources referring to a given keyword. Free.
  • SEO for Firefox — This tool is an add-on that you install with the Firefox browser. Then whenever you perform a search in Google or Yahoo using Firefox, it overlays a variety of useful data right on the search results. Looking at a Google search result page you can click little links to view the number of Yahoo links, who the domain is registered to, and other valuable data right on the page. Sweet. And free.
  • Rank Checker — This is another add-on to the Firefox browser. With Rank Checker you can instantly track your ranking at the main three search engines (Google, Yahoo and MSN Live) for any given keyword. This helps you see how well your site ranks for the keywords you discover using the Keyword Suggestion Tool. You can also save your rankings in a file on your computer so that you can see if your rankings go up or down over time. Free.

There are lots of other tools, free and paid, available on the Web. But these 3 are so comprehensive that they give me most of the search intelligence I need, aside from traffic analytics which I also use (Google Analytics, Statcounter and Sitemeter). Many other tools are for SEO professionals, and are more technical than I know what to do with.

These 3 tools are perfect for most small business managers and owners. They give you information you can use, without requiring you to make a career out of learning how to use them.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

12 Reactions
  1. Anita,

    I agree with you about SEO as we use it to fine tune our keywords for our web content and we are just starting to use it for our articles. We also use Statcounter which I find easy to use and has some very good analytics. Between the working with the two tools we are now on page 1 of Google for our main keywords.

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    Thanks for the tip. I will ask a friend of mine who is an expert on internet marketing if he could come up with some additional tips.

  3. We use Google Analytics to track traffic and visitors paths thru the site. Statcounter is very expensive if you increase your log size!!!!

  4. I never would have known about all the places to look for keyword information listed in the Keyword Suggestion tool. That is eye opening. I don’t usually use Firefox, but with these tools I’ll be using it more often. Thanks for this great tip.

  5. Those are some great tools. They look extremely helpful and easy to use. I don’t use Firefox but maybe I should?

  6. Naomi Dunford’s new ebook SEO School http://ittybiz.com/seo-school/ is a very useful resource for people looking for a beginners SEO guide.

  7. Sounds like there are some neat benefits with Firefox. I used to use it but have gone back to IE. . .maybe time to switch again.

  8. Hi Susan, that is fantastic news about getting to page 1. It shows that good tools and data and hard work do pay off.


  9. Hi Steve, Amanda, Chris,

    For the longest time I did not use Firefox. Now I routinely use both browsers.

    The reason I use Firefox is precisely for the 2 tools above integrated with Firefox. I have gotten so used to using these tools that I feel lost without them when I am researching other sites, keywords, etc.

    However, I still use IE for normal browsing and it’s my default browser when opening links in documents and emails. IE is still used by the majority of the business world, and I like to experience things the way most other business people experience them.


  10. Thank you for pointing out these resources. I had no idea that I could use both IE and Firefox. I think I may have to look into Firefox more.

  11. Those are great tools, Anita.

    Rank Checker definitely makes life easier. I have gone through manually to see how accurate the numbers really are — turns out Google and MSN results are sometimes off by a few, but not enough to be worried. My team jokingly refers to the tool as “Ronk Checker” because of the positioning of their strange logo in the program.

    Do you know of any consistent backlink checker/link popularity tools? My results for the programs I use are always so random.

  12. Hi Chad,

    I don’t use much in the way of link checkers — although I suppose I should.

    For my blog sites I still try http://Technorati.com occasionally to identify recent inbound links (although it is erratic as all heck) and Google Blogsearch.

    Aaron Wall at SEOBook has a whole page of link-checking, link-analyzing tools. Most of them I have not tried — I just don’t have time to learn how to use them. But some of the tools on this page look pretty interesting: http://tools.seobook.com/link-tools/


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