Small Business News: SEO Tools That Rule!

Search Engine Optimization or SEO, the process of improving your site in order to get more traffic via search engines like Google and Bing, is an important part of doing small business online these days. In fact, efforts to create sites and content that will be properly optimized for search engines and thus draw a wide audience have been undiminished by the so-called social media revolution with its emphasis on use of social sites like Facebook, Twitter and others to market content and drive traffic.

Happily, a wide variety of tools exist to help even the novice navigate the deep and sometimes stormy waters of SEO. Here are tools that can help you out in your efforts to develop a site that draws visitors and hopefully the customers you need for your small business online.


Search engine optimization tools. Aaron Wall’s toolkit is the gold standard. It has tools for do-it-yourselfers and SEO professionals alike. We call so many our favorites, it’s hard to know where to begin pointing them out. Try the “Keyword Suggestion Tool” — start with one keyword and it will help by suggesting others. The SEO Toolbar for Firefox is also outstanding — it gives you immediate access to details about any site you visit (including your own site or blog!). Quite a number of valuable tools are free. The “Premium” tools require a paid membership which also gives you access to training materials and the exclusive SEOBook Community where Aaron answers questions.

SEO dashboard. With Raven Tools you get an impressive online dashboard to help you manage your Web sites, blogs and social media presence. Raven is set up as an online software service. You log in to perform SEO research, monitor your progress and get access to reports. You can even manage Twitter, Facebook and WordPress blogs all in one place from inside the Raven control panel, saving time. Our favorite features: it helps you track and analyze traffic from social sites such as Twitter and Facebook. We also like the Design Analyzer and Quality Analyzer tools that instantly analyze key elements of a website, including the impact of your design on SEO. Raven Tools

SEOmoz tools. SEOmoz also provides a variety of tools to improve your SEO. Our favorites include Open Site Explorer, which lets you check a domain to see up to 10,000 links to it — you can see where you’re getting visibility and compare with competitors. It also offers something called “mozRank” which shows how popular (in terms of links) a webpage is. (MozRank is also included in Raven Tools subscriptions.) Some tools are paid and some are free. SeoMoz

For Webmasters

Webmaster tools for running a website better. Liam Delahunty recently launched his webmaster tools. It includes time-savers, shortcuts and idea-generators for those managing blogs and websites. Our favorites: a bookmarklet that you add to your browser bar that allows you to do a one-click search of any blog you’re on to see if they accept guest posts. Need a good headline for an article? The Topical Brainstorming app generates ideas for blog post titles in seconds, just by plugging in a keyword. If you’re looking for simplicity and productivity tools to save time, you’ll find 50 tools here. Topical Brainstorming is currently free. Others require a subscription. Online Sales

Get listed for local search. Go ahead…see how your business is listed at Google, Yahoo, Bing and other local search engines. Simply plug in your business name and zip code, and this tool checks your listing status in under one minute. Ideal for businesses with local offices or stores. Also has educational resources to help you understand what to do to improve your presence among those searching for local businesses. Basic service is free, but also offers ancillary services you can purchase.

Grade your website or blog. HubSpot puts out some valuable tools that enable you to test and benchmark how you are doing online. Called “Grader” tools, there are grader tools for websites, blogs, press releases, and even book marketing for authors. You can also grade your social presence on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. All are free. Outstanding tools for newbies.


Do-it-yourself SEO. DIYSEO consists of tools designed for small businesses. Aimed at the do-it-yourself market, it is best for those who are still learning about SEO, who need step by step guidance. You get a dashboard suggesting activities. There’s a free report card for your website that uses smiley faces and grumpy faces to help you understand where you’re doing well and where you need improvement.

SEO checklists and activities guide. Another tool designed for do-it-yourselfers is Lotus Jump. It contains an online dashboard and checklists of activities to help you build backlinks and attract traffic. The focus here is on activities such as creating social profiles, answering questions on Q&A sites, using bookmarking sites, blog commenting to develop buzz, adding content at relevant sites, and submitting to key directories. Check out our review of this service.

More Tools

Pay Per Click tools. If you do any pay-per-click advertising, such as with Google AdWords, you know how easy it is to waste money. These tools help you make the most of your advertising dollars. Among the tools are a calculator for ROI (return on investment) for your PPC ads. There’s also one for calculating whether CPM (banner ad) campaigns are profitable — and numerous others. Designed for marketers and online entrepreneurs who purchase search ads. PPC Blog

Majestic SEO. We’ve never used Majestic SEO, although we’ve heard of it, because it always seemed like a tool set for advanced SEO users, not small business owners. Luckily, there’s a recent review of one feature, the Majestic SEO Site Explorer. You’ll also find discount coupons contained in that review. If you’re a professional SEO or consider yourself advanced, check it out. Majestic SEO

17 Reactions
  1. I agree pay-per-click is an effective method of promotion, try asking a publication or broadcast station to show your ad. without paying, saying you’ll just give them a small payment everytime someone responds. You can imagine the reaction!
    The problem with Google adwords is that it is so expensive. The fastest growing method of viewing the net is via a mobile device and pay-per-click via mobile marketing is even more effective, even more targeted and a fraction of the cost of adwords.

  2. Some great ones here. I also just tried Traffic Travis, which has both a free and paid version. Some great insight about page rank and keyword optimization of your own site and competitors’.

  3. Hi,

    I strongly believe that today companies cannot survive online for too long if they are not aware of SEO and are not using the correct tools to do so. Thanks for providing such useful tools in one post, it was great to have someone compile these at one place. Thanks for sharing!

    Riya Sam

  4. I’ve found way more success with all the free, DIY methods that are available to anyone willing to put a few hours in to learn. It mostly takes some time and persistence, but the free methods work so well for me that I finally wrote a guide called Get On Google Front Page. It represents 20 simple (organic and free) steps to take that will get any website or blog to page one.

  5. This is a great post, and gives a lot of detailed advice. I suggest all that read this take heed, they are not kidding when talking about the importance of good SEO.

    I thought that I might share something that I tried last week while doing a bit of SEO for my own website.
    I took a very (very) long tailed keyword that had very few searches a month, and had very few competing pages, and used that to do a page on my website to test that I was doing all the SEO work correctly.

    I was, and those pages ranked very fast. It was nice to see that it works how it should.

    keep up the good work.
    Rob from South Africa

  6. Great job!

    This SEO post collection is so good, I’ve stopped back to read it 3 times today.


    The Franchise King®

    • Hey Joel, yes, Shawn and I collaborated on this post. Been meaning to give a run-down of some SEO tools for a while, so I am glad we finally got to it. Maybe we’ll do a followup with 10 more tools. 🙂

      – Anita

  7. Thanks for the HEADS UP! I’ve tried working with SEO MOZ but some of its feature returns an error, I don’t know if whether my net connection is causing the problem or the tool itself. Anyway I wanted to ask what tool would be the best to use for competitor analysis? I want to know basically what the competition is up to and what they have been doing for optimizing their site. SEO MOZ also covers and Open Site Explorer, but I would want to know if you have another alternatives?

    Thanks. More power!

  8. Thanks Shawn and Anita. Great information for us neophytes.

  9. Thanks Shawn and Anita for showing us more SEO Tools so we can seach engine optimize our websites better.As an experienced SEO myself I learned about some new tools that I was not aware of. I will come up with a new SEO TOOL for people to use free on my website as I give online business consultations for cheap anyway!
    – Mr.Daniel Chege.

  10. As an online entrepreneur and SEO expert I would like to say that it is very important to have highly effective SEO tools to promote a website successfully online. Of course, any software can automize the process of website promotion completely, but it can provide a website owner with signifficant help. Great SEO tools can signifficantly simplify the work of SEO expert.

  11. Great list! Yes, I’ve had Majestic SEO on my radar for a few weeks now, and need to take a deeper look. Looks very robust and comprehensive, thanks for the link to the review post at seobook.


  12. Some interesting tools – one I have not seen before and tried today : DIYSEO, claims that my site is not listed in Google – when I’m #1 for the search term given.

    I have had some success with SEOmoz
    but the one tool not listed which has given me the best took for looking at success is


  13. Dont forget about Market Samurai. It is one of my favorite keyword research and competitive analysis tools

  14. @Jason, I agree on what you mentioned about free methods. The thing about it being free is that you still need to dedicate time for this, something that new small businesses may be eager to do at first. But of course, if they find it challenging to do, they can always get the assistance of other people who already know how to use a system dedicated to help their business grow.