SEO people love tools, I have talked before about my love for bookmarklets but sometimes you need to install something. The following is my shortlist of key tools.
It is unbelievable how awesome the hidden features are in Chrome – learning the how to use developer tools like a boss will seriously improve how you work, from inspect element to device emulation – this is all standard. You can rapidly improve page speed, spot errors and see tracking, headers with nothing more than a vanilla install. There is a guide here to mastering some of the cooler bits – http://discover-devtools.codeschool.com/
There are many crawlers, but invariably most SEO professionals turn to this – with good reason, it is powerful, cheap and incredibly versatile – the latest updates access the Google APIs include analytics and WMT data in your crawl gives you greater insight as to where to optimise, at somepoint I will have to write a full how to, including why you should change your use agent…
Download from here – http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/ – Price from Free
This is the Swiss army knife of tools – seriously the amount this can do is utterly awesome and I seriously recommend this tool to anyone in SEO – technical audits, content audits and backlink audits all benefit greatly from this tool. You can integrate more APIS than you can count and it’s the first stop to delivering the right information to your fingers. Again this tool deserves a complete how to blog post in itself, but this pulls in metrics and data I haven’t seen anywhere else including readability, sentiment and linked data. This is a paid for tool but it will save you significant amount of time, they also offer a free tool which is also awesome for serp analysis (Serp Scraper), definitely worth installing even if you don’t use the main tool.
Download both tools from here – http://urlprofiler.com/ (affiliate Link)
The best (currently free) alternative to Screaming Frog is Visual SEO – this is a rapidly developed tool and my current favourite for producing XML sitemaps. Currently completely free
Excel (and SEO tools for Excel)
This goes without saying, if you have data you need to analyse it, and yes you can use some of the free alternatives – but I still think that MS Excel is unbeatable. SEO tools for Excel makes light work of scraping and manipulating data within Excel.
Finding something is one thing, reporting on it typically means screen shots and Snipping Tool is built into windows and it does the job.
Word and PowerPoint are also essential, but are they ‘SEO tools’?
I seriously have tried and installed hundreds of other tools, but I rarely continue to use them, the rest of my tool kit is now very much cloud based including AWR and CognitiveSEO, next post when I get time!
Every SEO person has a personalised tool kit, one size does not fit all, but I think the list above is pretty comprehensive until you get to the really specialist requirements like log file analysis.
Anything I have missed?