SEO browsers are designed to highlight features of a web page pertinent to the work of SEO. This way, it helps you browse sites the way an SEO should or possibly the way that Google would.
We have picked 3 popular browsers to evaluate, each of them having similar features.
It gives us information concerning:
- Whois record (also NS server and IP server history)
- Site profile (SEO score, meta tags, Alt tags, relevancy score for the meta tags, word count and number of linked words, number of images and number of links as well as related sites)
- Alexa and Compete scores
- Search engine preview
- Registration details
- Server stats
- Similar domains
This tool gives a fair bit of information off the back of the Whois record. It is probably the best tool to use if you want to focus on server and registrar information. It is quite thin on the ground as far as pure SEO information is concerned though, but it does give you links through to other tools if you want to see a spider view for example of use the W3C validator. It does give you basic information such as meta tag stats, number of images and some stats on the body of text. One interesting offering is the “SEO Score” that it assigns to a site. The SEO Score does not use PageRank or any Off-page factors, but it does use On-domain links, Off-domain links, and No-Follow links. There is no actual formula for this score but they say:
“Our goal is to allow everyone to accomplish a 100% score. If no obvious html optimization methods exist and everything looks good we will be giving it a 100%. We will be picky about the obvious things like completing Title tags and h1 tags, webmasters should be using these. We are very hard on frames and lag of alt tags.”
The idea is to help people understand where they can improve in their site. If you have a score of 20% for example, it’s pretty clear that you’ve missed out some obvious opportunities to optimise your site. With a high score in the 90′s you can safely say that you’ve pretty much covered everything. Beyond that it’s hard to make much use of it because it doesn’t actually tell you where the missed opportunities are. They do say that the scoring algorithm is in beta, but the info on this is from prior to 2007 if you read it. Their plans for the future include this “We will fetch all pages on your site and calculate PageRank according to the Standford Whitepaper. Then display the results in a bulk layout and allow for downloading of the results.” I’m not really sure what has and has not been implemented but it is going to be hard to calculate PageRank seeing that the value depends on a damping factor that only Google really knows and that the PageRank scoring method has changed since it’s implementation some 14 years ago. I don’t really know how useful it would be anyhow.
- Spider view
- Meta data report
- Lists all internal links
- Status code
- Lists all external links
- Number of words
This one doesn’t give an overwhelming amount of information but it does have the advantage of actually crawling and listing all of the links in and out of your site. This is a nice touch and really helps web professionals in figuring out what a site looks like structurally speaking. Out of the 3 tools on show here, it offers the least amount of information about the site for SEO purposes. It is more a crawler tool rather than a complete SEO tool really. It would be nice to not have a long list of links but rather a better display of this information. Humans aren’t good at detecting patterns in long lists of data.
It has both a basic and advanced mode, so this review is for the advanced mode. It gives information covering:
- Meta data (meta tags, alt tags)
- Text to page weight ratio
- Load time, page size
- Number of words
- Number of images
- Number of links external and internal
- Google analytics presence or something else
- Response code
- Spider view
Extra tools include the:
- w3c validity checker
- DNS info via intodns
- HTTP viewer
- Link checker
- Duplicate content check
- Quantcast clickstream reporting
- Source code view
This tool is pretty cool because everything is made available on one big page, which means that if you;re looking over a handful of sites, you can do it quickly without having to skip to another page or another tab or something. It has a lot of useful information on display and will help anyone to identify problems and things they could improve on in their site. It also have links out to a number of other very useful tools as well. Out of the 3 tools, it’s the one that covers the most important SEO statistics for me.
All 3 tools have very different strengths. Using only one of them would be a shame, because the other 2 have lots of offer as well. DomainsTools is perfect if you want server and Registrar info for example rather than a code perspective. SpiderView is excellent to use for it’s crawler and allows you to take a look at the site structure (albeit not in a very user friendly way) and SEOBrowser is the bees knees you want to quickly give a site an SEO health check. All of them could be improved, but then all of them are free so as they say “There is no silver spoon”.