I have a confession to make: I am an SEO tools junkie.
In the good old days I had a team of programmers in-house who developed tools to my vision. Today, there are so many fantastic tools on the market that there is no need to deal with the hassles of home grown tools.
In this article I am going to share with you some of my favorite tools, why I love them, and how I use them to create SEO Strategies that WORK.
The 900 Lb Gorilla: LinkResearchTools
LinkResearchTools is my favorite of all SEO tools. It’s very expensive, yes, but worth every cent. I use it on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. Within the suite there are a variety of tools that you can use, and I am going to show you examples of a couple of my favorite ones:
This is the most comprehensive report I’ve ever found that digs deep into a site’s statistics and backlinks. It outputs a number of key SEO factors such as anchor density and anchor text breakdown, links from unique C classes, Google Author ID for backlinks, PageRank, ACRank, Seomoz Page and Domain Authority, and so much more. This data, especially anchor density, is essential to determine the health of a site and guides me in building healthy backlink profiles.
By pulling a Backlink Profile report, I am able to determine a site’s strengths and weaknesses, and figure out exactly what we need to improve a site’s rankings.
In some cases for example, I will notice a site has an anchor density of over 30% for a money keyword, so I will recommend varied brand and fluff anchor text usage.
Other times I’ll notice a site has too many inbound links from pages that do not rank for their exact match title tag, indicating sites with penalties or low authority. The tool will also pull social shares and other information regarding social engagement.
Below you can see a sample site audit for my site www.mardel.com:
After looking at a BLP report, I can say that 90% of the time I know exactly what’s going on with a site, what it needs to improve in the rankings, a site’s strengths and danger zones.
Applying the same extensive research to the major competitors in a keyword sector allows me to find trends and commonalities in the space. For example, I can see keywords that have a lot of social engagement, or keywords with a lot of guest blog links, or keywords with lots of article marketing links.
By running a BLP for the top 15-20 sites I can analyze specific backlinks for each of the top sites, see what kinds of backlinks they have, the anchor density and spread for each of the major sites, and more. Once I know what’s working, I use this data to help me create our strategy to improve rankings in each particular industry.
Once I’ve completed my analysis, I drop all of the backlinks for the top competitors into a file and sort it by Domain Authority. I can then work with this list to eliminate all of the pages that are not indexed in Google, that have low Authority, low TitleRank, etc and voila I have a phenomenal list of link prospects.
I take this list and add it to Podio (more on this soon) and I’ve got a targeted list for our link builders to use. Podio keeps our outreach organized and streamlined.
Juice Tool (Bulk URL Analyzer)
This tool is fantastic for comparing keyword sector trends. You can run up to 2000 URL’s at a time and it will spider for the same basic information as above, but without going in-depth into specific backlinks.
Using the Juice Tool, I can compare averages and standard deviations for specific URL groups. For example, I can create a list of the top 300 sites in an industry by using a variety of keywords, scraping and aggregating the results. Then I will look for trends and averages.
Using this data is how I discovered that the average domain age for over 2000 URL’s that I analyzed is older than 10 years old. I also noticed a trend for sites with exact match domains to rank well with a smaller amount of links than others in the same keyword space.
Here’s an example for the keyword how to use pinterest for marketing:
In this image I cannot show the rest of the fields but I have a similar analysis for many fields. When you look at this type of data over the top 10-20 keywords in your space, patterns quickly emerge and then all you have to do is identify and follow similar patterns (if they are white hat and safe!).
Using link detox I can see a list of toxic and suspicious links to a domain. A variety of criteria are evaluated when identifying toxic or suspicious links. The tool will find pages with low link velocity, pages that are not indexed in Google, links from possible link networks, and much more.
Once I run the report, I download and evaluate each of the links separately. From this data I can then easily create a list of links to disavow with Google Webmaster Tools.