Search Engine Optimization is an activity that calls for a lot of tools. There is so much data, so many variables, and so much change, that if you tried to do everything manually over the long term then you would soon get overwhelmed.
Thankfully there are a lot of free and commercial tools out there that can help a lot. What they don’t offer though is a way to keep track of all your own vital SEO information in a centralized manner, and you have very little customization or control available.
With this in mind we have been turning our Excel talents towards building some small tools that you can customize easily and completely, and taken together give you a great deal of SEO insight.
The Excel SEO Tools
These tools should be looked at as a suite of utilities but also as a guide to the main tasks that you should be performing in your SEO work. We start with getting an idea for where you are now. What do you already rank for, and how much work will be involved in getting further ahead?
Over time you will need to monitor your search positions, take note of what helps you creep nearer to that coveted number 1 spot, and what impacts you negatively, driving you down the rankings? The more terms you want to rank for, the more you need to automate this monitoring work!
As just mentioned, it is not likely that you will only want to target one search phrase. Generating new phrases that you want to rank for is also important. One way we generate additional phrases is to create small variations on our existing keyword choices, especially when looking at PPC and the long tail. This Excel spreadsheet helps you do this.
Do you know how many of your link building results are sticking and which links are getting broken or pulled? You need to monitor your links and this spreadsheet will help you automate the process. It will also tell you if the link is passing Google juice or if it has been “no-followed”.
Redirects can have a profound impact on your search results. Ideally when a page is moved, or when you want to send a visitor to a new URL, the redirect should be a permanent one so that the search engines know what to do with it. This tool will check a link and tell you what redirect type is returned and if it is working correctly.
Do you know if that keyword phrase is worth the effort? Use this tool to predict the kind of travel levels you can expect for various rankings.
SEO is not just you versus the search engines, as you have no doubt realized. Yup, all your competitors are going after the same search results that you are. You need to watch what they are up to and react accordingly. Step one is finding out where your direct competitors are performing.
While these tools individually might not compete with the top commercial services out there in terms of premium functionality, they offer lots of useful information right at your fingertips, and are a great starting point for developing your own SEO toolkit. At the very least they ought to give you a lot of ideas for what is possible.