Whether you are new to the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or a seasoned veteran, the one thing you know for sure is that keywords are highly competitive and finding exactly the right ones is a full time job. Effective use of keywords drives traffic to your site and that is what you are after when trying to rank highly with the search engines. Once on your site you can use other tools to convert that traffic but the first step is getting it there. That’s where SEO comes in. Here are 5 tools every SEO specialist must have in order to find, employ and track SEO keywords and key phrases.
1. Open Site Explorer
When trying to build links back to your site as a way to earn rank with the search engines, it is sometimes difficult to know exactly what sites to use and what keywords will likely get the most clicks. One must-have tool for SEO specialists is Open Site Explorer that is a free tool that helps you analyse what the competition is doing. Once you see how they are employing backlinks and which of those are most effective for them, you can begin strategizing your own backlink campaign. Once you have an idea of what types of backlinks the completion is using you can begin charting and tracking them in an Excel spreadsheet.
2. Google AdWords Keyword Tool
It can’t be stressed enough just how important keywords are to SEO. You want keywords that are competitive but not too much so. Little fish get lost in the ocean of mega corporations that can afford to focus on the most competitive keywords. With the Google AdWords keyword research tool you can get a pretty good idea of how many people are searching for specific keywords. No, you shouldn’t always trust their numbers but you will at least be able to get a good idea as to which keywords are getting the most searches.
3. Keyword Suggestion Tools
There are a number of keyword suggestions tools out there. Some are paid given how important keywords are to SEO specialists. Here again, an Excel spreadsheet can save a large amount of time. As the tool suggests keywords you can export them into Excel and then carry out additional analysis. This will let you figure out which ones will work best for your specific situation. Your spreadsheet can then list and rank the various keywords that you’ve discovered.
4. SEO Site Tools
Just as there are a great number of keyword suggestion tools on the market, there are also a huge number of SEO site analysis tools. The most comprehensive freebie is SEO Site Tools. It combines site tools from Google, Bing, Alexa Data, Yahoo Site Explorer and DMOZ Director. It will let you quickly check out how a page is ranking and how high a site’s authority is. Truly a must have tool.
5. Excel Spreadsheet to Track SEO ROI
As time goes on you will be collecting an ever increasing amount of data. It will also come from an increasing number of sources. The best way to keep and track all this data is with an Excel Spreadsheet that you will eventually use to track ROI. Instead of going back and forth from one tool to the next to compare facts and figures, simply log all the results on an Excel spreadsheet and then set up formulas to do the calculations for you.
SEO is part art and part science, but it is all about gaining rank with the search engines and building a huge volume of traffic to your site. These must have tools will help you become expert in SEO so that your site will be highly visible on the SERPs.