Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine management (SEM) can seem like a confusing and complicated thing to do. The reality is that while it’s time consuming there are a lot of great tools to keep it simple. If you do a search for SEO tools, you’ll find dozens of them listed and many are really good. But at Build/Create we rely daily on four of them to keep our lives simple and be effective for our clients.
We’ll cover them in a two different categories. First is on-page optimization and management. The second category is about keywords, backlinks, competitor analysis.
As we’re writing blogs, or pages we use a WordPress plugin called Yoast to help us ensure that we’re getting our keyword density correct as well as a multitude of other factors. While this isn’t a perfect tool, it does have some hiccups when it comes to some WordPress setups. Nevertheless, it’s really the best and simplest tool in the WordPress marketplace. It’s particularly effective when it comes to blog posts.
As we’re changing page titles to have more searchable content or when we’re setting up a new website we often have to do 301 redirects. Now, for a lot of non-WordPress websites redirecting requires manually changing the code. With Redirection it’s as simple as putting in the old URL and the new one and the plugin does all the work for you. The time savings by doing it this way translates being more efficient in our SEO work, and getting more activities done for our clients in the same budget.
Keywords, Backlinks, and Competitive Analysis
Moz has become a household name in SEO tools. They have their weekly video “Whiteboard Fridays” that helps SEMs learn trends in our industry. They also have this really great tool for managing your website’s performance, crawl issues, as well as keyword tools. Our content writers use Moz to help them find the search volume and competition of our keywords. This us find search terms that will perform well for us and our clients.
You are also able to track a few of your competitors in Moz, how they’re performing, and how they stack up against you in the keywords you want to rank for.
When it comes to truly getting lots of data on your website and you competitors, there’s really no better SEM tool out there than SEMRush. It’s not as simple or straight forward as Moz. But it has more keyword tracking on your entire website than Moz does. While Moz gives you great insights for the keywords you want to track, SEMRush tells you every keyword you rank for, how well you rank for it, and how much traffic you’re getting for it.
It also has a backlink tool that gives you all the backlinks your competitors have and where they link to. This is great for finding broken links. We also use this to ensure if there are links you can get that match your competition, we know what they are and how to go get them.
There are obviously some other tools that we use as well to gain insights and find competitor weaknesses that we can exploit, but these are the four we rely on every day. The other thing that SEMRush and Moz both give you are learning tools.
Learning is everything in SEO/SEM. No one person can inherently know everything about everything. So the learning tools that are offered by these two software companies are invaluable. We are able to keep up with trends and gain insights that only continuing education can give.