10 Brilliant SEO Tools, Plugins and Hacks You Need to Use Now
On Thursday, May 31st, TechTarget hosted Dan Shure’s SEMNE talk “12 Ways to Use SEO Tools You’ve (Mostly) Never Seen Before” at our Newton, MA offices. We were excited to not only host the event, but even more thrilled to learn a few new ways to make use of the SEO tools and plugins in our ever-growing arsenal.
Dan’s number one goal was to provide every single attendee with at least one new tool or one new way to use a tool they’re already using. Judging by the audience reactions during his talk and from the feedback immediately afterward, he absolutely hit goal. Given that the audience varied from newbies to more seasoned SEO professionals, this was no easy feat.
During his presentation, Dan covered seven SEO tool categories he defined as:
- Video SEO
- Make you look good
I’m not going to rewrite his presentation because I’ll link to that at the end for those who were unable to attend or want to re-review, but I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite tools that I was either already using, have now learned a new way to use, or are brand new to me and my workflows managing search traffic and engagement for TechTarget’s vast network of technology-specific websites.
I love SEO plugins. They make it easy to execute real-time SEO research and analysis without always having to log in to your favorite SEO platform. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) If you’re like me and already have fifty tabs open, you understand the value of not having to open another tab and toggling between the two when you don’t need to.
MozBar, Broken Link Checker, and Keywords Everywhere are three of my favorite SEO plugins Dan included in his presentation. (Add links to the tools and screenshots.)
I’ve been using MozBar since it launched. It has quick insights into domain authority, on-page links, optimization insights, keyword data and link data. It’s great as a high-level review even within the SERPs or as an entry point to more in-depth analysis within the Moz platform.
Dan mentioned using Broken Link Checker to find opportunities for link building reach out, but I love it for URL level analysis. When I’m looking at content for updating or fixing performance issues, I absolutely want to know if the page has any broken links.
And while I can check in Ahrefs for broken links, this plugin allows me to do it on-page in the browser window while I’m assessing things like the inclusion of related topics, rich media and subheadings.
Keywords Everywhere is a fantastic add-on for Chrome and Firefox that shows search volume, CPC and competition data from multiple sites in one location. Additionally, using its “people also search for” feature is another great way to build out data for a content strategy or package.
SEO Diagnostic Tools
Diagnostic tools are incredibly important to all parties involved in SEO. There is always something to diagnose whether you’re an in-house SEO or running an agency.
SEMrush is a tool I use for many things, but specifically the “Subdomains Report” Dan mentioned is handy for conducting research prior to accepting a consulting gig. No one likes to find surprise subdomains that were not accounted for prior to quoting a project. It’s also great for conducting competitive analysis and a fantastic way to get a high level snapshot of rankings and traffic across all of the subdomains in a network. The ability to drill down into those same details is an efficient way to segment out details during research and analysis.
Another great tip from Dan is to use the Google Analytics date comparison hack, which is immensely helpful when you’re diagnosing a drop in traffic — just ask my team. As Dan said, “it’s simple, the date compare is reverse.” By using this hack, uncovering content that has declined in performance over time is a snap. Once the content is identified, research and analysis on causes, and uncovering potential improvements can begin.
VidIQ is great video marketing and analytics tool that was previously unknown to me. I don’t work with video content as often as I did earlier in my career, but having a tool where I can execute YouTube specific keyword research is a goldmine. Whether it’s live footage from an industry event, an interview, or more in-depth technical video content, knowing what people are looking for and targeting those opportunities is advantageous.
SEO tools that make you look good
Interestingly enough, Dan offered Answer the Public as a tool to impress clients with and you know what? It is impressive. My team uses this tool to generate content ideas with our editorial staff. One of the best ways to ensure that a searcher is satisfied is by comprehensively answering their query and doing it well.
User Experience (UX) Tools
Funkify is another tool that was new to me. It’s a Chrome extension that allows you to experience the web and interfaces as a user with a disability. As examples, a designer or product owner could use Funkify to easily simulate how someone with color blindness or ADHD is able (or unable) to interact with a site. Using this tool and acting on the output can help ensure that more sites are properly accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Reactive SEO Tools
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a site where reporters and sources alike can make connections for stories. Three times a day, genuine requests are sent out from reporters looking for industry experts to help with article writing. It’s a great way to build your personal or company brand and increase discoverability of your content through earned links.
One of the content hacks Dan mentioned is one that I use quite a bit — the “Keyword Gap Report” in SEMRush. This report is fantastic for identifying opportunities to target both your competitors’ rankings and where they’re not performing well. In addition, it’s a really great tool to help sales teams craft pitches about how their sites may be killing it organically and why a potential client should become their partner.
SEO is such an important part of your content and marketing strategy and you have to make sure that you are applying the tools you need and taking advantage of what works best for your specific task and campaign. There are many SEO tools, plugins and hacks to take advantage of beyond what I’ve reviewed here.
Have some tool recommendations? Add them in the comments below.
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