Fremont, CA – January 1, 2010 – Jason McDonald, a leading expert in SEO Training, has announced his ‘top ten’ list of the best free Google / SEO tools for 2009. Unlike many SEO lists, this top ten is structured by context, helping businesspeople and marketers not just identify useful tools to help them with search engine optimization but also provide the context for learning how best to use the tools as part of an integrated marketing / communications strategy.
Context is Everything
“Nowadays,” said Jason McDonald, SEO Director of the JM Internet Group, “there are actually quite a few ‘free’ SEO tools out there. What is needed isn’t another tool, but rather better education of businesspeople and marketers as to how to use the tools for an effective search engine marketing strategy.” In that spirit, and in the spirit of ‘getting SEO fit’ for the New Year, Dr. McDonald has broken down his list down by a crude ranking but by positioning each of the top ten Google / SEO tools within the context of an effective SEO marketing strategy.
Top Ten Free Google SEO Tools for 2009
Keywords – The Foundation of Effective SEO
Keywords are the foundation of effective SEO. Most businesses do little keyword research, and if they do any, it is usually a seat-of-the pants method of asking themselves and their coworkers what they ‘think’ are the best keywords for their business. Understanding the high volume keywords and integrating these high volume keywords with the unique value proposition of your business, however, is the foundation of an effective keyword strategy. Two tools made the 2009 Top Ten tools list –
- Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool – this amazing free keyword tool from Google is the best keyword tool on the market – not just because it is built upon the number one search engine, but also because it provides data on keyword search volume and pay-per-click bids, the two synergistic elements that combine search volume with value proposition.
- Google’s ~ Command – Google’s ~ (Tilda) command, allows a user to enter a search word such as ~lawyer and find out other related words in the mind of Google. This procedure is an excellent first step towards keyword discovery.
Page Tags – Reaching Out To Communicate Effectively with the Search Engines
Most marketers and web masters know at least a little HTML, but few realize just how effective basic page tag structure is to ‘reach out’ to Google, Yahoo, and Bing to communicate what your website is ‘about’ and indeed the ‘most important’ keywords for a particular keyword. Building on the foundation of good keywords, effective SEO is first a strategy of effectively weaving your keywords into your page tags / HTML. This is an area in which there actually are not very many good SEO tools – but one made the Top Ten list for 2009 –
Widexl’s Meta Tag Analyzer – this tool measures your META tags but also analyzes your keyword and page density. For marketers who have a basic grasp of how page tags communicate keyword important to the search engines, this is a quick and effective ‘check up’ of your pages (or those of a competitor).
Link Building and Link Strategy
Almost everyone knows by now that having authoritative incoming links is a major factor in getting to the top of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The first step in link building is to identify competitor links and reach out to complementary websites with an effective and creative link-building strategy. Two fantastic free tools make this year’s Top Ten SEO tools list –
- LinkDiagnosis – sign up for a free account and if you have the Firefox browser, this amazing tool will check the back links of any website you desire. What’s really cool about it is that it also tracks the PageRank and allows you to export to CSV / Excel file format. It makes the first step of link building easy!
- Yahoo Site Explorer – everyone in the SEO community prays that with Bing becoming the search engine of Yahoo, that this excellent free link analysis tool is perpetuated by Bing. Ironically the two best link tools are explicitly not Google tools, but they are free.
Rank Checking Tools
Most marketers and businesspeople neurotically check their Google PageRank and their SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rank on almost a daily basis. There are places (somewhere like http://dorylabs.com/what-a-bulk-rank-checker-can-do-for-your-website/) where you can learn more about what a rank checker can do for you. Quite a few more are responsible for tracking their rank over time and against competitors. There are a few fantastic free tools that will allow you to automate this process, and even export the data to Excel for graphing and comparison over time. Three made the 2009 Top Ten list –
- PRChecker.info’s PageRank Checker – this fun and easy tool allows you to check the Google PageRank of any site you desire, and you can download their code for your website or blog.
- RankChecker form SEOBooks – this FireFox extension is an amazingly powerful and free tool by which you can monitor your rank (and that of competitors) against your keyword list, automatically. It even allows you to export the data to CSV and set up scheduled checks, so that you are ready for that Monday morning marketing meeting!
- SiteMapDoc’s SERP Rank Checker – SiteMapDoc is actually a site about generating site maps, but they provide this amazingly quick rank checker tool that queries Google to see where your domain lies on any given search query.
In today’s tough economy, every marketing manager is in the hot seat when it comes to justifying marketing spends, even for ‘free’ SEO. Fortunately, Google continues to bolster its Google Analytics tool suite, as an amazing, free ‘enterprise class’ web log seo analyzer. More and more companies are standardizing on Google Analytics, and no top ten SEO list would be complete without it.
Google Analytics – web log analysis from the search leader; it just can’t get any better than this!
Social Media Tools
Social media isn’t just about community; it is also about SEO. As all the major search engines move towards ‘real-time search and the global infatuation with Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace builds, smart SEO marketers are focusing on how they can utilize social media as part of a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy. There are, unfortunately, few really good free Social Media tools as of this writing. So the top ten award goes to BING for breaking ground with real-time search of Twitter. This allows marketers to input their keywords and quickly locate potential Twitter partners.
Bing Twitter Search – use Bing to search Twitter by keywords for potential Twitter partners!
Search without Training is a Clear Path to Failure
Using the top ten tools for free is a first important step towards getting a company to the top of Google, Yahoo, or Bing. But, that said, understanding how SEO works and how these tools fit into a comprehensive SEO strategy requires training. Some people hire an outside SEO expert to ‘do it for them,’ others read the rather techno-centric books on the subject, and still others take the free introductory webinar offered by Dr. McDonald as part of the JM Internet Group’s outreach strategy. A link to that free webinar can be found at Dr. McDonald’s blog, http://jasonmcdonald.org.
Dr. Jason McDonald is a recognized expert in search engine optimization, Internet marketing, and search marketing based in Fremont, California. Dr. McDonald received his Ph.D. from the University of California in 1992, and has worked at many hi-tech start up’s in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, Dr. McDonald is Senior Editor at eg3.com, a web portal and email service covering hi-tech embedded systems on the Internet, founded in 1994. Recently, Dr. McDonald has begun teaching marketing, market research and Internet marketing at Bay Area institutions such as AcademyX and DeVry University.
Dr. McDonald can be found on the Internet at http://jasonmcdonald.org, a website focused on search engine marketing, SEO, and other Internet marketing issues with in-depth free information on SEO, Page Tags, Google Analytics, Metrics, Link building, Free SEO Tools and more. He can also be contacted by telephone at +1-702-879-4771 or email, [email protected].