Free SEO Software
There are a lot of SEO tools being sold online and many of them are very useful. However, the truth is that the free SEO software is as good, if not better than the proprietary software.
In this article I will review several of the very best free SEO programs available for download. As a blogger I could not imagine doing SEO or backlink building without these tools.
Mozilla Firefox plugins
Most of you are already aware of Firefox. It is the best web browser available today and can be downloaded free, from Mozilla's site. Part of the power of FireFox is that it allows plugins to be installed and run on it.
SearchStatus is a descreet little toolbar that runs in the bottom right of your browser. It provides you with some vital page information, as you browse and can be used to show more detailed information.
To open the SearchStatus menu, you need to right click on the q icon. This is what I did in the screenshot.
Let's first look at the 4 bars at the bottom.
Google's algorithm is forever running through the internet. It assigns a value to each page (-,1,2,...,10) the higher the value the better. The value of each page is dictated by the number and quality of incoming links to that page. While the PR of pages are continually being updated, the value that Google shows the world is only changed every 3 months or so.
The Alexa ranking is an indication of how many people actually visit a given web page. This can be useful, because many pages get their traffic from other sources than the search engines. Be warned the number is an estimate and easily manipulated.
Compete is similar to Alexa but more targeted at shopping behavior. You can go to Compete's site to get more information on a competitor's site.
mozRank is more like Google's PR. It give you an idea of incoming links to a page. If you go to their site you can get more linking info for a site.
I usually run it with mozRank and Compete closed, they are more specialized while PR and Alexa is more general.
Now, let's look at some of the options on the popup menu.
Highlight no follow link
No follow links are just like normal hyperlinks, except that they pass no PR to the pages that they link. So the search engines ignore them. If, this setting is on, SearchStatus will highlight all the no follow links on the page that you are looking at. This is very handy when you are looking at commenting on blogs, in your niche, in order to get backlinks to your blog.
For instance, if I wanted backlinks to this article, I might Google SEO keywordluv or free SEO software commentluv. Commentluv and keywordluv are blog plugins that let you put keywords, in your backlinks. Then, on the blogs that aren't using nofollow links, I leave a relevant comment of 3 or so sentences.
Show Keyword Density
This is a handy little feature that returns the percentage of your text that contains a keyword. For SEO reasons each of your keywords should be around 1-2% of the page's text. Also you should use the exact phrase you are targeting, a few times, in the text. The keyword phrase I am targeting on this page is "free SEO software".
SEO for Firefox
SEO for Firefox is a plugin that shows you more information about the search results Google returns. It shows you the PR, the Yahoo ranking, stats from a few of the social networks, age of the page and some backlink stats.
I recommend that you set most of it to "show on demand". That puts a little question mark where the value goes and when you click on the question mark it retrieves the data, you want. The reason for this is that searches now gets data from multiple sources on each search, which slows your Google searches down.
I find this software very useful because it gives me an idea of why the pages rank as they do, on Google.
Google rank checker tool
Rank Checker is the most powerful free SEO software for tracking the SERP of your web pages on Google, Yahoo and MSN.
You can monitor the ranking of multiple keywords on US and regional searches. Once it is setup, it takes only a few seconds to see where all of your pages are ranking.
The most useful, free keyword research tool is the one from Google's Adwords. It's the best because it uses data, directly from Google's searches. I have reviewed this software in a previous article: high paying keywords.
Google Webmaster Tools
To use Google webmaster tools, you first have to validate that you control the site, in question. Then Google will allow you access to their reports on your site. The reports go into detail about ranking, backlinks and content.
It is particularly good at finding problems with your site, which causes Google to rank it lower. Examples of this are dead outgoing links or spammy content.
This free Google tool allows you to analyze keywords searches that have recently become more popular. Watching these trends can give you the first mover advantage, over your competition.