More Useful SEO Tools

This is the second part of a four-part series that lists search engine optimization tools. In this article we cover rank checkers, web analytics tools, social media tools and online copy writing tools.

Rank Checkers

With rank checkers you can automate the process of checking search engine rankings for your keywords across all search engines. These tools are helpful if you take care of tons of sites.

Rank Checker – With this free rank checker you can check search engine rankings on Google.com, Yahoo.com, Live.com and all country specific domains like google.ca, google.co.uk, ca.yahoo.com, etc. Live is only limited to dot com for now. Rank Checker also supports the export feature, so you can transfer rankings to Excel and make pretty presentations. To use this you’ll need the Firefox Browser.

Accurate Monitor for Search Engines – This tool costs $99 for personal use and $149 for business use. You can check rankings on all major search engines (including country-specific search domains), check both paid and free listings, keep history for each keyword ranking, check titles and descriptions, export results in CVS, and so forth. It also supports Yahoo and Google APIs.

WebPosition – There are two versions of this tool. Standard costs $149 and Professional is $389. Webposition is similar in its feature set to the tools listed above, but it adds a couple more perks. You can create simple HTML pages right from the interface. I personally found this feature useless, since all it does is place keywords in the title tag, H tag and meta tags. On the bright side, Webtrends creates pretty and detailed graphs which are perfect for presentations.

To be a successful Internet marketer you need to track your visitors, measure conversion rates and constantly improve your website. Here’s a list of free and professional web analytics tools.

Google Analytics – This is probably the most popular analytics tool on the web. Google hurt a lot of businesses with the release of their own tool, since it’s usually all you’ll ever need. My favorite features are goal setting and conversion tracking. The big down side of Google Analytics is that all your data goes to the big G, which means that Google knows a lot about your site and business.

Yahoo Web Analytics – Yahoo purchased Index Tools and now offers free analytics software like Google. It boasts an impressive list of features already, and the company continues to upgrade and improve it.

Microsoft adCenter Analytics – Microsoft is catching up with Google as well. Its analytics software is currently in beta, but you can apply for an invitation. In its demonstration video Microsoft shows the visitor demographic feature, which it blends into the tool from the Hotmail and Live database. It’s pretty neat and shows the approximate age, gender and income of your visitors. The down side is that in many of my online accounts (including Hotmail), my age is a fictional number. I bet many other people put in fake information as well.

The three major search engines are hurting the bottom line for many analytics companies. On the bright side, you don’t have to pay for it, and as Yahoo and Microsoft catch up, their free tools will get better because of increased competition.

Semphonic – I haven’t tried this one, but they claim to have clients like Charles Schwab, WebMD, Intuit, American Express, Morgan Stanley, AOL Time Warner and Cybertrader. This usually means their software costs an arm and a leg.

ClickTracks – This is an all-in one analytics, PPC bid management, email marketing and web content management system, costing $299 per month. Some of the coolest features are A/B split tests, ranking reports, email campaign tracking, click fraud report, funnel report and unique cookie user tracking. It’s worth the trial.

Mint – This is a web interface, self-hosting analytics program. The biggest advantage of Mint is it costs only $30 and you don’t have to share your data with anyone (especially search engines). Their product resembles popular financial tool mint.com in site design and name. I’d say they outright stole it, but this doesn’t change their product quality.

Clicky – This tool has many good features and supports up to 200 websites with one account.

SiteMeter – This tool offers both free and subscription-based analytics. You can take the video tour of their free basic account and premium account. The most notable feature in the premium account is visitor path tracking, which details how visitors progress from landing pages to the exit pages.

Omniture - Measure your website to death. This is an enterprise-level analytics software program. They took analytics a the new level and let you measure your visitor heart rate, breath rate, relationship between visitor clicks and eye blinks =)… Okay, I’m kidding; they haven’t really gone that far, but you can literally measure everything you can think of, set custom paths, view visitor paths, etc. The software is designed for enterprise-level clients and costs accordingly.

WebTrends – This is a competitor to Omniture, and their feature set is just as overwhelming. There is no pricing information, and you have to request both demo and pricing, which hints that the tool is not for small webmasters. On top of analytics, they have PPC software and rank checker.

Analog – This is a logfile analyzer. To use this tool you have to download log files. The down side – there’s no conversion tracking and visitor paths, which are very important in analytics.

AwStats – This is another log file analyzer. AwStats measures all of the basics, like the number of visitors, OS, browsers and so forth, but like Analog, doesn’t have conversion tracking.

StatCounter – This tool lets you track visitors in real time. Here’s a list of stats they offer: Invisible Counter Option, Configurable Counter, Configurable Summary Stats, Magnify User, Drill Down, Popular Pages, Entry Pages, Exit Pages, Came From, Keyword Analysis, Recent Keyword Activity, Search Engine Wars, Visitor Paths, Visit Length, Returning Visits, Recent Pageload Activity, Recent Visitor Activity, Country/State/City Stats, Recent Visitor Google Map, ISP Stats, Browser Stats, O.S. Stats, Resolution Stats, JavaScript Stats, Email Reports, Multiple Site Management, User Access Management, Public Stats, Blocking Cookie. Though live tracking is sort of cool, I personally don’t find it very useful. To make adjustments, one has to collect a pool of data, which can only be accomplished over a period of time, so live tracking is a time waster.

Piwik – This is an open source alternative to Google Analytics. It has fewer features than Google Analytics, but is a good alternative if you don’t like sharing data with the major search engine (in this case, you share it with Piwik) Check out their online demo.

Check out these social media tools produced by social media geeks.

Social Media for Firefox – To use this you’ll need Firefox Browser. Briefly, the tool is made for social media geeks. It tracks rising stories on Digg, Reddit and other social sites. As stories rise on Digg, they are submitted to Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc. As stories rise on Reddit they are submitted on Digg, and vice versa.

The more hot stories one submits, the more “authoritative” his account becomes. This tool eases the process of submission so one can be first to submit hot stories and get more friends and social media influence as a result. Someone with many friends can submit stories for link building and marketing purposes (camouflaged, of course).

Digg Alerter – Watch Digg for stories and see which ones are dug or buried. If a story starts turning hot, you can then submit it to other social media sites and get perks for doing so.

Add This Button – This is a button which you can place on your site/blog and let visitors add you to the social media site of their choice like Facebook, Digg, Del.icio.us, Myspace, YahooMyWeb and all other popular social platforms.

Online Copywriting Tools

There aren’t many copywriting tools, because you can’t automate writing.

Style Writer – This is an extremely useful tool, if like me, you have problems with your style. This tool works as a plugin to Word, Open Office or other writing software, and suggests corrections to your writing style to make it more punchy, simple and concise. It’s a good “coach” to help you learn to write in the active tense vs. the weak passive tense. The active tense has been proven to get more conversions online, so if writing is one your tasks, I highly recommend this tool.

We – We Calculator – Many companies are stuck with “we-we” copywriting, talking about themselves instead of the ONLY person that matter online: the visitor. Use this tool to check how self-focused your website is. A good ratio is 30 percent or lower.

Thesaurus – I use Thesaurus when I run out of words or use certain ones too often. After Ask.com purchased dictionary.com (which owns Thesaurus), they cluttered this tool with adverts everywhere they can, so I bet it’s losing some of its users. It’s still a good tool though.

Online BS Generator – Play with this tool to find out what to avoid in your copy writing. “We visualize strategic bandwidth to grow bricks-and-clicks niches, aggregate end-to-end action-items and to optimize extensible models.” Plain language rules.

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