Search engines are essential for getting your site noticed; however, it is an enormous challenge to optimize your site when you don't have the resources or tools necessary. With these tools, you can optimize your page both on and off site.
1. Google WebMaster Tools
Webmaster tools give you the ability to improve your target keywords for search results by providing indexing issues, keyword visibility, impressions, time spent on your site, average position of search terms, and the click through rate. You can even set up goals, such as converting a browser into a customer.
2. Google Insights for Search
Another great tool from Google is their Insights for Search tool. This allows you to input any keyword and see the distribution of how heavily that keyword is searched in areas, ranging from the whole globe down to the city level. Insights also provides a list of other relevant terms that gain search traction for that topic.
3. URI Valet
URI Valet is the Swiss Army Knife of SEO. This tool is great for performing technical audits and gives the user statistics on server headers, the time it takes to download, internal links, external links, object details, as well as a text to HTML ratio.
4. Xenu's Link Sleuth
Another great tool for site audits that downloads directly to your desktop is Xenu's Link Sleuth. This tool analyzes your site and gives you a report on any broken links, lost mail servers, and the type of code that is being used on specific pages. Not only is this tool great for site audits, but can be an amazing resource when scraping your site for link building opportunities.
5. SEO Browser
SEO Browser breaks down a web page into a text file that easily allows you to see the layout of the page, from the title tag to the H1 headers and so on. This is a great tool when looking for a quick report on page structure information.
6. Rank Checker
When you want to check multiple rankings and have little time, the Rank Checker tool offers a quick and easy interface that allows you to check where a site ranks on Google. This tool runs directly off your browser, which can pose a couple problems. One, localization of search results can affect true search results, and two, if you are signed into a personal browser account, it will use your previous browsing history and tendencies. Negatives aside, this is a great tool for quickly checking where sites rank for the keyword you input.
7. SEO Toolbar from SEOmoz
Possibly my personal favorite of all the SEO tools I use is the MozBar. This tool gives you an instant look at the page authority and domain authority of the page you are on and even offers an in depth link analysis for anyone mining for quality links.
8. Shared Count
Shared count moves away from the traditional SEO techniques and into the social side of SEO. Shared count gives the user the numbers of Facebook likes, Tweets, Google +1's, Diggs, LinkedIn shares, Google Buzz's, and stumbles on StumbleUpon. Not only does it show your social status, but it has an open API so you can build specific tools to build on your social statistics.
Building a high-ranking site not only involves onsite metrics, but finding great linking opportunities outside of your site. With these amazing tools and some practice, you can start building awareness through optimizing your current webpage as well as finding great off site linking opportunities.
Matt Polsky is a business writer and Marketing Manager for VA Mortgage Center.com, the nation's leading dedicated provider of VA home loans.