If you’re an experienced search marketer, feel free to move along; there’s probably nothing here for you. This post is mostly for current (and future) clients, so that I have a place to refer them when we talk about what they’ll need to do some SEO-type work on their own.
It all begins with Firefox. Use Internet Explorer as much as you want when dilly-dallying at the office or home, but your SEO toolbox must include Firefox. Most of the tools below only work in this browser.
Once you’ve download Firefox, you now have access to a great, big candy store of add-ons (or plugins) that extend Firefox’s capabilities. Here are the ones you’ll need for your Beginner’s SEO Toolbox:
WebDeveloper by Chris Pederick
User Agent Switcher by Chris Pederick
I thought about not including this on a beginner’s toolbox list, but it’s easy to use and very helpful. User Agent Switcher lets you surf the Web with another identity. The most common use I have for it is to switch my browser’s user agent from Firefox to Googlebot, which allows me to see a Web page the way Googlebot does. It’s very helpful for looking at your own site, but especially for looking at competitors.
The default toolbar download is a bit sparse, so you’ll also need this Firefox User Agent Switcher list. Download the XML import file, then import it and you’re all set. But be careful, because you can cause yourself problems if you pretend to be Googlebot too much. Use this lightly and wisely.
SEO for Firefox by Aaron Wall
How would you like to run a Google or Yahoo search, and right there in the SERPs be able to see all the important data about each site listed? That’s what this add-on does. You’ll have quick access to PageRank, Google Cache Date, Age of Domain, Yahoo link count, and a lot more. Here’s what it looks like in the SERPs:
This add-on gives you quick access to a page’s Alexa Rank and PageRank right down in the status bar at the bottom of your browser. It also provides quick access to a lot of other data about the page you’re visiting.
Another one I wasn’t sure about including on a beginner’s list, but if I can figure out how it works, anyone can. You’ll come across various Greasemonkey scripts which may add helpful functionality to your web browser; these scripts require Greasemonkey to be installed.
I’m a big fan of bookmarklets; I have a whole folder for them in my bookmarklets. The two that are most helpful for SEO purposes are below. In each case, just drag the link up to your browser bookmark bar and it’ll be added (assuming I’ve done this right).
Xenu Link Sleuth
This is a PC-only software program. I don’t get to use it much since I work from home (on a Mac) as much as I work at the office (on a PC). What it does is crawl a Web site and spit back a list of URLs, Page Titles for each URL, inbound & outbound links for each URL, file types, and more.
There are additional add-ons and SEO tools I use, but for the vast majority of clients I’ve ever worked with, the list above is more than enough. In additition to the above, here are a couple other recent SEO toolbox-style posts that may be helpful:
If any readers think I’ve missed a tool or add-on that’s appropriate for new/beginner SEOs, let me know in the comments!