4 Indispensable “SEO TOOLS” for Competitive Research

SEO Tools You Can't Live Without.When you’re tired of playing childish games like leap-frog and tidily-winks in the SERPs (search engine result pages) with your competition and are ready to change the subject from recess to biology and literally dissect their SEO game. You’ll need to break out some real SEO tools for a stint of competitive research.
4 Indispensable SEO Tools for Competitive Research

SEO tools play an instrumental role in search and are indispensable for mining data and other pertinent information (such as seasonal trends, buzz-words or keyword combinations) from the pages of industry leaders, who despite being at the top of their game, can still be out-maneuvered with the appropriate optimization strategy.

SEO tools are essential for plotting your ascent through competitive industries and allow you to carve out a niche in the top 10 for an entire series of key phases for your website, blog or business.

Reaching the upper echelon of organic search is no simple task, in fact, it requires a great deal of patience, foresight and strategy. Although we leave the use of these tools up to your imagination (much like Adobe Photoshop, where there is more than one to reach the same objective) the extent of the results all depend on your ability to think-outside-the-box and wield each tool with creativity.

So let’s get started…

There is quite a buzz about this first tool in the SEO industry right now, so, we will cover that one first.

First up – SEO Tool #1: “WordZe Keyword Discovery Tool”

Every good SEO campaign starts with fundamental keyword research. Without it, you could waste months optimizing the wrong terms and miss the boat on what’s hot and what’s not when gauging an industry and the respective keywords that drive it.

A high search volume (traffic-bearing) keyword is a result of supply/demand and conversion, although it may be more difficult to acquire, the rewards yield more than enough profit to justify the means. Whereas a less competitive keyword can provide you with a top 10 listing, but for a term with low search volume that nobody is searching for. So, it’s better to eliminate the exercise in futility by using a keyword research tool that allows you to find the most relevant (up to date) search data to base your keyword discovery.

Just in case you are still stuck in the past and using keyword antiquated research tools like Overture Keyword Discovery Tool or Word Tracker, there’s a new series of professional-grade SEO tools making a debut called WordZe that’s sure to hit the sweet spot for SEO enthusiasts (while mutually raising the bar for keyword research/discovery tools).

Say for example, you want to compete for a specific keyword and you enter it in the “word rank” global competitive keyword analysis tool. The company describes this tool with the following “WordRank is a tool that will inspect the search results for a given keyword, then analyze each domain to assist you in understanding the level of competition you can expect from others that already are leaders for the keyword or industry.”

Pretty straight forward, and to the point. This by far is my favorite, because aside from just showing you who ranks for the term, it provides an accurate snapshot of how many links per month your competitors are building to maintain that term for their position, for “that” keyword – “Priceless SEO data”.

The calculation uses a new fundamental ranking algorithm, that by far is the most evolved I have seen for a commercial tool. I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the awesome SEO Tools that the exclusive members have now at Jim Boykin’sInternet Marketing Ninjas (this is NOT a plug or paid advertisement), but using WordZe for only $35 per month in conjunction with Compete.com (our next pick) and you can essentially deduce just how difficult it would be to dethrone your competition from their most prized, traffic bearing keywords.

Aside from this tool, they have a keyword density tool that allows you to enter your domain name, it takes a snapshot of all of the keywords from the domain and assesses the terms the site is targeting. In addition to viewing the raw data, it provides useful one, two and three word combinations that you can test in search engine queries to provide valuable insight about where they rank for any combination of related phrases.

Also, the site has a wide array or other tools (that I have yet to explore) that allow you to assess trends, demographic information, keyword demand based on the region, state or global percentage of requests for that keyword and so much more. For the price it is a must-have SEO tool for your analysis toolbox.

Next Up SEO Tool #2 – Compete.com Search & Site Analytics

Aside from having to wait nearly a month to purchase a few credits (as a result of their API reaching it’s daily limit) I was finally able to test drive some of Compete’s nifty SEO tools. My favorite is the site analytics section which has become a natural stop after taking a peek at your competitions back links in Yahoo. Speaking of Yahoo and SEO, on a side note, follow the link to get Joost De Valk’s new SEO Analysis Tool, a FREE plug in for Mozilla Firefox that reveals the anchor text of your competitors back links (when you use the site:www.competitorssite.com search command) – “Priceless and not to mention FREE”.

Not to digress, as a freebie, Compete allows you to assess the monthly traffic a site is getting just as a taste of their SEO tools right from the home page. So, say for example, you want to see how your traffic fares against your favorite competitor, just type their URL or paste it in the top left portion of the homepage’s vs. query box and click return.

You can also, add up to 3 domains to have a face-off to see which site is getting the most traction for their keywords in the SERPs. It breaks down traffic trends to their site using data collected over the past year. Once again, “Priceless information”, when attempting to assess the strength of your next keyword acquisition campaign.

The hint here is “if they are smoking you in the rankings, at least you can turn the microscope on them with a few of the other tools here to determine if a keyword quest is in order to tip to vote in your favor from the search engine spiders. I was researching a few competitors for example who have managed to secure a number of high ranking keywords, yet despite their selection of optimized terms, their traffic was a mere fraction of ours. So, ultimately one needs to decide if targeting competitive terms or focusing on the long-tail of search is the way to drive optimal conversion for their pages.

Compete also has the ability to parse monthly search engine queries using site analytics and reveal which keywords visitors used in order to reach the site in question. Just add this to a great keyword discovery tool like WordZe and you could essentially assess the competitive climate based on the cross-referenced data in a few short hours which could save you months building links for the wrong terms.

SEO Tool #3 – Linkvendor.com

Here is an excellent example of philanthropy in it’s finest from Linkvendor.com, whereby Marcus from SEO Solutions / SEOmetrie (I like the first name, kinda has a ring to it) made these SEO tools in context of his diploma/thesis. Kudos to Marcus and thanks for sharing…

He has essentially ran the gamut on every possible SEO tool that one could desire ranging from analysis and link popularity to domain tools and keyword position checkers. This is one free site that is link-worthy and anyone using them should definitely throw a link back their way.

SEO Tool#4 – SEO Chat’s Page Rank Search Tool

Although the Page Rank Search Tool was probably designed just to see if your pages are passing the little green fairy dust, another way you could use it is by using a link command with one of your competitors domains in the mix.

Just click here and add your favorite competitors domain name using the link:competitorswebsite.com to the query box, sort by page rank and set the number of results to 100 and viola, you can take a peek under the hood of your competitors back links in Google and see which pages are passing the most link juice. At least, as far as a rudimentary inspection that is.

Well, that wraps up this review of 4 Indispensable SEO Tools You Can’t Live Without. Since so many tools were omitted, I feel the need to throw in a few more since we are on a such a roll.

SEO Tactics for SEO Tools – Application

Now that you have some nice tools to play with, as an added bonus, how about a few SEO tactics to go along with them to get things started.

1) Hypothetically speaking, between SEO Digger (as a keyword mining tool that reverse engineers the Google Search Algorithm and extrapolates keyword combinations) and Hittail (a great tool for extracting the keyword gold from the long-tail of search for visitors that have already visited your pages), you could survey your keyword landscape for a future SEO campaign.

2) Or perhaps you may visit a site using SEO Quake (another wicked Firefox Plug-in), to get a summary of their domain age, Who is information as well as their back links and combine that with a summary of the traffic from Compete.com to see just how effective their SEO is.

3) Or what about using SEO Chat, or Joost De Valk’s new Mozilla plug in to conduct a link analysis through some link mining to see which pages are candidates for links from your competition. Chances are, since they linked to someone in your industry, they are open for some type of service/exchange. Just don’t email them with a reciprocal link request, unless you want to ruin any chance of an authority link. Pick up the phone and see what you can work out, you never know.

4) Also, links do not always have to come from the same country to be effective in augmenting your global website profile. Dave Davis from RedFly Marketing has created a another awesome Firefox plug-in Google Global that allows you to view organic and paid Google search results as they appear in almost any location on Earth, talk about link building opportunities. What are you waiting for, go download your copy if you haven’t already.

In closing, SEO tools are only as dapper as the one using them, so remember to think outside the box and experiment with new and exciting methods when optimizing your pages.

I know we have only scratched the surface on this one. So many search engine optimization tools, so little time, so this is one time where I would like to call upon other SEO’s that may wish to share their favorite SEO Tools or techniques and drop a relevant link or two below. Don’t be stingy now, comments are open and if you have a question, let it be heard.

If not, then stay tuned for more SEO tips, tactics and strategies from Seo Design Solutions. I hoped you enjoyed this post and if you like, link it, Digg it, Stumble it,mixx it, Scoop it , Zoom it, or share it how you like.

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28 Comments

  1. Amit
    Posted January 10, 2008 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    simple and effective tools

  2. Sweet Rock Media
    Posted January 10, 2008 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Great list of tools, some I use some I’ve never heard of and will be checking out.

    Can you have links in your posts open in a new window?

    Thanks!

  3. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted January 10, 2008 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    @Amit:

    Don’t thank the messenger for the message…We have some SEO tools that we are working on. What we call the Frankenstein SEO Plug in (it allows you to customize your tags for Maximum long tail saturation for your posts, allowing you to have a title for each tag). The date is still pending, so in the meantime, I just wanted to comment and write about others who are throwing out some great SEO Tools to the public. Thanks for the comment.

    @Sweet Rock Media:

    Thanks for dropping in again, I will take that suggestion and add _blank to the links so they spawn a new window. Just think about how many people lose traffic from such a simple oversight. Thanks for the suggestion and I am glad you found a few new tools to try out.

  4. Doug Heil
    Posted January 10, 2008 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    These 4 tools Huh? No thanks. No SEO who is good that I know of has any use for at least 3 of these. Compete is a “might use”. The others are just silly.

  5. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted January 10, 2008 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    @Doug:

    Silly or not, if that is the case, then why don’t you suggest something to illuminate those of us who are in the dark?

    It’s easy to throw stones, but I assure you the tools are only as good as the one using them, this is not advanced SEO we are discussing, simply basic tactics for keyword discovery, evaluation of links and so on.

    But then again using these same little silly tools, within 30 seconds I was able to find that this is not the first time your “rant” about this topic.

    http://seo2.0.onreact.com/doug-heil-hates-sphinn-seo-20-and-web-ceo-software and

    http://www.google.com/search?q=doug+heil+comments so, I won’t take it personal…

  6. Doug Heil
    Posted January 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Oh good, as it’s not personal at all. Many of us don’t need such tools to do a good job. I think you would find a great many members at a place I operate that don’t need such tools as these either. I just happen to be really the only one who voices a strong opinion on things out there. Someone has to do it, right? It sometimes seems like the SEO industry is in a giant vacuum with all the members constantly praising each other, but with none to zero sort of criticism when needed. The butt-slapping that places like sphin.com are geared towards is not the answer to actual teaching. I happen to not be a butt-slapper….. as everyone certainly knows by now. :)

  7. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted January 10, 2008 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Honestly Doug:

    I appreciate your honesty. At the end of the day, it’s all about results, I have the utmost faith in our SEO techniques, despite which tools we work with. But it’s also nice to share a little along the way. Thanks for the comments.

  8. James @ Dolphin SEO
    Posted January 11, 2008 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    I can see where Doug is coming from but I still think Wordze is a good tool, it does throw out some odd results sometimes but if you use it in conjunction with overture, digital point and some common sense it can help identify some good keyterms.

    I have not seen Linkvendor.com before, it seems like a decent set of tools. The domain popularity looks useful for analyzing competitors links etc. I quite like Link Harvester at linkhounds.com for gathering link information. Though it does not check anchor text.

  9. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted January 12, 2008 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip James, I will check out http://www.linkhounds.com

    All the best.

  10. Dmitry Voronin
    Posted January 12, 2008 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    You can also use KeywordSpy for your keyword research tool – This will give you an opportunity to immediately track down your competitors and gather keywords for the promotional campaign of your online business. It offers Free trials.

    KeywordSpy is keyword research technology where you can also earn and even surpass what your competitors are making with Google Adwords and Overture. KeywordSpy gives you the key to their success: a good ad-campaign with the right keywords.

    It also has a ClickBank Affiliates Search Engine where you can see the actual market landscape at ClickBank.

  11. SEO Canada
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    I personally love Keyword Discovery, its a great tool although a little bit premium.

  12. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    @SEO Canada:

    I have tried keyword discovery in the past, but frankly I think Wordze.com is the the best all around for SEO value. The word rank tool is a crowning achievement that breaks down how many links per month the competition builds for those terms (allinanchor style). Priceless.

  13. ventureblogalist
    Posted April 17, 2008 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    great post. how do you think hubspot compares to wordze on usability, process, data analytics/scoring?

  14. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted April 17, 2008 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    @Ventureblogalist:

    I prefer Wordze for now, but I plan on doing more extensive tests with Hubspot in the near future. One is more of an SEO tool while the other is more like analytics for engagement.

  15. Joey
    Posted April 19, 2008 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Nice tools… just read it today. Looking forward to test it.

  16. Busby SEO Challenge
    Posted July 10, 2008 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I love wordze. ‘Cause we can see the popularity of word by number.

    o BTW, I read somewhere keyword external tools have this function right now.

  17. james
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    Google has done a U turn in the SEO game by providing a fantastic new tool to assist anybody looking to develop there website and target specific keywords.
    Visit At : SEO Consultant ! Ecommerce Developer

  18. Vinod
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Google has done a U turn in the SEO game by providing a fantastic new tool to assist anybody looking to develop there website and target specific keywords.
    Basically Google insights are a vastly improved version of trends and are excellent for comparing keywords and competition keywords so you know exactly where to focus your site and your hard graft!
    Visit At :
    SEO Consultant ! Ecommerce Developer

  19. Tom
    Posted October 22, 2008 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    It’s always interesting to read about various SEO tools, and whilst I am familiar with a few of the tools mentioned above, some are new to me! It’s particularly interesting to read about alternate keyword research tools besides Google Keyword Suggestion Tool, I’ll be sure to give WordZe a try…thanks guys…

  20. XaSER.com
    Posted November 8, 2008 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Apart from the four tools you mentioned, any other free tools you will recommend?

  21. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted November 9, 2008 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    http://www.majesticseo.com/ is nice for backlink mining…

  22. Zulu Web Marketing
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    This is a nice article, and I’m glad to see another review of Word Ze. It is a tool which I have read about, and am currently considering using for my personal projects.

  23. John Bertrand
    Posted September 20, 2009 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Great tools, looking forward to see more…

  24. Steven Young
    Posted September 20, 2009 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Good advice, well done, i keep going back!

  25. M&W Insulated Glass
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    These tools are great for general SEO, but what tools could a company use that is more concerned about local SEO?

  26. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted November 3, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Keyword Rich Naming conventions (our company serves the following areas), footer links and internal links will work fine for local SEO… Aside from that, getting 3-5 deep links to each main GEO category or landing page will complement the rest.

  27. SEO TOOL
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Are these seo tools for free or you need to pay something in return. I have known the best seo tool which has the complete package that you will be needing for your site like seo tools, backlinks tools, keyword research etc.

    visit this one:
    http://www.allwebsuite.com

  28. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for Sharing…

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