Free (and Paid) Search Engine Rank Checkers
Overview: These free and paid tools allow you to track where your websites rank in the search results for important keywords, and track those trends versus competing sites and/or against your own marketing efforts to better understand the effectiveness of your marketing.
Free Ranking Checkers
Free Rank Checkers
- Digital Point's Keyword Ranking Tool - tracks your rankings in Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Makes it easy to look at historical records of rankings to help you evaluate algorithmic changes and effective SEO techniques you are using. Requires a Google API key to track Google search results.
Google Rank Checker Tools
These tools do not use the Google API, especially because Google rendered their API virtually useless unless you have one of their old keys.
Meta Search Engines
Paid Rank Checking Tools
Tracking where you already rank does not alert you to potential areas of opportunity that you have not yet focused on, but it is easier to rank for keywords related to words you already rank well for than it is to rank for a whole new basket of keywords.
- Advanced Web Ranking - downloadable software from $99 per year.
- Agent Web Ranking - downloadable software from $150 per year.
- SEOMoz rank checker - allows 5 free lookups a day. Additional usage requires buying a premium membership. The source code to an earlier version is available.
- Mint - affordable downloadable analytics program that you set up on your own server. Keywords that send you traffic are of course keywords that you rank well for. Costs a $30 one time fee per site.
See also: Analytics Tools
From the Engines
- Google Webmaster Central - allows you to sign up for Google Sitemaps, shows some crawling errors, and a more complete view of your backlinks. Also shows keywords you rank well for and keywords that send you the most traffic.
Pay Per Click Marketing Tools
Overview: These are the best affordable competitive analysis tools, and other free tools to help you get more out of your PPC marketing campaigns.
Major Traffic Sources / Ad Networks
Paid Competitive Research Tools
- Compete.com Search Analytics - low cost competitive tool showing keywords that send competing sites the most traffic.
- HitWise - similar to Compete.com Search Analytics, but costs about $10,000 and up.
- KeyCompete - shows keywords that competitors are buying
- SEMPhonic - tracks keyword rankings and provides competitive reporting
- SpyFu - shows terms that competitors are buying or ranking for in the organic search results.
- Trellian Competitive Intelligence - shows keywords that competitors rank for and keywords that send them significant traffic.
Budget Estimation Tools
- Google Traffic Estimator - estimates the number of Google AdWords ad clicks and bid prices for the top ad position.
- Yahoo ROI Calculators CPC & CPM - estimates how much you can profitably pay for your ads
Bulk Keyword Editing Tools
Other Handy PPC Tools
- SplitTester - makes it easy to test the probably of the accuracy of results from an A/B split test
From the Search Engines
Traditional Keyword Suggestion Tools
Keyword Valuation Tools
- Google Traffic Estimator - shows the estimated bids prices and ad clicks for the top ranked AdWords ad. Allows you to check for [exact match], "phrase match", or broad match.
More Abstract Keyword Sources
Trend Related Keywords
Bulk Keyword Editing Tools
- Keyword Modifiers - Spreadsheet showing common keyword modifiers organized by categories such as price, location, and other common variables.
- keyword tools review post - a couple year old blog post offering a free comparison of different keyword research tools, also showing how keyword modifiers work in a real world example
Background Information on Keywords
50 minute Keyword research video by me...a bit long, but hopefully you find it useful :)
Web Analytics Tools
Overview: These free and paid tools allow you to track what keywords are sending you traffic, what keywords are profitable, and what keywords lose money. As soon as you start tracking results your campaigns get more efficient because you start focusing on the results.
Tracking where you already rank does not alert you to potential areas of opportunity that you have not yet focused on, but if you track conversions you know what those keywords are worth, and it is easier to rank for keywords related to words you already rank well for than it is to rank for a whole new basket of keywords.
At the bottom of this page is a free video about using web analytics tools.
Free Analytics Tools
These tend to be limited in feature set and give themselves sitewide links on your site, or require you to trust giving a major search engine like Google virtually all your marketing data.
Cheap Paid Analytics Tools
- Mint - affordable downloadable analytics program that you set up on your own server. Unlike most other paid analytics programs in Mint does not track conversions.
Affordable Business Analytics Tools
- ClickTracks - Downloadable software and hosted options. Starting at $99 a month.
- Indextools - Starts at $50 a month.
Expensive / Premium Tools
Background Information on Web Analytics
If you need more background on analytics try the free 44 minute video by Avinash Kaushik.
More SEO & Webmaster Tools
Overview: This section includes links to additional SEO tools and other tools useful to webmasters.
- .htaccess tips - free information on how to use .htaccess to redirect pages or rewrite URLs
- ISAPI rewrite - URL manipulation tool for Microsoft IIS servers
- Server Header Checker - check server response
- Spider Test Tool - shows the page size, source code, meta tags, page title, textual copy of the page, keyword breakdown by density (including 2 and 3 word phrases), number of words, number of unique words, and outbound links on a page. grab the source code
- XML Sitemaps - makes free Google sitemaps for sites up to 500 pages in size. Sells a cheap and useful script to build sitemaps for larger site sizes.
Tools from Search Engines & Other Sites Offering a Variety of Great SEO Tools
- Google Webmaster Central - allows you to sign up for Google Sitemaps, shows some crawling errors, and a more complete view of your backlinks.
- SeoCompany - mostly lists tools from other sites, but lists over 100 of them
- SEOMoz - has about a dozen tools. Some require membership, others do not.
- WeBuildPages - has about a dozen and a half free tools.
- Yahoo! Site Explorer - allows you to see what pages you have indexed as well as the backlinks to those pages
How Domains Play a Role in Marketing
2007 Domain Roundtable keynote speech by world-renowned domain investor Frank Schilling
Other Useful Webmaster Tools
The general tip here is start off wherever you like doing what you are comfortable with. As you gain experience and leverage move yourself up the value chain and increase your margins.
SEO for Firefox - Import useful marketing data right into Google and Yahoo search results.
Additional Great Firefox Extensions
- AdSense Notifier - if you are an AdSense crack addict, this puts your AdSense stats right at the bottom of the page
- ColorZilla - allows you to pull colors off a page
- Greasemonkey - allows you to add many Greasemonkey scripts (like these) to your Firefox install
- LiveHTTPHeaders - allows you to view server header response
- User Agent Switcher - allows you to act like you are GoogleBot or another search engine spider. Make sure you clear your cookies and browser cache before using this.
- Web Developer - allows you to view a page with different browser configurations
Browser Buttons and Bookmarks
Quick links and browser extensions which make it easy for you to access cool free SEO tools from anywhere on the web.
SEO Book Google Gadgets allow you to put link research, competitive research, and keyword research tools directly on any web page, or on your iGoogle page.
SearchStatus is a toolbar extension for Firefox and Mozilla that allows you to see how any and every website in the world is performing. Designed for the highly specialised needs of search engine marketers, this toolbar provides extensive search-related information about a site, all conveniently displayed in one discreet and compact toolbar.
For every site you visit using, SearchStatus lets you view its Google PageRank, Google Category, Alexa popularity ranking, Compete.com ranking, Alexa incoming links, Alexa related links and backward links from Google, Yahoo! and MSN. This combined search-related information means you can view not only the link importance of a site (according to Google), but also its traffic importance (according to Alexa), so providing a balanced view of site efficacy.
The SearchStatus Mozilla/Mozilla Firefox extension appears unobtrusively at the bottom of the browser on the status bar. If you choose to view backward links for a particular page, they open in new tabs in the same browser window. Disable the automatic Google and Alexa queries and they fold away from view