Of the core components of any holistic online marketing campaign, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is without doubt the most complex. Doing SEO well means much more than clumsily shoving some keywords into a semi-relevant blog post – and without the right tools at your disposal, your SEO efforts stand little to no chance of getting your business on Google’s radar.
Good SEO is equal parts talent and technical savvy – and no site can perform to its full potential on the basis of hard work and wishful thinking alone. But – luckily for businesses and marketers – for every Google algorithm, there’s a tool designed to help you adhere.
The SEO sphere is constantly evolving, as Google continues to move the goalposts in the pursuit of the perfectly optimised website – but some things never change. Leading search-oriented sites and software solutions offer the secrets to Google glory – and we’re going to let you in on all the tips and tricks you’ll need to optimise your business beyond rivalry.
Google processes 40,000 search queries every second. Every internet user’s first port of call for information, media, solutions and services, Google is the door to everything you want to know, do or own – which makes it the key to every business’s success.
SEO experts are, by nature, honorary Google nerds – and we’re not ashamed to admit we dance to the beat of Google’s drum. As the only search engine worth mentioning, Google has reached a point of such prominence now that it’s synonymous with making an online search. So, naturally, we’re grateful for any clues Google gives us on how to climb the search results ladder.
Google Analytics is the ultimate way to monitor your site’s performance from a traffic perspective. This innovative platform gives businesses the chance to see how many people are coming into their site, where they’re going and how long they’re staying. The beauty of this software is that it offers invaluable insight into how your site is performing from an SEO perspective – and allows you to judge the value of your on-site content based on how long you’ve sustained the interest of your visitors.
With additional functionality including keyword monitoring – so you can keep track of your organic traffic – Google Analytics is a giant among SEO solutions. Progress has never been easier to track, with the ability to set unique date ranges and monitor how your site’s performance has fluctuated in that time. And on top of that, you can even judge the success of your social media marketing by assessing what portion of your traffic is filtering in from your social accounts. Put simply, if you want to see how your online marketing campaign is going, Analytics can pretty much answer that for you.
The holy grail of paid SEO, Google Adwords offers businesses a chance to pay for the privilege of search engine prominence. By paying the price for your big-money keywords, you can find the front-page fame your business is looking for – with cleverly placed ads for your product or service popping up in relevant search results ripe for the clicking.
The beauty of Google Adwords is that your paid ads are nearly indistinguishable from organic search results – meaning many users who stumble upon your ad won’t realise you haven’t worked your way to the top spot. In fact, 36% of internet users have no idea that Google Adwords are ads – making stealth SEO easier and more effective than ever.
While paid advertising is, by nature, against the spirit of organic efforts, Adwords offers companies the chance to taste the coveted first-page position and take full advantage of their investment. Studies show that first-page results account for 91% of all search clicks – so there’s no doubt that a little cash injection is worth the exposure this prominence can bring.
The Keyword Planner
Google’s Keyword Planner is an absolute dream for search-inclined content marketers – offering a chance to optimise on-site content without stabbing around in the dark. With the help of this nifty online tool, you can search any number of relevant words and phrases and find keywords with the power to magnetise your content. The Keyword Planner shows you how many people are searching these terms each month – in other words, how many prospective customers you’re missing out on – and even conserves your brain power by suggesting related terms every time.
With the scope to introduce as many parameters as you like – including geographical locations, languages and even custom date ranges – Google’s Keyword Planner provides a platform for intensely targeted keyword research, guaranteeing that everything you find offers your business a chance to expand its customer base.
SEO gods Moz have established themselves as the most authoritative voice in search engine optimisation bar Google themselves. An infinite fountain of technical and conceptual knowledge, this site is not only a reliable resource on the content front but also a utilitarian SEO toolkit designed to make the lives of credible online marketers a little easier.
The Moz blog offers everything from online marketing 101 to advanced SEO strategies, making it an untouchable hub of marketing mastery – and better yet, Moz even moonlights in practical, user-friendly SEO solutions.
Offering all the essentials in one impossibly compact package, the MozBar is every business’s SEO utility belt – providing instant, around-the-clock access to the weightiest data in search engine optimisation. With the ability to enable or disable at the touch of a button, the MozBar has the functionality to instantly assess the authority, social presence and number of inbound links a site has – offering a quick and comprehensive etch-a-sketch of its worth.
Available as an extension for leading web browsers, the MozBar eliminates the need to make judgment calls on sites you find – whether you’re assessing competitors or identifying influencers. With all the essential data instantly accessible, this little life-saver has streamlined online investigation and revolutionised the worlds of SEO, social media and even content marketing in one fell swoop.
Open Site Explorer
The godfather of site analysis tools, Moz’s Open Site Explorer gives you a chance to perform analytic surgery on the website of your choice. With a simple search, you can see not only how many sites are linking to the domain in question, but also who the linkers are and where the links are going from and to. Offering a total breakdown of any domain, OSE is one nifty piece of online software with the power to dissect a website’s link profile and take a sneaky peek at its vitals.
On top of that, Open Site Explorer allows you to put multiple sites head-to-head and cross-analyse their relative authority – meaning you can take an online X-ray of your competitors and see how your site stands up in comparison. Easy to navigate and offering powerful insights, OSE is a bare necessity for any business whose mission it is to conquer the competition.
The Keyword Difficulty Tool
The perfect companion for Google’s Keyword Planner, the Keyword Difficulty Tool is a core component of any airtight keyword plan – helping you filter out the wastes of time and get down to the big money terms. By showing you what chance you stand of ranking for your chosen keywords, this neat online tool gives you everything you need to know to build a keyword strategy with a solid foundation.
Choosing your keywords isn’t just about picking the ones everyone’s searching for – although a nice high search volume is obviously a tasty bonus. The problem with selecting keywords that are popular and not achievable is that you’re setting yourself up to compete with the major national brands dominating the first page of search results – and all the clever SEO in the world will struggle to help underdogs overthrow industry goliaths.
Thanks to Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool, you can assess which of your chosen keywords have the power to bring your brand to the forefront – with a difficulty low enough to justify targeting them. By keeping it in the sweet spot (ideally below 60%), your business can hand-pick keywords born to perform – and see to it that your content is littered with these lucrative search terms.
SEMrush is quite simply the big daddy of competitor site analysis. Created by SEO experts, this remarkably capable site is, at its core, one colossal database of sites and their organic performance. With functionality including side-by-side site comparisons, organic and paid keyword analysis and in-depth reports on Google search performance, this is an online tool worthy of any SEO’s armoury.
SEMrush takes the guesswork out of competitor research – offering you a sneaky peek inside your competitors’ SEO strategies and even revealing which keywords they rank for. This way, you can forget blindfolded keyword plans and create something that you know works – because it already worked for your competitors.
The ultimate accessory to any search engine optimisation strategy is the SEO Yoast WordPress plugin. Easy to install and even easier to use, Yoast gives business and content marketers the chance to leave no ranking factor unaccounted for – with a simple, user-friendly interface with which every blog post’s titles and descriptions can be optimised for search and primary keywords can be targeted for maximum effect.
While Yoast alone won’t satisfy an SEO strategy, agile little add-ons like these transform your online campaign from a scatty system into a bulletproof business plan guaranteed to deliver.
With these superior SEO tools in your arsenal, your business can achieve industry-leading Google glory.
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