Fast, Free and Easy Tools to Get You Going

Aug 21, 2008 - 3:32 pm 1 by
This session will focus on free and low-cost tools that can help beginners get started with their search and online marketing campaigns. The speakers will all reveal their favorite "tools on a budget." This session is geared for beginners to help them to understand the areas they need to tackle first and which tools are available to help them increase rankings and drive sales, so they can afford to move to higher-level tools that require subscriptions or hefty investments.

Jennifer Laycock, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Guide

Matt McGee, Director of Strategic Search, KeyRelevance
Scott Allen, CEO, Hybrid6 Studios
Joe Abraham, VP of Marketing, SageRock

Matt McGee
Don’t let the tools make the decisions for you, but use the tools to get information so you can make the decisions.

SEO Tools: Firefox and Friends

  • SEO for Firefox for Google and Yahoo, it gives you lots of information under each listing in the SERP. Gives you page rank, age of domain, inlinks, where it has listings, etc.
  • Search Status http://www.quirk.zib/searchstatus/ Provides some of the same data as SEO for Firefox. Instead of providing it in the SERPs, provides as you’re looking at an individual page.
  • SEO Quake Lot of people use it, but Matt doesn’t like how it slows down the browser.

Keyword Research

Backlink tools

  • Site Explorer. One of the best backlink tools if you don’t verify the site with the search engines, Google doesn’t give nearly comprehensive results for sites.
  • Link Diagnosis Gives backlinks, anchor text, if it’s nofollow, lots of other data, repackages from Yahoo.

Link Building Tools

PPC Tools

Domain Tools

  • Domain Tools Whois record, title, meta description, internal and outbound links, dmoz listing, etc. etc. etc.

Spider Tools

Scott Allen

Competitive Research

  • Free tools let you compare traffic with competitors and get limited keyword data
  • Premium tools provide detailed data on what keywords are driving traffic to specific competitors.
  • Even though best data isn’t free, good site to have on your radar.

Google Trends for websites

  • Similar to some of compete’s tools, but less in-depth
  • Shows info about other sites’ traffic
    • Regions visitors are from
    • Other sites visited
    • Keywords that other sites’ visitors have search for
  • Can be used to
    • Derive who competitors are
    • See some top keywords driving traffic to competitor sites
    • Drill down and analyzer further


  • Excellent PPC data for competitors
  • Find data by domain or keyword
  • Find out what competitors are spending on PPC and see ad data
  • Find out what keywords they rank for and are bidding on
  • Ability to drill down and download data for further analysis
  • SpyFu UKI recently launched

Google Insights for Search

  • Google provides data specifically for marketers based on what people are searching for
  • Decipher trends
  • Locate appropriate regional markets
  • Determine best messaging/phrases based on search data. Helps you determine what types of messages will be best received.
  • Find competitors in your market


  • Store data about competition
  • Create matrix to compare competitor features / attributes
  • Pulls in RSS feeds
  • Pulls in search results
  • Clip and save anything that looks interesting from search or blog feeds

Wordpress as an SEO tool
Note: refers to Wordpress on your own domain, not the

  • Popular blog platform
  • Well suited for SEO, even right out of the box. Modifications can help make it even better.
  • Many plugins available to expand functionality
  • Can be used by beginners/experts
  • Free: download at
  • Installs in minutes

Wordpress SEO benefits

  • Helps user create basic optimized content even with little SEO knowledge
  • Once setup all you have to do is write (for best results 2-5 times a week)
  • Building links and awareness (ping)
  • Social Media Marketing plugins and friendly content

Recommended settings

  • Search engine friendly URL’s
    • Settings -> permalinks -> month and name (or something more friendly than numbers)
  • Indexable by search engines
    • Settings -> privacy -> blog visibility “I would like my blog to be visible
  • Communication with other blogs
    • Settings -> discussions (look for way to ping)

Plugins: Caveats. Some plugins may not work with different version of WordPress. For security/integrity only download from author’s site or

Where to find wordpress plugins. Type exact name into search box (of plugins listed in this presentation

All in One SEO Pack

  • On-page (Content) SEO benefits
    • Optimizes Title Tags (still important to write keyword rich yet natural headlines)
    • Prevents many duplicate content issues
    • Generated meta description tags automatically

Internal Linking Important to improve internal linking throughout blog.
Wordpress related posts

Pagination Most blog platforms are weak in this area and requires a plugin to fix (both navigation and ranking issue). Adds page numbers.

Social Media makes it easier for site visitors to submit your content to social media sites or vote for your content

RSS Feed. Feeds are published but rarely optimized with out-of-the-box blog software
RSS footer: easily add copyright notice and other stuff.

Caching: Traffic spikes can cause server to buckle under the load (dig, etc.). Don’t want site down long time for both users and search engines
WP Super Cache

Joe Abraham

Google Keyword Suggestion

  • Now gives you approximate search volume!
  • Search by specific term
  • Let Google Suggest terms by URL
  • Shows approximately how competitive the term is.
  • See what Google thinks our site is about, see what it thinks other (competitor) sites are about.


  • Up to 100 phrases
  • Each term with an approximate search count

Keyword Discovery

  • Up to 100 free terms with estimated search volumes

Microsoft adCenterLabs

  • Free Demographics Tools! Comes from when people are logged into Microsoft products.
  • Input a URL or a List of Phrases; Get Predicted Demographics Back!
    • Demographics Prediction Tool. Gives you an idea of who is visiting that website, gender, age range.
    • Keyword Forecast Tool

XML Sitemaps

  • (up to 500 pages)
  • Google Webmaster Central

What’s an XML Sitemap?

  • An XML file that lists all of the pages on your site that you want indexed
  • Lists relative importance of pages
  • Allows engines an easy way to find pages
  • Does not guarantee inclusion. NOT an excuse to use bad code, just because a page is in the site map doesn’t mean it will be included in the index.
  • Google, Yahoo and MSN all support this protocol

Google Webmaster Central

  • Directly submit your XML sitemap to Google
  • Once verified, gain access to some Google Data on your site
    • Content Analysis
    • Top Search Queries
    • Web Crawl Statistics
  • Can be added to iGoogle
  • Has great way to check robots.txt file. You can put in a URL and see if it would be excluded.

Crazy Egg is a Heat Mapping Tools

  • Visual Stats program
  • Creates different visual overlays of site with statistics. Gives some different information than Google Analytics heatmap
  • Creates heat maps. Use of color indicates activity

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