Practical Ecommerce

SEO Toolkit

If you consider that search engine optimization (SEO) is a scientific discipline, then you’ll agree that obtaining empirical measurements using a comprehensive suite of tools is an absolute must. Every day should be filled with experimentation, data collection and more experimentation. Flying blind is not an option.

So, let’s not waste any time. There is a plethora of data to be mined and insights to be gleaned. Here I share with you some, but by no means all, of my favorite free (unless otherwise noted) SEO tools. Note that in order to minimize redundancy, I have excluded those tools which I had previously covered in my “Tools For Link Building” article (April 2006 issue).

For Keyword Research – A paid tool. Data is based on the Metacrawler search engine. – A paid tool. Data is based on the number of search engines.

Overture Keyword Selector – Based on Yahoo! searches. Verb tenses, misspellings, singular and plural forms are all combined. Therefore, it’s more useful as a paidsearch tool than as an SEO tool.

Google Suggest – As you type, Google provides the top 10 most popular keywords that begin with the keyed-in letters, in order of popularity.

Google Trends – graphs historical trends of various Google searches.

Google AdWords Keyword tool – No hard numbers, unfortunately, but you can see historical trends in keyword popularity. – See what keywords your competitors are buying. – Created out of the search data that AOL released earlier this year. View what keywords AOL users searched for and what sites they then went to, how much organic traffic each site got and how many clicks individual search results pages received.

Saturation Tools (to check indexation)

Yahoo! Site Explorer – Check indexation on Yahoo!.

Netconcepts’ URL Checker— Shows indexation levels across all major engines; also displays results of historical results from past checks.

Netconcepts’ Product Page Checker – Shows number of product or category pages (or any common string, by using the inurl: operator) indexed across all major engines; also displays past results from past checks.

For Link Analysis and PageRank – Shows visual map of who’s linking to you.

Live PageRank – Reportedly obtains more up-to-date PageRank scores than what is displayed in the Google Toolbar. – Display a webpage overlaid with PageRank scores next to all links on the page.

Google Toolbar – For the built-in PageRank meter.

Google Directory – for the PageRank scores which are displayed on all category pages.

SEO for Firefox Extension – PageRank, site age, saturation, back links, .edu and .gov links, Alexa rank, dmoz listings, etc.

SEOpen Firefox Extension – Back links, saturation, related pages, page size, keyword density, Wayback Machine, whois, Alexa data, etc.

SEOMoz PageRank Strength Tool – Pulls in linking info from Yahoo! pages indexed in Google, domain age, .edu and .gov links, Alexa rank, PageRank, etc.

Netconcepts Link Checker – Check inbound links across all major engines; also displays past results from past checks.

Reporting Tools

Alexa Rank – Traffic rank, site reach and historical traffic patterns.

Digitalpoint Keyword Rankings – Check your site’s rankings by keyword. – Monitor PageRank, Alexa rank, back links, outbound links, etc.

Other Tools

User Agent Switcher Firefox extension – Pretend to be Googlebot when serving.

SwitchProxy Firefox extension – Pretend to be a different IP address. Useful to see different paid search results.

The Scrutinizer – One hundred seventy- one things you can do to your URL.

CopyScape – Website plagiarism search.

Poodle Predictor —See what your page will look like to spiders.

Stephan Spencer

Stephan Spencer

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  1. Legacy User January 5, 2007 Reply

    Wonderful list you have here! I didnt know there were so many others – I was just using only the more common ones like overture and wordtracker.

    — *Kian Ann*

  2. Legacy User January 17, 2007 Reply

    This is by far the best collection of tools I have found in one place. I will use it plenty. Thanks. Check out my progress at

    — *Ray Walker*

  3. Legacy User January 23, 2007 Reply

    Glad you've found my list useful! Best of luck to you both in your quest for higher rankings!

    — *Stephan Spencer*

  4. Legacy User June 4, 2007 Reply

    can also include as a keyword research tool

    — *Arupa*

  5. Legacy User July 19, 2007 Reply

    People might also find a useful tool, since it shows you visually the overlap between the results of multiple search engines. This way you can see where your site is placed in the result lists for different engines and different queries.
    searchCrystal is a search visualization tool that enables you to compare, remix and share results from the best web, image, video, blog, tagging, news engines, Flickr images or RSS feeds.
    In the free full version, you can explore and filter 50 – 500 web pages, images, videos, blogs in a single display that guides you toward relevant information in a structured way.
    searchCrystal offers you a powerful competitive intelligence tool.

    — *Anselm*

  6. Legacy User August 16, 2007 Reply

    Give a try for a keyword research tool, with results actually reflecting what advertisers are using at the current time.

    — *susan*

  7. Legacy User October 5, 2007 Reply

    You can give keywordspy a try. is a Keyword Research Tool that helps identify what keywords competitors use, with results actually reflecting what advertisers are using at the current time. –

    — *michelle*

  8. Legacy User May 24, 2008 Reply

    Another helpful tool is – It shows a heatmap of where people clicked on your site. I do my own SEO for my website which sells wireless broadband services in Australia & have found that some of the tools Stephen has mentioned above are very very useful in doing my SEO work.

    The other thing I would highly recommend is not exactly a tool but rather keep going to SEO seminar's or read websites such as this to enhance your knowledge on SEO.

    — *siddharth*