Friday, July 4, 2008

Search Engine Optimisation for Absolute Beginners III

Gadgets! Who does not love gadgets? We have gadgets for almost everything. Tools to make life simpler and more efficient. to get the job done in less time with the least amount of energy expired. Tools that do a better job. From power tools to vacuum cleaners to cordless electric screw drivers to GPS devices and metal detectors. All theses tools help us in our daily lives. They make us more efficient, make us appear more professional, give us more time and less stress and perhaps even enable us to do that which we couldn’t do otherwise. Yes, tools and gadgets are mans best friend. Oops second best friend.

Why should SEO be any different. Many say that it should be left up to the professionals. Yes I agree in part. If you can do a reasonable job yourself, or you can’t afford the professionals or you are plain just stubborn, or what ever the reason, one should be able to at least attempt the job yourself. If you so feel inclined or forced to do it. Who doesn’t have some tools at home, power tools. Things to fix electrical appliances, or do the odd carpentry job, or even attempt to do some minor construction or building. Many have done some kind of DIY. Some have succeeded some have not. But then you will never know if you don’t try. Also, some just know themselves that if they attempt to fix the broken electrical plug they will die a horrible death. So they are very comfortable in hiring a professional.

SEO is no different. You can try and do the job manually, or you can make use of the vast number of tools that are available to you, or you can hire a professional. Seeing that this blog is for absolute beginners, we assume that you are not a professional and that you want to try this yourself. Believe me you CAN do just as good a job as any professional. It is not impossible. Hey, I am not a carpenter by any stretch of the imagination, but I have created some nifty looking woodwork pieces that have had my friend go GA GA.

So what I would like to do here is take a look at some tools that are available to us that can help us out with this SEO thing. Some are free, some require some form of payment and some are limited. But they all help. Before we delve into the nitty gritty of SEO and the strategy of SEO and all the cool stuff I described on my previous blog, lets look at some really cool and nifty tools.

I am gong to divide the tools into two categories, online and offline or desktop applications. Online typically speaks of web sites that enable you to do things, while offline typically requires you to download a program and run it to achieve your or the software's required goal. While some tools are not pure SEO tools but also incorporate SEM (Search Engine Marketing), which we will cover in another blog, they are all helpful in getting your site out there.

Online tools.

Seeing that most people find your site through some form of search engine, and that the most popular are Google, Yahoo and MSN. It stands to reason to see what they can offer when it comes to SEO. After all it is their domain isn’t it.


Google offer a wealth of tools and services for the armature and professional. Most you have to create a Google account for. But its free and well worth it.

1.Google Webmaster Tools.

Improve your site's visibility in Google search results. Google Webmaster Tools provides you with detailed reports about your pages' visibility on Google. All you have to do is add and verify your site.

Links are so important to a web site. Discover your link and query traffic View, classify, and download comprehensive data about internal and external links to your site. Find out which Google search queries drive traffic to your site, and see exactly how users arrive there.

Share information about your site. Tell Google about your pages with Sitemaps: which ones are the most important to you and how often they change. You can also let Google know how you would like the URLs that they index to appear.

View more information about your crawl errors with the new content analysis tool.

2.Google Analytics.

This is a fantastic tool. And its Free. Analyse your visitors. Google Analytics shows you which sites, search engines, and keywords refer your traffic and how visitors interact with your site. They have all sorts of graphs and trends. Statistics that you can drill down too. It is really cool and worth checking out.

3.Google Trends.

With Google Trends, you can compare what interest there is in your favourite topic or keyword. Enter up to five topics or keywords and see how often they’ve been searched on Google over time. Google Trends also shows how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, and in which geographic regions people have searched for them most. You can see a snapshot of what’s on the public’s collective mind by viewing the fastest-rising searches for different points of time. You can see a list of today’s top 100 fastest-rising search queries. This is great for optimising your keyword search phrases and terms.

4.Google Website Optimizer.

This tool allows you to test different web site designs and content to see which ones attract and keep visitors, which ones bring them back for more and ultimately which ones are converted into sales. What you do is you create a particular page design with particular content. Let the web site optimizer monitor it. Then create another similar but different page, and test that, so on and so on. Then compare the data to see what users and customers like.

5.Google Suggest.

A spin off of Google search, but with a twist. As you type, Google will offer suggestions and the approximate number of expected results. Not a fantastic tool. But sure does help to find out what keywords are popular and what similar searches others are doing.

6.Google Adwords.

Although Adwords is a pay service. They do have a section where you can do some sort of keyword analysis. You can search specific keywords. Then you get results back of related terms. Their relevance, and what their search volume is. I.E you don’t want to have a keyword term that people never use to search with.


This is essentially a Google homepage. Where you can put Google gadgets on. I especially like it, because you can put webmaster tool gadgets, Google Analytic gadgets. These give you a quick overview of how your site is performing, and it also gives you summary reports from theses various services. A one stop, quick glance overall reporting and notification strategy.

8.Adword Traffic Estimator.

This allows you to put in some specific keyword search terms, and then see the search volume. It also allows you to see how much the Internet Advertising community will pay for a particular keyword of phrase. This gives you an idea as to how important those keywords are.

These are just a few services from Google. We still have to look at what Microsoft can offer. They have some cool stuff too. There are also other online sites that can help. Like Alexa, Wordtracker, SEOBook, WebCEO and many others that hopefully I will have time to cover next. But the conclusion is, that there are ample tools out there to help you with your search engine optimisation efforts. It just takes time and effort to see results.

What are you're experiences? Have you played with theses tools yet? Which are your favourite? Drop me a comment and let me know.

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