There are hundreds, probably thousands, of SEO resources and tools out there for SEO agencies, freelancers, webmasters, and small business owners to use, including some here on our website.
The best SEO tools are ones that make it easy for you to quickly get in tune with your SEO objectives and supercharge your strategy and campaign to ensure you grow your search traffic and revenues and avoid falling foul of Google algorithm updates or a manual penalty. Our Top 10 SEO resources of 2013 aren’t tools that have been released in 2013, but rather the ones that have had the biggest impact on the work we’ve done for ourselves as well as for clients. They also represent the tools we feel are the most beneficial for anyone looking at creating an SEO strategy for 2014. We’ve already mentioned ours at the top, so we won’t include them here, although we do think they’re good!
Could we really start anywhere else? Google Webmaster Tools is the essential tool that everyone should be using in order to get every percentage point out of their SEO strategy. Google can often have a reputation within the digital marketing industry for trying to control what we’re all doing, but when they’re getting 70-90% of all search traffic, we know we have to listen to them.
If you haven’t got started with Google Webmaster Tools yet, we have a three-part guide that will help you understand it, open your account, and take advantage of the benefits on offer. You should also look at Bing Webmaster Tools, particularly if your site gets more traffic volume or more relevant traffic from the Bing search engine.
When it comes to link research Majestic SEO should be the tool you are using. There are free and premium accounts available so you can take a closer look at your own backlink profile or carry out competitive analysis in order to grab the links your competitors are using to drive traffic to their sites.
From Moz, Open Site Explorer is another great link tool that you should be using to compare your backlink profile with your competitors’ and see where the biggest opportunities are for you in this respect.
By subscribing to Moz Analytics you can also take advantage of many great reports that will enable you to focus your link building or outreach campaigns towards the highest value links.
Although the name makes you think SEM Rush is all about PPC, there is no question that it is equally as valuable for those looking to better optimise their site for organic search. What SEM Rush does particularly well is provide all the detail you need to make smart decisions about your time and financial investment into any strand of digital marketing.
Unlock the keywords you didn’t know were low competition and put yourself in front of an audience that your competitors aren’t doing, and get better all-round value from your campaigns as a result.
Google Penguin has had everyone involved in SEO running for cover once again this year, and over optimised anchor text has been a key consideration in the two algorithm updates we have seen. Use this tool to discover the anchor text that could be flagged and penalised, and then draw up your action plan for making the necessary changes you need.
Content continues to grow into a monster that everyone needs to be heavily invested in, but if you don’t know where to start with editorial calendars or the types of content you should be looking to produce, it can be difficult to come up with anything worthwhile. This content tool can help to make a difference to your campaign and give you some great ideas that will help you fulfil the most important aspect of your digital marketing strategy in 2014.
Okay, so we might have featured this tool a little earlier, but we didn’t want our top rankings to turn into a glorified Google love-in. While the new Google Keyword Planner isn’t to everyone’s tastes, it is still one of the most comprehensive tools available and is great for anyone looking to conduct keyword research for SEO or PPC.
You can read more about Google Keyword Planner here.
Putting schema.org mark-up into action is going to be an SEO essential for 2014, and those who are already using it are feeling the benefits in terms of where their websites are appearing in search. If you haven’t started using mark-up on your pages, then now is the time to do so. Further optimise your site before your competition and build customer loyalty before everyone is using schema.org to stand out.
If you’re stuck doing it yourself, use this schema creator to help you.
You’ve probably spent much of 2013 reading article after article about how you should be linking out to high quality sites as much as possible, but how can you tell which sites are the ones you want to link to? After all, you need to base it on what Google thinks rather than your own perception.
The answer is to use Moz Bar; a free Moz account will give you the page and domain authority, which is often enough, but if you have a premium analytics account you will unlock further features so you can analyse links and take a true in-depth look at authority websites.
Another key SEO consideration is to ensure Google always has an up to date version of your XML Sitemap. The best place to create yours is http://www.xml-sitemaps.com, where you can create your sitemap for submission in a matter of minutes.
SEO Resources for 2014
Not only have these resources and tools been the top 10 for 2013, they are likely to play a huge role in SEO and digital marketing success throughout 2014, too. If you are already using them, think about the ways in which you can improve and get more from them. If you haven’t been introduced to these yet, take a look at them all, read the success stories about them based on how influential they are, and get your 2014 campaign off to a great start!