Our 30 Favourite SEO Tools

For the August 2011 SEO Brisbane Meetup we held a roundtable session where everyone got to highlight some of their favourite SEO Tools.  I’ve collated below a list of most (but not all) of these tools.  If you wanted a full list you should have come along to the SEO Meetup :-).

Note: not all of the tools listed here are necessarily tried and tested  – although most are tools widely used by SEO Professionals, there are also others which were suggested at the meetup that have been included here for completeness. 

We attempted to group various tools into different categories (although some tools do belong in multiple categories).  We’ve not of course been able to go into much detail here about how to use any of these tools but may (if there is enough interest) cover some of these SEO tools in detail at future SEO Meetups.  Most of the tools listed below are free, some are paid, and many of the paid services also offer a free (cut down) version of the tool as well.

If there are any other SEO tools that you use and would  like to contribute, please feel free to leave a comment.

Keyword Analysis Tools

  • Google Instant – an often overlooked but very quick and easy way to check for higher volume search keywords. Hint: Log out of your Google account to remove personalisation.
  • Google Keyword Tool – Allows you to enter trial keywords or a website name. Shows list of related search counts globally and locally
  • Google Insights – A great tool for for showing trend data – you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties
  • Google Analytics -  Looking at your own analytics data is a good way to see which keywords are already working well
  • PPC Data – setting up a PPC campaign and analysing click and conversion rates can be a very effective (and quick) way to get data about high converting (as opposed to high traffic) keyword phrases
  • Your Customers – Talk to your customers to see what keywords they would/did use to find your business
  • Brainstorming – talk to friends/colleagues to brainstorm related keyword phrases (don’t just rely on the keywords that you think are good)

Interestingly many of the “traditional” Keyword Tools used by SEO Pros (such as Wordstream, Keyword Discovery and Wordtracker) were felt to be of limited use to most attendees – although they can be very useful for very detailed analysis, because their data is sampled, and largely USA biased, for the most part they were not considered to be useful for Australia based keyword analysis considered.

Browser Plugins

Firefox was considered to be the web browser of choice  for SEOs – largely because of it’s plugin capabilities , with other browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Flock etc) mainly only used for compatibility testing.

  • SEO for Firefox – considered one of the most comprehensive (and useful) of the many SEO plugins available
  • Chatzilla – useful IRC plugin to ask people for advice suggestions on SEO
  • Firebug – more of a developer than SEO tool but VERY handy for debugging HTML/CSS and lots of other web page/browser based issues

WordPress Plugins

With WordPress becoming increasingly important as a blogging platform / Content management System (CMS) we felt that we simply had to inlcude some of the many SEO related plugins for WordPress

  • All In One SEO – one of the original and still arguably best general purpose SEO plugins
  • Google XML Sitemaps – auto generates a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog.
  • Google Analytics for WordPress – easy setup your Analytics code, allows you to track your blog easily and with lots of metadata.
  • SEO friendly Images – automatically adds alt and title attributes to all your images.
  • SEO Smart Links – can automatically link keywords and phrases in your posts and comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories and tags on your blog.
  • Sexy Bookmarks – adds an attractive social bookmarking menu to your posts, pages, index, or any combination of the three.
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast - all in one SEO solution for your WordPress blog: SEO titles, meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, breadcrumbs & much more.
  • And also a number of Search Engine Friendly Themes got an honourable mention – e.g. StudioPress – Genesis Theme, and Thesis

 Analytics Tools

Pretty much the ONLY tool discussed was of course Google Analytics.  Way too much about this tool to cover here, but it is likely to be the topic of a future Meetup.

Ranking Tools

We were pretty pleased to discover that noone was particularly interested in PageRank, and that even our clients had started to get the picture that PageRank in itself is not something worth obsessing about.  However, ranking reports can be a quick and easy way to monitor the impact of SEO strategies over a period.  Many of the SEO Suite based tools (see below) offer rank tracking tools.

BackLink Tools

  • Yahoo Site Explorer – once recognised as the single best way to get fairly decent backlink data on your competitors site – is now seen as no longer reliable and on it’s last legs as a useful tool
  • Webmaster Tools – the most accurate source of backlink data for your own site – not available for competitors though (dammit !!!)
  • Open Site Explorer – SEOMOZ’s famous Link Popularity Checker + Backlink Analysis Tool
  • Majestic SEO – perhaps the worlds most comprehensive source of backlinks information
  • Market Samurai -  a Suite tool (see below) that offers some good backlink reporting
  • Backlinkwatch – enter a website URL to get detailed information about quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to the site
  • Blekko – a “search” engine with a difference.  “slashtag” capabilities extend the info that Blekko offers – try www.yourdomain.com /seo

Conversion Optimisation Tools

There are hundreds of specialist tools that can be used for Conversion Optimisation – here are a few that were mentioned :

  • Google Website Optimizer – Google’s free website testing and optimization tool makes it quick and easy to implement A/B split testing and monitor and measure results.
  • ClickTale - discover everything visitors do on your website. Visitor Recordings, Mouse Move Heatmaps, Heatmap Suite, Form Analytics and more…
  • CrazyEggsimple and affordable heat mapping tools that allow you to visually understand user behaviour
  • Screenrweb-based screen recorder makes it a breeze to create and share your screencasts around the web.  From a CRO perspective this is a great tool to record test users behaviour – including their commentary on what/why they are doing thing.

SEO Tool Suites

  • SEOMOZ SEO Tools – A comprehensive (and sexy) array of SEO tools : Link Building, Competitor Analysis, Keyword research, Optimisation, and more….
  • SEO Powersuite – offer a range of SEO Tools from LinkAssitant – including Rank Tracker, Website Auditor,  SEO Spyglass and Link Assistant
  • Raven SEO Tools – Internet marketing tools for SEO and Social media  (tends to be higher end, more sophisticated/complex tools for SEO professionals/agencies)
  • Market Samurai – Great general purpose and good value tools for internet marketing and SEO

THE Most Important SEO Tool of All ??

And the single most important tool for any self respecting SEO is of course…  EXCEL.  Excel is critical for Collating, Filtering, Analysing and Sorting the reams of data that most SEOs accumulate in their day to day activities.


about the author: Andy Henderson, one of the Brisbane SEO meetup organisers is a Brisbane SEO Consultant and also provides Website Training Workshops and WordPress Training/Consulting services in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.


  1. Hey Andy,

    Yes, I was bummed to miss out on the night, but had a client meeting at the last minute.

    I’d like to add my 2 suggestions for resources:

    Firefox Plug-in = SEO Quake – this runs an instant analysis of SERPS on Google and you can export and compare page stats.

    SEO Site = Search Engine Land – This is run by the guy who is heavily involved in the SEO conferences around the world.


    Curtis Chappell
    Quantum SEO Solutions

  2. Thanks for posting this! I’m looking for a medium that can help us to get a good amount of promotion for my websites which in return gave me a business too through websites and I must say this has definitely helped me in this process.

  3. I love Firefox plug ins it is really helpful in my job. Majestic SEO is also good.

  4. This is extcaly what I was looking for. Thanks for writing!

  5. Siteopsys currently offers more than 20 research and analytical tools classified into 7 different categories, based on their usage areas. We plan to develop more analysis driven SEO optimization tools in times to come. Most of our tools are FREE and are available for usage at absolutely no charge, for now.

  6. We’ve been using many of the tools mentioned above and to think that without them, doing our SEO work would have been more difficult and time consuming.


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