The first in my list because (in my humble opinion), it’s one of the most important.
I like to just be able to glance at something and see if it is worth doing or not. Over time in the SEO game you sorta learn a feel for estimating keywords and markets, but it is helpful to have a few additional data points, especially if you are new to the market.
This tool was designed to add more data to Google and Yahoo! to make it easier to evaluate the value and competitive nature of a market. SEO for Firefox pulls in many useful marketing data points to make it easy get a more holistic view of the competitive landscape of a market right from the search results. In addition to pulling in useful marketing data this tool also provides links to the data sources so you can dig deeper into the data.
For example, SEO for FireFox adds useful market research data right into Google and Yahoo’s search results, including PR, Age, Links (pointing to the domain), del.icio.us bookmarks, Alexa rating, WhoIs and a lot more.
Obviously, this is an AddOn for FireFox, my browser of choice. In addition to being more secure than Internet Explorer, it’s also faster. Multiple tabbed browsing allows me to review more than one site at a time as well. I highly recommend FireFox when you are serious about market research and comparison analysis. You can get your own copy of FireFox (free) here: Mozilla FireFox.
A handy toolbar for FireFox that allows you to do very indepth research about any site on the web. When you are on a page, click one of the many toolbar options like *Meta* which shows you exactly what the site is using for keywords or description. Click the *Popularity* button and see Link Popularity or Search Engine Saturation (the number of pages in the indexes for Google or Yahoo for that domain).
This cool addon displays the Google Page Rank and Alexa rank, right on the browsers status bar for each web page visited. It’s a quick and easy way to *see* how a site is doing. Right clicking the Google PageRank indicator allows you to drill down into more complex data, like Google Trends, Related Links or Cache. Right click the Alexa indicator and see the Overview, Incoming links and Traffic Details.
I make sure this AddOn is installed everytime I rebuild my machine’s OS and tools. Sadly, as a programmer, this is something I have to do about every 6 months, but I don’t mind the extra effort of re-adding it. It’s worth it.
While not specifically SEO per say, this cool addon let’s you see styles and CSS for a page. You can turn on or off any particular style, add your own style sheet to someone else’s page and see the CSS by media type.
If you are developing your own pages, this tool helps in the learning curve. Find a site that does what you want to attempt, and then drill down to the style sheets. I used this tool to help teach myself CSS.
Not your *typical* SEO type tool, this addon forces a thumb nail display of the web pages listed in the search engine results list. I say not typical because the SEO value might not be readily apparent to most people.
But let me paint you a picture… there are a number of factors in determining popularity, one of which is *presentation*. When I am researching a niche, I do my searches and then LOOK at the pages that have acheived top results. I look for trends, common elements and design issues.
It might suprise you to know a page you would consider *ugly* can achieve top results, but by and large, the top pages have some simular characteristics. I use this addon to narrow the field so to speak.
Just like it sounds, this addon checks the validatity of the links on any page. There’s also a toolbar button that can be added for easier access to LinkChecker. Just right click on your toolbar, choose "Customize" and look for the button with the underlined blue check.
Obviously, you will use this addon on your own pages more than other sites. From an SEO standpoint, you want every single link on your site to work perfectly. This addon will help you find the broken links.
Again, not purely SEO but a great tool for web developers. It allows you to see the tags on a page without viewing the sourcecode.
One installed the X-Ray command is available by right-clicking as well as in the Tools menu. When applied to a page it can help you see how the document was constructed without having to go back and forth between the sourcecode and the page in your browser. Is that list made of li, dd or p elements? Is that an h3 tag or just some bolded text? X-Ray shows you what’s beneath the surface of the page.