SEO Tools: 5 Websites You’ll Wonder How You Ever Optimized Without

There are a lot of SEO tools on the Internet — more than anyone is capable of evaluating — but most of them are iffy at best. There are, however, a few truly great groups out there that offer the best SEO tools: companies that aren’t afraid to give their tools away for free, but still give them full functionality knowing that it’ll draw you back again and again. Here are some examples:

Ranking Checker by SEOmoz
For no cost, you can check your rankings for up to five keywords per day, and it keeps an excellent little log for you of how your keywords rank day after day — a log that you can download as a CSV file if you need. A dedicated SEOer can check about 150 keywords per month with this tool, provided you can deal with your updates being that rare.

MultiRankChecker by
Sometimes, you just dont’ want to manually check the PR and Alexa rankings for your client and their seven major competitors all at once. Enter MultiRankChecker and you’ll get results in seconds.

Fiddler by
Fiddler requires the .NET framework for Windows, so not everyone will be able to use it — but for those who can, it’s grand. Fiddler allows you to analyze all of the background communication that happens between a browser and the servers. It’s excellent for debugging a webpage that isn’t doing what you want it to in all of the browsers you want to do it in.

SEO Analyzer by
SEO Analyzer gives you a report that shows a detailed list of SEO components and how the assessed website stacks up to them. It’s not any substitute for a professional SEO assessment, but it’s a great tool for making sure that your website has the basics covered before you turn it over to the experts.

Backlink Checker by
This is probably the best free backlink checker on the Web today, it’s simply a useful way to keep track of your backlinks, or, more importantly, analyze a competitor’s backlinks and see where they’re getting their juice from.

Are there more? Of course — probably hundreds of great free tools — but these are the ones that our SEO experts use on a daily basis. Try them out and see for yourself!

Crisis Averted: The Power of Reputation Management in the Social Media Era

There are lots of reasons why your company might suddenly need a reputation management company. Rather than dwell on what might go wrong to cause a crisis, let’s look at how the best reputation management companies solve problems when they crop up.

Solution #1: Build
The first priority of any rep firm is going to be building your presence online before any major catastrophes before. The more solidly built your online presence, the more easily you’ll survive a few negative comments here and there. Reputation management firms, unlike SEO groups, don’t care as much about the number one spot in the rankings — they’re more concerned with how many of the rankings in the first few pages give your business a negative slant. As long as there are only a couple of negative comments in the first few pages, the likelihood that a surfer will come across something that drives them away from your company is slim.

Solution #2: Engage
Anywhere that people are talking about your business, the rep firms want at least one person there so that they can engage the chatter. Particularly if the tone turns negative, you want someone on the front lines who can turn criticism into advice for your company and simultaneously put your company’s side of the story out there, working it into the conversation, accepting accountability for actual problems and laying malicious suppositions to rest.

Solution #3 – Bury
The Internet is forever, and the last thing you need is an unscrupulous competitor or vengeful ex-employee saying untrue things about your company without anyone dealing with the problem. In a case where a ‘lone gunman’ is sniping at you, the most obvious way of minimizing his impact is to simply bury the story — create so many other high-SERP entries about your company that the negative links disappear under the pile of positive ones.

Of course, these are all clearly ‘easier said than done’ kind of tasks — but that’s why reputation management companies exist in the first place: because they provide a service that few of us could provide ourselves.