It's February and just more than a year since WebU articles started flowing from my keyboard. The holiday shopping season is behind us; consumers have received credit card statements that chilled them to the bone. Perhaps now is a good time to take a look at some new tools that can aid and abet search-engine optimization for the run-up to next Christmas. I say start now because it will be here before you know it.
One of the hot new tools making the rounds on blogs, in e-mails, and in private IM sessions is SpyFu (SpyFu.com). SpyFu is running in beta mode, which means the data is possibly a few months old, but the information that can be gleaned is fantastic, especially if it's used comparatively. Enter the domain of a top competitor and get an idea of its overall visibility. Then use that data to find the holes in your online presence. SpyFu provides data on organic results, paid results, top organic competitors, top paid competitors, ranking search terms, Alexa rank, and a few other tidbits. See SpyFu's results for Match.com below.
Next up is the Page Strength tool from seomoz.org.
This tool examines a host of factors to determine the relative visibility of a given Web page. A sampling of these factors includes: links, domain age, .edu links, .gov links, Alexa rank, Technorati links, and several other items. The key to this tool is in the explanation of "What does this tool tell me?" A lot, it turns out, such as relative importance and visibility and the potential ability of a page to rank in the search engines.
Just for kicks, I looked at my personal blog (oilman.com), and it turns out that "average" would be the best way to describe my work. The tool indicated a "5/10" page strength and just before I got depressed about only being a 5, I saw the fortune-cookie-style message encouraging me. It said: "Your site is having an impact and may even be a leader in your field (depending on how big or small that field is). Keep on this path; it's clear that the effort you've put in is producing results."
Thanks. Now I have the strength to carry on.
Last, take a look at Zippy.co.uk. The trend in online tools for the past few months has been all about data aggregation - essentially providing one-stop shopping for your SEO data. So far no one does it better than Zippy. David Naylor, an exceptional SEO expert, has pulled together virtually all the data you could need onto one page and provides various starting points, such as a specific keyword, individual domain, and the option to enter two domains and let Zippy do the comparison for you.
Now, go forth and research.
Todd Friesen is director of search-engine optimization for Range Online Media. (email@example.com)