SEO Tools

Should I Use SEO Tools on My Website?

If you’re a newbie to the world of SEO, you might not know where to start. It’s easy to get sucked into different SEO scams, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of paying for essentially useless tools or SEO services from inexperienced ‘professionals’.

However, I understand that marketing budgets can be tight, especially when you’re just getting started. With this in mind, I decided to write this article to help you figure out whether or not you should be using SEO tools, and if so, which ones.

What Are SEO Tools?

To put it simply, an SEO tool is anything that is designed to help you increase the effectiveness of your SEO efforts or streamline otherwise time-consuming processes. There are hundreds, if not thousands of different SEO tools out there, but they certainly aren’t all useful.

But, there are certainly some high-quality, affordable tools available that I’d recommend using when you’re optimizing your website. I’ve covered some of the most popular below. But first, let’s have a quick look at some of the reasons why you should use at least a few SEO tools.

What Are The Benefits Of Using SEO Tools?

Basically, SEO tools are designed to streamline different business processes and make things easier for you. Some of the benefits associated with using high-quality SEO tools include:

  • High quality tools will give you an insight into your competitors and the things that they’re doing. This will help inform your strategy, giving you information and knowledge that you can use to overtake them.
  • Some tools also give you access to the backlink profiles of your competitors. This is a great way to identify potential backlink sources for your own website, especially when you’re just getting started.
  • SEO tools generally include some sort of keyword generation tools. Often, they also include some measure of the competitiveness of certain keywords, which makes them very useful for selecting which keywords you’re going to use.
  • Finally, some SEO tools are designed to help you with on-page SEO, optimising things like your meta descriptions and keyword placement.

As you can see, you should definitely be using at least some SEO tools. But, choosing the right ones can be hard.

Continue reading “Should I Use SEO Tools on My Website?”

Ways To Network

Blowing The Dust Off Your Blog: Three Ways To Network

Hey, remember blogs? Times used to be when we talked about how blogging was the next great marketing venue of the 21st century – it’s been about ten years since then. How about we get back to basics? Blogging is still the main way to go if you want your business to get exposure on the web, but now that everybody has a blog, you have to work harder to get noticed. So here’s a refresher course in networking to promote your blog:

1. Interact with your readers. The best way to keep traffic coming in is to make them feel welcome. So when a visitor takes the time to leave a comment, thank them! If you use the Disqus plugin or similar systems, you can even rate them – just a little +1 or ‘like’ to say ‘thanks for your feedback.’ And replying just to say ‘thanks for your insight’ goes a long way. Get into an interesting discussion or two with your commenting readers sometimes, it shows that you’re not just a megaphone shooting your mouth off, but have an open mind and thoughts to consider.

Continue reading “Blowing The Dust Off Your Blog: Three Ways To Network”

Web Design

Web Design – Explore How The Web Has Formed

A must for anybody interested in business and eCommerce on the World Wide Web, we hope none of you missed this site on how the web evolved. The interactive timeline, itself a gilded dragon of web design, takes you through the various tools and tech of the web. Hover over one aspect to see info boxes pop up explaining different key stepping stones in that aspect’s development. Through this, you can see that the WWW proper got off to a start in 1991 (though BBSs still dominated on the home front for a number of years), that Netscape (grandfather to Firefox) and Opera both predate Internet Explorer, and that AJAX actually came to the fore in 1999 – so why did the industry not discover it until circa 2004?

Astroturf Marketing

Moral: Big Corporations Astroturf Each Other, Too

Tech news sites seem a little too gleeful in reporting the media war between Facebook and Google. CNET reports that that fight got a lot dirtier when Facebook hired a PR company to spread naughty rumors about Google.

In the trade, we call this “astroturfing.” Astroturf is a fake plastic grass, from which this practice gets its name. A swelling tide of public opinion is called a grassroots movement. So astroturf, then, is a fake grassroots campaign, made to look like genuine opinion but actually it’s a paid advertisement. You have to start wondering about that comment on Slashdot, that story submitted to Digg, or that tweet from a follower recommending some product – are they really who they say they are?

In a three-part series, a tech blogger explains just how much of what we read online is astroturf. It’s a shocking revelation when you consider just how much business is going on out there. The next time you’re on Facebook and you have a friend there complaining about Google, consider that they just might be part of a “whisper campaign.” And don’t be naive enough to think that Google doesn’t probably do the same thing back!

Pop-Ups

Are You Driving Users Away? Also, What’s Up With Pop-Ups?

We loved these “8 user experience gaffs that annoy your prospective customers” – it reminds us of the old days of Vincent Flanders. But this post is just a few days old, and yet not much has changed in what not to do in the world of internet marketing.

Some things that bear analysis are asking why users can’t stand a certain element. For instance, why do users hate pop-ups? Well, it’s because you were trying to read this web page, and all of a sudden a new box appears in front of it. What it’s doing is, it’s interrupting your mind, like shouting over the top of someone who’s talking. Can you imagine if you sit down to watch television, and just then someone comes running in with a painting and sticks it between your eyes and the TV screen right when the news gets back from commercial?

Things like that – they seem to be hard to explain to some web owners. Even if that element makes some sales, you have to look at how many people are getting frustrated and going away.

 

Wolfram Alpha

Is Wolfram Alpha What People Really Want

The World Wide Web is absolutely riddled with forgotten, abandoned search engines that seemed like great ideas on paper and performed like a dead skunk in reality. But what about an “answer engine?” That’s what Wolfram Alpha claims to be. We’re kind of surprised to see Wolfram Alpha still pulling blog news, like this announcement on Read/Write Web. This is about how you can embed a fun little Wolfram Alpha widget on your site.

Really, an answer engine does sound like it’d be handy. Like talking to the HAL 9000, right? You ask a question and it answers. But reviews around the web at first ran to something like, well, this AskReaMaor guy really put it through its paces.