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5 SEO tools I couldn't live without

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This is a guest post by Andrew Hunter, General Manager and “SEO Guy” at the local review site Qype. He offered to share his knowledge on SEO tactics, as he was approached by many teams at Seedcamp Week:

I was overwhelmed by the number of SEO questions I received in the mentoring sessions at SC2010, so in addition to the fantastic SEO section on the Seedcamp wiki, I thought I’d put together a list of 5 SEO tools that I mentioned in some of the sessions and that I would actively encourage all start ups to
use:
  1. SEO for Firefox If you’re looking for an easy to use tool which helps you understand why you rank the way you do (and more importantly, why your competitors are outranking you), download this. SEO for Firefox pulls in a heap of information giving you a holistic view of thecompetitive landscape of a market directly in the search results. I use this tool all the timeto study the number of links pointing at my competitors, the age of domains, page rank etc. etc.
  2. Rank Tracker This is the fastest and easiest way to track your searchengine positions overtime for a bunch of different keywords. The free version should be sufficient for most start ups (I track 1,000+ keyword positions on a weekly basis and still get it for free!)
  3. Linkscape/Open Site ExplorerLinkscape is an index of the web, built by crawling tens of billions of pages and building metrics from that data. Search engines are reluctantto share this data, but these guys have managed to hack it. I use this tool about once a week to gauge my own SEO performance/score and study my competitors. Take the top level “page authority” and “domain authority” scores with a pinch of salt, these are just inferred scores and it’s likely that most young sites will be sub 20 out of 100.
  4. Juicy Link Finder This tool helps you find sites to build links on to improve your own rankings. It’s really simple – just punch in the keyword you want to rank for, and the software will return 200+ suggestions for sites that should be linking to you but aren’t. What’s the catch? It’s $25 per month to use this tool, so i would only recommend it to start ups looking to seriously double down on SEO efforts.
  5. Google Webmaster Central This is the mecca of SEO information. It comes directly from Google (so you’re only going to get “white hat” recommendations) and includes over 20,000 videos and articles on search engine optimization. The Q&A videos from Matt Cutts (Head ofSearch Quality at Google) are excellent and should be weekly viewing for entrepreneurs looking to learn more about SEO. If you have a question about your site, don’t pay an agency £2k to give you the answer because it’s probably already been answered here 🙂

Andrew Hunter is the General Manager and “SEO Guy” at local review site Qype. Prior to Qype, Andrew was Marketing Director at Gumtree.com and worked on Search Marketing for the majority of companies within eBay inc. Andrew is an active angel investor and a regular contributor to travel blog Trip Hunter.

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