Rock the Moz Bar

Here at Searchable, we have already talked about Moz a number of times, including their blog and their On-Page Grader. Today we are going to take a look at the Moz SEO Toolbar, an in-browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that lets you track SEO while browsing the web. While there are some upgraded features available with Moz Pro, we will be focusing on getting the most out of the free tools in the Moz SEO Toolbar.

The Basics

Being an in-browser tool, the Moz SEO Toolbar is always there to provide background information on your webpage or what makes a competitor’s website rank so high. The toolbar has two main features, the SERP overlay and the web page analysis.

SERP Overlay

The SERP overlay is a feature that helps explain why different web pages rank so highly on Google, Bing or Yahoo search. In this overlay, each result is shown with their page and domain authority scores. Page authority serves as an indicator of how strong the individual page is, while domain authority shows the strength of the website as a whole. For example, let us say you want to start a boutique cat clothing store. The Google SERP if you search the term “cats” looks like this:

Cats Search Engine Result Page
Each of the top 3 posts have mid-range page authority ranking and 100 domain authority. It would be very hard to break into this SERP.

On the other hand, if you search cat boutique, this is what the SERP looks like:

Cat Boutique Results Page
These pages have a much lower page and domain authority score on average. As a result, ranking high on the cat boutique SERP would be a much more attainable goal and something that would take a lot less time and effort.

Web Page Analysis

In addition to the SERP overlay, the MOZ toolbar also lets you gain insight into the what ranks certain pages so highly. Keeping with the cat boutique example, we can look at the top ranking result when you search for cat boutique.

Hemmingway Web Analysis

Hemingway’s has low page and domain authority, but a low spam score and decent Facebook activity. The low authority rankings mean the page does not have that much clout and is susceptible to being passed on the SERP. However, the low spam score means search engines are not penalizing the page for Black Hat SEO, and the Facebook activity shows the company is active on social media.

The two tools on the left of the toolbar help dig a little bit deeper into the page. The Magnifying glass over the web page is the page analysis tool. This tool pulls up information about a website that is important for SEO, such as headers and meta descriptions.

Page Analysis Tool

The other tool is the highlighter tool, which highlights links on the page.

Link Highlighter

In addition to looking into competitors, the web page analysis feature can also be used on your own web page. When used on your site, this tool can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses or point out holes in your website’s SEO.

As pointed out earlier in this article, and as can be seen throughout the images, there is a full version of this toolbar. The full version will give you access to more metrics and analytics and can be tried out for 30 days free of charge. The free version of the Moz toolbar should be more than enough to get you started on your SEO journey.

For the Chrome version of the Moz Toolbar click here. For the Firefox version, click here. For more posts about free SEO analytics tools, read Ana’s article on 4 Free SEO Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed.

SEO blogs to add to your RSS feed

Right now, you’re probably thinking, “why would this amazingly helpful SEO blog promote other SEO blogs?” But if you think back to our post about link building campaigns, you will remember that being friendly, even with competitors, is helpful for a website’s authority. So, here are some pretty great SEO blogs that answer some more in-depth questions you might have about SEO and optimizing your content marketing.

The Moz Blog

Moz is already a leader in subscribable and downloadable SEO tools, so it is no surprise that their blog is a leader in search as well. When visiting the Moz Blog, you won’t find shameless plugs for their costly tools and devices. Instead your reading will open SEO doors that you didn’t know existed.

Much of the blog is devoted to how-to’s that are fairly straight-forward if you are looking to improve some aspects of your site. Even better, is Moz’s thoughtful posts on content marketing in general. These types of posts are great for those who are looking to expand on their website topics after you’ve been in the content marketing game for some time.  

keyword map
[Source: Moz]
One of the best things about the Moz Blog is the abundance of visuals. It’s sometimes to difficult to include relevant images or graphics in your post about SEO, which is not necessarily a topic made for visuals. Moz does an excellent job of creating visuals out of their data to help readers take in information more easily, like the chart on the right detailing keyword usage on a website.

The Orbiter

The Orbiter is the web marketing blog of Orbit Media Studios, a web design and development company led by web expert Andy Crestodina. The Orbit team take turns writing posts, usually centered on their specialty topics. This is where to go when you want to know what the experts are thinking.

The blog’s voice is extremely easy to follow and makes the reader feel like an equal, which is important when it comes to the sometimes confusing and frustrating task of optimizing online content. Each post is broken down for easy-reading and, even when a post is long, does not leave the reader exhausted.

The blog’s topics are mostly focused on SEO, website optimization, and content creation, but there are also more general topics, like instructions for making a simple content mission statement. Not only does this blog want to help your business’ online presence, but the people behind it want to help your brand as a whole, which is comforting.   

Search Engine Land

If you are a part of a business that just needs to know what’s happening in the realm of SEO innovations, then Search Engine Land has to be number 1 on your list of sources. Be warned: this is not a blog to be visited by SEO beginners. If you have become comfortable with SEO jargon and carrying out web optimization tasks is a breeze, then you can give this blog a shot.

Search Engine Land blog home page
[Source: Search Engine Land home page screenshot]
By a simple scroll through Search Engine Land’s home page, it’s obvious that this blog cannot get enough of Google. Just look at the screenshot on the left of their current home page with four references to the big G without even having to scroll.

And why should they shy away from the number one search engine that essentially dictates all rules and regulations for SEO? Google’s algorithms, tools, and ranking systems are changing almost as quickly as a marketer can learn them, so why not stay updated?  

Search Engine Land posts about 4-5 times a day. This can seem a little daunting when you don’t have much time to skim through thousands of words for some practical information, but the deep content that this blog provides could be worth it. For marketers wanting to take their brand to the next level.

kissmetrics

infographic on e-commerce sites
[Source: kissmetrics’ infographic]
kissmetrics does not waste time on flashy layouts and witty blog voice. Instead, the writers behind this web marketing and tracking blog get right to business. It’s easy to tell that this blog is managed by experts in SEO analytics because of the varied and detail-oriented content.

Not only does kissmetrics offer helpful, step-by-step posts on measuring your SEO’s success, but there are also webinars, infographics, and marketing guides to skim through when you are looking for something more than words. Some of this content requires a subscription to kissmetrics, which will cost you. If you spend a few months with the kissmetrics blog and find it extremely useful for your business and marketing goals, then maybe throwing some money their way wouldn’t be the worst idea. In the meantime you can marvel at one of kissmetrics’ many thorough infographics. This one is all about making your ecommerce site trustworthy.

 

Hopefully these alternative SEO blog options didn’t make you completely jump ship on Searchable. We know we can’t cover everything, so we hope you can find something useful for your business’ SEO needs from other web marketing fanatics.     

4 Free SEO Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed

If you are feeling fairly confident in your mastering of basic optimization for your business’ website, then it’s time to take your SEO tactics to a new level. There is a wide world of easy-to-use and free online tools that can help your website’s content thrive, as well as keep an eye on the competition. These free tools have received some love from SEO experts, so give them a go.  

1. Ecreative Link Juice Calculator

This first tool is for those pages on your website that you take pride in because they have a lot of outbound links directing traffic to your internal pages and other sites. But, believe it or not, too many links can actually harm your homepage’s authority, as well as interior pages. As web marketing expert Andy Crestodina notes, even an enormous site such as Amazon only has around 100 links in on its homepage.

Ecreative link juice tool
[Source: Ecreative results page for LUC.edu]
To use Ecreative’s tool, simply paste your homepage URL into the bar and press enter. The “juice calculator” will let you know if you have too many links and will normally give you a suggestion on how many links you should remove. For example, Loyola University Chicago’s homepage (LUC.edu) has 294 links on its homepage alone and this tool suggests they get that number down to around 100 to increase their link juice.

 

2. Moz On-Page Grader

Moz is a leader in SEO tools and expertise. They have a large number of great tools to choose from. One of the simplest is their On-Page Grader, which scans a page of your website and measures your keyword optimization. Moz uses 30 different criteria to calculate where your best optimization is coming from and suggests how to focus on the positive SEO areas of your page. The tool will also perform weekly page audits to make sure you are keeping up with the ongoing process of keyword optimization.

This tool is unfortunately only available for free during a 30-day trial. However, if you are a Moz Pro member, you can enjoy this tool as much as your heart desires.

3. Linkstant

Remember that link building campaign that your started six months ago? What happened with that? We know you don’t have an intern lying around who can answer these questions for you (and if you do, you are one lucky business owner). That’s where Linkstant comes in.

If you have lost track of where your inbound links are coming from and where they aren’t, then Linkstant can wrangle your incoming links in one place. Just create an account and you can get all of your links in order. This tool offer real-time information on what links are performing well and what links are duds. It will allow you to not only be satisfied with the amount of external links you have built, but to have confidence that those links are doing some good for your site’s traffic.

4. GTmetrix

When trying to optimize every little nook and cranny of your website, the simple things can get lost in the SEO shuffle. One of those “little things” is page speed. How fast or slow a page of your site loads can make your bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to your site land on a page, and then the site altogether) skyrocket, driving your traffic into the ground.

Luckily, GTmetrix can offer you an analysis of loading speed on every page of your site and can also offer suggestions on how you can make slow-loading pages faster than ever. Google actually uses page speed in its PageRank algorithm, so it is best to not overlook this on your own website.

 

These tools don’t have all of the bells and whistles that paid tools have, but they get the job done. For those marketers and business owners who have limited time and money, test the tools out before you commit to any paid subscriptions or software. Start with these tools and work your way up if you really want to work with the Internet’s most high-tech SEO robots in the future.