Few things are better than awesome SEO tools, but I realize that I often end up blogging about tools that cost money. Not that there’s anything wrong with the paid tools, often they’re well worth the money you spend. That said, there are some companies out there just cranking out awesome tool after awesome tool and why I haven’t shared these with some of our loyal readers is beyond me. Put me in the penalty box, I deserve it. I feel shame.
Time to earn my freedom, however. Check out this awesomeness…
Virante’s Free SEO Tools – you’ve gotta be kidding me with this, right? Virante’s tools are all free, and all pretty awesome. They have a tool that evaluates your link profile versus Wikipedia’s (helps you determine the quality of links coming in versus the ideal, which in this case is Wikipedia). They have a tool for checking your backlinks, comparing your page against top pages for a SERP and a really handy tool for finding 404s (in case you want to supplement Webmaster Tools). The coupe de grace here, though, is their hub finder tool. Just type in a keyword you want to rank out for and this tool returns co-citations for some of the top ranking sites. There are other tools that can do this sort of thing…they just aren’t free (the tools usually work better with a coupon code, which I usually find on Retail Me Not.)
Ontolo’s Query Generator – No matter how many tools come along for link prospecting, Google always seems to be the best…IF you know how to use it properly. The Ontolo query generator takes a lot of the thought out of the process of coming up with prospecting queries. All you need to do is put in your target keyword and then select whether you’re looking for links for an asset, a specific link opportunity or for a type of content. So as an example, say you made some amazing financial calculator on your real estate website and you wanted to find some target sites who would be likely to link to your tool. Just type in real estate as your keywords, select “free tool” as your asset and tell Ontolo to generate queries. The tool gives you a bunch of options and all you need to do is click them and it kicks you out to Google results for the search and you can start parsing through for prospects. Brilliant (and free)!
Link building can be a huge pain in the ass, and any tool that makes it easier can be a godsend especially if you’re an SEO on a budget. While I get to live the spoiled agency life where we happily shell out cash for all kinds of fancy tools, don’t think for a second we don’t enjoy and use the awesome free stuff as well. Any more awesome freebies out there? Feel free to share in the comments.