Before even starting this post, I should give a BIG thank you to all the people who have developed these and other addons. It’s their time, their energy – and they’re donating to make our lives better.
Now for the list – the 6 SEO addons for Firefox and Chrome without which my job would be *so* much harder.
SEOMoz Toolbar – this has to top the list. SEOMoz does an amazing job of providing helpful information for making SEO decisions. If you use the toolbar on the search engine results pages, it shows you their page strength metrics for the page and the domain, as well as the number of links and linking root domains to the page and the domain and a click takes you to their opensiteexplorer.org where you can find out lots of backlink data. These are some of the primary metrics that I use when making decisions about which keywords to target, or what link to go after. (Note: some metrics are only available if you’re a PRO member. If we did not have a PRO subscription, its value would go down for me.) On individual pages, it gives you all those numbers and more information about the tags and characteristics of the page.
Fireshot – this used to only work on Firefox. Today, as I was writing this, I double checked that that was still the case – and it wasn’t! Yay! Fireshot works on Chrome now also! Why am I so excited? Fireshot is a free screenshot program that is really powerful – take a screenshot of the entire webpage you’re on (not just the visible screen), and then crop, mark it up with arrows and circles and text, use special effects like blurring – and save it to use as an image in a blog post. I work on Chrome usually, but whenever I would want to take a screenshot of something, I would go into Firefox and open the page up there. It’s really, really good.
Google Global – Did you know that no two people get the same Google results, even if they search for the same thing? Well, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but Google results are so influenced by where you are searching and what you’ve searched for before with that Google account or with that computer that it’s not far from being true. So let’s say I wanted to know what a search would look like done in a different country, by someone who hadn’t visited sites in that niche before? Enter Google Global. Do a Google search. Then with a click you can pick which Google you want to look at (e.g. google.co.uk), in which language and in which country. (You may have to add some yourself if you want beyond the defaults.) Make sure when you first set it up to go into the settings “Show options” and check the box that says “de-personalize Google search results.”
(Note: my Google Global sometimes does this strange thing where when I try to see results from a new country, it shows me the results for the search term “f” – which is not what I was searching for. So then you’ll just have to put your search term, separated by plus signs,into the URL where the “f” is. Meaning, instead of http://www.google.com/search?q=f&pws=0&gl=US, turn it into http://www.google.com/search?q=seo+addons&pws=0&gl=US and press enter.)
Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Addon – do you ever get really excited about all the new traffic to your site, only to realize that it was… you? Enter this addon (also available for Internet Explorer) which will block any Google Analytics code, whether on your site or anyone else’s, from registering your presence. It works per browser, remember – so make sure to put it on every browser on every computer you’ll be looking at your site from. (See here for a more detailed overview of ways to exclude yourself from your Google analytics.)
SEOQuake – a pretty standard SEO addon, I don’t use it anymore for link information (I prefer SEOMoz’s – it’s consistently available, as opposed to SEOQuake’s which is based on Yahoo’s and depending how many times you tried to access it, Yahoo will start giving you error messages instead of data). I do like it for the “Density” tab – which is quick access to all information about the meta-tags and text on the page, as well as the link to the Whois information for that site. If you’re looking to request a link from a site, but you can’t find any contact information on the site, sometimes you can find the right email address in the Whois info.
Web Developer – also thrilled while writing this post to find out that it comes in Chrome! Web Developer, while meant for designers, is good for SEO analyses of sites. You can quickly see all the image alt text on a page, and hide the CSS to make sure there’s no funny business going on like writing keywords in a font color that matches the background.
What are your favorite add-ons? Share in the comments below!