Five SEO tools to help boost Web site traffic

A lot of Web sites live and die by the effectiveness of their search engine optimization. Luckily, there are good tools designed to meet the SEO challenge.

The work of search engine optimization (SEO) used to require manual labor, handcrafted Excel spreadsheets, and homebrewed systems. Now, there are a number of tools out there to make it easy to perform SEO. Whether you are a specialist or a Webmaster looking to give your site a boost, these five tools will help you with your SEO efforts.

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1: Raven's SEO Tools

Raven has a full line of SEO tools that are well regarded within the industry. One of the really nice features is that the tools allow very fine-grained permissions and you can add your own logos and even use your own domain names to get to them. This lets you provide a smooth experience to your own users and clients if you are a third-party firm. The tools also incorporate data from a few of the other tools listed here (like Google Analytics and SEMRush) to give you a comprehensive view of your SEO progress.

2: Google Analytics

If you can't relate your ad and SEO campaigns to actual traffic and conversations, it is hard to prove the effectiveness of what you are doing. Google Analytics is an excellent tool for the task. While there are plenty of other options in the Web analytics arena, Google Analytics is free, of high quality, and easy to use.

3: Google Minify

More and more, search engines are taking metrics like page load speeds into account when ranking sites. In addition, their crawlers limit the time spent on any given site, so making your site faster is important. Google's Minify tool helps shrink your CSS and JavaScript files to help your pages' load speeds drop. As a bonus, this is a big performance boost for users too, especially mobile users.

4: SEMRush

SEMRush is a tool specific for keyword research. It lets you analyze your own keyword performance and take a look at your competitors, too. It looks at both paid and organic search results and lets you discover what keywords you may need to consider in your marketing efforts. There are also tools to export data to common formats, and an API as well, allowing you to easily integrate it with other tools.

5: SEOBook's SEO Toolbar

SEOBook makes a tool called the SEO Toolbar, which plugs directly into the Firefox Web browser to give you a wealth of SEO data available on any page with a simple click. While the information is all available elsewhere, the SEO Toolbar makes it easy to access all in one place. So you don't have to load an URL into another tool just to get one nugget of data. This makes it useful for spot checks on your own site or on a competitor's site.

Additional reading

What tools do you use for SEO?

Have you found a tool that's become indispensable in your efforts to manage SEO and improve site traffic? What's your take on the tools in this list?