Peter Drucker once said that when you boil it down, there are only two things that make a business great: marketing and innovation. I couldn’t agree more. If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you know it’s not always the best product or service that is successful, but often it’s the best market one that wins. Of course, if you don’t have a great product or service then people won’t stick around or come back for more, but it’s the marketing that gets them in the door.
Although there are 100’s of marketing tools that I could list here in this book, here are some of my favorites that you should know about and be using. For a more expansive list and updated information, go to DougHoltOnline.com/Toolbox. Also, if some of the terms you see here are confusing, you can check out Branded Innovation’s FAQ page for a glossary.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a tool that allows users to build new search network campaigns and expand upon existing ones by searching for keyword and ad group ideas. One of the unique and helpful features of keyword planner is it allows the user to choose competitive bids and budgets to use with their advertising campaign. Keyword planner also displays historical statistics and traffic forecasts, allowing the user to optimize their experience.
Pro Tip: You don’t have to just use Google’s Keyword Planner for ads. Smart entrepreneurs and marketers use the keyword planner to determine how competitive a particular marketing segment is based on the bidding price and the estimated traffi c. You can also use the keyword tracker to get ideas on other keywords people might be searching for when looking for your product or service. Knowing what your customers are actually searching for when looking for your product or service will help you formulate your website marketing to capture these potential leads.
Google Instant is a new innovative search tool that allows you to see possible results as you type your search. Not only is Google Instant faster, but it is smarter, and the results are instantaneous. By seeing results as you type, Google Instant allows the user to better formulate a search by providing feedback immediately.
Pro Tip: Just as with Google’s Keyword Planner, you can use Google Instant to get ideas of what Google thinks you (and others) might be searching for. The results you get from Google Instant can help you come up with keywords that you might not have thought about. For example, if my website was about reading glasses and I wanted to get some ideas on what Google thinks people might be searching for, I can start to type “reading gla…” and see what comes up. I can then use these keyword phrases and optimize my website to increase the likelihood of being displayed in the search results should a potential client be looking for my product or service.
Google Alerts is another useful feature from Google that allows the user to create special “alerts” for specific content on the web. For example, a new business could create a Google alert for every time their business name is mentioned on the internet. Google alerts will send the company an email every time this happens. Google Alerts will also allow the user to monitor content that is interesting or significant to them.
There are many settings you can use with Google Alerts to ensure that you are getting results you’re after. Here are a few alerts that I suggest you set up right away if you haven’t already:
- “Your Name”, all results, immediately
- “Your Business Name”, all results, immediately
- “Your Competitors”, all results, immediately
- “Your Industry”, best results, weekly summary
- “Your top clients”, best results, daily summary (it’s nice to be recognized, so you might as well be the person doing the recognizing)
Pro Tip: Setting alerts for your business name and personal name are critical, but I also will set alerts for my competitors, my industry, and sometimes a potential lead I’m tracking. This allows me to stay on top of what’s happening at all times – even if I simply get a weekly digest as I often do for the industries I’m in.
Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorer is a Moz tool that allows the user to type in a website URL and receive data about that particular URL. Open Site Explorer analyzes the linking data surrounding the site including Domain Authority, Page Authority, Just Discovered Links, Established Links, Facebook shares/likes, tweets, and Google +1s. This kind of information is invaluable to businesses that are marketing online and let’s face it, all companies should be marketing online. It allows them to see where they rank, what is working, and what can be changed to drive more traffic to their page.
A savvy business owner will also check out his or her competition online as well. There are many ways that marketers use Open Site Explorer and Moz has some great tutorials to help you get started.
Market Samurai is a more sophisticated tool to help with keyword planning and tracking. Our team uses this piece of software to help us find keywords that we want to optimize for a client’s website or our own. Market Samurai is also very helpful in sorting out backlinks, competition, and determining the potential profitably of a keyword. This piece of software hasn’t been updated in a long time and loads slowly, in my opinion, but it is a one-time investment, and I do like the results.
Cost: $149 (one-time cost)
Disqus is a blog comment hosting service for websites and communities that helps you build a community of active readers and commenters. It works with virtually any type of website. You can easily import all of your existing content and export anytime you’d like.
I like integrating Disqus into my websites (see www.dougholtonline.com for an example) to allow the readers to share their thoughts and hopefully get found on other sites though Disqus’ suggested articles pages.
Pro Tip: If, at the end of a post, Disqus suggests another website with a similar audience, you might want to check their site out to get ideas on what people are most interested in and to see if you can add more value by creating similar content on your website. This is also an excellent way to find sites to guest blog and get backlinks.
Buffer is a software application designed to manage social networks easily by letting users schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, App.net, Google+ and LinkedIn. Buffer can be used for browser, mobile, and newsreader platforms.
At the time of this writing, we don’t use Buffer much internally in my organizations, but it has a very loyal following.
Cost: both free and paid versions
My social media publisher of choice. Hootsuite is a social media promoter and management tool that allows you to manage all of your different social media platforms from a central dashboard. This dashboard can also contain personalized streams that monitor mentions and keywords. With Hootsuite, you can schedule out social media posts in advance through the Publisher application, so content is always being posted when you choose. Other functions of Hootsuite allow for team collaboration and analytic statistics of content.
I use Hootsuite to monitor my social media, that of my companies, and we also use the Pro level to monitor our client’s social media.
The advanced scheduling option and reporting are great! You can spend a few hours scheduling out your marketing for that week/month and then set all your posts to go out. It forces you to plan and makes it easy to engage with your audience. Of course, you should be doing more than just that, but hey, it sets you up for success.
Pro Tip: Get your virtual assistant or key team member to manage your Hootsuite account for you. If there’s something that needs your attention, they can let you know. This frees up your time and allows you to focus on other things that need your attention, such as relaxing.
Cost: Free version, Pro $9.99/month and Enterprise $1499/ month
Tube Trackr is a platform that gives you tools and dashboards for your YouTube Channels. It helps you grow your YouTube audience in several simple steps. Tube Trackr allows you to optimize everything with its Toolbox. You can increase your views and subscribers, manage your videos and channel performance, and engage with your audience.
Cost: Free – $47
LeadPages has three different tools, LeadPages, LeadBoxes, and LeadLinks. LeadPages allows you to turn an idea into a published landing page in under 5 minutes if you know what you’re doing. LeadPages allows you to create, edit and deploy a landing page without having to create code. LeadPages can be used on the web, Android devices, iPhones, and iPads.
LeadBoxes is a pop-up window that appears when a potential subscriber clicks on a designated link, image, button, or text. LeadLinks allows subscribers to join your list, sub list, or subscribe to a webinar in a single click. By copying and pasting a LeadLink into any broadcast email from you, subscribers can instantly register for your lists, sublists, or webinars by just clicking the link.
Cost: $25 – $199 / month with a one-year commitment depending on service level.
Market Grader is a Hub Spot product that allows you to look at a websites marketing online. The process isn’t perfect, but it will give you a quick overview of how your site is performing, possibly find holes in your plan, and give you some insight. Of course, you can do this to check on your competition too!
SumoMe offers free tools to help your website increase traffic. These tools were created internally through a series of apps. The apps include list builder (increases your email signups by 20% the company says), Heat Maps (allows you to see where your website visitors are clicking), Leads (offer free incentives to increase your daily email signups), and more. The tools work on any site, and SumoMe has over a million subscribers using their products.
Our team uses some of their products on our client’s websites and our own.
Moz Analytics is a platform that measures and helps you improve your website content. Moz Analytics can audit your website and optimize its performance. All of your organic, inbound traffic is measured and summarized for you on one page. This summary includes relationships between your content, SEO, mentions, social activity and more – all designed to keep you ahead of your competitors. Moz analytics can also provide insight as to what you should be doing next to further increase traffic to your website. This program also allows you to observe your competitors and see what their profiles look like and how you compare.
I use Moz weekly to monitor my company websites and those of my clients. I could write a whole book on the many ways my team and I use Moz, but the research tools make it a must-have if you’re running a business online. If you’re an agency and want to send reports to your clients automatically with your own white labeling, then Moz is a great answer for you.
Pro Tip: Check out the White Board Friday video series and have your team watch them as well. I have my team write a report on each WBF video to ensure that they are staying on top of inbound marketing and SEO. Having my team file these reports allows me to decide which videos I want to watch and which videos I feel I can skip when I get too busy.
Cost: Free 30-day trial
Moz Bar is a free internet browser extension that allows you to perform SEO on any web page as you surf the web. You are provided with page metrics like authorship, page markups, and keyword ranking difficulty. Moz Bar also offers social metrics for Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to allow you to analyze the effectiveness of the content. Moz Bar allows for more in-depth on-page metrics and page elements through the Analyze Page overlay.
Pro Tip: The Moz Bar is an easy way to do a quick website audit. It allows me to see the competition in a particular industry, and I can usually tell very quickly if they have an online marketing plan in effect. If so, I can dig deeper using some of the other tools listed in this book. The Moz Bar will also show you the keyword difficulty when doing a search online, which is precious for an online marketer.
KeepVid Video Downloader is a free web application that allows you to download videos from sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitch.Tv, Vimeo, Dailymotion and many more. All you need is the URL of the page that has the video you want to download.
Just like KeepVid, ClipConverter is a web application that allows you to download videos from online sites, but it will also convert videos for you, and it works with Wistia, a video player many membership sites use. I like this because often I want to speed up a video and the Wistia player currently doesn’t allow for that function. By downloading a webinar, course, or another video that I’d like to watch, ClipConverter allows me to download, view the video at my speed, and do it offline.
Moz Local (formerly GetList.org)
Moz Local creates and maintains business listings on the sites, apps, and directories that factor most into local search engine results. Once you upload your location data to Moz Local, it’s easy to push business listings to the major data aggregators. You can use Moz Local to create and update your listings, manage your location information at any time, reverify your listings, and find and resolve duplicate listings.
This is a must for local businesses looking to attract customers to their location. Citations are needed for your local business. They are defi ned as ‘mentions’ of your business name and address on other web pages. Citations validate that your business is a part of a community. The more local citations you have, the more signals they send to Google and tell them that your website is awesome. Building regular local citations to your business website will increase the authority of your website. By creating citations to your website, you are telling Google that your business is legitimate because local resources are linking to you.
Cost: $85+ per year depending on services (prices set to go up)
Whitespark is another Local SEO service that allows you to build citations quickly. Their Local Citation Finder tool finds the key citations your competitors have, that you need, to improve your rankings. Whitespark also offers a service that will do the citation building and cleanup for you, which is nice if you don’t have a marketing company already on your side.
Cost: Varies depending on service
With this free keyword tool, you can instantly get thousands of keyword ideas from real user queries. Use the keywords to get inspiration for your next blog post, or to optimize your PPC campaigns. We use this similarly to how we’d use Google Instant. ÜberSuggest takes your base term, add a letter or a digit in front of it, and extracts suggestions for it. If you’d like to dive deeper into that particular suggestion, you can click on the word and ÜberSuggest will give you more ideas.
ÜberSuggest also works with multiple languages which makes international SEO much easier.
Find out how all the websites on the internet link to each other with the largest Link Intelligence database on the planet (or so their website says). Majestic SEO gives you tons of data, but what we use it for most internally is the backlink information they provide.
Majestic SEO offers more than just backlink information. In their software, you’ll fi nd web history, social rankings, the ability to compare large URL lists, create tracking reports, and discover both new and lost links.
Cost: $49.99+ depending on service level
SEMrush is a powerful and versatile competitive intelligence suite for online marketing, from SEO and PPC to social media and video advertising research. Find out what keywords your competitors are ranking or bidding for in the search engines here.
What sets SEMrush apart from some of the other tools listed in this book is that it provides information on display advertising and allows you to do advertising research.
Cost: $69.95+ Varies depending on level of service
Scrapebox has been called the Swiss army knife of SEO tools. It should be in every online marketer’s arsenal and can be used for many functions. Scrapebox is well known in the SEO community as a Grey Hat, or Black Hat, link building tool that is mainly used by blog commenting spammers. This means that it’s used by those that aren’t playing by the rules.
When you’re reading blog posts online, you’ll often notice very vague comments on the bottom such as “great post” or “thanks for sharing.” These often are followed by a few keywords and a link to a website the spammer is trying to promote.
Although ScrapeBox has gotten a bad reputation due to the amount of spam it has enabled to be carried out through the use of its software, it has legitimate use. Here are a few of its many uses:
- How to Find Long Tail Keywords
- Blogger Outreach Guidelines
- Backlink Checker
- HOIS Checker
- TDNAM Add-on – GoDaddy Auctions
- Sitemap Scraper
- Outbound Link Checker
- Bulk URL Shortener
- Malware & Phishing Finder
- Rapid Indexer
- Page Scanner / Categorizer
- Link Extractor
- Competition Finder
- Cache Extractor
- Fake Page Rank Checker
- Duplicate Remover
- Domain Name Checker
- Meta Scraper
- Domain Resolver
When you do a search online, have you noticed that some search results come up with star ratings, reviews, dates, images, or something else that gives you more information than a typical search result? These results are in part due to the website having properly used Schema codes or structured data on their website.
Structured data is a way for search engines to make sense of content in the code on your site. Google and other search engines created a structured data standard called schema.org. If you’re like most web designers or SEOs, you might find schema.org a little difficult to grasp at first. Schema Creator helps you quickly build and get started with schema.org microdata and the best part about it is that it’s free.
Google Structured Data Testing Tool
The Structured Data Testing Tool lets you test a single page’s markup for correctness. You can either enter a URL for the tool to fetch or paste in marked-up HTML code directly. Repair all errors reported by the tool before deploying your markup!
We use this tool when launching a new website or web page.
Mention is similar to Google Alerts or Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer. You can create alerts on your name, brand, competitors and be notified in real-time of any mention on the web and social networks.
Cost: $29+ depending on service level
Ahrefs analyzes websites, tracks social media and builds backlinks. Similar to Moz Analytics’ Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs’ makes putting together a website analysis, finding new linking partners, and crawling websites easier.
One of the things I like most about Ahrefs is that you can easily see a competitor’s top ranking keywords and linking pages.
Cost: $79+ depending on service level
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a small desktop program (PC or Mac), which crawls websites’ links, images, CSS, script and apps from an SEO perspective. This program makes crawling a site to find errors quick and easy. The program makes it easy to export the data into an Excel document and provides excellent reporting and tools.
Cost: Free for basic and £99 annually for a license (that’s about $150 US)
Check My Links
This is a Chrome add-on that lets you crawl a website and search for broken links. This is great if you are building a website and even better if you are trying to find broken links on a website in your industry so you can get them to fix that link and link to you instead.
Removeem allows a user to search a webpage for low quality, or bad, links. Its reporting service enables you to find which links might raise a red flag with the search engines and gives you a list of webmasters to contact to help you remove the links. It will also flag suspicious looking anchor text links that might not fall in line with Google’s updates.
Cost: $99+ / month depending on level of service
Google Search Console (also known as Webmaster Tools)
The interface recently received an overhaul, and Google Webmaster Tools remains a must-have resource of diagnostic and health tools for site owners. It will allow you to monitor all of your websites, provide feedback on items such as search traffic, and allow you to submit manually pages to be crawled.
The most popular of all the analytics tools available, Google Analytics continually innovates and sets the standard. The biggest complaint is that Google Analytics hides much of the data and makes it tougher for marketers to know where their visitors are coming from. Many of us assume that this is due to wanting businesses to use their AdWords platform, but since Google holds the keys to the clubhouse, we have to play by their rules. It is a must have for every website.
Soovle is another keyword research tool. Search suggestions and completions from the top providers on the internet such as Google, YouTube, Bing, Buy, Ebay, and more. It is extremely easy to use, fast and efficient. Hit the right arrow to change engines, and use your arrow keys to search without all the typing.
Google PageSpeed Insights
There’s nothing worse than waiting for a website to load. OK, perhaps there are a few worse things, but there’s no reason a page shouldn’t load quickly. Google’s PageSpeed Insights offers tools, data, and insights to improve your page speed. Page speed is correlated with better rankings and user engagement, so this matters.
Scraper for Chrome
Why would someone want to “scrape” data from a website? There are many reasons, but two reasons would be to help create a sitemap for the website, and the other might be to get all the contact information from a directory listing. Scraper for Chrome puts the power of simple web scraping in your hands without the need for code. Scraper is a very simple (but limited) data mining extension for facilitating online research when you need to get data into spreadsheet form quickly.
Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin
Whether you’re a seasoned SEO expert or simply a blogger looking to get better search rankings and control over your social display, Yoast is my favorite WordPress Plugin. Yoast SEO (formerly WordPress SEO by Yoast) offers everything you need to optimize your site. Learn how to write better content with the built-in content analysis function, and optimize your site’s titles and descriptions for Google. Automatically generate XML Sitemaps, quickly tidy up permalinks, and remove unnecessary bloat from your website’s code.
If you’re running a WordPress site, you’ll have a tough time finding a better marketing plugin to use.
Cost: Free, but you can upgrade to premium
Another tool from the Moz family of products. Perhaps the coolest thing about Followerwonk is the ability to track your followers. Smart SEOs also use it for outreach and research. Find out who your followers are, who your competitor’s followers are, where are they located, when do they tweet. You can discover new users, search bios, track followers, and contrast relationships.
Review Handout Generator
Get more Google reviews online for your business using our printable instructions for how to leave a Google review, on desktop & mobile. The review sheets are customized for your company & totally free. Review Handout Generator generates printable PDF’s for your company to hand out and get more reviews.