While more marketers understand that search engine optimization is an integral part of the internet marketing mix, many find it difficult to fully incorporate SEO on a daily basis. While keeping in mind the notion that every marketing initiative can potentially impact or include SEO is the first step, there are tools and resources there to help. 

Here are five SEO tools that B2B marketers should consider and why they are essential for the B2B marketer in their marketing arsenal.

SEO for Firefox

SEO for Firefox

Aaron Wall’s Firefox extension is a top SEO tool to use for evaluating search engine results, seamlessly working while browsing the web. Once installed, this extension allows B2B marketers to:

  • Obtain useful competitive market data right in search engine results, including the number of inbound links, popular ranking data (Compete, Alexa, etc), and Whois information on the domain.

            SEO for Firefox screenshot

  • Export search engine result data in spreadsheet format to format, sort, and evaluate as needed.
  • Highlight links on web pages that contain the nofollow attribute.
  • Easily toggle the plugin on and off to disable use when not working on SEO (recommended).

A shout out also goes to the SearchStatus plugin from Quirk, which I had a hard time deciding which to recommend. The fact that marketers can export search engine results data when researching keywords with the SEOBook plugin narrowly trumps SearchStatus. Either one (or both) should be considered.

Google webmaster tools

Google Webmaster Tools

For a long time I had been a skeptic of the Google (and now Bing) Webmaster Tool initiatives, but as each search engine has put more valuable information within, Google Webmaster Central has become an essential resource for site owners.

The elements of Google Webmaster Tools I find most valuable include:

  • Crawl error report – valuable for finding broken links from internal and third party sources
  • Inbound link report – useful for reviewing third party links and what web pages they are pointing to 

Webmaster tools screenshot

  • +1 metrics - the only place we're going to get that information right now...

While some of the other search engine information provided is interesting it is not necessarily essential but still convenient to have in one location. Webmaster tools should not be considered a replacement for web reporting tools and reports as well.

Should you use Bing Webmaster Central as well? I think so, since it is easy to add your site information and get started. Just keep in mind that unless Bing/Yahoo are incredibly valuable channels for your business, they represent around 30% of the market collectively and we frequently see less visibility in the B2B space. 

Raven tools logo

Raven Internet Marketing Tools

RavenTools is a commercial solution but easily justifies the investment if you’re serious about search engine optimization. Among the reasons we find RavenTools valuable include:

  • Automated keyword rank tracking and the compilation of rankings over time
  • The ability to add competitor websites for rank tracking as well
  • A solid link management interface and toolbar for easily adding links requested, acquired, and discovered.

           Raven internet marketing tools

With three tiers of pricing, B2B marketers can choose the package right for them (or impress upon their search marketing firm to make the investment for them). 

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer

With the recent confirmation that Yahoo will indeed shut down Site Explorer this year, tools like Open Site Explorer (OSE) from SEOmoz become that much more valuable for uncovering inbound link information. KoMarketing has been using this for a while and some of the reasons include:

  • Unique domains and total links pointing to the site
  • Indications of nofollowed and image links
  • Relative scores with respect to the linking site’s domain and page strength

           Open Site Explorer screenshot

The free version of Open Site Explorer allows B2B marketers to obtain data on the first thousand links for unlimited domains checked. The premium account provides significantly deeper access to OSE data (10,000 links) as well as additional SEOmoz tools. While it’s debatable whether the premium account is needed SEOmoz does offer a 30-day free trial to test drive premium services.

Search Engine Land

Search Engine Land’s SearchCap

Finally, Search Engine Land’s daily recap of search engine industry news gives the B2B marketer a one-stop resource for search engine marketing information. This free, daily newsletter collects daily news and articles from SEL writers and contributors, as well as interesting blog posts and news from other third party sources. 

In this respect, it is not only a great resource for SEO in general, but for finding new blogs and resources that fit one’s particular taste as well.

What Did I Miss?

I would not presume this list is complete. While there are several search engine marketing tools to consider, few will be used on a daily basis, or merge seamlessly into the breadth of a B2B marketer’s initiatives. What SEO tools have been critical for you? Please feel free to share your opinions and questions via the comments below. 

P.S. if you’re looking for even more SEO tools, the team at SEO Book just put out a post covering quite a few as well.

Derek Edmond of Komarketing AssociatesAbout the author
Derek Edmond is a Managing Partner and directs search engine marketing and social media strategies for KoMarketing Associates, a B2B internet marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC, and PPC strategy. Derek has worked with organizations ranging from the Fortune 500 to venture-backed startups to small business enterprises. You can reach Derek at derek@komarketingassociates.com and follow him on Twitter @DerekEdmond

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