Top 7 Must have Firefox Extensions, Plugins, and Tools

Since I just bought my new Macbook Pro, I had to reinstall all of my Firefox extensions, plugins and tools. So, I figured, hey, why not write a detailed post with examples about my “Top 7 Firefox extensions, plugins, and tools” that are near and dear to my heart!

Top 7 Firefox Extensions, Plugins, and Tools:

1. Firebug: If you haven’t used this yet and you are working on something internet related then you are surely missing out. I love the fact that I can pull it up to either fix issues, work on making adjustments on the fly, doing competitive analysis or a site audit.

2. Y! Slow: Since site speed is such an important part of conversion, you can use this to do some testing on your websites to test how they are running in certain environments. It provides data like overall page size and # of seconds the page took to load. Now, note that this all depends on your connection speed, always remember that there are people downloading pages at slower speeds, then you might be.

3. SearchStatus: I love the SearchStatus tool because it has the ability to show me PageRank, Alexa Rank and Compete Rank. I know, I know, I think we are all passed using PageRank as a measuring stick (My PageRank is bigger than yours!…Ha! I’ve been dying to say that!), but still beneficial none-the-less. Also, search status is very easy to do things like turning on no-follow highlighting, link reports, meta tags, etc.

 

4. SEOBook SEO for Firefox Extension: If you are an SEO, this is definitely a tool that you need to for competitive analysis, link building and even helps me when doing keyword research.

 

 

5. SEOBook Rank Checker: Another great tool from SEOBook and something that I end up using daily. (Yes, I’m addicted to rankings! Don’t lie, you are too!)

 

6. Web Developer Toolbar: This is great when I want to test pages with images off, javascript off, and many other important functions.

 

7. LiveHTTPHeaders: Simply put this is great for checking HTTP header status codes, is great for verifying 301/302 redirects, 200’s, etc.

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter: Tony Adam

An understanding of SEO Keyword Research

Keyword research is the base for any good SEO campaign and a large amount of your success will be truly dependent on how well you did your keyword research. Of course, this will be built into your overall SEO Strategy, but it should be the very *FIRST* item on your SEO to-do list.

When you start you really want to think about your industry and use a top down approach to the seo keyword research and development. What I mean by that is, start by understanding the audience that you are marketing to. This is a very basic marketing principal and quite frankly the most important thing to understand within Internet Marketing. Once you understand the audience that you a speaking to, you will have established what types of keywords and key-phrases they are searching for on a daily basis.

Now that you have established the audience that you will be marketing to, it is time to starting laying this out and putting it into your overall SEO Strategy. Since this is the base for your entire SEO Strategy and/or campaign, having these keywords and phrases handy will help you later with items like Link Architecture. Something I like to do is get the keywords layed out on either a whiteboard or something of that nature.

Moving forward, you want to do some competitve analysis with the competitors and other industry leaders for the industry, community, etc. This will help you when you start getting into the real detailed data mining and using Excel or an application to maintain this data. On a side note, you not only want to make sure you note down the keywords, but, keep score of what company it is for later use, it can help you in your Link Building efforts. Finally, doing this analysis can also lead you to new and creative discoveries for keyword research.

Figure 1.1 – Keyword Research Lifecycle:

Keyword Research Lifecycle

If you are keeping score at home, we have now plowed through the start of gathering the main 10-15 keywords to target for your site. We’ve done this by understanding our audience, the main industry terms and a doing a bit of competitive analysis. The next step is finding a keyword research tool that you like and enjoy working with.

Keyword research tools all have different features and benefits. Some are free, some are expensive and some are bundled. I personally love doing some data mining and using different sources. Everyone has their own needs and wants though, so I would suggest finding methods that make your life easier or that you enjoy. That being said, here is what I have been using lately:

Free Wordtracker Tool: I sometimes visit this page just to do some quick sanity tests on keywords that I am interested in. When reviewing pages, i sometimes pull this up to look at the product/services that are on the page.

<a href="http://tools.seobook view website.com/keyword-tools/seobook/” onclick=”__gaTracker(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘outbound-article’, ‘http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/’, ‘SEO Book Keyword Tool’);” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>SEO Book Keyword Tool: So far, this has been the best tool that I have used lately. Aaron Wall has done an excellent job with this. Gathers a daily estimate for keywords and/or phrases based on a search term. I love that it has an aggregated listing of all the data I need. Finally, I love that I can export to CSV and import into excel! (P.S. Great job Aaron! As always!)

Y! Search Marketing and Google Adwords: I always feel that PPC tied into your SEO campaigns. It gives you the opportunity to test/measure/adjust and so on. With that, I can get a little bit of data to use in the keyword research process.

To be honest, lately, I have been solely reliant on SEO Book’s tool. Just perfect for all of my needs at the moment.

Next thing you need to do is do is run a query on your top 5-10 keywords that you have identified. Prior to doing all these searches though, you need somewhere to store all this information, as mentioned earlier, using Excel is a great way to do this. Truthfully, you need to find what works for you (and possibly, your organization).

Based on your main keyword search you should be able to gather a pretty healthy (read as: LONG) list of your main and long tail keywords, seperated out somehow. If you are using a keyword research tool that exports this data for you, it should be a piece of cake! At this point, you will just need to “massage the data” to your liking.

Now that you have this nice healthy long list of keywords, you have an insight into some importance of each keyword or phrase. You can organize this to your liking and will definitely assist you moving forward while doing things like Copywriting and Link Building.

You can use this data as a basis for your overall SEO Strategy and campaign and build in overall statistics as well. (which could make for a very LARGE Excel sheet!) You can then use these stats to build charts, graphs, etc. of which can be used in presentations for upper management, executives, and/or consulting clients.

SEO Keyword Research is a necessity! Contact us about SEO Consulting Services and get started with your SEO Strategy today!

The Art of SEO Evangelism

Being an SEO Evangelist within an organization requires lot of energy, a lot of knowledge, thick skin, and a lot of relationships. Success is hard to come by and will require a lot of hard work, but it is definitely attainable. I would almost say that this does not apply to just SEO, but to all programs launched within an organization. Along with all that being an evangelist for the entire industry requires the same amount of tenacity.

I have spent a lot of time doing this through consulting efforts by convincing SMB’s to embrace the web and most importantly (at least to me of course!) adopting SEO. Each and every time was a struggle and required hard work, but was *always* worth the time spent.

As I mentioned, getting organizations to adopt SEO when they (a) have never heard of it, (b) don’t believe it is “really that important right now” (typically I’ve heard this from startups), or (c) still believe SEO is spamming. That all being said, here is my “guide” to the art of SEO Evangelism.

Knowledge of SEO

I start with knowledge, because it is extremely important to bring that into your conversations. Your knowledge and experience is crucial to your successes. Companies want proven success and someone that has the ability to deliver. This is especially true in the consulting world, as organizations want that track record of successful projects. In-house organizations are looking for a track record of successful performance.

Be sure that you have done your research on an industry, a skill and/or an organization. Have an understanding for what the company is doing for SEO. Put together questions that you feel people should be asking. Make sure that you have the skill set to do the research, put together the strategy, and execute the plan.

You also bring that knowledge to the table through the experiences that you have been through. Bringing only theories and ideas to the table will leave you in a weak position. So, that means that you want to speak in a strong tone and voice about your experiences. Using terms like “I think” or “i guess” or definite no-no’s. In previous consulting roles I have started conversations by saying, “My experience…” or “Previously…”, so that you are talking in terms of experiences. Now remember, you still need to be able to deliver, but I am assuming you already have that ability.

Knowledge is an important piece of the salesmanship of your SEO Evangelism. Use your knowledge and experiences to your advantage and make sure that people know of your skills.

Energy & Thick Skin

Energy and thick skin go hand-in-hand because I compare traits of the evangelist role similar to a telemarketer. Have an understanding that people are going to do and say a number of things that will upset you. They will mock you, assume they have more knowledge, challenge you, etc. Don’t let this get you down at all, keep your energy level high and keep going at it. NEVER get into a pissing match with someone about how important SEO is.

That all being said, keep that intense energy level and constantly talk about SEO in meetings, in passing, at lunches, and anywhere else you can think of. SEO should be mentioned in almost every conversation you have. Start asking product teams if they are building SEO into their product lifecycle? How is marketing integrating SEO into campaigns? Show everyone that you are talking to that you care about their job more than your own and that you are truly vested in their success.

Now, remember those people that did not want anything to do with SEO? Drop hints here and there, provide statistics and results, show case studies, etc. The more data that you bring to the table and the more fact finding you do will start to sell them, just based on performance and metrics. Keep going at it and let the data win them over!

Relationships within the organization

The most important piece of the puzzle, in my opinion, is the relationships you build. I feel this way about any new program that you launch. As always I feel it is especially important with SEO, because it is so hard to sell within an organization, to startups and getting buy in from individuals.

Start developing casual relationships with everyone you meet. Keep in touch with the people you meet and continue to have conversations. Sometimes conversations will drift towards the interest (or sometimes lack there of) of SEO. Ensure that you are developing contacts that are spread out throughout the entire organization, in product, marketing and technology. You are looking to create evangelists within each organizational unit in the company that will then begin take SEO under their wings as well

Creating relationships and empowering peers within these cross-functional areas will spread the word of SEO to their teams. This is very important because the knowledge you gain is not something that you can get by digging through analytics data. They can provide insight into their organizations key strategies, thoughts and challenges. The relationships that you build are crucial for that alone!

Putting it all together!

All of this is to your advantage because you can now start to build your SEO Strategy for the business needs and get buy in from executives about incorporating SEO into the product and marketing lifecycle and strategy. You can also find yourself with UX teams that are excited to fit keywords and phrases into content and create link architecture while building out a sites information architecture. Finally, technology will have no problem helping to ensure the meta data and tags on the page fit into the SEO strategy.

The cycle continues…

You will be consistently selling, re-selling, evangelizing, re-evangelizing, and so on and so forth. It will be a constant that you will always see within organizations as they change, adapt and bring in new people. The key is to maintain that same level of energy and continue to build those relationships.

Internal Link Architecture for your website

Part of any link building campaign should always include the internal Link Architecture that you have within your domain and off the domain for link building activities. I tend to use the term Link Architecture because it is similar to the Information Architecture (I.A.) that is used within your site. The Link Architecture will give you a naming convention for text links and image alt text used for links on your domain or for any other link building.

To preface, I would say that it is important to have some sort of I.A. for your site prior to building out your pages. This can be done quickly by writing the information down on notecard(s). That being said, I would always recommend to create a formal I.A. and Link Architecture documentation. The benefit of creating formalized documentation is that you can pass it around within your organization to creative and development teams or an agency that could quite possibly be working with your organization.

Documenting your Link Architecture and link text and/or image ALT text will provide a frame of reference.

When a search engine crawls a web page it associates the link text to the page it is linking to, which then associates link value to your page. An example of this is using the link text “web design” that points to “web-design-services.php.” Doing so will tell a search engine that the page you are going to is specifically about “Web Design.” These are the types of associations that should be created, documented and implemented for any and all link building in order to get the most link value possible for the associated keywords or key terms.

The naming convention used also applies to the image ALT text that are linked as well. All images that are linked should contain the contextual text within the ALT tag. For example, if you have an image that has a link pointing to a developer referral program page, the image ALT text should be example that, “Developer Referral Program.”

Something to look out for is using the terms “click here” and “this” for link text, which is a bad naming convention. Using this type of link text will not provide any context to the user and also to search engines, and along with that, it does not offer any link value to your domain.

The crucial thing to remember is that associating keywords to the link text when performing any link building or submitting to directories will pass the link popularity and PageRank value to the keyword you have associated to a web page. This in turn, makes your pages more relevant to search engines and will most definitely increase your rankings.

Related Article(s):
Sculpting PageRank using rel=”nofollow” for your internal Link Architecture

Sculpting PageRank using rel=nofollow for Link Architecture

Over the years I’ve been practicing a lot of different techniques with my internal link architecture. One of the things that I have been doing more and more of is evaluating when to use the rel=”nofollow” tag on the internal links.

Why is this important?
Well, in order to make the content within your site more relevant, you need to tell the search engine what is and is not relevant. Using rel=”nofollow” within your internal link architecture is a great way identify links that you do not want ranked well within the SERPs.

For example, contact us pages, FAQ pages, help pages, etc. are really not pages that most people want to be ranking well. By using rel=”nofollow” on those links, you are telling the search algorithm not to pass any link juice or PageRank (google specific) to the linked page.

How do you do this?
Start by establishing a listing of the types of pages that I talk about above. Next, you are going to want to do a site wide update of your links. For example, its as simple as updating your markup to the following:

Now that you have all the major ones out of the way, I recommend taking a few minutes to analyze your links on a page by page basis to see where you want to distribute the link value within your web site.

That’s all!

It is a fairly simple process, but one that I find especially crucial when I start looking at the Information Architecture and Link Architecture of any website.

Related Articles:
Website Link Architecture for link text and Image ALT text

Social Media – Part 2: Dominating the Search Engine Results Pages

Last week I talked about how to stay active, answer questions, etc. to keep brand awareness high and reputation management under control. This week, I’m going to give you an overview of how to dominate the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages) by using Social Media to your advantage.

We all know since the “Web 2.0 Evolution” there has been a massive influx of Social Media properties on the web. That being said, you can use this to your advantage from another Branding and Reputation Management aspect by using them to control the top 10 results listed in the SERPs for your branded search. (e.g. digg)

Here is what you do:

1. Find Social Media sites that are relevant: Do some quick research and find the sites that are relevant to you. If you do real estate, using YouTube is a great site…at the same time…if you are a large tech company, TechCrunch’s “CrunchBoard” is a great place to get a public profile about your company. Quick note though, keep this up to date…some brands do a bad job of this.

2. Build your branded social media page: Getting a public page on hot spots like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc. is very easy to do and build. There is already a template behind them, all you need to do is adjust it so that you are branding your page appropriately. Some sites, (e.g. MySpace) require some markup/css, but still very simple. Most organizations have already done this, if you have, GREAT!, you’re already one step closer to success.

3. Subdomians: Google has cracked down on the subdomain issue as of late, but, that being said for branding purposes, it is still helping out in dominating the SERPs. For example, having a careers or jobs mini-site/subdomain on your brand (e.g. careers.myawesomebrand.com) will give you yet another listing.

4. Blogging: O.K., I realize this is not so much related to a social media site…but it is related to the SERPs and control them. Blogging around your topic and creating linkbaitable items will not only get you a ton of traffic, but the true success comes from the amount of links for your site. So, be sure to set your blog up on your domain as a subfolder (http:://thegreatestbrandever.com/blog) or as a subdomain (blog.myreallycoolbrand.com). Along with all of that, you can use your blog as a great tool to pass some great PR value and Link Popularity to your Social Media sites.

5. Link Building: Doing link building on your “.com” is not the only place to focus. Granted, that being said, most social media sites do contain some heavy PR value and a good starting point. So, with very little effort, but an effort none-the-less, you will be able to rank those pages. So, send a link from your “.com”, your blog, etc. and a small link building effort should help.

Now, remember, these are the 5 steps to achieving Search Engine Results Page domination. Doing only 1 or 2 of these things will help your organization, but, you will receive the most effectiveness by following the steps and ensuring the dependencies.
Overall, your goal for the overall effort is reputation management and ensuring that your brand is controlling the SERP for a branded search (e.g. “Digg”). Doing so can have a tremendous amount of value and reduce a ton of negative publicity for your brand.

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