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SEO Tips: My 2014 Essential Toolkit for Webmasters & Bloggers

People ask me ‘what is the best website builder’ and what are your best SEO tips? The answer is not easy but I can tell you that with the right add-ons, plugins, and resources you can take just about any site built on any platform and come up with an efficiently run, SEO optimized, profitable website.

So, the best website builder for your SEO strategy? It’s you and the tools you use. Don’t worry about whether you should choose WordPress or a more advanced CMS or an easy drag-and-drop platform such as Weebly or Wix or even an easy-to-use  microblogging platform like Tumblr. Just get busy and sponge up the information on this page.

best website builder

 (NOTE 12/9/13: This is a page you should bookmark and refer to regularly–I’m constantly adding new tips).

Disclosure:  Some of the links below are affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase through my links.  Know that I do business with all of these companies and I recommend them because they are solid and reputable not because of the commissions I earn.  Of course, I do not recommend that you spend any money on these products unless you understand the value they deliver and you actually put them to use to build your online business :)

 

KEYWORD RESEARCH OR PICKING THE RIGHT KEYWORDS

  • Google Keyword Planner - My ‘go to’ free research tool to help me pick which keywords to use for SEO/content development and Adwords PPC campaigns. You’ll need a free Google account. You can also check the popularity of certain keywords and the competition for ads for those keywords as well. Once I come up with a list of terms from Google’s Keyword Planner, I then run them through my secret weapon, SEcockpit.
  • SEcockpit - I can count the number of Internet marketing experts that I follow on one hand; Shane MeLaugh is one of them. His website is worth following but his keyword research tool, SEcockpit is a must have if you desire an unfair advantage in SEO and website marketing.  Read my review here.

  • Scribe - Scribe started out 3 years ago as simple SEO copywriting software. I love that it constantly evolves as the search engines d0. Now, in the post-Panda/Penguin world, Scribe has become powerful content marketing software that takes into account that great search rankings are a result that comes from great, audience-optimized content and social media exposure. This is an absolutely one-of-a-kind tool that you should consider. Read my review here.
  • KeywordEyeKeywordEye is a great ‘beginner’ keyword research tool for all of us visual learners. It’s fun to use and, occasionally, I go back to it just to confirm some of the results that I get from the tools above.

CONTENT DEVELOPMENT

Regardless of the topic of your website or blog, there’s only one thing that will keep people returning to your site (and moving up in the search engine results pages): good, quality content and lots of it. So, if you’re an expert in a certain area and a prolific writer/content producer (including text, video and audio) then keep on churning out interesting content on a regular basis (try to create at least two to three items per week).

If you’re having problems thinking of what to post, then find inspiration from the following (my favorites listed first).

  • RSS Feeds- I will record a video of how I plow through content on other websites via the RSS feeds of those third party sites but in the meantime, check out Feedly and get started by adding subscriptions (just paste the URL of the RSS feed from your favorite websites into Feedly and you’ll be flying). Here are a couple of good ones:
    • NYT Most Emailed Stories, RSS Feed: http://www.nytimes.com/services/xml/rss/nyt/pop_top.xml
    • NPR.org Most Emailed Stories - RSS Feed: http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=500000 (when you find a story you like, simply embed the podcast directly onto the site)
  • Great goofy, fun content: Zefrank and The Oatmeal
  • TED videos – if you don’t know about the TED conference, you should. There are so many fascinating lectures to choose room. Just search for something closely related to the content on your website, copy the code, and embed it on your site. Keeps your visitors around longer…and coming back for more. You may want to start with these TED playlists.
  • Alltop - This is a neat site to capture the latest posts from your favorites sites. Very similar to using an RSS reader; the main difference is the table layout.
  • StumbleUpon - This is one of my favorite tools for finding interesting things on the Web. Like Cool Site of the Day, StumbleUpon is a ‘discovery’ engine; tell it what you like and it will present an interesting site to you every time you hit the ‘stumble’ button. Lots of fun. 
  • YouTube Most Popular Videos - video is great content for any website or blog. Why not embed videos on your site that are already known crowd pleasers?
  • Yahoo Buzz - find the most popular searches on Yahoo — good info if you want to blog about current ‘hot’ topics.

Now, sometimes you just need help with content writing. In that case, I use the following:

  • Textbroker - VERY affordable
  • Fivrr - you do know about Fivrr, don’t you? You can hire people for a HUGE array of services for just 5 bucks…including article writing and content creation.

SEO TIPS, ATTRACTING VISITORS, & MONITORING YOUR STATS (SUPER IMPORTANT)

  • Noble Samurai – when they offer their rare ’50% off’ deal for this software, grab it.
  • SheerSEO - this should be your first choice to monitor your SEO basics. SheerSEO makes it easy to gather all of your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) information in one place. This “must have” software is not too complicated to understand and shows your keyword/site ranking in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) for Google, Bing, and Yahoo – including data from Google Analytics. SheerSEO also offers Facebook, Twitter and social bookmarking monitoring, backlink analysis, and so much more. See my complete video review here.
  • Raven Tools - If you’re not familiar with Raven Tools , I’m not surprised–they’ve only been around for a couple of years.  Raven Tools, a bit more robust than SheerSEO, has made my SEO ‘heavy lifting’ so much easier. My favorite feature: the astounding, customized reports that I share with clients.  Be sure to take advantage of their free 30-day trial.
  • MOZ - great LEARNING resources and community forum related to SEO. Check out the many free tools at SEOmoz…and read some of the many useful articles to quickly advance your knowledge of the search engine universe. While their free tools can get you far, their premium subscription is worth every penny.
  • Product Launch Formula – Here’s what you need to know: if you are looking for the ULTIMATE guide to launching ANY product or service, order the Product Launch Formula. Jeff Walker has brilliantly shown that there are proven steps that everyone must take prior to releasing a product online. See my review here.
  • Google Analytics
  • OnlyWire – great tool for automatically posting links to your content on the top social bookmarking sites. See my review hereSocial Bookmarking
  • A100k – best $47 I ever spent. GREAT course (update often) on Internet marketing with a focus on making money from Adsense. Michael Ullman shares everything he tests…and he tests a lot. Order it here.
  • SEOquake – this is a must-have add-on for your browser; it shows your search engine competition for every SERP listing (SERP = search engine result pages –these are the pages of website listings that you see after you search for something in Google, Bing, etc.). In other words, it can help you to determine whether you have a chance of appearing high on page 1 of Google (this is our only goal with SEO). As free tools go, SEOquake and the Google Keyword Tool are excellent but SEcockpit will rock your world ;)

EMAIL MARKETING

  • Aweber - I’ll never stop talking about the importance of building a mailing list…it’s just that essential. There are a handful of great list servers out there but I use two excellent services: Aweber and MailChimp. Aweber has lots of great features (such as customizing email signup forms) but their professionalism, customer service, and e-mail deliverability are the main selling points. MailChimp might have the edge in ease of use plus you can get a free account with MailChimp as long as your list has fewer than 2,000 subscribers. See my review of Aweber here.
  • Pop-up Domination – At the end of 2011 I began using this service to build my email list and the results have been staggering. Regardless of your thoughts on the use of popups for list building, fact is, they flat out work.  Adding a popup reminder generally improves my signup rate by 300-500%. See my review here.

VIDEO MARKETING

  • WISTIA – It’s a known fact that video can only help your website and blogging efforts. If you create video content you probably (meaning, you should) 1) upload your videos to YouTube and 2) embed the video onto your site. Great. Well, if you want a more elegant way of including video on your site and controlling the look and feel, definitely consider WISTIA. See my review here.

PRODUCTIVITY – Getting Organized & Staying Organized

OTHER RESOURCES

  • Hot to ‘Split Test’ your landing pageUnbounce is the easiest way to create, publish & test your landing pages (without the need for IT or developers). I get incredibly useful data from this tool. At the least, try their free trial.
  • Web Hosting: I recommend Bluehost for hosting. I have nearly 20 sites setup through Bluehost. You can have a new site set up in minutes. Have an idea for a domain name? Register it at Bluehost and, in a matter of clicks, you’ll have a fully functioning WordPress installation ready for your great ideas. Only $6.95/month with no hidden fees AND a money back guarantee.
  • web hosting  easy wordpress setup
  • Site Build It – Ken Evoy of Site Build It! founded a fascinating service that helps people build income-generating web sites. They provide complete hosting as well as an extensive suite of tools to help you build traffic and generate meaningful income. Advanced users may not need SBI, however, it’s worth 20 minutes to watch their intro video just as a reminder of what’s important.
  • MOO – that’s it….moo. OK, seriously, if there’s a better way to have cards of any kind printed, I don’t know about it. MOO has something called Printfinity; I don’t know why they call it that but it’s their ability to print a different image/design on every card in the pack at no extra cost. So, for instance, I ordered 100 business cards and told them to grab photos from my facebook photo albums. Sure enough, I got 100 unique business cards (front side: cool photo; back side: my contact info on PREMIUM stock). If that’s enough, they shipped the order in the coolest packaging I’ve ever seen. Check out MOO.