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Improving your search - SEO tools that a B2B company cannot do without...

SEO is a key channel for all B2B Marketers, as evidenced by B2B’s recent SEO Marketing Report, which reveals that search marketing is the second most popular form of marketing activity after email marketing, with spend on the rise. 91% of respondents to the survey are currently using SEO to drive traffic to their web sites (see the webcast announcing the findings)

B2B search is if anything even more challenging than B2C – fewer keywords, more competition (often from B2C as well), and fewer relevant sites for links. Here are some Top Tools that can help shape your B2B SEO Strategies:

1.    The general SEO Software called SEO Quake:  A good tool to use when analysing different domains. A lot of parameters can be viewed via the individual tool bar that it automatically creates for each website. Information includes the site’s page rank, number of pages indexed by Google as well as on MSN, an Alexa rank and the number of links from Yahoo. It also carries information about the domain (how old it is and who owns it) and gives you a list of internal and external back links which can be exported. A very good Firefox plug-in and can be quite addictive when analysing your competitors’ websites.
This tool can also be deactivated easily so it does come highly recommended by many SEO experts.

2.    A Keyword Ranking tool called Cute Rank: A good tool to use to check and track the position of your keywords across as many as 300 different search engines.  Gives you the ability to view the keywords’ history, manage them in keyword groups and finally export the reports that it automatically creates. The free version only entitles you to analyse one domain and its associated keywords. Additionally the information might not be 100% accurate and the only way of finding out is to initially do a visual check. However, from personal experience, 9/10 times it has been accurate.

3.    For keyword research there’s the Google Keyword Tool:  To help better rank your domain in the organic search engine listings, it is important to see how competitive a keyword is. The Google keyword tool will give you multiple options based around the most popular searches for a particular keyword. It also comes with the added benefit of narrowing down your searches to just show the local monthly trends as opposed to the global monthly trends. For example, if the term ‘B2B Marketing Strategy’ is to be placed as anchor text within a blog (which again would help your rankings), an exact match search done on that term in the Google keyword tool would show you that the term ‘B2B Marketing Strategies’ is in fact more frequently searched for hence should be the term used as anchor text for the blog.

4.    A Link Building tool called Back Link Watch: SEO has advanced and besides getting the keywords right, there needs to be a lot more emphasis on obtaining links to your site. Back Link Watch is another great tool as it allows you to see the sites that are linking to your domain or linking to your competitor’s domain.  The tool provides a summary of the anchor text/ keywords that your competitors are targeting, their page ranks and whether it is a “do follow” or a “no follow” link. All this information gives you the opportunity to decide whether your website would benefit from getting links from selected sites.  It’s good to check the number of links going to your domain as Google and the search engines update this regularly. Last month Google updated its algorithm, where many domains were affected and lost a lot of links which in turn affected their organic listings. Read more on Google’s update here:

These are the ones that I use on a daily basis; can anyone else recommend any others?