Tools Of The Trade
This page details all of the various tools, services and software I use to get the job done across my SEO campaigns. I will be updating this page often as I adapt to new changes in the SEO world.
I have also listed things that I do not recommend and why based on my experience with the product/service.
If something has a free trial available then it is highlighted below.
Table of Contents
- Site Analysis/Rank Tracking
- Backlink Checkers
- Backlink Monitors
- Keyword Research & Competitive Analysis
- Traffic Generation
- Link Building
- Social & Subscriber Management
- This Blog
SEO Powersuite (Limited free version available) – This has a huge range of uses and includes a few pieces of software. You get RankTracker (the best rank tracking software imo), Website Auditor (great for checking onsite issues), SEO Spyglass (download competitor backlinks) and LinkAssistant (finding link opportunities, I use it in a radical way to get guest posts though). It is an essential suite of SEO tools that everyone should have in their arsenal – read my full review.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider (Limited free version available) – I tried to use this to diagnose onsite issues and while it is well featured it just doesn’t compare to Website Auditor from the SEO Powersuite. There is a free version of Screaming Frog SEO Spider for you to try.
SEScout – Looks great on the tin but it is truly awful. Inaccurate rankings, long periods of maintenance where you can do anything, really poor support and I mean really poor they should win an award for it. Avoid at all costs.
Ahrefs (Limited free account available) – Updated more often than Majestic & SEOMoz and also shows much more detailed stats. You can also use it to see if people are 301′ing aged domains to sites which you don’t see in SEOMoz, very handy! Read my full case study.
SEOSpyGlass (Limited free version available) – This is part of SEO Powersuite which is essential for any SEO in my opinion. Allows you to check your/competitors backlinks and manage them all. Check for new links, deleted links, import your own and get some great statistics and reports. Part of this review.
Google Webmaster Tools (Free) – Add your site to Google Webmaster Tools and you can download some of your backlinks.
Bing Site Explorer (Free) – The new kid on the block Bing Site Explorer gives you access to a sample of your backlinks.
MajesticSEO (Limited free account available) – I dont really have a fair reason for discounting MajesticSEO other than I just don’t like it. I hate the interface and how the data is presented and it is overpriced compared to Ahrefs. Read my full case study.
Inspyder Backlink Monitor – Great tool to keep track of and monitor your links. It also supports tiered structures and will sort out the hierarchy for you automatically, along with index checking, page rank checks, anchor text checks, reports, scheduling and more! Read my full review here! My readers get an exclusive $10 discount which is automatically applied during checkout!
Market Samurai (Free trial available) – This was the first and last tool I have ever used for keyword research and SEO competition analysis. Easy to use, clean interface and actionable data! The rank tracker is great for anyone wanting to track under 50 keywords, after that it costs money which is why I use RankTracker from the SEO Powersuite instead.
Long Tail Pro (Free trial available) – This is a newer keyword research tool that makes it really easy to find a list of keywords to target. Just enter your seed keyword(s) and it will find every related keyword, their search volumes and how competitive the search results are. Featured in this tutorial.
Buyproxies – I only started to use BuyProxies a couple of months back after so much frustration with SquidProxies (see below). I’m only using the semi dedicated ones which never seem to be banned from Google and are blazing fast, you get to choose between USA or Europe based ones as well. Don’t bother with the dedicateds, the semi-dedicated are more than enough.
SquidProxies – I had private proxies from Squid that always seemed to get blocked by Google really quickly. They also seemed to have a hard time in rank tracking software and just get stuck, there’s multiple posts about this across forums. The 20 shared proxies from Buyproxies literally run rings around the 25 private proxies I had from Squid.
BuzzBundle – This is a relatively new tool but has quickly become something I use on a daily basis. It helps me to automate & manage the traffic generation techniques I describe in this post. In fact this is the only thing I do to generate traffic to the blog! No link building or SEO, just directly engaging my audience. You can read my full BuzzBundle review here.
TalkWalker Alerts – This is very similar to Google Alerts except it gives you a bit more coverage and provides an entirely different set of results for you to work though. You can read my case study here.
Link Emperor ($50 of Links for $7) – This is a really good link building service & marketplace that allows you to order a range of different link types from private blog networks posts through to social bookmarks. Everything is organised in an easy to use interface that makes it very easy to build out tiered structures with no other software or experience. Featured in this tutorial, this one & this one.
Ultimate Demon ($50 Discount With This Link) – It really is the best tool for building out tier 1 links. It supports a huge range of platforms, you can add your own sites, schedule everything up, setup campaigns in minutes and more! It’s heavily featured in my ultimate guide to tiered link building. Everything you need in one tool, none of this ridiculous over priced monthly subscription business either! Checkout the dedicated review.
RankWYZ (Full trail available) – If you want to build, rank & manage your own private blog networks then RankWYZ is an awesome tool. It provides a central interface to manage everything such as publishing new content to your network and more.
RankCracker (Free) – This is my private SEO tool that is 100% free for anyone to download & use. It will show you the quickest and easiest way to replicate your competitors backlink profile & rankings.
Link Assistant (Limited free version available) – This is part of SEO Powersuite. It’s main purpose is to find link exchange partners which sucks. I use it for automating the finding, contacting and managing of guest posting though. Check out the link for a video tutorial on how to do that.
SeNukeX (Free trial available) – To be honest this is a fantastic piece of software and it’s well worth taking the trial. BUT it is stupidly overpriced at $147 a month which is enough for me to cancel my subscription and use UltimateDemon instead. Read my full review.
Sick Submitter (Free trial available) – A very versatile tool that can post to a range of platforms when you get packets and templates from the forums. All of the individual functions are great but nothing flows together and it requires a lot of babysitting. It is very cheap for what you do get though!
Article Demon – I used to use this quite heavily but it has been replaced with Ultimate Demon.
Bookmarking Demon – Again a fantastic tool, but this has also been replaced with Ultimate Demon.
GSA Search Engine Ranker (Free trial available) – This is the swiss army knife of link building. Supports over 100 platforms, scrapes targets, posts to them, verifys emails and checks the links are live all in one tool. It is literally a set and forget piece of software, great for those lower tier links! In fact the tiered link function was my suggestion =D See it in action here & this case study.
Xrumer (Free demo available) – The fastest and most efficient link building program out there. It has a very very steep learning curve but once mastered you can post to nearly any platform you want at blistering rates. Need to create a million backlinks in a matter of hours? Xrumer is king.
No Hands SEO (Free trial available) – A great one click backlinking solution, but it just doesn’t compare to GSA Search Engine Ranker on any level.
Scrapejet – Essentially a clone of No Hands SEO made by the Scrapebox Team. Expected it to be good, was disappointed with the results. Again, GSA Search Engine Ranker beats it in all aspects.
Link Wheel Bandit (Free trial available) – This used to be one of my favourite tools but unfortunately the author abandoned the project and no longer maintains it at all which has rendered the tool useless now.
Authority Link Network (ALN) – ALN used to be a very powerful blog network, even after it got penalised by Google it continued to be strong. But now the network is largely obsolete and I wouldn’t recommend using it.
RankSolver – This was a very similar network to ALN but was taken offline entirely after Google deindexed a large portion of it.
Free Blog Links – Another blog network that is still active but no way near as big as it used to be. You also need an invite to join the network now from another member.
SociSynd ($1 trial) – You can easily order and drip feed a range of social signals to your sites. Right now SociSynd supports a range of social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter & more. Everything is managed through a simple interface and full reports are included.
DripRevolution (7 day trial available) – Another great service for drip feeding social signals across all of your sites & URLs. DripRevolution supports a wider selections of networks including Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest & more. Featured in this tutorial.
Fiverr – Some great gigs for getting likes and tweets about your site. I used Synnd for my money sites and Fiverr gigs to give my key tier 1 properties social signals.
Synnd (Free version available) – I used to use Synnd on a regular basis but over the past year it has seriously degraded. I recommend you avoid using them and use one of the other services above instead.
GSA Captcha Breaker – This is a new captcha solver to the market brought to you by the team behind GSA Search Engine Ranker. It is far more developed than Captcha Sniper but does cost a bit more. Given that Sven & his team push near daily updates out to GSA SER there is no doubt this will continue to establish itself as the leading captcha breaking software.
Death By Captcha – I use this as a backup / fail over service for when Captcha Breaker is unable to solve a captcha. It is the cheapest provider out there at just $1.39 per 1,000 solves.
Captcha Sniper – This used to be the market leading captcha solving solution, but that was until GSA Captcha Breaker was launched. In comparison Captcha Sniper is much slower, uses more resources and is much less stable.
DeCaptcher – At one point these guys were great. The problem is DeCaptcher let software developers change how much their software chargers for DeCaptcher captchas. Although the base price is only $2 for 1,000 solves some software authors charge up to $7 per 1,000 and pocket the difference. No thanks.
99centarticles.com – Provide great quality articles. Have spent a fair amount of change with them over the years and Michael provides excellent support. Save 10% with coupon code MATTHEWWOODWARD.
SEO Generals – Used to be a service that I recommend, but has now degraded into orders not getting delivered, if they do get delivered they are very poor and very hard to get a refund/contact support.
ArticleWritingETC – Cheap and cheerful, you get what you pay for. Generally poor quality content.
Weaving Thoughts – Not particularly bad quality, I just didn’t like them and there are better services for similar money.
Kontent Machine (Free trial available) – This has only launched recently and is an absolute god send when it comes to generating content quickly. Enter your keywords and click start and you will have all the content you need for your lower tiers in minutes. Creates articles and bookmarks titles/descriptions that can be exported in any format you need. Can’t recommend this enough, and I hate software with monthly fees. Read my Kontent Machine review complete with video tutorial.
Word AI (3 day trial available) – While not strictly something that auto generates full articles, Word AI allows you to take an existing article and automatically rewrite using the turing spinner into a human readable article that you can reuse in your link building campaigns.
Wicked Article Creator – A diverse set of features but it just takes too long to build out a set of articles. The one click solution from Kontent Machine is far superior.
Get Article Pro – Before Kontent Machine this was the best tool for auto generating content. Unfortunately the developer has abandoned it for some bizarre reason and it doesn’t work anymore.
Scrapebox – Scrape a list of related wordpress blogs, then click grab comments from harvested list. Paste into The Best Spinner, replace everyone’s favourites and voila! You now have a huge list of relevant comments to go spam with. Full tutorial here.
The Best Spinner (Trial available) – This really is The Best Spinner. An absolutely essential piece software that is cheap and easy to use. It is also integrated into tools like Kontent Machine to auto spin content. Everyone needs this. Used in my advanced spinning tutorial.
Word AI (3 day trial available) – Word AI provides the very best ‘auto spinning’ engine available. Using the turing spinner you can automatically rewrite entire paragraphs, sentences, phrases & words using spyntax. What makes this different from anything else is it understands ‘context’ so produces human readable content every time.
Fiverr – If you need a video for your site you can’t go wrong with Fiverr. Some gigs are better than others so look around but you can get some great looking videos made for just $5.
Social & Subscriber Management
Hootsuite (Free version available) – I use this to manage all of my social network profiles and pages on Facebook in one easy to use web based interface. Great reporting, stats, monitoring and scheduling.
Buffer (Free) – Just connect all of your social accounts to Buffer and then you can easily schedule and post updates across them all. I use this to share all of my new posts and update all of my networks in 1 click using the browser extension.
Tweet Adder (Free trial available) – Great suite of tools for Twitter, really handy for growing your follower counts. Delivers fantastic results if used correctly.
Tweetdeck – Used to be a lot more useful before Twitter ruined it. Also I don’t fancy using a tool owned by Twitter to manage multiple Twitter profiles, that’s just as stupid as telling Google your SEO strategy.
Tweetattacks – This was by far the best Twitter tool out there for a very long time, until they got sued.
Aweber (Trial available) – The best e-mail marketing service there is period. Have used them for personal and corporate projects for over 4 years now and they have never let me down.
RackSrv – Great service and pricing never had any issues with them at all. I have a couple of servers with them and can’t recommend them enough.
WorldStream – Although prices were cheap and support was good, they always seemed to be suffering from one problem or another. They also seemed to be the target of constant DDOS’ing which made sites slow or unavailable.
Web Hosting Talk Forum – Some good offers available on the WHT forums, had great experiences with most sellers.
WPEngine – They advertise themselves as a premium WordPress host and used to host this blog for a while. They caused far too many problems and issues to write here instead you should check out my dedicated post of why to avoid them.
DreamHost (Free trial available) – One of the first hosts I used but I found them to be very inflexible with various things and used a non standard control panel setup. It’s not that they are a bad host as such; it’s just there are better hosts for the money.
GoDaddy – One of the cheapest registrars around for pretty much any extension you want. The control panel is a bit fidgety but you get used to it.
NameCheap – Very similar to GoDaddy but with slightly different pricing and offers at times. Worth comparing prices when ordering a new domain. They also include free whois privacy protection with most domains which helps reduce costs.
123-Reg – There is nothing particularly wrong with 123-reg – it’s just that their competitors are usually cheaper and have much better management control panels.
GoDaddy Auctions / Scrapebox – Signup to GoDaddy auctions and then open Scrapebox and install the TDNAM scraper. This will search GoDaddy auctions for your keyword. Then take those results and run them through the Fake Pagerank Checker add-on to find the best domains for you to buy.
TBS Solutions – A domain broker with a huge inventory, be prepared to pay a bit more than at the auctions though.
Digital Point – I have tried to buy a few domains from Digital Point forum sellers including a PR6. After getting scammed a few times I’m done! Easier and safer to buy from GoDaddy Auctions or a professional broker.
Convergence – This is the theme I use on the blog, although I have made a few tweaks as you can see. Mostly to the colour scheme, sidebar and at the end of posts.
LeadPages – This has quickly become an essential tool for the blog and I use it to create landing pages/opt in forms to capture new subscribers. It has an awesome built in split testing feature along with a bunch of easy to use landing page templates. Used in this 2,851% ROI campaign & landing page experiment.
Simple Video Pro – I use this to embed affiliate links and email opt in boxes into my video tutorials hosted on YouTube. Great plugin for improving conversion and getting more value from your traffic. I setup this split test which produced these results.
WP Social SEO Pro – This plugin takes care of social SEO adding Facebook open graph, Google Plus, Schema.org Rich Snippet Microdata, Twitter, Pinterest, HTML5 Boilerplate, Local SEO, Video SEO & more!
AuthorHreview – This is the plugin that I use to create the review boxes on posts like this. It also adds the necessary rich snippet mark-up so stars appears in Google SERPS and has a cool sidebar widget that you can see. Here is my review.
Social Locker – I provide exclusive resources and video downloads for some tutorials in exchange for a social share. I use this plugin to do that.
Thirsty Affiliates – This is what I use to manage my affiliate links. I also use it to automatically replace words in the forum with affiliate links, for example if anyone makes a post about Ultimate Demon – it will automatically create an affiliate link to Ultimate Demon. Nice way to monetise the forum without being too intrusive.
Bring My Blog Visitors Back – A simple plugin that adds a number of things to your RSS feed with the intention of bringing subscribers back to your site. You can add banner adverts, social sharing buttons and much more to your RSS feed.
WordPress SEO – Hands down the best SEO plugin. Adds a bunch of things like authorship markup, Facebook/Twitter markup, sitemaps, breadcrumbs & more!
WPSpoiler – Underneath videos I like to provide a full transcript for people to read through (I get an amazing amount of emails thanking me for this). If people click to read it, it appears like magic! This is the plugin I use to do that – ignore the warnings it hasn’t been updated it works fine.
Comment Reply Notification – Although it hasn’t been updated in a while this simple plugin allows commenter’s to get an email when someone replies to their comment brining them back to the blog to continue the conversation.
Q2W3 Fixed Widget – Use this plugin to make any of your sidebar widgets ‘sticky’ and follow users down the page as they scroll.