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.
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.
SEOMoz (Full 30 day free trial) – Great suite of tools but I use it for downloading backlinks from Open Site Explorer. It is worth taking out the 30 day free trial just to download all of your competitor’s backlinks to replicate.
Ahrefs (Limited free account available) – Updated more often than 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
Link Wheel Bandit (Free trial available) – There really is no tool like it for automating web 2.0s. It takes less than 5 minutes to setup a huge campaign of multi tiered web 2.0 properties and is great for adding strength and authority around your tier 1 links.
Scrapebox – Has a huge range of useful functions but when it comes to comment blasts it really is head and shoulders above the rest.
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.
Authority Link Network (ALN) – I know ALN got hammered by Google, but truth of the matter is contextual links from high PR domains are still the ultimate link whether from a whitehat or blackhat source. I still have sites ranked purely with blog networks like this but it’s not a long-term strategy. Instead use networks like this to boost your Tier 1 links without risk
RankSolver – Another blog network I use similar to ALN which is setup and ran by Joe Hughes. All submitted articles go through human review to reduce spam.
Free Blog Links – Yet another blog network that I like to take advantage of.
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.
Synnd (Free version available) – I use the pro package with 30,000 credits to drip feed tweets and likes to my money sites across the month. I typically do between 500-600 tweets and 100-200 likes across the month for each site.
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.
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.
Captcha Sniper – The early versions of this sucked but now it is faster, more stable, supports loads of different captcha types and its perfect for use with GSA Search Engine Ranker after recent updates. This tool saves me over $100 a week for a onetime payment of $97, go figure. Update: please see GSA Captcha Breaker above.
Death By Captcha – I use this as a backup / fail over service for when Captcha Sniper is unable to solve a captcha. It is the cheapest provider out there at just $1.39 per 1,000 solves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Tweet Adder (Free trial available) – Great suite of tools for Twitter, really handy for growing your follower counts. Delivers fantastic results if used correctly.
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.
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.
JustHost – I have a few sites with JustHost that just work day in day out. The pricing is good and they throw in a free domain as well!
HostGator – Similar pricing and packages as JustHost but on a completely different range of IP’s if you know what I mean
Stable Host – These guys used to host the blog
Web Hosting Talk Forum – Some good offers available on the WHT forums, had great experiences with most sellers.
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.
123-Reg – Great for UK and Europe based domains.
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.
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.
OIOPublisher – This is what is used to serve up the advertising banners across the site. It is a fully functional self-service platform allowing advertisers to buy ads easily. Check out this post for more details of how I use it to generate income.
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.
Subscribe To Comments Reloaded – One of the big drawbacks to WordPress comments is the lack of notifications when someone reply’s. This plugin fixes that and keeps people coming back to your blog.
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.
Top Social Share Posts – This is the plugin I use to collect social data and display the most popular content in the sidebar widget.
Viral Download – I provide exclusive resources and video downloads for some tutorials in exchange for a social share. I use this plugin to do that.
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.