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Favorite SEO Tools: Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Using my favorite search engine optimization tools can make your SEO outperform & outlast competitors.

SEO and aboutness image

A colleague asked me, "If you could only use 3 tools to build and run a successful SEO campaign, which 3 would you choose?"

My answer will probably surprise many SEO professionals because my focus has ALWAYS been on human users first, technology second.

In This Article

SEO tools - qualitative data

That being said, everything should begin with a clear, extensible information architecture. Information architecture (IA) is organizing, labeling, and connecting (website) content so that it is easy to find and easy to use.

Target audiences should understand the website's labeling system, including:

  • Document labels
  • Navigation labels
  • Content labels

That being said, the tool I like to use for testing the labeling system within both information architecture and site navigation is called OptimalSort.

Other card-sort software does exist. This is just the one I prefer.

Card-sorting software offers me both qualitative AND quantitative data. Data without proper context is often misleading.

My #1 SEO tool: Optimal Sort.

SEO tools - quantitative data

As a search-usability practitioner, I need to understand users' goals and behaviors. Therefore, I use a wide variety of usability tests to observe how users complete their desired tasks.

I compare these usability-test results (and field studies) with web analytics data and search analytics data — quantitative data. Google Analytics is the web analytics software I use for most SEO projects...though I do work with a variety of analytics software.

Search analytics software can have two meanings: (a) SEO analytics software like Screaming Frog or DeepCrawl, or (b) site search engine analytics. I use both types of software.

(Note: DeepCrawl is an outstanding source for locating and troubleshooting duplicate content issues.)

I discovered long ago that if you optimize a website properly for web search engines, then site search engine results tend to be more accurate.

My #2 SEO tool: Google Analytics.

Link development tools

As for link development, I have been a HUGE Majestic fan for a very long time. The interface gets better and better...easier to use. I use Majestic most often.

There is a variety of other link development tools. The suite of tools at Citation Labs is excellent. I will this suite and other link development software if a project requires them.

My #3 SEO tool: Majestic.

Other SEO tools

If I had to pick a type of SEO tool that would be #4, it would be some kind of keyword research tool. Unfortunately, though,I haven't found one that truly shows user vocabularies and mental models. So I use a variety of keyword resources.

Keyword research software is a great source of quantitative information. I tend to use these tools as supplemental sources.

Honestly? Usability tests, interviews, and field studies tend to give me the most useful keyword phrases. I tend to use usability studies as my primary source of keywords because they provide qualitative information.

It's important to keep keyword data in context. I want to know HOW searchers are implementing keywords and WHY they are using them. As my colleague Eric Reiss says, "Content is King. Context is the Kingdom."

My #4 SEO tool: Usability studies.

Related articles

If you liked this web copywriting tip, here are more links to related optimization tips and articles from Omni Marketing Interactive:

You can also read our articles from other online publications.


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If you have any questions about Omni Marketing Interactive's search engine optimization (SEO), website usability, information architecture (IA), or web design services, please call us at 847-426-4256.

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