There are a ton of expensive SEO tools available. Many of them do a great job but you shouldn’t forget the great data and insight that can be gleaned from free tools. These tools are often overlooked.
Blekko provides a ton of amazing ranking data to SEOs but I rarely hear anyone talking about it. Simply type your domain or URL into the search box with the slashtag SEO (e.g type “www.example.com /SEO” without quotes) and get great information on duplicate content, backlinks, hosting, internal links and a ton of other stuff for both your and your competitors’ sites.
Grep the Web
Additionally, Blekko Grep the Web is also available. This allows you to compare the number of domains or pages in Blekko’s index which have one string of characters versus another. For example, you could find out how many sites use Google Analytics compared to WebTrends. You need to submit a request and users can vote on which one to “Grep”. If you get voted for, Blekko will then check the data and present it publicly.
Bing Search Operators
Most SEOs are aware of the (diminishing number) of common search operators that Google provides, however it’s worth taking a look at Bing. Bing can provide you with a lot of interesting information that you won’t get from Google. linkfromdomain: will show you what sites a domain links out to and ip: will show you other sites on the same IP address, for example. See for yourself what you can do in Bing.
Yandex & Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing and Yandex both have webmaster tools, they both provide you with a ton of useful SEO data and controls and are as easy to set up as Google Webmaster Tools. If you are verifying one, it’s little more work to verify all three. I often see competitor sites with verification meta for Google Webmaster Tools but I rarely see Bing or Yandex meta beside it.
For some time, Google Analytics has had excellent information on site speed. Late last year Google added a technical section which provides information on where delays are taking place. Speed breakdown is provided for domain lookups, redirects, server connection, server response and downloading. This information (and much more) can be sliced and diced by geography, type of user and a zillion other ways to provide you with the insight and evidence required to make changes.
It’s no secret that Google Analytics can be linked to Webmaster Tools to get some great data on clickthrough rates, rankings etc. and allows you to export it, play with it in Excel etc. Are you using it though?
I’ve requested a Grep from Grep the Web to find out how many sites have meta validation for Google, Bing and Yandex. Vote for my entry here