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The Five Most Important SEO Tools: Experts Write

9 min. read
The Five Most Important SEO Tools

What are the tools that will give your website the lift-off that your effort deserves? Everyone has a different opinion, but we've checked out the best authorities online, in order to bring you five great SEO tools that you should be using to get your website up the rankings. Take a look at what we found.

Get Involved with Schema

Schema is a key mark of quality for websites
Schema is a key mark of quality for websites

As Schema's own website says, "Schema.org is a collaborative, community activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and beyond." Schema is a collaborative effort sponsored by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex.

Carrie Morgan is a public relations specialist who advises businesses large and small on all aspects of marketing, including SEO, through her website rockthestatusquo.com and her excellent Twitter feed. Carrie's new book "Above the Noise" is coming soon. She spoke exclusively to Online Affiliate World about the importance of Schema for SEO optimization.

"Schema is fabulously valuable, playing a strong role in positioning someone as an expert resource in their field and enriching the user experience online.

Doing an online search for a retail store and you see their store hours and if they are still open at the moment of your search? That’s a result of schema. Searching a word and the definition pops up?” That’s schema, too.

These kind of rich search results are Google Knowledge Graph results, fed by schema code. If a company is sophisticated enough to have someone with technical SEO skills on their team or a marketer with a fairly deep level of expertise in WordPress and basic HTML, and is creating original content on a regular basis for their website, schema should be a part of their efforts.

It’s fairly simple to master, thanks to tools like Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, free developer tools and Schema Creator. Not only does it help you rank well, since knowledge graph inserts always appear on page one, listing one, but they can help position you as an expert in the industry, boosting credibility—or give a level of user experience that builds loyalty and retention.

For the time invested, the ROI is fabulous. I would NOT suggest schema for those who don’t’ have basic on-page SEO already in place, however, or who are not creating original content."

So Schema is a bit like the equivalent of going into a shoe shop, for example, and being greeted by a shop assistant who possesses a deep and impressive knowledge of what he or she is trying to sell. You're more likely to buy the shoes, because you trust the seller. Utilizing Schema can ensure people trust your website, and that search engines do, too.

A Great "About" Page

A great About page is crucial for your site
A great About page is crucial for your site

Bernadette Jiwa on her site The Story of Telling has a great entry about the ways you can put together an "about" page that doesn't just catch the attention of search engines, but also makes sure "one of the most visited pages on your website" is also one of the best.

She advises to "start with why," explaining to visitors why they need to know what you have to say on your site. There are ten great points on Jiwa's article, that will transform the look of your site, from one that may turn off visitors because of the lack of a personal touch, to one which really talks to its visitors.

Your About page is often your calling card, giving first-timers a chance to connect with you and your site. If they like what they see, they might stick around; if not, this might be a big reason for a high bounce-rate. You should also bear in mind, as the article says, that the About page features highly on search engines, especially given its popularity.

Don't Disregard Twitter

Don't ignore Twitter when looking at SEO
Don't ignore Twitter when looking at SEO

Twitter isn't a search engine in the traditional sense - although of course it has a powerful in-site search facility. In many ways, it operates separately from the search giants - a little world of its own. It can scare people off if they aren't used to the idea of condensing their message into 140-character soundbites. However, did you know Twitter influences your SEO?

Gerald Murphy of Search Engine Watch says that your tweets say a lot about you not only when you're on Twitter, but when people search for your pages. This is because Google will place your recent or relevant tweets in boxes in the middle of a search. This is another reason for making sure that not only do you have a Twitter account, but you also use it, regularly, to tweet about the topic you cover on your website, whatever that may be. We'll be writing more about this.

Udemy are Everything

Udemy, the leading training website
Udemy, the leading training website

"Why would we use Udemy for SEO?" I can hear you ask. Well, sometimes the lists pumped out by standard keyword-search tools aren't enough, and you need to find a title for a post with a bit more of that X-factor. In his post about "White-Hat SEO", Brian Dean of Backlinko espouses the virtues of the hugely-popular training tool.

If you type in the subject in which you are interested, Udemy will autosuggest various topics. This is great for SEO, as they are the most-searched topics for training courses. When you click on the course that has a title closest to your interest, Udemy will open up a list of the most relevant courses.

For example, type in "content marketing" and then click on "content marketing free" and you get a course at the top of the list called "How I Hit #1 on Google: The Complete SEO Course". It's an expensive course, but scroll down, and you get a list of headings for each of the program's lectures. There are titles such as "This Will Massively Decrease Your Page Load Time". The creator of this course, Matt Jensen of iMarket XL, has really thought about SEO, even on his SEO course.

The course is just one example of how Udemy can be the spice that peps up a hitherto-bland SEO strategy.

Bing Mobile Friendliness Testing Tool

Mobile optimization is vital
Mobile optimization is vital

Bing is, increasingly, finding niches that Google does not occupy. These include its mobile-friendliness tool. Mobile-friendliness can mean many things, but in the case of the Bing tool, it means whether or not your website can be read and used on a computer, tablet device or smartphone. You will have noticed a change in website design in recent years - this is because mobile internet time is now considered greater than computer internet time, according to some reports.

According to digital marketing advice site Higher Visibility, this new tool can be used as a way of checking if the Bing algorithm considers your site to be good on all devices or not. On the tool, Bing measures viewport configuration, zoom control, with width of page content, how easy it is to read the text, spacing of links, the use of incompatible plug-ins (such as Flash), and if anything is blocked by Robots.txt.

You'd be a fool not to look at the Bing mobile friendliness testing tool if you want a good search ranking. Yes, it's Bing - but the search engine is increasing its market share, and the principles of good mobile-optimization espoused by Bing matter just as much on Google.

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