If you hang around in internet marketing circles for any length of time, you quickly become accustomed to being pummeled with recommendations for game-changing tool sets that boast everything from total business automation to complete online domination. While most those tools don't hold up to their lofty product descriptions, there are a handful of road-tested programs that have remained in my online utility belt for years.
Today, I share my tried-and-tested toolkit with you. These are the 5 tools that I REALLY use everyday.
1. Open Site Explorer
According to the 2011 Search Engine Ranking Factors from SEOMoz, off-page factors contribute to over 50% of what determines search-engine rankings. If you want to enter a competitive market and play with the big boys, you'll need a tool that helps automate the back-link acquisition process.
In my opinion, there's no tool on the web that can do a better job dissecting the back link profile of your competition and target link building opportunities that will make a measurable impact than Open Site Explorer. This is an invaluable tool for anyone involved in organic search.
2. Xenu Link Sleuth
Here's an oldie but a goodie. I feel like Xenu Link Sleuth has been around longer than SEO itself and its longevity is a testament to how valuable the tool is to internet marketers.
Xenu provides a quick crawl of websites and finds things like broken links, 404 errors, redirects and more. The first step I take when conducting a website audit is to plug the URL into Xenu Link Sleuth for some easy, best-practice action items.
3. SEO Toolbar From SEO Book
This toolbar works in FireFox and Internet Explorer and displays key SEO metrics like backlink data, number of pages indexed, and on-page factors right in your browser. If you don't use this already, you should.
4. Google Webmaster Tools
In 2011, this Google product has become increasingly valuable to competitive webmasters. Scrutinize back-link data, run diagnostic checks, and even submit URLs that haven't been indexed directly to Google. As a result, Google Webmaster Tools has become a mainstay and automatic upload for any website I work on.
5. Google Analytics
So Google Analytics might not technically be a tool, but why let semantics get in the way of a great product? Again, Google Analytics is one of the few programs I reference daily. Set up some basic goals and start identifying the keywords that are delivering the most ROI for your website.
So there you have it, the 5 tools I really do use every single day. Now that I've shown you mine, feel free to share the tools you couldn't go a day without in the comments.