If you use an Apple Mac computer, hopefully you've heard of Alfred. It's a very useful tool that allows you to navigate your computer with a couple of key strokes. In my case I use Alt + Space to load the Alfred search box. Alfred search box Alfred lets you launch applications and perform searches very quickly—and if you buy the PowerPack for £12, you can control iTunes, navigate Finder windows, perform custom searches and more.

As I use Alfred more and more, I'm finding that creating my own custom searches saves a lot of key strokes, and get's me where I need to be, as quickly as possible.

Imagine this scenario if you will: You would like to analyse the external inbound link data for a specific domain or URL.

Traditionally, you would need to load your browser, then load your favourite tool, E.g. Open Site Explorer, by typing in the URL opensiteexplorer.org, then you would type in the domain or URL you want to examine into the search box. SEOMoz Open Site Explorer There are several steps involved to perform this very simple task. However, Alfred can speed up the whole process, as you're going to find out.

Alfred Custom Searches

If you purchase the PowerPack for Alfred, you will unlock the ability to perform custom searches. This is a useful feature that can save you a lot of time is a feature I find incredibly useful for SEO tasks.

Imagine the scenario I just described, and see how simple it is to perform the same task in Alfred. Press ALT + Spacebar, type ose, Press Spacebar once, type http://www.example.com, then press Enter. The search box will look like the image below. Alfred Open Site Explorer shortcut In a few moments you will have loaded your default browser, Open Site Explorer, prepopulated the search box, and you will see the data you wanted.

How to: Custom Searches

  1. Load Alfred preferences, either using the top navigation bar in Mac OS, or by clicking the small gear symbol on the search box itself.
  2. Navigate to Features > Custom Searches Alfred Custom Searches Preferences window
  3. Click the + symbol at the bottom of the Custom Searches window, and fill in the Search URL field with the following: http://opensiteexplorer.org/links?site={query}
  4. Give this custom search a title in the Title field: Open Site Explorer
  5. Create the shortcut letters to load this custom search, in this case I chose: ose
  6. Save, then close Preferences and test
  7. The Prefernece window should look like this: Alfred Preferences

Below are a few useful SEO Custom Search URLs for Alfred:

URI Valet

Search URL: http://urivalet.com/?{query}#Report

Title: URI Valet Keyword: uri

Shared Count

Search URL: http://sharedcount.com/?url={query}

Title: Shared Count Keyword: sc

SoloSEO Link Search Tool

Search URL: http://www.soloseo.com/tools/linkSearch.html?keyword={query}

Title: Link Search Tool Keyword: lst

Whois Lookup

Search URL: http://www.whois-search.com/whois/{query}

Title: Whois Lookup Keyword: who

I use a whole range of custom search URLs for SEO, web development and other services. If you have a useful custom search for Alfred please include it in the comments below this post.