There are a few awesome tools that the team uses to get information from Google about keywords, websites and competitors. And they make our jobs a little easier! Do yourself a favour and download a few of these extensions, you won’t regret it.
The top three SEO tools that we use are Ahrefs, Google Analytics and Google Search Console. During your time with Travel Tractions, you’ll be introduced to each of these tools. They all have login details which you can find on the main task sheet.
Our team uses Ahrefs a lot, so you’ll become familiar with it pretty quickly. You’ll use Ahrefs for nearly every article you write (unless the client specifies not to include keyword research). It helps you to understand exactly what people are searching for on google and to use these keywords in your article.
As you delve deeper into the depths of travel tractions, you’ll find more and more wonderful uses for Ahrefs. While we mainly use it for keyword research, it can also be used for content mining, site audits and more.
Google Analytics is an excellent tool for tracking and reporting website traffic. It allows you to get inside the minds of your website users, and understand what they are doing when they are on your page. You’ll probably only use Google Analytics when you do an SEO audit or strategy.
Google Search Console
This tool is fantastic for when you’re doing optimisations or content upgrades. It gives Google access to your content, and assists you in submitting new content to crawl. This allows you to remove old content and monitor spam.
It’s intended to help webmasters (like us) monitor indexing status and optimise visibility of our (and our client’s) websites. It helps you to understand why your site is performing well organically (and maybe why it isn’t).
You’ll likely come into contact with GSC when you do a content upgrade, optimisation, SEO audit or strategy.
Keywords for SEO
At Travel Tractions we’re lucky enough to have access to Ahrefs, but in a world where we didn’t have it, here are some other great places to mine keywords for posts.
Keywords everywhere is an extension for your chrome browser. You’ll need to sign up and get the API key and all of that, but once you’ve done that, you’ll have an array of keywords at your fingertips.
How does it work?
You’ll need to search for something on your browser, and once you’ve gotten the results, on the side of the page, you’ll get a list of related keywords from the extension. You can load the metrics or export these to get more information.
Uber Suggest is another excellent tool for keyword research that’s completely free; you just have to sign in. It provides you with interesting information that can give you good keyword ideas. It’s not as in-depth as Ahrefs, but it’s a great free alternative if you don’t have access to paid options.
This tool can be found in our task management sheet under the ‘tools’ tab. It’s a great place to look for keyword ideas, but it doesn’t provide as much insight as Ahrefs. There is a paid version that gives way more information, but we don’t have access to it.
Without the paid version, you won’t be able to see valuable data like domain rating, difficulty and volume. But you will be able to see some of the things that users are searching that are related to your topic.
Writing for SEO
When writing, there are a couple of tools that can make your writing even better. These tools help you check your grammar, spelling, meta description length and word count. This can be valuable both when writing and during the editing process.
When writing online, Grammarly is an awesome chrome browser extension and downloadable application that can help enormously. And the free version has quite a lot to offer.
Grammarly is currently testing out the beta version for Google Docs (which we use for everything), and it has come in really handy. It gives you writing suggestions and sometimes shows definitions and synonyms. It picks up grammar mistakes and writing mistakes as well.
You can also choose whether you’re writing in American English or British English, where it’ll pick up small things like if you’ve used a ‘s’ instead of a ‘z’.
If you open your document in the app, you’ll be able to see things like correctness, clarity, engagement and delivery. With the paid version you do have access to a lot more, but content writers don’t need to get it.
Hemingway App, is a tool that we have recently started to use a lot more. It gives you fantastic information about your writing, including how many times you use passive voice, the number of adverbs you use and whether your phrase has simpler alternatives.
It also goes through your document and finds sentences that are hard or very hard to read. It’ll also give you a word count and a readability grade (anything under grade 8 is good for the web). Some clients like their articles to be under a certain reading grade and require no passive voice.
Word Counter Plus
Wordcounter is a chrome extension that isn’t necessary while you’re writing, but it does help when you’re editing on the backend of WordPress. It allows you to see how many words are in a single paragraph or the entire document. You can also use it to check the number of words on a webpage.
How does it work?
When on a webpage, you simply need to highlight a section and then right-click and select Wordcounter. It will show up and tell you how many words are highlighted as well as the number of characters.
To The Web
This site can be used to check your meta description. If you take a URL and paste it in the page, it’ll automatically give you your title, URL and the meta description. It gives you a preview of what will show up in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
We mostly use it to check the posts title and meta descriptions length. When you’re writing a post, you’ll most likely need to expand your title. But you don’t want to make it too long, and as a result, it doesn’t show up nicely on the SERP.
This tool tells you if your title or meta description is too long or too short. It will also show you exactly what will show up in the SERP.
To The Web also has a collection of free SEO tools that can be really useful. We haven’t had time to play around with all of them, but you’re more than welcome to give them a go and let us know what they can do.
It has tools like finding keywords and topics on any page, search engine simulator, converting your webpage to plain text and more.
Data for SEO
Here are some of our favourite tools to gather data for search engine optimisation.
SEOQuake is another really handy tool that you can use as an extension on your browser. It does quite a lot, including telling you a page’s word count and gives you information directly in your Google search. It gives you the keyword difficulty, domain rating and a whole lot more.
You can also use it to check links on a page, showing you what internal and external links the site is using -this is super useful for link building.
It also tells you what keywords/words are used frequently on a page, which is great if you’re doing an optimisation.
Pagespeed insights won’t be something you’ll use in the first few months and is mostly used for reporting and SEO audits. You can also use it to submit new posts to Google.
This tool is pretty easy to use, you just paste in a URL and it will tell you how fast (or how slow) the page loads. It gives you the results for both mobile and desktop loading time. It tries to help you figure out why your page is slow and provides you with tips on how to make it faster.
Semrush can be added to your Google Docs and gives you the readability score (similarly to Hemmingway). It’s a paid tool, but it does provide some free information. If you add it onto your Google Docs, it’ll tell you how easy your post is to read.
You can add your target keyword, and it will give you very basic information in return. It’s what you would learn when you first write for SEO. It also gives you the word count. If you opt for the paid version and receive extras like the tone of voice and other information.
They also have a dashboard which you can use to search for keywords. This will show you the global volume, keyword difficulty and other things (similarly to Ahrefs).
SEO monitor is a paid tool which we are using more and more. It’s a good place to check keyword groups and to get information about competitors. You can add your website URL in and track how it’s doing in Google ranking, how healthy it is and how you’re doing in terms of keywords.
It provides helpful information if there’s a downtrend. You can do this by checking if your competitors are experiencing the same thing, or if it’s just your site. You’ll use it more if you’re doing higher SEO audits.
These are not necessarily tools for SEO, but they are definitely ones that we use almost every day.
Lastpass is a great way to keep track of all your passwords. We log in to a lot of sites, and there are a lot of passwords to remember. While you’ll be able to find them in the sheet, this is a much easier way of logging in to multiple sites.
Whenever you create or log in to anything on your computer, LastPass will come in and save your username and password for you.
You can also open LastPass and see what the login details and password are.
Awesome Screenshot is a chrome extension that allows you to take screenshots. It’s got plenty of super handy options.
You can capture after a countdown, or you can capture the whole screen. It even allows you to capture the whole web page. Or you can choose a selected area. Once you have the screenshot you can add text, you can blur out stuff, and you can crop it. You can also add arrows, shapes and draw on the image.
Image picker is another chrome extension that gives you a list of the images on a page that you can download. It also gives you different sizes. This is super useful on websites where you can’t just right-click and save as.
Over to You
We want to take a moment to let you know that we will never expect you to PAY for any tools, apps or extensions. Most of what we suggest is free – or has a free version – and anything that you need will be paid for by the company – subject to approval, of course.
Take a few minutes to look through these tools and add a few to your browser/bookmark them. The most important ones that we would suggest for you now are:
- Awesome screenshot
Once you have your tools ready, you can get started on your first month’s internship journey.
But first – take the quiz below to check your knowledge. Once the quiz is complete, click on ‘Complete’ and then you’re ready to properly start Month 1.