At a seminar yesterday morning, a few people stopped by and asked some questions about various tools for search engine optimization. There are a wide variety of helper applications and simple tools out there. When you’re just learning about them it can be difficult to tell what works and what doesn’t.
One thing to keep in mind is that some tools just aren’t necessary. Things change in SEO and people latch on to buzz phrases and then look for tools to help them perform the corresponding buzz tactics.
What’s important to realize is that many SEOs and web devs create tools to serve as link bait, not to really solve a necessary problem. Popular categories for this are link popularity tools, page analysis tools and rank checking tools.
A particular area that many people waste time on is calculating things like keyword density. Maybe 5 years ago, such a thing was useful, but it’s really pretty easy to manipulate text on a page to arrive at certain percentages of word use. The major search engines are smarter than to rely heavily on percentage of keyword matching on a document.
Standard information retreival concepts are still important, such as latent semantic indexing, but off page factors can overcome many on page deficiencies. An example of that is being able to get a page to rank for a phrase when that phrase does not exist on the page.
Regardless, there are a few repositories of SEO tools that you might want to check out. Some of the tools are useful, some are just a distraction. With the right tools, you can save yourself a lot of time for redundant tasks. Here you go: