Back to basic (and free) site analysis tools to use
There are many different tools which you can use for site and link analysis that can help with your SEO.
Whether you are checking out the backlinks or looking at onsite issues, you will will always find that there is a different website or program that will better suit the purpose you are looking for.
For the moment, we will be looking at ones that are safe, easy and free to use.
1. For a quick backlink check visit Yahoo! Site Explorer
For a quick n’ dirty round up of backlinks pointing to a site use Yahoo! Site explorer.
The main reason why it is popular to use is because it is easy to access (requires no logins), its by Yahoo! (so you know it is safe), and it provides fast results.
In general, Yahoo! Site Explorer will give you a rough idea of the quantity of links pointing to a website.
You can also quickly judge for yourself what the quality of the links are like from the list of URLs it provides.
It is important to note that the links Yahoo! lists will not be necessarily the same ones that Google (or any other search engine) will have crawled and indexed as backlinks.
2. See what Google sees – Use Webmaster Tools
Google’s Webmaster Tools is essential for diagnosing any issues your site might have when Google is concerned.
First off, it should be pointed out that you will have to verify that you are the owner of the website.
You can do this through a variety of ways including: a DNS change; linking via Analytics; uploading a HTML file; or including a meta tag on the home page.
Mainly you would be using Webmasters Tools for assessing any problems that your site may have such as any duplicate titles/descriptions, crawling issues, if any malware was found, brief alerts on speed issues, etc.
But occasionally you may be interested in what Google has found in terms of backlinks, internal links and a list of common keywords it has found whilst crawling your site.
Even though Webmaster Tools does show backlinks it is still an unreliable way to see your current flock of links as it updates periodically every once in a blue moon, so what you may see might not be up to date. This is made even worse for sites that have never been authorised through Webmasters before as it will not show backlinks straight away so be prepared to wait a while.
Regardless, Webmaster Tools is an essential tool for prompting you with any problems that Google may have with your site. If in doubt, check your Webmasters.
3. For onpage essentials – Screaming Frog SEO Spider
This is an awesome little program for showing every file that is crawlable and displaying their response codes.
However, Screaming Frog SEO Spider comes into its own for displaying info on all the HTML pages including Titles, Descriptions, H1’s and H2’s (if present), and even canonicals in a nice list for your perusal. So this program is particularly useful for making your own page-by-page analysis. Making your Titles, H1, H2s, and Descriptions unique is a breeze with this program.
4. For checking your PR install Google Toolbar
If you want to know if Google trusts your site then use Google Toolbar.
This is a tiny addon/plugin created by Google that you can install on your browser for checking your Mail, Sharing Pages/Info, etc. But if you are not interested in all that then you can disable these features and have it display only the PageRank (PR) indicator instead.
The higher the PR the better shape your site is in. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean you will get excellent rankings.
This is a vanity checker more than anything, but for SEO purposes PageRank is still used as an indicator on whether a site is trustworthy or not. It is mostly handy when surfing and spotting a high PR site, then investigating it further.
Unfortunately Google have only designed it to work in only Firefox or Internet Explorer but there are other plugins/fixes available for displaying a page’s PR in different browsers.
Although having a PR checker that comes straight from the source, ie. Google, means you are on the right track. Some PR extensions can give incorrect or out of date numbers, be mindful of this when installing other PR checkers.
If you are inclined to find out the pages which have PR within a website then check out Yousaf’s post listing pages by PageRank.
To summarise, you will find their are many different tools which are specialised for different needs when it comes to analysing your site.
Some are quick and easily accessible, some require registration/payment or crawling/downloading the website but give more depth in what you are targeting.