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11 (of the) Best SEO Tools and Keyword Research Guides of 2012

With its progression of benignly named yet ferocious algorithm updates (Farmer, Panda, Penguin), Google continues, in its efforts to battle webspam, to confound and make life more difficult for legitimate SEO professionals and their clients as well.

Fortunately, there are a large and growing number of tools available to help SEO practitioners adapt and carry on their valiant efforts to help Google bring the most relevant (usually anyway) results to the top.

11 (of the) Best SEO Tools and Keyword Research Guides of 2012 image Best of 2012 Webbiquity1What are the best tools for finding and eliminating broken links? Which tools work best outside the U.S.? How can you develop a keyword strategy that will set your site (or your client’s site) apart from the competition? Which tools beyond the most common are most useful for developing target keyword lists?

Find the answers to these questions and many more here in almost a dozen of the best guides to SEO tools and keyword research of the past year.

SEO Tools and Reviews

Search Engine Tools:Some of the Best SEO Tools are Free…Take a Look! by Coconut Headphones

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Ted Ives offers quick reviews of almost a dozen of his “personal favorite free search optimization tools for SEO,” including Xenu Link Sleuth (“Perfect for finding broken links and much much more”), Screaming Frog (“an ideal tool for performing a quick site audit”) and the SEOQuake Toolbar (“great for rapidly doing a competitive analysis on a SERP”).

Top SEO Tools for 2012 by Mark The Marketer

Mark Gottlieb reviews nine of his favorite free and fee-based SEO tools, including some common ones like SEOmoz and Screaming Frog as well as some that may be less familiar, such as Keyword Blaze (“Keyword Blaze is one of the best if not the best keyword research tool”—and it’s free.)

78 Resources For Every Internet Marketer’s Toolkit by Search Engine Watch
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Dave Davies provides an outstanding list and mini-reviews of almost 80 of his “favorite resources based on what they yield and what they produce from a dollar-in-dollar-out perspective,” ranging from SEO audit and link building tools to coding tools, conversion tools, social media tools and “convenience” tools like Domain Tools (“Quick and easy access to domain information including registration, server details and location and some basic SEO information”).

Link Rot – and the Most Amazing Free Tool to Find and Fix Broken Links by Internet Marketing Ninjas

Writing that “There are diseases on the web that you don’t want to get, and if you’ve had a website online for years, or if your site links to other sites, then there’s a great chance that you’ve caught some Link Rot… it doesn’t sound nice, and it’s really not nice,” Jim Boykin explains what link rot is and links to a new tool to fix it.

40+ SEO Tools of the Trade by Search Engine Watch

Derek Edmond presents a categorized list of tools for on-page SEO analysis, keyword research, content generation, social media profile link info, competitive analysis, link diagnosis and other functions, then addresses SEO tools for Asia and takes an in-depth look at Bing Webmaster Tools.

Bing Offers Up a Free Link Graph by SEOBook

Aaron Wall interviews Duane Forrester of Bing about the search engine’s new SEO tools and product roadmap. The two discuss Bing’s link explorer tool in detail, covering topics such as the size of the tool’s index, search filters, future product plans, trends, marketing strategy and more.

14 Search Tools to Bookmark by Search Engine Watch

Duncan Parry reviews a collection of “really useful tools, some of which you will use every day” including StatsCounter (which provides “data on the market shares of search engines, browser versions, computer, and mobile hardware and operating systems here for most countries”) and keyword tools from Google, Yandex, Baidu, SEOBook, Ubersuggest and YouTube.

Keyword Research Guides and Tools

Be Careful Using AdWords for Keyword Research by The Daily SEO Blog

Rand Fishkin points out some of the limitations of the Google AdWords keyword for organic keyword research, lessons learned from one of his experiments (“Running discovery-focused searches in AdWords may not show you all the valuable/high-volume keyword phrases connected to a word/phrase”), and four methods for addressing this challenge.

7 Tips for Developing a Killer Keyword Strategy by ClickZ

For experienced SEO professionals, Ron Jones walks through a set of questions to ask when formulating keyword strategy, such as goals (primarily branding or conversion?), measures of success, keyword-landing page mapping, selection criteria beyond search volume (e.g., relevance, intent and level of competition) and more.

22 Free Keyword Research Tools by Practical eCommerce

Noting that “Choosing the right keyword is the foundation of successful search engine optimization,” Sig Ueland reviews nearly two dozen tools designed to help identify the most promising keywords for a site, ranging from the familiar (the Google AdWords keyword tool, SEMrush) to the more esoteric (Soovle, Trendistic, MetaGlossary).

An Introduction to Keyword Research Using Free Tools by The YouMoz Blog
*****5 STARS

Astutely noting that “Many SEOs will tend to stick with using Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool and as a result, they will most likely be targeting the exact same keywords as the competition,” Adam Whittles outlines a contrarian strategy based on long tail keywords, staring with basic research and competitive intelligence and progressing through research tools, filtering and measurement.

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