You get by with a little help from your friends (said in the spirit of Beatlemania rebirth what with the re-mastering and releasing of the Beatles entire catalog, and the release of Beatles Rock Band). By this I mean you need the right tools to properly optimize a website for the search engines. However, there are tools usually used for paid search management that can be helpful in your SEO efforts as well.
There are numerous tools you can use to expand/manage/optimize your PPC campaign, and these tools can be of use to SEO managers as well. Here is a quick list of PPC tools you may not be using for SEO. Some of these tools are not PPC exclusive, but they tend to be geared toward PPC, and some aren’t “tools” at all!
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
This is one of the best free keyword research tools out there. You can search for keywords via related terms or typing in a specific URL and allowing the tool to find keywords for you. Within the results you will receive keyword suggestions as well as the amount of competition for each term.
You don’t need to have an AdWords account to access this tool, they have an external keyword tool outside of the AdWords interface as well.
Google Search-based Keyword Tool
This is another keyword research tool provided by Google. What’s the difference between these tools? According to Google, the main difference between the Search-based Keyword Tool and the AdWords Keyword Tool is that the former generates keyword ideas based on your website, and identifies those currently not being used in your AdWords account. The Search-based Keyword Tool can provide more detailed data for each keyword, such as category information, suggested bid that may place the ad in the top three spots of a search results page, and ad/search share.
Both of these tools can be very helpful when conducting keyword research and determining the competitive landscape for each term.
Various Competitive Tools
There are numerous competitive tools that you can use to snoop on your competition. These tools are often used by PPC managers to see what keywords the competition is using so that they can add these terms to their own campaigns.
You can use these tools for similar purposes but you can also use them for the opposite purpose as well. If you know a term has a lot of competition and you find this particular keyword highlighted within a number of competitor’s sites, then you may not want to target this keyword because you’ll have to fight an up-hill battle for rankings. Perhaps you could target a less competitive term, but still relevant, and get ranked quickly.
Here a few of the competitive tools we’ve used:
Ad Preview Tool
One of the core reasons to use this tool is to conduct searches on Google without accruing impressions for your ads or competitors’ ads. That doesn’t really matter too much to an SEO manager. However, you can use this tool to see how search results look in different parts of the country or even the world.
If you focus on local SEO, the ad preview tool can be very helpful. This tool can show you who is advertising on Google in different parts of the country. This way, you can have a good idea of how you’re competing against.
Google Wonder Wheel
The Google Wonder Wheel is wondrous. There, I said it. This is a very useful tool when conducting keyword research. Again, this tool isn’t exclusive for PPC usage but when you’re conducting your SEO keyword research, don’t neglect the Wonder Wheel or Related Search tools within Google.
Google Content Network
With this one, you need to be running a PPC campaign within AdWords. The Content Network within Google is vast. It’s huge. It’s immense. In other words, there are lots of websites on which your ads can appear. Here is something to think about: if a site is running AdSense on their site and your keywords and ad are relevant to their content, then they may be open to some linking building initiatives.
When utilizing a Content Network campaign, you should run a Placement Performance Report to see which sites are performing best, and you may want to contact them as part of your link building strategy.
Google Website Optimizer
No, the Website Optimizer tool not strictly for PPC but it does get a lot of attention for split testing elements of landing pages. You can use this tool to test something as small as the color of a call-to-action button, or you can test completely different versions of your homepage.
As I mentioned earlier, none of these tools are solely exlcusive to paid search management but you may not have thought about them for your SEO efforts. Take another look at some of these tools as they could be very helpful!