#1 – Generating XML Sitemap Files
The Problem: XML Sitemap files can be challenging to build, particularly as sites scale over a few hundred or few thousand URLs. SEOs need tools to build these, as they can substantively add to a site’s indexation and potential to earn search traffic.
Tools to Solve It: GSiteCrawler, Google Sitemap Generator
#2 – Tracking the Virality of Blog/Feed Content
The Problem: Even experienced bloggers have trouble predicting which posts will “go wide” and which will fall flat. To improve your track record, you need historical data to help show you where and how your posts are performing in the wild world of social media. What’s needed is a cloud based tracking tool that can sync up with the Twitters, Facebooks, Diggs, Reddits, Stumbleupons & Delicious’ of the web to provide these metrics in an easy-to-use, historical view.
Tools to Solve It: PostRank Analytics
#3 – Comparing the Relative Traffic Levels of Multiple Sites
The Problem: We all want to know not only how we’re doing with web traffic, but how it compares to the competition. Free services like Compete.com and Alexa have well-documented accuracy problems and paid services like Hitwise, Comscore & Nielsen cost an arm and a leg (and even then, don’t perform particularly well with sites in the sub-million visits/month range).
Tools to Solve It: Quantcast, Google Trends for Websites
Google Trends for Websites allows you to plug in domains and see traffic levels. Much like AdWords Keyword Tool, the numbers themselves seem to run high, but the comparison often looks much better. Google Trends has become the only traffic estimator I trust – still only as far as I could throw a Google Mini, but better than nothing.
#4 – Seeing Pages the Way Search Engine Do
The Problem: Every engineering & development team builds web pages in unique ways. This is great for making the Internet an innovative place, but it can make for nightmares when optimizing for search engines. As professional SEOs, we need to be able to see pages, whether in development environments or live on the web the same way the engines do.
Tools to Solve It: SEO-Browser, Google Cached Snapshot, New Mozbar
SEO-Browser is a great way to get a quick sense of what the engines can see as they crawl your site’s pages and links. The world of engines may seem a bit drab, but it can also save your hide in the event that you’ve put out code or pages that engines can’t properly parse.
#5 – Identifying Crawl Errors
The Problem: Discovering problems on a site like 302 redirects (that should be 301s), pages that are blocked by robots.txt (here’s why that’s a bad idea), missing title tags, duplicate/similar content, 40x and 50x errors, etc. is a task no human can efficiently perform. We need the help of robots – automated crawlers who can dig through a site, find the issues and notify us.
Tools to Solve It: GSiteCrawler, Xenu, GGWMT
#6 – Determine if Links to Your Site Have Been Lost
The Problem: Sites don’t always do a great job maintaining their pages and links (according to our data,75% of the web disappears in 6 months). Many times, these vanishing pages and links are of great interest to SEOs, who want to know whether their link acquisition and campaigning efforts are being maintained. But how do you confirm if the links to your site that were built last month are still around today?
Tools to Solve It: Virante’s Link Atrophy Diagnosis
#7 – Find 404 Errors on a Site (without GG WM Tools) and Create 301s
The Problem: Google’s Webmaster Tools are great for spotting 404s, but the data can be, at times, unwieldy (as when thousands of pages are 404ing, but only a few of them really matter) and it’s only available if you can get access to the Webmaster Tools account (which can stymie plenty of SEOs in the marketing department or from external consultancies). We need a tool to help spot those important, highly linked-to 404s and turn them into 301s.
Tools to Solve It: Virante’s PageRank Recovery Tool