Search engine optimization (SEO), the process of optimizing a web page to improve its visibility in search engines, can seem like a pretty complicated business. There are many small web page errors that can damage a site’s chances of appearing as high up in the search results as possible. That’s where SEO Doctor, a free add-on for Firefox, can help. It has an easy-to-understand scoring mechanism to help you find potential SEO problems on your pages and also provide recommendations on to how to fix them, making it especially useful for beginners.
Once installed, SEO Doctor appears in the browser status bar, providing at-a-glance statistics for each page that you visit. There’s a flag indicating whether there are any problems on the page (green means OK, yellow means non-critical problems exist, while red means there are critical problems). The page is also given a score (marked out of 100) on how search engine friendly it is, based on the information in the Google Webmaster Guidelines. If you’d like more detail, you can click on the score and pop up a window with more information. Here’s SEO Doctor’s verdict on WebWorkerDaily, for example:
As you can see, WWD scored a creditable 91/100, but lost some marks for having too many links, taking too long to load, and a missing meta description. You can click the arrow next to any item to get a description of what it is and how it should be used. It’s a really simple and quick way to get an idea of whether there are any SEO problems on a site, and how to fix them.
Other than the scoring, SEO Doctor can also provides some other stats and links to other analytical services that are probably more useful to more experienced SEO practitioners. You can get information such as the number of visitors to the page each day compared to the number of search engine visitors (this data is from Compete.com and requires a free API key), the number of external links compared to the total number of links on the page, and the page rank flow of the page. The add-on can also highlight “nofollow” links on the page, and export a report on the page to a CSV file for further analysis.
You can download SEO Doctor from the Mozilla Add-ons site, and there’s a page with more information and instructions here. Note that although it has been updated to work with Firefox 4 beta 4, it doesn’t yet work with the latest beta.
What SEO tools would you recommend to beginners?
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