Every man and his dog has created a comprehensive list of top SEO tools. So here at Reef we’ve taken a strong decision: to create a comprehensive list of top SEO tools.

But instead of focusing on the usual suspects – the Open Site Explorers, the Developer Toolbars etc. – we’ve decided to share some of the web’s more unusual digital gems – to help you improve your SEO and all-round online marketing.

So, without further waffling, here are four of our favourites – and most of them are free.

1. Social Crawlytics

We don’t need go into any detail about why content’s important these days (or why it hasn’t always been so) but it’s pretty crucial for anyone in SEO or digital marketing in 2014 to have a good grasp of what content works and what content doesn’t – and tools can help to tighten that grasp.

Enter Social Crawlytics then: an excellent and absolutely free tool that allows the intrepid digital marketer to crawl other websites to quickly determine what content has been most shared from those websites – providing efficient insights into what content has worked before.

What it looks like:

Here’s some of the information provided around Reef’s most popular content – but the interface also includes lots of other nice charts and most of the data can be exported to CSV.

Social Crawlytics

Useful for:

  • Planning and researching content as part of content marketing and SEO campaigns.
  • Competitor analysis

Link:

https://socialcrawlytics.com

Note: thanks to our friend Phil Ohren for originally alerting us to this little treasure.

2. Competitor Link Finder

Here at Reef, we don’t worship Rand Fishkin’s bearded features. But the ubiquitous Moz does admittedly have its moments  – especially when it comes to SEO tools and tracking.

Moz’s standard SEO tools are decent, and known by many, but we find the best tool in the toolset to be the Competitive Link Finder, which is for some reason hidden away on a separate URL, not publicized at all, and only known to the most vigilant digital marketers.

The premise of the tool is quite simple. Enter up to five competitor sites and the tool will report pages that link to two or more competitors but not your target website – thus identifying sites that are probably worth approaching for a link.

It’s a really practical and useful function and regularly helps identify actionable linking opportunities.

What it looks like:

Here’s a screenshot of the tool doing its good work in the potato snacks sector – where it has uncovered sites that link to Doritos and Lays but not Pringles, the first two of these linking sites are shown:

Competitive

Pringles, you should get yourself on the Dmoz directory.

Link:

https://moz.com/labs/link-finder

Note that this tool isn’t quite free – a subscription to Moz’s toolset is needed but the tool doesn’t cost any extra cash.

3. Bing’s Linkfromdomain operator

Bing hasn’t really taken off. But it is useful for some things – if not for finding things online. And one of the things it’s useful for is getting a list of domains that a given site’s linking-out to.

This premise is the opposite of that offered by the laymen-link-explorers: Ahrefs, Cognitive SEO etc., which focus on links coming into a domain. And the advantages are different too – looking at a list of links from (rather than to) a website provides some unique insights into the type of content that other brands like – rather than attract.

What it looks like:

Here’s how Bing reports the site we’re linking out to – note the syntax that needs to be used, which is ‘linkfromdomain:URL (minus the HTTP)’

Linkfromdomain by Bing

Anyone looking to get a link from us can already see that we like moustaches, banks and SEO tools – so should try and approach us with some content that combines all of the above (please leave suggestions in the comments).

Useful for:

  • Research before trying to promote content to other domains or people.

Link:

www.bing.com

4. Netpeak Checker

The convergence of digital marketing has confounded the world of SEO – leading to awkward questions like: What exactly is SEO? Where does SEO stop and content marketing start? Are they one and the same? Etcetera.

We’re not going to answer these questions here but we can say that the process of Influencer research is now no stranger to SEO.

The process itself can be fiddly though, involving either manually going through a load of websites to get metrics of influence like PageRank, or the installation of a motley-mix of Excel or Gmail plugins to do the same.

Netpeak checker is a nice and free tool that allows you to upload websites, and then all the hassle is taking out of getting those tasty metrics of influence that look so nice in client documents.

Useful for:

  • Mass analysis of the main SEO parameters of the pages/websites
  • Competitor analysis and comparison
  • Exporting influencer data to Excel

What it looks like:

The interface is shown below (click on the image to see a bit more detail):

Netpeak Checker

Link:

http://netpeak.us/soft/netpeak-checker/

That’s the obligatory list of SEO tools, done, dusted and hopefully distinguished.

Any hidden tools of your own that we’ve missed?

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