Search Engine Optimization Tools For Blogs – Part 1

SEO is much more than just meta data. It's a combination of things you do on each web page you have, how you structure your site, how fast it loads, and many other factors. Ensuring you're hitting all of these points can be a labor intensive process. With the right search engine optimization tools it can be much easier.

This post is going to be a two parter as there's a lot to cover. Today we're going to look at keyword research and on-site optimization tools. Let's take a look at each of these, along with an example of how to use them. For each example click the picture to see it full size.

Sadly many people are currently in debt. Let's do some research on that and see if we can help those folks out.

First up, keyword research.

Keyword Research

This is where it all begins. But here's the catch – the terminology you use might not be the same for your customers. So before digging in with the following tools, be sure to catch up on the words your customers use. A few really good sources are niche forums, magazines, and newsletter.

Once you're ready to dig in, these will help.

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is a free tool that provides a wealth of information, and is the place to start all of your research. Enter in a word or phrase and you'll get back the level of competition for that term, global monthly searches, local monthly searches, and the search trends. If you're planning on using AdWords, you can also find out the estimated average cost per click, which tells you how much money you can expect to spend, and how much your competition is spending.

With a free Google AdWords account you can get up to 800 results which you can export to a CSV or other formats. Without the account, you get a mere 300.

The search here is for the term “become debt free.” The results tell us that this phrase has very high competition, 1,600 global monthly searches, and 1000 local searches. In this case local means the United States.

I'm happy to see that according to the trends, the number of searches for this phrase went down in November. I wonder how it is after the Christmas holiday…

Google AdWords Keyword Tool Example

Google AdWords Keyword Tool Example

Trellian's Keyword Discovery

For something with a little more punch, there's Trellian's Keyword Discovery. This is many tools in one, including research, competitive intelligence, keyword trends, tons of keyword tools, and more. For now we'll just use their research module. When using this module, Trellian uses data compiled from multiple search engines to show us the frequency of a search term along with it's most popular variations.

Trellian's Keyword Discovery Free Example

Trellian's Keyword Discovery Free Example

By default, I am using their Global Premium directory, but if you want you can target specific engines including Google, eBay, Yahoo!, and others. Here's an example from Google.

Trellian's Keyword Discovery Google Example

Trellian's Keyword Discovery Google Example


I've seen Wordtracker recommended many places, and it's both a great research tool and resource. They have paid and free options available. I'll show what you get for free.

Not many results here, but we do see the number of searches for our keyword phrase, along with two alternatives.

Wordtracker Free Example

Wordtracker Free Example

I signed up for the 7 day trial so I could see what you get when you give them you're money. Here's what that looks like.

Wordtracker Paid Example

Wordtracker Paid Example

Wordtracker gives us 4 pieces of information: the number of searches for the keyword (searches), the number of pages where the keyword appears in both the title tag and anchor text of a backlink (competition), the keyword effectiveness index (KEI), and KEI3, which is a comination of a keyword's popularity with it's level of competition.

Market Samurai

For the most bang for your buck in one easy-to-use tool I highly recommend Market Samurai. I've been using this for months and months and love it. Market Samurai is a $149 desktop app that runs on Mac and PC, with these modules:

  • Keyword Research – find additional relevant keywords and all the stats
  • Rank Tracker – monitor multiple sites and webpages across all major search engines
  • SEO Competition – analyze the SEO competition around the top 10 webpages
  • Domains – help finding keyword optimized domains)
  • Monetization – find out how to turn traffic into dollars
  • Find Content – find keyword relevant articles
  • Publish Content – publish content to your site and others
  • Promotion – building backlinks
  • AdWords (coming soon)

Here's a pic of all the stats you can get in the Keyword Research module. I've turned on everything do you get a feel for the wealth of information it delivers.

Market Samurai Example

Market Samurai Example

I've been using the keyword research, rank tracker, and seo competition modules a lot. The others I haven't used, but I imagine a lot of affiliate marketers are. Either way, for $149, you can't beat it as this will save you huge amounts of time. And they offer a free trial to help with your decision.

On-Site Tools For WordPress

Once you know the keywords you want to target, you want to write keyword rich content that brings in the traffic. I use WordPress for everything and hope you do too. Here's 4 free plugins that will help make your blog SEO much easier.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

I was using the All In One SEO Pack until a friend recommended WordPress SEO by Yoast. This plugin goes well beyond allowing the managing of meta-data like titles, description and keywords. What's real bad ass about this plugin is it will show you how your post will look on Google, and help ensure that your target keyword is in all the right places.

Here's a shot from my post – Want To Know How To Really Do Blog SEO?

WordPress SEO by Yoast Example

WordPress SEO by Yoast Example

It also has tons of advanced options like finding related keywords, meta robots control, and sitemap prioritization. This is badassery manifest, and it's unreal that you get this for free.


Google likes speed, and this plugin helps deliver by minifying all of your javascript and css files, compressing them, adding expire headers, caching them, and then moving styles to the head and scripts to the footer. In other words, autoptimize makes your web pages much lighter, which decreases load time. In plain English, it helps me see your pages faster.

This is a free plugin and a must-have.

Headline Split Tester

Without a great headline, no one will read your posts, or link to them. But how do you know what works? Test two and see which gets more clicks. Make it easy with the free headline split tester plugin.

W3 Total Cache

Speed is so important, not just for SEO, but to keep people on your site. The W3 Total Cache is a free plugin that helps with that. Without getting too technical, what this does is cache your content on many levels, making pages load super fast. Also, it has built in content delivery network (CDN) support, so visitors from all parts of the world will be able to see your pages in record time.

That's It For Today. Any Questions?

That's it for today. Tomorrow we're going to look at off-site tools, speed tests, and measurement.

Do you have any questions about what was covered here?


  1. Among all great and highly effective tools described here I would give a preference to Market Samurai. It is a very convenient and very popular SEO program that includes all the necessary tools for a blogger. Honestly, I use it myself and become their affiliate member to sell the product from my own website! Great solution for an online entrepreneur, highly recommended! Thanks.

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Hi Terje – I think Market Samurai, generally speaking, is a great tool. I think one has to take the numbers it produces in some context though, and not go purely off them alone. But when it comes to SEO Competition and rank tracking, MS is like the Swiss Army Knife of IM tools.

  2. This is great post for those wondering which tools or plugins are worth using or investing in.


    Patrick Simpson

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Hi Patrick thanks for stopping by. There’s a lot of stuff out there and it’s really a matter of choice as to investment. These are the ones I’ve found most effective and the most often recommended as well. They work great.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I’m one of those people who wouldn’t use a plugin until I see a good review on it. I’m going to give WordPress SEO by Yoast and Autoptimize a try. Can W3 Total Cache and Autoptimize be used together?

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Hi Janet thanks for your comment. W3 Total Cache and Autoptimize can definitely be used together. I’m doing it here and on my freelancer site. So far so good.

      Makes me think I should do a post showing my settings for both of these. Would that be helpful?

  4. I am not so adventurous but I like what Yoast’s SEO plugin brings to the table, I will wait for it to get out of beta first but it seems pretty slick.

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      I’m using it on two blogs and so far it’s working without issue. One thing I like is when moving from the All In One SEO plugin I could choose to delete the old data after import. I found out though that it didn’t grab all of the keywords I had entered in (after deleting the data of course). So what I did was go back to all of the most popular posts on the site and redo the keywords. It was a much needed SEO update anyhow, as some of my pages completely lacked keywords and a good description.

  5. Thanks for sharing.

    I have seen Trellian and wordtracker advertised but I have never played with them.

    Market Samurai is also advertised everywhere, but is an example of people advertising because it is such a good product that it is hard not to “get behind it”

    I have been using it for almost a year now and I simply love it. It is labeled as being an “SEO” thing, but it is really so much more…as you pointed out. I wholeheartedly recommend anyone go to the “dojo” and check out the videos there. Not only are they solid SEO videos in general (specifically in niche marketing) but they show some of the awesome potential.

    As for wordpress and the apps…no doubt about it…all awesome!

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Thanks for stopping by Steve. I just enjoyed another post on your site.

      The Market Samurai Dojo is definitely a great place to learn how to do keyword research that’s also applicable to blogging as well as niche sites. Even thought the tool is aimed at affiliate marketers, it can really be used for any site or blog.

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