You probably know all of the usual “SEO tools” out there. You use Moz, Ahrefs, or SEMrush on a daily basis already.
But SEO is so big and broad today. There’s technical, analytics, keyword research, on-page, content, link building, social distribution, and so much more.
SEO tools can help you track the basics for reporting like keyword rankings or backlinks built.
However, they’re not as helpful when it comes time to actually delivering the work or managing the campaigns.
The following five tools might not be “SEO tools,” technically speaking. But as soon as you start using them, they’ll become an instrumental part of your day delivering SEO results.
Back in the day, when you wanted to find someone’s email address, you had to go to their website, dig around the footer, About, and Contact pages, and hope for the best.
If you still didn’t find anything, the next step was to use a few workarounds (like Rapportive — now part of LinkedIn’s toolset) to basically guess a ton of permutations on someone’s name until one of them worked.
This process could take ~5-10 minutes per site. Do that for ~100+ sites and you’re looking at another full-time job, or hundreds of bucks for a VA.
Thankfully, those days are long gone. All you have to do now is drop the website URLs into Hunter and it does all the heavy lifting in about 90 seconds.
You can use it as a one-off to find all emails associated with the domain that’s pulled up in your web browser. Or, you can import a list of hundreds of URLs and it will organize all the results for you in a neat little spreadsheet.
You usually get ~3-5 results per site, minimum. So you might still have to do some qualifying to remove certain emails.
But now, you can use a classic SEO tool to export a list of URLs linking to a competitor, for instance. Then, you can turn around and add them to Hunter, and then have a custom outreach list built within minutes.
They’ll even give you different “confidence” levels to show how accurate these emails are, helping you to gauge deliverability when it’s time to start your next campaign.
There is no shortage of outreach tools out there.
But personally, I like working directly in Gmail. It’s just faster and easier.
However, Gmail lacks a lot of critical features to help you figure out where each contact status is at, who contacted them last, or how you should follow up next.
Counterintuitively, I like using a help desk support software because it combines all of these features together under one roof, without overcomplicating your routine.
Freshdesk has a handy Freshdesk Gmail integration that will show everything about each contact directly in each Gmail message. That way, you never have to leave the inbox when following up with each individual.
In this case, the help desk can act like your outreach ‘CRM’ to automatically sync everything for you in one place, so you don’t have to do any manual data entry to create notes for each person.
It just works. And it doesn’t slow or bog down Gmail, either.
Google hasn’t technically confirmed if grammar or misspellings can hurt on-page SEO.
They’ve already famously come down hard on low-quality content with the Panda update. That included everything from thin content to duplicate content and more.
More recently, they took another big whack at many health-related sites, cutting down anything that lacked “expertise, authority, or trustworthiness.”
So I think it’s safe to say that the accuracy of content is a big deal. In that vein, Grammarly provides a triple whammy:
Helping you catch and fix common grammar issues, misspellings, etc.
Double-checking for any duplicate content or potential plagiarism (if you’re hiring others to create content for you)
And also proofing your email outreach templates so simple mistakes don’t tank your response rates
You can use Grammarly’s web or desktop apps. Or, you can go to the Chrome store, find the Grammarly app, and “Add to Chrome.”
Now, Grammarly will be with you wherever you go online, like Gmail when you’re about to hit send on an outreach email. You type out a message, and before hitting send, Grammarly grades your content to make sure it’s clean before heading out the door.
Managing an SEO campaign for one site or client isn’t too bad.
You have ample space to focus, put your head down, and crank out results.
The problem is that most of us don’t have this luxury.
For example, managing five different client accounts can be completely overwhelming. Instead of being able to spend a few uninterrupted hours researching keywords or creating content, you’re dealing with a never-ending stream of emails, Slack messages, phone calls, and colleagues knocking on your cubicle.
That really sucks when you’re sitting inside Gmail, trying to manage outreach campaigns, and clients are interrupting you just as fast as you can send things out on their behalf.
Fortunately, FocusMe has this awesome feature that I haven’t seen anywhere else. You can add your Gmail link to their list of sites to temporarily block.
That means when you turn it on to go “heads down,” no incoming Gmail messages will be allowed through, even if you login and send stuff out.
So you can run campaigns like normal, or check for status updates on pre-existing stuff, without having to worry about receiving incoming mail that will knock you off track.
Working with multiple clients usually results in you having multiple accounts for most major sites on the internet.
Creating separate accounts can often be the easiest way to segment responsibilities or protect sensitive information. However, it’s also a complete nightmare to remember and manage if you’re having to log in and out of every site as you switch gears.
There are many awesome password managers out there like 1Password or Dashlane, but I like LastPass because of how the shared folders work.
You can create shared folders for each client you manage. Then, you can control the login credentials for each and make them “read only” for any contractors or team members you add to that folder.
This way, you can generate secure passwords for each site, save them, and then also hide them from others on your team. They can still login when they need to, but they can’t mess with your client’s security, accidentally reset the password, or even leave it somewhere open like a Slack channel.
You have enough things to worry about when juggling multiple SEO campaigns. Constantly reminding your people how to login, or more importantly, risking client security, should not be one of them.
SEO tools are excellent for monitoring and reporting.
They’re not as good, though, for actually running the day-to-day projects and campaigns.
For that, you need tools that more resemble productivity ones. You need to get ten times the output from a tool that you normally would. Or, it needs to help you accomplish something ten times faster and cheaper.
Hunter, Freshdesk, Grammarly, FocusMe, and LastPass would never be considered strictly “SEO tools.”
But when it comes down to managing different clients, projects, campaigns, contractors, and other team members, they almost become an indispensable part of your day.