TopRank Online Marketing
Lee Odden

Free Tools for Social Media Optimization

By Lee Odden     Online Marketing, SEO, Social Media

Plenty of bloggers are talking about the inevitable intersection of social media marketing and search engine optimization. Heck, we’ve been blogging about SMO since 2006! Keyword optimized social content and channels of promotion provide abundant signals to search engines for improved visibility on standard, social and real-time search.

The changing nature of social media marketing and optimization create the need for tools whether for research, marketing and promotion or analytics. Here are  social media and SEO tools you might find useful:

Below are screen shots of each tool with a more detailed description of how you might use them.

HowSociable is a useful tool to quickly gauge the social presence of a particular keyword or brand name. Agencies like TopRank Marketing will use this kind of tool (customized) to take snapshots of customer social presence metrics for social media optimization programs. For each social site polled, you can clickthrough to see specific mentions.  This is a characteristic of more advanced social media monitoring tools, but for those that want a quick glimpse, HowSocialble is easy to use and the price is right, just like these free social media monitoring tools. However, if you want more comprehensive brand search and monitoring, then a paid social media measurement tool is worth the investment.

KnowEm is both a free and a paid service that will help you easily and quickly check whether your brand terms or other keywords have been registered as social profiles on a wide variety of social media web sites. Everything from blogging platforms to social news and bookmarking services are included. If you don’t want to complete all those profiles yourself, you can pay knowem to do it for you.  Companies invest a lot in building their brand, so this tool is helpful both for creating off site promotion channels as well as guarding against brand name squatters.

Social Media for Firefox is the only browser addon in our list and can be a handy tool to identify upcoming news items that are gaining popularity on certain social news and bookmarking services. A big part of building a more influential user profile is to be a consistent source of submissions for articles that become popular. This addon helps identify articles that are becoming popular on services like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon giving you a heads up to submit to other services.  The logic is that if a news item becomes popular on one service it has a good chance of becoming popular on others.  Relevance, timing and focus are key as is patience for this kind of tactic.

SEMRush is an interesting tool for identifying the keyword visibility, both organic and PPC, on Google for pretty much any domain name you might be curious about. Your own or competitors for example. A common question for marketers is, “What are my competitors optimizing for?”. This tool helps uncover that insight and in combination with other standard and social keyword research, can be very helpful insight in a social media optimization program.

Google Insights for Search is a handy tool to research trends in popularity of various keywords on their own or in combination.  Filters for search type, geographic location, industry or topical category and timeframe allow you to refine some pretty useful information about what’s in demand.

Eric Miraglia ‘s Inlink Analyzer is a back link analysis tool based on Yahoo’s Site Explorer that not only counts and displays source links to a particular URL, but it also shows if the source links were bookmarked on Delicious and what keyword tags were used. This kind of insight can be quite useful for understanding the relationship between social keywords and link popularity. It would be nice if there was a CSV export option.

Majestic SEO is easily one of the most powerful and useful link analysis tools available. There is a free version that gives you link acquisition counts over time and if you are a site owner, you can get full reporting for your site once you validate it.  If you use the paid service, you can get the juicy link details on your competition.  This tools is useful for finding high impact links for standard SEO but it’s also useful for finding out which social media sites your site or competitors’ site are getting  the most links from.  Also, which of your own social destinations (blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc) are getting inbound links and from where.

SocialMention is a free real time and social search tool that offers an array of search options (just blogs, just forums, just bookmarks or all) and output in the search results. You can get an indication of basic sentiment and the top social keywords associated with your query. As a free service, you don’t setup an account and save your search results, but you can easily download them into a spreadsheet. This is probably one of the most useful, free social search tools online.

Bit.ly URL shortening is very handy since they’re included as a default service on Twitter and many other Twitter applications. Bit.ly is rock solid reliable with uptime, which is pretty critical when you’re relying on their URL redirect to send traffic to whatever it is you’re promoting. You can also get basic statistics for each URL that your shorten to show how productive the site is where it was shared.  In today’s succinct social web with Twitter, status updates and micro-content, being able to conserve space with a reliable URL shortener is very helpful. Stats on top of that make this a “go to” URL shortening service.

PostRank offers a nice measure of engagement at the individual document level and if you pay attention, you can get that data on any web site in their database, not just your own. You can easily see what content on your competitors blogs are getting popular and where.  If you sign up for the PostRank Analytics service, you can incorporate Google Analytics data with social engagement metrics. These are essential comparisons in a social media optimization program and can help you understand where to plan your time on the social web.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SEO and Social Media Marketing tools. What low cost or free tools have you found to be effective for social media optimization tasks?


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