Sunday Morning SEO: Using The SEO Toolbar to Evaluate a Site’s Authority
The SEO Toolbar is easily one of my favorite tools. Franky makes a great point that the best SEO tip is simply create great content. But once you’re creating quality posts on a regular basis, you can boost your rankings by intentionally getting links from authoritative sites. This tactic is especially useful for blogs that don’t have a lot of traffic and subscribers. These blogs can get stuck with poor rankings because they don’t have the big audience that generates natural links.
The SEO Toolbar allows you to quickly tell how much link authority a site has. The more link authority, the more benefit you’ll get from their link.
To use this tool, you’ll first have to download the free Firefox browser since it’s a Firefox add-on. (Firefox should be your browser anyways. It’s more stable and secure than IE and it doesn’t have the privacy issue of Google’s Chrome.)
After you install the program, you’ll see the toolbar at the top of Firefox. Every time you surf to a new new page, you get SEO stats for the page and domain you’re visiting.
For example, here’s a screenshot of the toolbar when I visited the BloggingPro homepage.
There’s a lot of info and I don’t want to make this too complicated, so I’ll just hit the basics. If you want to learn more about the tool, feel free to leave a comment.
The main things to look at are the following:
PageRank is one of Google’s metrics to determine their rankings. It used to be more important but Google gave it less weight by adding more factors to their algorithm. Still, the top sites typically have better PageRank than the average site.
2. Links to the domain (based on Yahoo)
Sites that have a lot of backlinks are usually great sites to get links from. You can click the stat to see the specific links on Yahoo.
2a. Links to the page (based on Yahoo)
You normally won’t need to look at this unless you think you can get a link on a specific page. This stat shows you how many links are pointing to the page. Again, you can click the stat to see the specific links.
Also, you can check this stat on your own posts to see if they’re getting links.
3. Links from unique domains (from Majestic SEO)
This stat is based on the number of unique domains linking to the site. I like this metric because some sites especially blogs have inflated link counts. They have a lot of links because they are on sitewide blogrolls. But Google gives more weight to sites with links from many different domains.
So for instance, two sites have 100 links. Site A’s links come from 50 domains whereas Site B’s links come from 5 domains. Site A will usually have more authority.
Google loves links from old sites. The older, the better.
5. Traffic from popular keywords (from SEMRush)
SEMRush has a database of rankings for 40 million popular keywords. They use the database to estimate how much traffic a site is getting from Google. A high traffic number means that Google trusts the site, so it’s good to get a link from them.