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Five free Chrome extensions for SEO practitioners
Columnist Brian Harnish details 5 free Chrome extensions he uses on a regular basis, for SEO tasks ranging from screen shots to checking links to content analysis.
Did you know that you can increase your SEO task efficiency by using extensions in Google Chrome? If you perform most of your SEO tasks manually, these extensions can help reduce the headache of repetitive tasks and help you make your work day run more smoothly.
Following are five free Chrome extensions I use on a daily basis to help increase productivity. From screen shots to checking links to content analysis, it’s all here!
1. Nimbus Screenshot and Screencast
As the name suggests, Nimbus is a handy screen shot and screencast tool. This tool is handy for capturing and annotating screen shots, which can help when putting together a report for a client, convincing a client to take a particular step or showing them errors we are seeing on our end (that they may not be seeing on theirs). You can make annotations right within Nimbus: arrows, text, image blurring for sensitive materials — it is possible to do all that with this tool.
In addition, you can use Nimbus to create videos. Say you wanted to create a video that shows the client a particularly detailed SEO concept without having to resort to a webcam or webinar session. This extension provides the perfect way to do it, right from your browser. You can also create video demonstrations of SEO tactics or concepts to incorporate into conference slide decks and enhance your presentations.
Nimbus Screenshot differentiates itself from similar tools in that you can take full-page screen shots. I have found it necessary to take full-page screen shots throughout my SEO work, so I recommend having at least one tool that performs this function.
2. Check My Links
Check My Links is a great Chrome extension that makes checking on-page links much easier and more efficient. With just a few clicks, it is possible to identify how many links there are on a page, not to mention which ones are working properly and which are returning 404 errors.
This tool is most helpful for identifying broken links — both on your own website and others. The latter can come in handy for SEOs using the “broken link building” tactic, wherein you find relevant pages linking to resources that no longer exist, create a new resource for them to link to and reach out in the hopes of getting a link to your content.
3. Word Count
Are you performing an SEO audit in which word count can be a critical component of that audit? Using the Word Count extension, you can perform a quick, high-level overview of word count on certain webpages.
Doing this quickly can help you find quick SEO wins and low-hanging fruit if you need to put your skills on the line to win the client. Having this extension in the browser sure beats having to copy/paste a paragraph or two into Word and perform the word count there.
4. Open Multiple URLs
Open Multiple URLs is one of those extensions that truly beautifies your workflow. It is also a great way to help speed up those processes during link remediation — you know, where you have to open hundreds of URLs at once. When you open the extension and load the tabs with URLs, you can use keyboard shortcuts to speedily move through every window (Ctrl + Tab moves forward, and Ctrl + Shift + Tab moves back through the previous tabs you were on).
Please note: I recommend checking the box for the “load URL only when the tab loads” option that shows up when you open up the extension. The reason for this is that some hosts (not all, but hosts like Cloudflare, for example) will see activity from a single IP visiting all of its related sites as spammy, and you could end up being banned from their website networks if you are not sure what you are doing.
The reason I bring this up is that some large-scale spammers use hosts like Cloudflare now in order to host their sites and build link networks for their own spammy reasons.
It is my suggestion to use a highly customized proxy machine in order to use this extension, so that you can avoid detection from these other networks. Failing that, using a VPN and an IP switcher to hide your tracks can help you avoid detection and other issues.
At the minimum, before doing anything, especially if you are unsure how to do this, I suggest consulting a tech friend you know is able to do all of this and more just to make sure you are doing everything correctly. While the odds are slim that you will be banned from a major (or your favorite) website, it never hurts to be proactive and take care of these things ahead of time.
5. User-Agent Switcher for Google Chrome
User-Agent Switcher allows you to view how your website looks in different web browsers and on different devices, which can be helpful when troubleshooting website and SEO errors that you might not normally see.
For example, say you needed to take screen shots of Google rankings on a mobile device vs. Google rankings on a desktop device. This extension lets you perform that task right on your desktop, without having to fumble clumsily through your mobile and tablet devices to send the screen shots to yourself manually.
Or, say you needed to take a quick screen shot on your desktop of an SEO issue that is visible on your mobile device but not visible on your desktop. This extension allows you to switch to that mobile user agent while on your desktop, and then you can use a program like Nimbus Screenshot to take the full screen shot.
All of this is being accomplished without leaving the safe confines of your desktop! Pretty sweet, eh?
Increase productivity, efficiency, and become an SEO wizard
By using these extensions, it is possible to increase your SEO efficiencies dramatically and take hours of work out of your day as a result. I highly recommend experimenting with them and working through different tasks that you normally perform manually otherwise. By doing this, you can help increase your SEO efficiencies exponentially and make your day go by much faster.
Do you see something you do every day that is not addressed by these (or other programs existing on the market)? It may be worth it to think about how you spend your day and figure out how to automate these tasks and how you would automate such tasks using a custom solution.
You don’t have to be a programmer to have a program made. Use your own ingenuity and think through the problem, then find a programmer you trust to code that solution. Your next solution could just be the next SEO sensation.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.