The number one rule of business is to always stay one step ahead of your competitors. While that sounds like a nifty catchphrase that’s usually reserved for throwing around in a board room meetings, the world of online marketing has literally changed all the rules. Not only can you instantly evaluate your own website’s effectiveness through solid SEO practices, but today’s brand of online diagnostic tools also allow you to rate your competitor’s strong and weak points as well. This article will take a look at the best SEO diagnostic tools available for small businesses as of September of 2013.

Keyword Spy

keyword spyOne of the most powerful SEO diagnostic tools available to small businesses today is Keyword Spy. Not only can it detect new keywords to help monetize your website, but as the name suggests, it also gives an in-depth review of all of your main competitors as well; even if you do not know who they are. In fact, it allows even novice users the power to research any keyword and to see what websites are currently dominating for that term. Think of this program as Google Analytics on steroids because it delivers all of those tiny details that are usually reserved only for PPC experts and companies that don’t blink an eye at $400 an hour invoices. Take a look at the chart below to get an idea of what this great program can deliver-

site comparison

The above example shows that for the term “SEO”, there is a total search volume of 11.1 million viewers per month and the average cost per click for each of the related keywords. Clicking on one of those terms will give an in-depth breakdown of which companies currently hold the top spots in both paid and organic advertising, and this is but one of the many features that is included in Keyword Spy. It is a fantastic SEO essential that every small business should take advantage of.

Site ComparisonSEOMastering

Site Comparison is one of the many 100% free tools that are available through the website SEOMastering.com. While it does not have the robust versatility like some of the other programs mentioned in this article, Site Comparison does a fantastic job of comparing your businesses website to one of your direct competitors. By entering both websites in their comparison tool, this handy software app will report on the most prevalent keywords, meta-data, outbound links, and dozens of other criteria they can easily help you realize potential income streams that are currently being overlooked. The results tell a lot more than that, however, because it also serves as a great indication of how realistic it would be to overtake your competitors with any given key phrase.

site comparison2

Even though Site Comparison performs only one very specific task, it’s results are comparable to the best paid programs on the market today and it is 100% free to use. While your current SCO diagnostic tools may offer a similar service, you should definitely give this program a try before passing judgment. There’s a reason why serious SEO professionals keep returning to this page and it’s obviously not for the fancy graphics.

Open Site Exploreropen site explorer

Open Site Explorer is another handy SEO diagnostics tool for small businesses since it provides a great overview of your website’s backlink profile. It will also quickly display detailed information about your domains authority rankings, social media comments, the total amount of inbound links and several other pieces of important information that Google considers when they give each of your webpages overall ranking. The nice thing about Open Site Explorer is that it can also be used to track all these metrics on direct competitors as well.

mozOpen Site Explorer is available by MOZ, which is easily one of the most reputable names in the SEO industry. The only drawback to this program suite is that the membership price is $99 per month, which may be outside the budgets of many smaller companies. There is a free 30 day trial to take advantage of before you decide to enroll, and we highly recommend using the evaluation period to determine where your direct competitors are making strides against you.

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