The other day I had to setup a new laptop and while doing so, obviously one of the installations I did was Firefox which I’m using heavily for some years now. So, the installation finished and I double-clicked the desktop-icon for the first time. Holy… that was fast (almost unbelievable that Firefox boots *that* fast!) but the second thought I had was something like “hmm… why does it look so naked and where are all the useful icons?” and all of a sudden I realized how much I got used to having plug-ins installed to perform the various online marketing tasks day in and day out.
Inspired by the post Top-10 FREE SEO Tools where Sam Murray mainly talks about the most useful tools out there and since I had to re-install and configure my setup anyways I compiled a top-10 list with the most useful SEO plug-ins – here we go:
I guess everyone does know this one by now? If not let me assure you, you’ll definitely love this one! SearchStatus by Craig Raw has three main purposes: Visualizing data (PageRank, mozRank, Alexa.com and Compete.com) within the status bar. Providing quick access to domain internal resources like the robots.txt and XML sitemap files as well as enabling one-click access to external data like archive.org, whois-search and link data information (using Yahoo! Site Explorer).
2/ See Robots
Tired of having to look up the source code when verifying Meta Robots Tags or X-Robots header information? This plug-in does solve all your problems! SeeRobots displays Meta Tag data within the browsers toolbar and even the X-Robots header data is just a single click away – really recommended if you do a lot of one page work or a lot of link deals.
3 + 4/ Web Developer Toolbar & User-Agent Switcher
There is also “an add-on for this add-on” which enables one-click functionality for changing the user-agent, especially useful if you want to access a site as Googlebot or another search engine crawler.
5 + 6/ Firebug & YSlow!
Sam already wrote about Firebug in his post (and I agree, it’s pretty awesome to be able to inspect HTML and modify style and layout in real-time) but since you probably already have this one installed I want to talk a little bit about YSlow! released by no one other than Yahoo! themselves: The main focus of YSlow! is debugging performance data and providing handy optimization tips to make a website faster. The current version does check for 23 different parameters such as the number of HTTP requests (for JS, CSS, etc.), cache settings (ETags, expires header, cachable files), Cookies, AJAX requests and much more – you should really give it a try!
7/ Live HTTP Headers
If you do some more technical SEO you’ll probably have the need to check for the server headers being set. Especially redirects and 404 are common things I do have to look up quite often. And since I do like to have everything at one place (as you might have noticed up till now…) I really like using the Live HTTP headers extension. The main purpose of this plug-in is to display HTTP headers in real time (while pages are being downloaded) and also letting you edit those request headers.
8/ Ref Control
As you might have guessed this plug-in does some stuff with the browsers referrer Basically this plug-in allows you to do three things: 1. See (and copy) the referrer when accessing a specific website, 2. Block sending the referrer for a specific site and 3. Overwrite the referrer for a site. Very handy, especially when you need to debug tracking or affiliate integration issues.
9/ Word Count Plus
Tired of doing a task like: Copy a specific text block, start-up MS word, paste the text, switch to the review tab and press the word count button? Yeah, I hear you! Just install this one, mark the text and press the icon – the plug-in does display word and character count.
10/ SEOmoz Toolbar
SEOmoz also does provide a nice set of tools – but not (as most of the plug-ins do) within the status bar but as a separate toolbar (personally I don’t like having too many of those installed…). Of course their main focus is to provide quick access to their very own toolset like OpenSiteExplorer, Trifecta, Top Pages tool, etc. – but also combining it with some functionality SearchStatus and Web Developer Toolbar provide. Especially if you’re an SEOmoz Pro member that might be your tool of choice since it really provides one-click access to a lot of information at once. Especially interesting because you also do have LinkScape link-data available.
Bonus 1/ Sistrix Toolbar
If you’re working within the German speaking markets you should also have a look at the Sistrix browser extension. Similar to SearchStatus it displays the visibility rank (“Sichtbarkeitsindex”) within the browsers status bar.
Bonus 2/ Screengrab!
Not so much an SEO extension – but whenever you need a part of a website (or the full page) dumped into a screenshot (PNG or JPG), Screengrab! can help you out.
And that’s it for my personal top-10. I know I did not mention SEO Quake as well as the SEObook.com Toolbar – that’s because they have already been covered here.
One thing you should keep in mind though: The more stuff you install, the slower your Firefox get’s – and it’s not too rare that my browser eats up some gigabytes of memory. So you probably don’t need to have two or three toolbars installed – however, I can’t and don’t want to live without a good setup because it makes daily work so much more efficient. What about you, something I forgot or should know about? Tell me in the comments!