PageRank was once one of the most popular metrics in search engine optimization. Spammy “SEOs” would advertise links from PR6, PR7, or PR9 domains (nevermind how relevant they were to your industry, whether the links were followed, or whether the site was a link farm) and many unknowing business owners were all-too-pleased to get cheap links from high “authority” sites. Thankfully those days are now long gone, as is the once-ubiquitous PageRank feature previously found in the Google Toolbar. If you’re still relying on PageRank as an SEO, we pity you (and so does Mr. T.)
There are now much more sophisticated and granular tools for SEO, both for determining the authority of a website and for discovering the metrics behind that authority. A new tool came out this week, so we thought it would be a good time to do a roundup of what’s out there.
New SEO Tool by LinkResearchTools
This brand new SEO tool from LinkResearchTools is meant to provide an all-in-one metric (LRT’s Power*Trust) that serves as their version of “A perfect replacement for the Google Toolbar PageRank.” The toolbar is simple and non-invasive, displaying a single “Power*Trust” score that represents the product of their LRT PowerTM and LRT TrustTM scores.
The tool is simple and easy to digest at a glance (as was PageRank,) but perhaps a bit too simplistic. It displays none of the factors that contribute to either the Power or Trust score, raising major questions about what exactly goes into those scores. If you pay for the tool, you’ll get a bit more data, but things still aren’t completely clear.
Another issue with this tool is that its scoring system is not exactly linear. Because the Power*Trust score is determined by multiplying LRT’s Power and Trust scores, there are only 42 possible results (between 1 and 100) that a website can receive and only 11 of those results are above 50. This makes the final score a bit misleading and counterintuitive. As an example, a score of 64 would actually put a site in the 83rd percentile of all domains. A score of 81 would put a website in the 95th percentile. Confused yet? You’re probably not alone.
It might be clearer to look at the Power and Trust numbers separately, which can be more beneficial anyway. If a domain is extremely powerful, but has a low trust score, I still may not want to target the domain.
Those things being said, it’s still nice to have another metric to observe when looking into domains for link-building opportunities or audits. A lot of toolbars just pull in metrics from other services, and don’t bring anything new to the party. It’s nice to see LRT making an attempt to bring something new, and with the amount of data they crunch for their Link Detox and other services, it’s worth looking into.
MozBar SEO Toolbar
As an avid Moz user, I think Moz has done a great job of creating a solid resource for both Moz Pro subscribers and non-Pro’s alike. The MozBar toolbar displays several key metrics at a glance, including Domain Authority and Page Authority (Moz’s proprietary scoring metrics,) a proprietary Spam Score, and social sharing metrics. A click on the toolbar will open a dropdown that displays on-page elements (H-tags, meta info, etc) as well as link metrics and even Schema markup. A few additional metrics are available only to Pro users.
All of this functionality does come at a bit of a price; MozBar is a fairly “heavy” toolbar, meaning it will take some extra time to load pages when using it. Thankfully, they’ve built in a feature that allows you to see domain authority at a glance – a feature they refer to as “DA Mode” – without having to load the entire toolbar. A similar feature exists in the Power*Trust toolbar from LRT. It’s definitely handy to have at a glance!
One other feature that I really enjoy with the MozBar is the detailed SERP listing analysis it provides in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It’s an easy way to see which position your site is ranking in and how it stacks up against competitors in the spots above and below yours. It also provides a keyword difficulty score for the SERP, giving you an easy way to determine how competitive a keyword is. All in all, a great tool for SEO.
SEOquake is one SEO toolbar that’s got a whole lot going on. On the positive side, it’s one of the only other extensions/toolbars I’ve seen that presents snapshot metrics right on the SERP, similar to the MozBar. It also offers a bevy of metrics like keyword density, social sharing, domain age, Alexa rank, and several different link metrics from SEMrush. It can even show a side-by-side comparison of metrics from several different sites.
All of those bright spots notwithstanding, the user interface can use a little work (this is one area where the MozBar really shines.) The UX is a little clunky, too. Finding in-depth metrics from the SEOquake toolbar requires clicking to a separate page, and it’s not immediately clear what each of the metrics presented is referring to. It certainly has its merits, but falls short in several key areas.
Open SEO Stats Toolbar
Another great and very robust option, the Open SEO Stats Toolbar displays dozens of metrics without weighing down your browser speed. This includes factors like Alexa traffic rank, IP address info, a backlink count and the number of pages indexed by different search engines. It also does a quick security check, looks for sitemap/robots.txt, shows social signals, analyzes page speed, and breaks down Title/H-tag/meta information.
Best of all, it gives you access to all of this information without requiring a subscription of any kind and without slowing down your browser. It presents a ton of the information you’d need to run a decent on-site audit all in one place. This may very well be the best SEO toolbar I’ve seen.
The LRT toolbar isn’t as robust as some of the others here, but it doesn’t need to be, since it offers a metric no other place is pulling in. Like Moz, it’s offering a proprietary metric that entices people to use their tool. Because of this, using several toolbars isn’t out of the question. It’s important to see all metrics, because one tool may be picking up something another isn’t, and a discrepancy in the numbers across tools will indicate that.
The SEO landscape is constantly changing, and new tools are emerging all the time to make it easier and easier to perform site audits and keyword research. These are a few we’ve taken a look at. What do you think? Are there any we’ve missed? Let us know with a comment below or by sending us a message on Facebook or Twitter!