Equip Your Firefox for an SEO Adventure

I take a swing at the cloaking dragon with my Firefox +3
Sigh. I miss those days in my glorious youth when I used to battle dragons and demons. Leaping over ravines of burning lava to reach the treasure in the dungeons of some dark and dreary castle. Casting spells to thwart any who stood in my way - fireballs and incantations. Yes indeedy, those were the days of Dungeons & Dragons. I admit it, I used to be a role-player in my youth (although in truth I was always more of a white wolf fan than D&D). But that was before I discovered girls... and that was before I discovered the internet ;-) (as usual, all fanmail to the same address please!)

So instead, these days rather than slaying dragons and busting ogres with fireballs I’m chasing links for my sites, optimising content, engaging in social media and all the things an SEO ninja does day in day out. But just like back in the day when I’d pimp out my magic sword with all the most powerful spells and enchantments I could find, these days I like to pimp out my firefox with all the seo ninja tools I can find.

So here’s a list of the firefox extensions and hacks I have installed to make doing SEO online as optimised as possible:

Google Toolbar - Although pagerank is dead (it’s at the very least on it’s last legs) the google toolbar has a bunch of nifty features. The only one I use on a regular basis however (and the only one useful for SEO) is the pagerank toolbar - not for the little green pagerank bar but for the cached page link. Hitting the Google cache of a page can be fantastically useful.

Google Global - This one from Red Fly is very useful given we’re based in the UK. In fact, for anyone outside of the US this is an essential plugin. It allows you to search any regional Google as if you were from that country. So for example, you can search Google.com and pretend you’re in the US, or Google.ie as if you are in Ireland. Useful stuff. (Note: all it does is append “&gl=US” (with relevant country code) into the Google search string in the relevant Google site. I would imagine this doesn’t return 100% results as if you were searching with an IP address from that country since Google’s geolocation results are a bit skewif but it’s certainly a useful tool and gives a useful indication of foreign rankings)

Search Status - This is the stormtrooper utility belt of SEO tools if ever there was one. All manner of useful tools and stats rolled into one handy plugin. The main benefits of this one (although it has many) for me are the easy links to see link information in Yahoo/Msn/Google with one click and also it’s the best (and most reliable) no-follow highlighter that I’ve used. It also has handy links to view the robots.txt of a site and meta tags and all sorts. Recommended!

User Agent Switcher - Does what it says on the tin - it allows you to switch your browser agent. The basic install only allows a few different options which is why the updated list is recommended from here. The updated list allows you to change your user agent to be Googlebot for example - useful for detecting fancy cloaking (although I’ve never actually used it for that myself so I’m not sure how reliably it functions as a black-hat catcher)

Web Developers Toolbar - Although as the title suggests this is mainly of use for web developers it has plenty of value for SEOers too such as quickly turning off Javascript or highlighting all the headers on the page. It takes a little work to get used to it (and it takes up real estate on the screen) but worth it in the end.

SEO for Firefox - Another multi-use tool this one. The main reason I use this plugin is for the nifty data it pulls into a google search. Just google your keyword in question and it’ll pull up next to each result information on inbound links, age of domain etc etc. Also very easy to turn on and off so doesn’t get in my way when I don’t have my SEO hat on :-)

Social Media for Firefox - For anyone playing in the social media scene this is a must-have. It allows you to see instantly how a web page is doing across the different social media sites. It also allows you to see how a page of topics on Digg or Reddit is performing at a glance. Much like the SEO for firefox plugin, only for social media.

Live HTTP Headers - Ever needed to check if those 301’s were actually 301s? Or ever wondered exactly what chain of URLs you get taken through when clicking on a tracking link? This is the tool for you. It lets you analyse your browser footprint to see where you’ve been and what header codes you’ve passed through. Pretty handy.

Sites On This IP - Ok, so this isn’t a plugin it’s just a bookmark but I find it fantastically useful for finding alternative domains for websites and finding out which other sites are registered to that IP address. Just drag this onto your bookmarks toolbar then browse to your site and click the link.

Anyone else got any plugins or extensions they’d like to share? People keep talking about greasemonkey - is it everything it’s cracked up to be?

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9 Comments

  1. Greasemonkey is supposed to rock, but every time I look at it, I think it's going to be a huge amount of my life dragged into playing with it and seeing what it can do...

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  2. Great list, and great timing. I was trying to remember what I needed to re-install after those £(*&@£ stole my mac :-(

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  3. W: That's my worry with greasemonkey - that I'll spend all my time 'optimising' my browsing experience and not actually getting any browsing done.. There's a lot of uses for greasemonkey playing poker online though so might have to succumb eventually.

    D: No probs - I think I remember somewhere reading about how you can back up your firefox settings to an online place (so you can take your firefox extensions with you whereever you go) but can't remember where now...

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  4. We shouldn't turn this into what would be far better suited to a skype conversation but 2 things sprung to mind..

    1) Backup, schmackup.... (joking apart I think it was only the firefox settings that weren't backed up)

    2) You managed to write "poker online" without linking anywhere.. What kind of SEO are you?

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  5. D - firstly since it's in the comments the link would be nofollowed and also - the site isn't live yet! Expect more poker (semi) related posts once it's live ;-)

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  6. Equip Your Firefox for an SEO Adventure...

    Google Toolbar - Although pagerank is dead (it’s at the very least on it’s last legs) the google toolbar has a bunch of nifty features. The only one I use on a regular basis however (and the only one useful for SEO) is the pagerank ..%...

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  7. Greasemonkey works well, especially with Joost's and DaveN's scripts:

    http://www.davidnaylor.co.uk/greasemonkey

    Try the Google Webmaster Tools script when you're viewing a site's external links in GWC.

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  8. Stephen - they look incredibly handy. In particular I like the look of Joost's "Page not indexed" warning script. I think I might have to succumb and install greasemonkey... Ah well - there goes an afternoon or 8 ;-)

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  9. Excellent post Tom! So true about Google Global with us being based in the UK. Great resource of tools.

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