What is your favorite tool stack for Search?

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#1
Originally thought about asking what people thought of Moz tools, since they've been promoting their link explorer pretty hard in the last few weeks. Then I decided it was more beneficial to open it up and ask about the complete tool stack.

Which tools do you find most valuable for what purpose?

I'll start with my stack...

  • SERPwoo - keyword tracking, research, and monitoring
  • SEMrush - organic and paid research... also use it in keyword research
  • aHrefs - backlinks
  • Market Muse - content analysis (been testing this out)
  • Screaming Frog - swiss army knife crawler
  • Zapier - task automation
  • Hotjar - website UX research / CRO
  • Google Analytics - website analytics
Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. What am I missing or what would you recommend I try?
 
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#3
what do you use Zapier for specifically?
Not OP but I use Zapier to connect Trello with Feedly.

I have feeds setup in Feedly for different niches, and when I favorite an article, it creates a card in Trello on the correct board depending on which Feedly feed it was from.

The card includes pre-written instructions that are the same for every post, along with a link to the source article, and the title + featured image for reference, and it also assigns the card to the correct writer for each site.
 
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#4
So:
  • Moz Local - Figuring out why a GMB isn't ranking, making changes
  • Feedly - Content Ideas. Got about 200 RSS feeds in there, makes curation easy
  • TextMechanic - taking care of massive lists or spreadsheet data that needs to be "made nice"
  • IFTTT - syndication for local clients, money sites
  • Google Drive - ranking money sites
  • Word - the mail merge function for making super relevant local articles
  • Schema.org - same as word, but for more local stuff G can use
  • G Map Scraper - collecting all the GMBs in a radius and filtering data for prospecting, marketing, or local market domination.
That's about it for now, the rest is sauce.
 
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#5
Rank Tracking. Keyword, Organic & Paid Research
SERPWoo
  • Mandatory for all projects. This is the big picture tool for giving you visibility into how your SEO is working and why.
  • The keyword research component is excellent also.
  • Coffee is for SERPWoo users only!
SEMRush
  • Also a lot of good keyword research data.
  • I use it more for monitoring domain "health" in terms of volume of keyword ranking acquisition, monitoring site pages + their rankings, etc.
Backlink Data
Majestic
  • Link data second to none. I don't even bother with anything else anymore honestly.
Site Crawling & Scraping
Xenu Link Sleuth
  • First because it's easy, free, fast, and pretty comprehensive.
Scrapy
  • For any serious use, this is my go-to. It can do anything and provides a great framework to build from.
Python + libraries (usually Requests, BeautifulSoup, some others)
  • When I need something really lightweight, or if I have an oddball need where a framework like Scrapy might get in the way, it's always easy to just go straight Python and use what libraries you need.
  • For newbies, plain Python (trust me, start with Python 3+, preferably 3.6+) plus the Requests library will be a simple, eye-opening, and rewarding experience to go through.
Text Editing & Manipulation
Sublime Text
  • Personal preference. I've used Atom, Notepad++, VIM, Emacs, and many many others. I find Sublime to be a fantastic balance in performance and capability versus barrier to entry.
  • Learn a few hotkeys, pick up some regex skills (read below), and you can seriously scale your capabilities in manipulating text like a madman!
Regular Expressions (regex)
  • By far one of the best skills to pick up for many marketers involved in day to day efforts.
  • It's code that let's you write small chunks, which can find and select LARGE chunks of data and allow you to manipulate it at scale. Have to rewrite a bunch of things? Try find and replace in Sublime combined with a line or 2 of regex. If you're used to pretty standard Excel type stuff, it'll blow your mind!
Big Data Analysis
Apache Spark
  • Pretty much required for a lot of big data stuff, especially if working with distributed systems, like on AWS, to scale analysis efforts on massive data sets.
Scala
  • Again, with a lot of big data-oriented stuff you're going to find Scala being a frequent theme. It's like Java, but with more functional programming capability, flexibility, and less of the Java verbosity.
  • Once you learn to program a bit more functionally, you can write some fairly concise code that allows you to perform a ton of analysis.
Site Speed Testing & Optimization
Google Lighthouse
  • Built into Chrome. Check dev tools (F12) and you should see an "Audit" tab.
  • Also has a CLI available on GitHub. Excellent for scaling and building into an automated testing solution.
    • e.g. Create scripts and/or cron jobs to run Lighthouse CLI against a list of URLs. Could be used to periodically test your site and monitor performance. All data is local and not calling externally, so no worries about "Google spying on you". :wink:
  • Has a lot of great info on the nature of a page load. When it starts to render. When it first becomes interactive and the user can do things.
GTMetrix
  • Been using it for years. It's a "bread and butter" testing tool I'd recommend to anyone.
  • Covers most of the major metrics you'd want to optimize.
WebPageTest.org
  • Another good solution. Has more capability than GTMetrix.
  • Also has tons of other user agents, device types, and bandwidth options to test with.
Outreach
Pitchbox

  • Used for a number of years. Fairly comprehensive for most outreach efforts.
Runner's up that look promising for certain uses, or that I've only briefly tested:
  • Ninja Outreach
  • Yesware
Content Development & Readability Optimization
Hemmingway App

  • Great for quickly producing content, while having simple indicators to help start optimizing it.
Readable.io
  • This has been my go-to for readability optimization.
  • Generally I find my word count drops by 25-50%, and readability scores improve 20-40%. Freakin awesome tool for the spend.
 
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#6
Link data second to none. I don't even bother with anything else anymore honestly.
Doesn't Ahrefs have bigger link index?

Great stack, by the way. Are you into buildings your own Sass/complex apps, or just really technical when it comes to marketing, data gathering?
 
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#7
I don't know if they technically have a "bigger" index. In my experience, Majestic has the most accurate link data.

I'm usually not the one building apps, or at least not doing a majority of building them. I have other people for that. I'm usually managing data and content at scale for them. When dealing with sites that have tens of thousands, or even millions of pages, you often have to make changes across large sets of pages to see significant effects. It's at that point that knowing programming more deeply, and being able to come up with programming-level solutions becomes a necessity.
 
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#8
I use:

AHrefs
Majestic
Moz
Google Analytics
Serpbook

I also have tools such as Scrapebox and GSA Ser which haven't really used in months (if not a year).

I think your Zapier use is clever but i always find i can get around these automation services easier just doing things manually. For example, if i see something i like in Feedly, i would just click the "share" button and it turns up wherever it's most handy for me to read.

Whateer works for you though!
 
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#9
what do you use Zapier for specifically?
Whatever I need to use it for. I use it to bypass the need to write APIs if I'm testing something out. Zapier makes it easy to automate data collection into Google sheets or excel. I also use some webhooks for various tools.

Really easy way to get some things automated when I really don't want to do them manually.

Example... I have some zaps set up for twitter. I collect follower information as soon as they follow the profile. I collect name, @name, location, and date of follow. Basically can run that through a pivot table and see how the follower rates are trending over time. Can also use that list for outreach later, since I have a complete history of users who have followed the profile. Dig deeper with that and you can monitor some competitor data as well.

That's the fun example I've been testing for a while.