Mathew McCorry

Mathew McCorry

Search Strategist

As an SEO your tool kit is everything. It’s impossible to get your job done properly without having access to the right tools.

Typically you may require access to tools like ScreamingFrog, SearchMetrics, Majestic, Ahrefs, SEMRush, and the list could go on and on, but people often overlook the power of browser based plugins.

I’m not saying you don’t need the aforementioned listed tools by any means, but browser based plugins offer a free option that can enhance your work capabilities, so why wouldn’t you use them to your advantage?

The only problem with browser plugins is finding the right ones to complete the task at hand as people are often unaware of what is out there. In order to help you out with your troubles I have kindly written up my “Top 10 Free Must Have Browser Plugins” which you can find in a list below.

    1. Meta SEO Inspector

Essentially the Meta SEO Inspector pulls data from the page source into a nice visual breakdown. You can quickly identify any Meta issues, rich snippets, twitter cards, open graphs, scripts and HTML tags in the “page data” section and on top of this you can also analyse the URL you are currently on through a list of tools and debuggers in the “on-line tools” section.

Meta SEO Inspector

This avoids you having to scroll through or find a certain aspect of the page source that you were looking for and highlights them all straight away with just a click of a button.

 

    2. Redirect Path

An essential tool that I constantly find myself using on a regular basis – simply called Redirect Path – does exactly what it says on the tin. It flags up all the status codes that the page you are visiting goes through including both Meta and JavaScript redirects.

Redirect Path

It allows you to immediately identify any redirect loops, broken redirects, 404 pages or server errors. It can be especially useful if you are just working on a site going through pages and notice a small “301” symbol at the top of your browser.

 

    3. YSlow

A colleague of mine recently introduced me to this plugin, and it’s fantastic! It’s Yahoo’s answer to Google Page Speed insights, but in the form of a plugin.

YSlow

YSlow grades the web page you are on based on its speed performance, giving you a grade from A-F on every aspect of the page including content, cookies, CSS, images, JavaScript, server and a breakdown of each individual component, enabling you to find the precise issue.

    4. Chrome UA Spoofer

Here’s another handy plug in that I forever find myself using to test websites, find rankings and view mobile SERPs. Testing on your mobile or tablet will always be a better option but it’s not always possible to have them at hand, which is where the Chrome User Agent Spoofer plays its part.

Chrome UA Spoofer

It tricks websites into thinking you are on a device of your choice, this means you can view a website through different devices quickly and easily on your browser. The perfect tool to see if your m.subdomain is working precisely as planned.

As well as being able to use various phone types and software’s you are also given the option of different browsers so you can see how your site is functioning on Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari, quickly diagnosing any errors.

 

    5. BuiltWith Technology Profiler

When you’re working on a website, it’s invaluable to know what the website was built with, which is where BuiltWith Technology Profiler can help. The online version of this plugin can also be found on the BuiltWith website but having the information just a click away I find to be so much better – it’s not lazy, it’s time saving!

BuiltWith Technology Profiler

The plugin details all of the programs used to build the site, which includes: Web Servers, Name Server, Web Hosting Providers, SSL Certificates, Content Management System, Frameworks, Advertising, Analytics and Tracking, JavaScript Libraries and Functions, Mobile, Widgets, Content Delivery Network, Syndication Techniques, Document Standards, Document Encoding, Operating Systems and Servers – and finally – CSS Media Queries.

 

    6. Fat Rank

This is the perfect tool to immediately check your rankings without having to do it manually, run a ranking check or wait for some kind of ranking report. You simply download the plugin, click it and search the keyword phrase on the website you want to find the ranking of, as well as the country you’re aiming for. It only works with Google at the moment, but useful none the less.

FatRank

It’s also perfect for when you publish a page and fetch with Google, you can find out immediately if you are ranking for the term you are looking at.

 

    7. Page Load Time

Page Load Time is a recent addition to my extension list but a valuable one none the less. Page speed is increasingly becoming a relevant factor of rankings, and you need to know how your site is performing and how exactly you can improve it.

This extension gives you a breakdown of the exact time in seconds it took to load the page, when it started loading and how long it takes for each event to kick in.

Page Load Time

This again is a fantastic tool, especially for finding out DOM (Document Object Model) timings, which most tools don’t give you, yet is one of the most important page speed metrics as it is the time until the user can first interact with the site.

Typically, page speed tool timings can be skewed by the slow load of social plugins and other unimportant aspects of the page. DOM is the most important timing event you should worry about and we will be expanding on this in a more in-depth blog post in the future.

 

    8. Check My Links

Check my links works through all the links on a page and alerts you of any warnings or invalid broken links. You can also use this tool to count all the current links you have on a given page, as typically, it’s advised you stick to 100 or below according to SEO guidelines.

Check My Links

This tool also highlights any warnings or broken links in yellow and red respectively, so you can immediately find a broken link on the site you are working on and fix it there and then. It also has a cool additional feature, where pressing CTRL + SHIFT + J will show you a breakdown of all the invalid links it has found pictured below.

 

    9. External Followed Link Highlighter

Do you or your client tend to link out to a lot of people? You can track all of the links out to other domains which don’t have a “=nofollow” tag attached. This can be useful in certain situations to immediately see your important out links.

External Followed Link Highlighter

There isn’t a whole lot more to talk about regarding this extension, it’s fairly straight forward!

 

    10. MozBar

You’ve heard of MozBar right? Or well at least you should of heard of Moz. Yeah, they have an extension too that you may be interested in. It’s a tool that tells you the Page Authority, Domain Authority, the new “Spam Score” and the amount of social shares you’ve had on that page as well as more in depth stuff.

Moz Bar

The main reason that I use this plugin is to determine how much of an effect the social shares are having. You can also find some pretty cool stuff out though such as:

On-Page Elements – A general breakdown of certain sections of your source code such as URL, Page Title, Meta Description, Meta Keywords and H1.

General Attributes – In this section you can find canonical tags, page load time, Google Cache URL, the IP address and the country it is hosted in.

Link Metric – Mostly I don’t use this section, it details your Page Authority, Domain Authority, External Followed Links (Majestic / Ahrefs are better), Linking Root Domains, Moz Rank and Moz Trust.

Markup – Using Schema.org, Open Graph Protocol, Twitter Cards and Microformats – however it only links out to these pages and doesn’t use your page source to find if you have them implemented.

Http Status – This simply just defines the status code of the page you’re on.

But please, please don’t get fixated on Page Authority or Domain Authority. They are outdated metrics and the importance of them is limited. The most useful part of this tool is to find the social shares.

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