SEO Toolbar: The bad, the bad, and the not so ugly

There is definitely no lack of tools in SEO arena. But, there is also a wide range of quality in these tools. I have a couple of favorites in my toolbox including SearchStatus and SEO for Firefox. I have to say after giving the SEO Toolbar a run through, I like the tools overall, but I give it thumbs down and will not be adding this to the toolbox. Apparently I’m wrong though, because 100% of polled people can’t live without it. (note, there was 1 vote at the time of this post)

The bad: Personal data required to download

I start off by visiting the download page for the SEO Toolbar. Immediately, a prospective user is presented with a form to fill out before they can download the toolbar. Fortunately, you just have to fill out the form and not wait for an email with a link to the download as some do. So, any ol’ data will do here. When was the last time you had to enter data to download a Firefox plugin? But, that’s getting a bit ahead of ourselves because…

The bad: IE Only

Nowhere on the download page does it say what browsers are supported. There are no system requirements of any kind on the download page, and I didn’t find anything elsewhere on the site. But, eventually, after installing it, discovered this is an IE only tool. For me, if you don’t support Firefox, why bother? How many professional and aspiring SEOs use IE? With the abundance of SEO plugins for Firefox, I’m sure Firefox is the browser of choice. However, for the person in the Marketing department that’s just learning about SEO and still uses IE, this may be helpful for them. I was a good sport though and completed the install and fired it up in IE.

The not so ugly: There are some handy tools in here

Ok, we avoided getting ugly. But frankly, if I were to just come across it normally, I never would have gone further. So, let’s look at the tools provided by the SEO Toolbar.

  • Web Searches – There is a nice search function where you can choose between 11 search engines. This would have been cool a couple years ago, but FF and now IE 7 have this ability with no toolbar needed.
  • Ranking – This one is handy. You can visit the target site, enter a search term and then get the rankings for that search on Google, Yahoo, and MSN. My current toolset doesn’t have this at the click of a button. I also like how it shows it summarized in a popup window.
  • Site Data – Three tools in this area, a keyword analyzer, a html validator, and a site analyzer tool which gives a good overall summary of the site. The html validator is worthless here, I already have tools for this in FF, but the other two are nice to have.
  • Engine Data – A quick count of backlinks and page counts in the various search engines. Again, handy to have it summarized in a popup at the click of a button (as opposed to going to a 3rd party tool’s hosted tool or loading up each engine’s query page)
  • Network Data – A few logistical tools, IP lookup, load time, ping, WHOIS data, and HTTP header info. Nothing here that I don’t already have quick access too with the Firefox toolset.

So, there are some helpful tools once you get going. Perhaps if they release a Firefox plugin, I would use it. But, as it stands now, I don’t see enough to make me want to use it on IE.