If you do on page SEO work on a regular basis, you need some key tools to give you information about the page you are looking at. Some, but not all, of the information you need can be obtained by viewing the HTML source, but these cool Chrome extensions make a lot easier to review key SEO on page settings such as the title, meta_robots and canonical tags as well as viewing the HTTP response headers from a page and even to diagnose a slow performing page. And if you don’t use Chrome? Not to worry, many of these are available as Firefox add ons as well.
My 5 Top Chrome Extensions for SEO
Live HTTP Headers: Ever wondered whether a redirect is using the preferred (for SEO) permanent redirect HTTP status code of 301 rather than the temporary redirect HTTP status of 302. A 301 status code is a much stronger signal to Google that it should index the target URL, but web servers often default to serving the less desirable 302 status code. Now you can see if your redirects are working as they should. Other problems I have found with this extension are pages that seem to render just fine but are actually serving a HTTP status code of 404, “Not Found”, which will likely keep the page out of Google’s index.
Mozbar: With one click you can see the title tag, meta description, H1 and what text has been bolded for the page. In another tab you can see counts for followed and nofollowed links, whether a meta robots or canonical has been set, and page load time. If they have the URL in their (Open Site Explorer) index, Mozbar will also show you the Domain and Page Authority, and some backlink information.
SEO Quake Lite: SEO Quake has a full featured Firefox add on that is worth checking out, particularly for the annotations it adds to the SERPs listing. But Chrome users are not completely out of luck, SEO Quake Lite has a couple of useful features, the one I really like is its ability to highlight nofollow links, which is handy for backlink audits. And although Google Toolbar Page Rank is not as useful as it once was to assess the authority of a website, it still is nice to have it displayed unobtrusively in the lower left of the browser window along with the Alexa rank.
User Agent Switcher: Yes, everyone seems to be jumping on the Responsive Web Design bandwagon these days, but there are still a lot of sites out there that have a separate mobile site, or use Dynamic Serving to serve a markedly different experience to mobile users. Why is this relevant for SEO? Because if a site is not using responsive web design, then there is certain specialized tagging that needs to be implemented, not to mention the requirement of giving a Google a heads up on what’s going on with the HTTP Vary header (another reason to have Live HTTP headers installed). By quickly impersonating a iPhone you can see if there is a different experience for mobile.
YSlow: Google is often cagey on what exactly makes a URL rank well, but one thing that the company has been very clear about is that slow pages are bad for users and will hurt your site’s SEO performance. This extension gets pretty geeky but I found much of the recommendations clear and easy to understand, especially since you can click through to the supporting documentation. And yes, Google also has an extension (Page Speed Insights) to help with diagnosing frontend performance problems, but you have to install the full Google Developer toolkit to get it. Check out Page Speed Insights if you want help fixing the problems as well as diagnosing them.
Bonus Chrome Extension
What’s your favorite Chrome Extension for SEO?
I’m sure there are many more Chrome extensions that are useful for SEOs. Share them in the comments!