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12 Must-Have Firefox Add-Ons For SEO

Posted by in SEO

For those not familiar with the Mozilla Firefox web browser or its ridiculous amount of add-ons, it’s a very powerful browser that, with the right plugins, can be one of the best tools in your SEO arsenal.

Many of the SEO folks I know have switched to Chrome completely, claiming that can do everything SEO-related via Google’s browser. While that’s fine, I personally prefer to leave Chrome “unplugged” and not install any add-ons/plugins to retain a clean and simplistic web browsing experience. So I tend to use Chrome as my default browser and Firefox for SEO purpose. You could call Firefox my “ugly” browser as it has LOTS of add-ons that allow me to quickly analyse websites and very quickly and easily build to-do lists and recommendations of what either myself or the web developer I’m working with needs to do to optimise a site.

So, without further ado, here is my list of 12 must-have Firefox add-ons for SEO. I use plenty more (and let me tell you, there are literally hundreds of thousands of them available!) but wanted to share only the best. Enjoy!

Web Developer Tool Bar

Contains a large amount of functionality for changing web design elements on a page as well as changing/testing the development side of things like cookies etc. For SEO purposes, its great for disabling JavaScript to ensure links are still visible (so that our friend Google can see them!). It also lets you disable CSS stylesheets and images to view pages how a search engine would see them. This tool has saved me many times with navigational links being written in JavaScript and hidden text being displayed once CSS was turned off.

Autofill Forms

Allows you to fill out web forms with one click. This comes in very handy when building citations for local SEO. It works by setting up profiles (so you can do one for each of your clients), so you simply switch to the profile you want to use and populate the data. Besides saving lots of time, I love this tool because it keeps citation data consistent across all submissions.

Firebug

This tool allows you to edit, debug and monitor CSS, HTML and Javascript live on any web page. Want to see what your site would look like with a different colour background? No problem! Use Firebug to change the colour and watch it change right before your eyes! For SEO, this tool is great to see what’s going on in specific areas of source code such as links (you can check nofollow etc) and looking for alt tags on images.

Flagfox

Displays a flag icon in the address bar that shows where the website you’re visiting is physically hosted. This is great for SEO research, because you’ll want your clients and websites to be hosted in the country they are targeting as this gives the most benefit to the user (faster transfer time). If you notice your client is targeting Australia but hosted in Zimbabwe, then there is a valuable recommendation you can give them just by looking at the address bar.

GA?

I’m actually surprised by how little downloads this tool has! It’s saved me countless times and is one of my favourites. It shows a small bar graph in the add-on bar that checks to see if Google Analytics is installed on the current page. If it is, the icon will light up with Google colours indicating that everything is okay. If not, it’ll be greyed out and you instantly know you need to get that page sorted! Super important as the last thing you want is to absolutely dominate your SEO campaign rankings-wise without knowing how much traffic you’re receiving or what users are doing once they’re on your site.

Live HTTP Headers

Allows you to see HTTP headers as they are sent which is great for debugging and analysing how your web pages are operating. Sometimes a page can look like its loading correctly but actually be sending the wrong headers in the background which means terrible things for SEO. I had a client a few years back whose website developer had set up URL rewrites to work with 404 (Not Found) headers instead of 301 (Moved Permanently) – doh! It was only by using this tool I found out the reason none of the rewritten pages were getting indexed or ranked.

Page Speed

Helps to optimise the performance of your website by identifying best practices and recommendations that you can apply. Recommendations such as enabling gZip compression, minifying CSS, optimising images and more. Simply run the tool and you’re presented with a “Page Speed Score” out of 100 as well as a list of actionables that link to how-to guides written by Google’s engineers on how to improve them. SEO aside, a faster page leads to higher visitor engagement, retention and conversions – which is what you’re aiming for at the end of the day.

SearchStatus

Here’s another one I’m surprised only has just over 54 thousand users as it’s probably my favourite Firefox SEO tool. It automatically displays the PageRank and Alexa rank of the web page you are visiting (and also has options to show Compete Rank and MozRank if you turn them on). This nifty little tool sits in your add-on bar and presents you with a vast range of options when you right-click on it, saving a tremendous amount of time compared to doing it all manually.
  • Highlight nofollow Links – with this option enabled, all links and images on your webpage that are labelled as rel=”nofollow” will be highlighted a transparent pink colour. Great for quickly identifying the types of links on a website whether they be internal or external.
  • Link Report – shows you the total amount of links on the page including internal, external, followed external, nofollow and secure.
  • Meta Data – quickly analyse the page’s meta data including title, robots information, description, keywords, geo-data, google-site-verification and more.
  • Show other domains on IP – opens up a new tab in the Bing search engine and shows a list of all the other domains on the same IP address.
  • Show in Archive.org – opens a new tab in the Wayback machine which saves you from having to go there and entering the info manually.
  • Show Whois – shows you the Whois information for the domain using DomainTools.com, Whois-search.com, DNSstuff.com or Who.is (you can set which one you prefer in the options – I use DomainTools).
  • Show robots.txt – flicks open a new tab and loads the /robots.txt file should there be one present.
  • Show sitemap.xml – as above, except shows the website’s XML sitemap.
  • Show Keyword Density – simply type in your keyword you’re returned with a % figure of its keyword density.
  • Highlight Keywords – type in your keyword and then see it highlighted wherever it exists on the page.

Semantic Checker

Highlights semantic elements in your document such as h1 headings, strong tags, address etc as well as Microformats like hCard. It also supports HTML5 and highlights all major elements such as article, header, footer, nav, ans so on. Great for quickly diagnosing on-page ranking factors as well as helping look for Microformats. For more information on Semantic markup/HTML, read this Wiki article.

Server Spy

Indicates what type of HTTP server is running on the website you’re visiting (Apache, IIS etc). While this may not be useful for direct SEO purposes per se, it is extremely handy when debugging site issues and understanding what server/coding the website is running on. For those who are more involved with the technical side of SEO and need to report to web developers with specific instructions on what they need to do, this is a great tool.

ShowIP

Shows the IP address of the current page in the status bar. Again this one is more from a developer perspective, however I’ve still found myself needing to use it from time to time to suss out and debug websites where situations have gone wrong and I need to explain to clients/web developers.

User-Agent Switcher

Another fantastic tool! Made by the same guy as the “Web Developer Tool Bar” mentioned above, this one adds a menu in Firefox that allows you to change user-agents and see how your web page responds. In most cases if a website is built correctly, the only time a page should change when a user-agent is switched is if the website has a mobile version. If for example, the page changes when you’re viewing as “Googlebot” then there is some sort of cloaking going on which is a big no-no and needs to get fixed ASAP. Oh if I had a dollar for every time this tool detected cloaking early on in a client’s campaign…

 

As I mentioned earlier in the post, there are some others I use such as SEOquake, the Mozbar, SEO for Firefox etc but as they’re a little more advanced I’ve tried to steer away from them in this post. What add-ons or plugins do you use and recommend? Drop a line in the comments and I’ll update this post accordingly.

Happy analysing! :)

About

In Matthew's current position, his love for SEO and technical experience helps the E-Web Marketing team continually grow their knowledge and abilities and fast-track their clients growth and success in generating more qualified traffic and opportunities.

4 Comments

  1. Santosh Reply

    Thanks very much Matthew Forzan for this post. Before reading this I was not aware of few tools.Really nice post.

  2. Spook SEO Reply

    I prefer to use Firefox browser for my SEO work and really it helps me a lot while it’s very easy to manage and adding Add-ons. I mostly use page speed checking tool and autofill forms and thus can easily manage my login details.

    • Matthew Forzan Reply

      Great! Any recommendations I can use to add to the list?

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