When it comes to browsers, I don’t think you can find one that is more effective and functional than Firefox. Although Google (who, ironically enough, has been a long-term partner with Firefox) recently made their entry into the browser market with Chrome, it will be a long time (if ever) before they can match the features and functionality that Firefox has to offer.
One of the most useful aspects of Firefox is its ability to support extensions. Extensions can be created by any developer, and are used the enhance the functionality of Firefox. From FireFTP to Flagfox, developers have created Firefox extensions that address or solve almost any issue or problem you may encounter while you are browsing the Internet. Although it would take an entire e-book to discuss all of the useful Firefox extensions that are available, I want to use this post to talk about a specific group of Firefox extensions; those made specifically for SEOs. By downloading and using these three Firefox extensions, you will be able to increase your productivity as a SEO:
Search Status: Personally, this is the SEO Firefox extension that I have been using the longest, and it has always remained my favorite SEO related Firefox extension. This extension offers a wide variety of features, which is why I have found it to be such an invaluable tool. To begin with, you can configure it to display the PageRank, Compete Rank or Alexa Rank of every webpage that you visit at the bottom right hand corner of your browser. If you want to get more detailed statistics for a specific website (for example, a Compete graph), you can click the Compete icon and you will be taken to the Compete traffic graph for that website.
In addition to its analytics/metrics visual icons, Search Status places a q icon in the bottom right hand corner of your browser. By clicking this icon while you are viewing a webpage, you can do everything from viewing the Whois information for that website to highlighting the Nofollow links on that page to viewing the indexed pages of that website in any of the three major browsers. As you can see, this handy extension cuts down on a lot of the jumping around that is normally involved in performing your duties as a SEO.
SEO for Firefox: This is the popular SEO extension created by none other than Aaron Wall of SEO Book. This great extension puts lots of information directly into Google and Yahoo’s search results. Instead of just seeing the top ten results when you search for a keyword, you can customize this extension to show you everything from each result’s backlink count to how many pages Google has cached for each result. This extension is very easy to customize to your specific needs, and once you begin using it, you will wonder how you ever performed your job without the help of this extension.
One word of advice: if you are not actively performing any SEO related research, you should click the SEO for Firefox icon at the bottom of your browser window to turn it off (the icon is colored when it is on and gray when it off). Doing this will keep you from excessively pinging any of the search engines for data.
Web Developer: Although you may think of yourself as a SEO and not a web developer, this is still a very useful extension for SEOs. This extension allows SEOs to efficiently perform several different tasks. The most common uses of this extension include analyzing the HTML structure of a webpage (this can be done visually by using the extension’s Disable CSS feature), reviewing the actual sizes of images and visually evaluating the use of the ALT attribute on a webpage. This extension supports multiple keyboard shortcuts, and once you get used to using these shortcuts, it will allow you to use this extension even more efficiently. I recently used this extension to discover and alert an acquaintance that the company was who was managing his search engine marketing was secretly concealing links to other websites they managed in a hidden CSS Div.
(Photo by flod)