Written by Anastasia Kurmakaeva
Table of contents
Google Chrome is one of the most used Internet browsers worldwide, according to the statistics published by W3Counter, with an approximate market share of 56.8% of users in August 2019. It’s versatile, easy to use, and it provides tons of advantages, for both regular users, as well as for digital marketing and web development professionals, thanks to a wide range of tools and special features making their every day tasks much easier.
In addition to its Dev Tools, Google Chrome also has an enormous catalogue of all kinds of extensions on its Web Store, developed by Google itself, as well as by third-party developers, who make their contributions to make life more comfortable for all of us. Any user can install Chrome extensions on their browser: either for customisation purposes, to improve their browsing experience, or those for professional uses.
The latter category is exactly where SEO extensions can be classified. Being an SEO consultant implies spending long hours analysing websites, in an attempt to find out how they can be further optimised to get better rankings in search engines and appeal to our target users. It’s our bread and butter.
For that reason, having small tools and utilities at our disposal to help us be more efficient at our job is a huge support. In this post we are going to explore some of our favourite SEO extensions, which we consider to be absolutely indispensable to have in out toolkit, in order to be the best at out job. We are going to focus on those, the primary features of which are free and do not require subscription to access the information they provide.
An absolute must-have. Web Developer provides developers with numerous tools and enables us to analyse on-page elements in depth. We can highlight various extremely useful features, but if you’re not using it yet, we encourage you to add it to your Chrome panel pronto, and see all the information it can contribute by yourself. For example, you can:
- See the alt attributes of every image contained within a page, without having to open the source code or inspect each element, one by one.
- See the tree-like structure of <hn> headings on any given page.
- HTTP header analysis.
- Enable/disable cookies and pop-ups.
- See link information of all links present on any given page.
Link Redirect Trace
This extension detects redirects and traces their origin to prevent inefficiencies.
It’s especially useful when a URL change goes unnoticed on our website. We can trace the origin of the redirect, and the page to which the content has been relocated. Or, when a non-existing page is returning a 301 redirect, instead of a 404 or 410 status code, which would be the optimal response in this scenario.
It also allows us to test the status codes returned by any of our website’s pages, to verify whether they are the correct ones, or they need to be modified. An example of such incorrect behaviour would be a non-existing page returning 200 OK.
WhatRuns and Wappalyzer
WhatRuns and Wappalyzer are two very similar extensions, which we can use to identify –at a glance– the technologies used on a website: CMS or programming language used for its development, analytics tools, frameworks, CDN, fonts used, and lots of other interesting data.
Sometimes it’s good to combine their use, as technologies undetected by one of them, will be conveniently identified by the other. This way, you won’t miss anything! 👌
With all this information in hand, you will obtain a global view of any website, which will help you to get a good idea of its basic configuration.
Open SEO stats
This extension collects some basic SEO data on any given page or website, and displays it all on the same screen, to be studied more easily.
You will get more information by browsing through the tabs situated on the left sidebar. The tool provides direct links to the robots.txt and sitemap.xml files (if they are present and set up), as well as information on the page title, meta description, links present on the page, download speed, etc.
All this data gives us a first look at the global settings of a website and its degree of optimisation.
This tool extracts information from a website and allows you to export it to a spreadsheet, quick and easy, by copying the data to clipboard or directly to a Google Docs file. To be able to use it, we recommend being somewhat familiar with jQuery and XPath.
A typical use example of this extension is the extraction –scraping– of all existing links from a website’s menu, for the purpose of studying its architecture, and see how its content is structured to identify possible enhancements.
This extension has been developed by Google. Honouring its name, AMP validator’s core function is to see and validate the AMP version of a page. A green lightning icon confirms us that the page has been correctly optimised.
Besides being present in Chrome’s Dev Tools, we can also install a shortcut to it from the extension bar. Lighthouse allows us to audit pages in terms of their performance, SEO, accessibility, etc., providing an evaluation to each of these aspects from 0 to 100. The results can be seen in full underneath a more general overview, in addition to optimisation recommendations that should be carried out to get a better score.
View Rendered Source
While it doesn’t take much to open a page’s source code (⌘ + ⌥ + U on MacOS and Ctrl + U on Windows), this extension offers an additional advantage: it allows you to view a correctly formatted HTML code, presented in a way that is easier to read and analyse.
That’s not all, though. Besides seeing the RAW source code, there are additional viewing options: as a desktop or mobile device, as Googlebot… We can also check the difference between the code and what is represented on the page, as seen on the device and browser from which it is being accessed.
Page load time
As you’ve probably gathered from its name, Page load time measures in milliseconds how long it takes for a page to load. We know both Google and Internet users like light and fast-loading websites, because today more than ever our time is golden. With this extension we can measure our website’s download speed, to identify where its performance is lacking the most.
This extension will help you identify links carrying the rel=”nofollow” attribute at a glance. They will be highlighted with a red dotted rectangle (or any other colour that you choose).
What are the SEO extensions you could not live without?