Winning the game of organic search comes down to three essential activities.
1. Figuring out what to write about in order to rank well for your key terms – Keyword research
2. Figuring out what others are doing that currently rank above you – Competitive research
3. Figuring out how to build authority for your content in the eyes of search engines – Link and networking research
While there are potentially dozens of elements that go into each of the points above for the most part this is the game. This also explains why content and social are foundational aspects of SEO today.
In an effort to do all that figuring out above you must employ a toolset that makes it easy to do keyword research, optimize every bit of content, spy on competitors and network to increase links and authority for your content.
Below is a list of tools I use for these activities. I wonder if you might add or share your favorites.
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