A recent post in a business forum I frequent asked the question, what are the best free SEO tools? The replies listed all the usual suspects so I threw something less expected into the mix. My suggestion? A text editor and your brain. Many moons ago I wrote a post titled The Best Free Link Building Software in fact if you search using the phrase best free link building software you'll see it ranks quite well and brings traffic to this blog daily.
Most people reading the post will however be disappointed because instead of giving them a simple solution to their link building requirements it provides them with a link to OpenOffice and suggest they engage their brain, not something most link builders want to read!
Last week there was a much vaunted SEO conference in Leeds called IONSearch - or something. I followed the proceedings on twitter and was somewhat bemused. I'm sure there were some great SEO tips to be had at the two day conference but some of the stuff feeding through social media seemed to be saying what I've been saying for years. The thrust of many of the presentations was - create something worth linking to. Who'd a thunk!
As Google steps up its war on spam, and remember its very survival depends on it winning this war, the need for creating something of value increases. What's happening, despite what all the get links quick pedlars will have you believe, is quality is once again winning the day. Thinking about your customers, and what they want and need, and taking the time time to deliver it will win the day, it has too. One approach to this kind of link building is explained here.
So I'll say it again, the best SEO tools are your brain and a text editor (or graphics editor or spreadsheet or code library or anything else that helps you create something of value). With social media etc getting your messages out there is easy, creating messages worth shouting about remains the tough bit.
Hint - If you're a Mac user and want to use what I consider to be the best text editor around, try Ulysses.