Toolbars, eh? Where would those of us in the internet marketing game be without them? Using an awful lot more keystrokes to get to the tools we need to use, that’s where. As regular readers will know, I work as a copywriter and account manager for an SEO agency in the UK and something that always fascinates me is the split in my office between those of us who use the SEOMoz Toolbar and the SEO Book one. A couple of people use SEOQuake, but I’ve not played with that one so consequently, those people are weirdos.

Most of the people in my office use Firefox, which is good as it gives the option of both toolbars, as well as just about any other function in the known universe. Chrome is also increasingly popular, and a couple of us use Opera as well (I’m one of them if I’m just browsing/ doing something that probably won’t need a toolbar), but that doesn’t currently let you use either of these extensions, so we’ll discount that.

This isn’t going to be the most in-depth post ever; I’m something of an SEO newbie and I’m hardly a techie, so I can’t speak for the veracity and/ or power of some of these tools, hence why this is just an opinion piece that doesn’t represent the views of my employers, colleagues or anyone else in the human race.

Firstly, if you use Chrome, you can’t use the SEO Book toolbar, although the SEOMoz one’s available. Secondly, if you use the SEOMoz toolbar, you will probably need a pretty decent credit card. More on that later.

SEO Book Toolbar

This is my weapon of choice, particularly in Firefox and it’s tough to argue that the number of tools on offer aren’t comprehensive. It’s got almost everything that anyone from SEO n00b through to seasoned veteran could need at a glance – Yahoo page and domain links, Majestic SEO integration, directories, site age, no-follow highlighter, a load of competitive analysis tools and access to almost any keyword research tool you can think of straight from the toolbar. Everything you could need is there at a click, and most of these things are in the daily arsenal of most decent SEO’s out there (and quite a few of the crap ones too). It also features Rank Checker.

Seo Book Toolbar

This is where SEO Book’s toy differs from SEOMoz’s one – its reliance on other people’s tools. Obviously, SEO Book are all about the utilisation and simplification of the tools you use, whereas the Mozbar is more a platform from which to access their own spiffy tools.

I rate the SEO Book toolbar highly from a day-to-day usage perspective. It’s got everything you need and with the exception of a couple of premium accounts here and there (Majestic and SEMRush being the main ones), everything you need is free and available from a single click, or even just a glance. The downside to this toolbar is that some of the bits in there (SEMRush and Rank Checker in particular) can be a bit on the inaccurate side. Personally speaking, I find that Rank Checker works great sometimes and then a couple of days later will be as accurate as a drunk fish. I don’t know if this is due to it coming up against Google’s algorithmic changes or just something being up with the API, but it can be a little bit annoying.

That said, the SEO Book toolbar is my weapon of choice for a reason – almost everything I need is right there, for free, without any serious usage restrictions. There are a couple of kinks that I’d like to see ironed out here and there, but I like the fact that it’s always adding extra tools to its kit, meaning that I can pretty much always get ahold of the information I want directly from the site without needing to open another tab on my already groaning machine. What I would like to see, however, would be the inclusion of a MozRank checker and some information about Bing in there, but that’s nothing I can’t find with either an additional plugin or a quick visit to Bing’s Webmaster Tools.

That’s it for tonight – it’s late and I need to get some sleep. Tomorrow or whenever I get around to it, I’ll talk about the SEOMoz toolbar or Mozbar and why it rocks just as much as the SEO Book toolbar, but in a different way. Goodnight my little spiders.

(To reiterate, these views do not represent my employers or colleagues, they are simply the opinion of a copywriter who’s started doing a little bit of site analysis)