Google’s Chrome browser is made even more flexible with the addition of extensions that perform handy tasks. While there are thousands of extensions available, these eight free extensions are my favorite from a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint, plus five more indispensable lifehack extensions.
Chrome Extensions for Technical SEO
All of the extensions below are relatively simple single-function tools that help me get something very specific accomplished. I prefer that to mega tools like SEOquake or Ahrefs toolbars that do more than I want them to. The ones that are multifunctional — Web Developer Toolbar and SEO Meta in 1 Click — have proven the value of the majority of their many features to me time and time again.
- SEO Meta in 1 Click: Just like the name implies, this extension gives you all of the SEO metadata you could want for a page in just one click: title tag, meta description, canonical tag, meta robots tag, headings, images, Open Graph tags, and more. It’s easy to copy and paste the information into other documents for manipulation and analysis.
- Link Redirect Trace: Link Research Tools’ Link Redirect Trace extension makes it easy to see the trail of server header statuses your browser received as it navigates the web. Easily identify redirect chains, meta refreshes, and other trails that are less desirable for SEO. Each step in the path also displays icons showing canonical status, indexability, and more.
- User-Agent Switcher for Chrome: Set your browser’s user agent to mimic search engine user agents to ensure that the experience search engine bots receive is the same as the experience your visitors receive. This extension is critical to detecting cloaking and other black-hat SEO practices.
- View Rendered Source: You know you can view the source of any page in Chrome by right-clicking and choosing “View page source.” That’s the source code the server sends, though, not what your browser renders. Use this extension to view the rendered source code for any page, with differences between the server source and rendered source highlighted for easy analysis.
- Wappalyzer Technology Profiler: Identify tens of different technologies used on any webpage with Wappalyzer, including the content management system, shopping cart, analytics, programming languages, blog software, ads, and more.
- Quick Copy URL: (Extension removed from Chrome’s web store) Now, it’s easy to select multiple links and copy them all for pasting. Just highlight multiple links, right-click on the selected links, choose “Copy links,” and the Quick Copy URL extension will copy the links to your clipboard.
- Copy Link: Sometimes, you just need the anchor text of the links, not the URL. In that case, Copy Link does this one small thing very well. Right-click on “Copy link text” in the context menu, and the Copy Link extension will add the anchor text to your clipboard so you can paste it anywhere you need to.
Chrome Extensions for Life Management
These lifehack Chrome extensions may not be focused on SEO, but I couldn’t do my job without them. Many of them I use even more frequently than the SEO extensions.
- Incredible Startup Page: Turn the startup page in your Chrome Browser into a visually appealing list of icons for your favorite sites. Open recently closed sites and write notes as you browse. Navigate your bookmark tree to find just what you need without having to click on the little links in Chrome’s bookmarks bar or menus.
- Awesome Screenshot & Screen Recorder: For more control over the final output of your screenshots and screen recordings, give Awesome Screenshot a try. Easily grab a selection of the screen, the whole screen, or the whole page. The extension offers lots of editing features, including the coveted blur and easy-to-use text boxes. Editing occurs in a new tab in your Chrome browser. Best of all, if you close the tab too soon, you can even reopen the tab using control+shift+t to reopen the tab and continue where you left off without losing your work. I primarily use the screenshot and editing features, but if you’re a video fan, you’ll love this even more.
- Checker Plus for Google Calendar: This extension is single-handedly responsible for my much-improved track record in attending meetings on time. Ten minutes before each meeting, Checker Plus pops up a notification reminding me of my meeting. I invariably snooze the reminder, which then makes it pop up one minute before the meeting — plenty of time to dial in. The extension does much more than pop-up reminders, allowing you to see your Google Calendar and add invites directly from the toolbar.
- Grammarly: This extension has saved me countless times from the embarrassment of sending out recommendations and emails with typos and grammatical mistakes. Grammarly highlights issues and gives you the ability to accept or reject their modifications. I find that 90 percent of the time, I accept them, with only 10 percent of the recommendations questionable. Usually, those are based on industry-specific language oddities.
- LastPass: Security best practices dictate that every password for every site be unique, which means that I can’t remember my passwords for most of the sites I use. LastPass remembers them for me. The service is secure because the data is encrypted locally — LastPass does not keep your passwords on its servers. All you have to do is remember your LastPass password.
While there are countless other SEO extensions for the Chrome browser, these eight are the ones I find myself using on a daily basis. Add to those my five favorite free lifehack extensions, and my productivity and effectiveness increase exponentially. What are your favorite plugins? Tell me on Twitter (@jillkocher).