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If you have something great to share with the world, there's no better place than the Web to do it. But you need more than a website; you need the perfect domain name and all the other things that optimize your site for search engines. These three programs and suites help you harness the power of search engine optimization to make your website a highly-ranked hit. SEO software doesn't come cheap, so research these well to see which best suits your business.

Market Samurai

Creating a money-making online venture is not a simple challenge. Market Samurai is a comprehensive suite of tools aimed at making the process easier by helping you track down lucrative keywords, buy the right domain for the job, and more.

Market Samurai suite screenshot
The many tools of the Market Samurai suite tackle different parts of the SEO problem.
Some applications can be mastered (or at least learned) just by playing with their different parts; Market Samurai is not one of them. Market Samurai is a large application, divided into eight modules: Rank Tracker, Keyword Research, SEO Competition, Domains, Monetization, Find Content, Publish Content, and Promotion. Some of the modules display tabular interfaces brimming with arcane acronyms like RDD, DMZ (it's not what you think), and my personal favorite, BLEG. Thankfully, you can hover over a column header to get a more complete definition of what it means, and there is also an online glossary. Although some modules are more useful than others, the suite itself helps you understand which ones are likely to help you the most.

Read the full review and download Market Samurai ($149, twelve-day free trial).

Rank Tracker

If you have a product or service to sell, you probably want prospective customers to find you. For that to happen, you need to rank well on search engine queries relevant to what you do ("carpenter in Minnesota"). Rank Tracker Professional is not as comprehensive as Market Samurai, but it can help you plot and analyze your keyword performance on the path to search-engine stardom.

Rank Tracker keyword screenshot
Rank Tracker can tell you how popular your keywords are with search engines...and with your competitors.
If you read "search engine" as "Google," that's understandable: Google is pretty much synonymous with search these days, and much of the search engine optimization (SEO) advice available online today revolves around the search giant's secret ranking algorithm. Still, Rank Tracker doesn't play favorites, and can search for your keywords across a staggering variety of search engines, starting from large international engines like Yandex (important if you're optimizing for Russia), all the way to obscure sites like (yes, that's a search engine). You can also search location-specific editions of the large engines, such as Google Romania or Bing Turkey.

Read the full review and download Rank Tracker ($100, shareware).

Advanced Web Ranking

Advanced Web Ranking is a cross-platform application with a beautiful interface and one major purpose in life: To help you get great search engine rankings. It does this using an array of different tools letting you inspect your website and search engine performance from various angles.

Advanced Web Ranking screenshot
Although Advanced Web Ranking is not always easy for a novice to use, it's easy on the eyes.
Advanced Web Ranking's Keyword Difficulty module is supposed to help you understand how difficult it would be to rank for a given keyword, but it is not simple to use. Much like Rank Tracker and Market Samurai, Advanced Web Ranking has a complex interface subdivided into several distinct modules (Rankings, Analytics, Links, Social, and more). Its interface feels remarkably slick and polished. Advanced Web Ranking is Java-based, and the controls used are not standard Windows controls, but they're large, clear, and elegant. Like Market Samurai, Advanced Web Ranking lines up the various modules on the left edge of the window, as a large vertical toolbar. But unlike Market Samurai, Advanced Web Ranking does not assume any specific workflow, or provide much in the way of search engine optimization tips and tricks. Online documentation exists, but it's mainly in the form of text, not videos.

Read the full review and download Advanced Web Ranking ($99, 30-day free trial).

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