When I switched to a Mac (around eight years ago), I was totally confident it was the right way to go. PCs were still too unstable for my liking back then, and with an idea of how I wanted to work in the future Apple offered a more robust platform combined with a physical appearance of quality, which brought a few positive comments from early clients.
Macs weren’t (and still aren’t) the most popular platform for SEO Software, but that was always okay because most SEO Software simply wasn’t worth owning.
Most SEO Software still isn’t worth owning IMHO, with some notable exceptions.
When it comes to Tools, Software and Productivity Hacks, I’m primarily concerned with saving time whilst keeping standards high.
With so much hyperbole and affiliate nonsense associated with SEO Software, I ask these simple questions when making an investment:
- Does this software allow me to work more quickly?
- Does this software allow me to maintain a high standard of work?
- Does the cost of this software fit within my budget?
Those questions let me use certain SEO Tools whenever they’re necessary for a certain task and when a project’s budget allows for it (most tools are reasonably-priced, enterprise-level tools come with enterprise-level pricing).
Tools won’t replace ever knowledge and hard work, they just enhance it.
Website Development Tools
Microsoft Remote Desktop for IE Testing – https://remote.modern.ie/
That’s right – the first tool on the list is one of those “but Macs don’t run Windows programmes” solutions. If you want to develop websites on a Mac, Internet Explorer has been an elusive platform for testing, so much so that I’m sitting near a Dell PC and Acer Laptop kept solely for those purposes. With Azure RemoteApp I’m able to connect to a Windows setup and remotely test on IE, which means that the PC and Laptop can gracefully retire.
Coda 2 – https://panic.com/coda/
For coding. Code autofill, local indexing, regex find and replace, lovely syntax highlighting, plus lots of other things I don’t know the names for but use regularly: Coda 2 is my code editor, and it works very well.
Transmit – https://panic.com/transmit/
For file transfer, FTP.
Image Optim – https://imageoptim.com/
To retain image quality whilst reducing filesize, helping with loading speed.
Adobe Suite – https://www.adobe.com/
It’s hard to replace Adobe software with decent alternatives, so I’ve stuck with Photoshop et al., which means work goes on.
Sketch App – https://bohemiancoding.com/
Sketch has been called a good replacement for Adobe Fireworks. Whether that’s true or not, it is good for graphic work including Branding/Logos, Icon, Infographic design and User Interface design.
Our computer setups include Mac Minis or Macbook Pros with separate keyboards and second screens or large screens. Using keyboard shortcuts is essential when working solely on a laptop, because trackpads are comparatively slower, but also allow me to use muscle memory whilst my brain is busy doing other work whatever computer I’m using.
If there’s a repeatable task that can’t be automated, learning the keyboard shortcuts is one of the first things I do.
TextExpander – https://smilesoftware.com/TextExpander/index.html
This falls under the “if there’s one tool I’d recommend” category. TextExpander allows you to save snippets of text that appear when you type a certain series of characters.
For example if I type ;comp then the Company Registration number appears.
I use TextExpander for everything from code snippets to passwords to outreach email templates to admin to URLs to customer service or staff email responses.
Alfred – https://www.alfredapp.com/
I have a friend who doesn’t use an App Launcher. It seems to take him a whole century to launch anything.
TextWrangler – https://www.barebones.com/products/textwrangler/
The clue is in the name – TextWrangler can rifle through files and spit out everything you need to use at a given moment. This is handy for lots of tasks – from Grep-ing server logs through to concatenating Magento CSVs, to prefixing long lists of domains in a disavow file.
Toggl – https://www.toggl.com/
Toggl tracks time, letting us tag segments of time and manage projects effectively.
Dropbox for Business – https://www.dropbox.com/business
Dropbox synchronises at all times, so there’s no chance of any client work disappearing by mistake. It’s secure and fast, making it a good place to keep things like Video guides to help clients administer their websites.
Drive is very good, and getting better. It’s a good replacement for MS Office, except for a few features that I’m sure Google are working on.
There are some things that Google Sheets doesn’t include, so Excel remains in use. To be honest, some of the simple things like quick conditional highlighting are used so often that they can’t be replaced by inferior software.
CTRL+CMD+SPACE brings up the possibilities of adding some 🚀 to our work.
SEO & Content Tools
Screaming Frog SEO Spider – https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/
The best SEO Audit tool out there.
URL Profiler – https://urlprofiler.com
The best link audit tool out there, and a good partner tool for Screaming Frog when doing content audits.
Scripts & Terminal
There’s a lot of data to handle with campaigns, so scripts offer big savings on time and allow for easy data management. Macs come setup with Python, so despite not knowing any Python in 2011, I was still able to quickly grab data from the Webmaster Tools API.
Using the Command Line is easy – if you need some help, start here.
AdWords Editor – https://www.google.com/intl/en_gb/adwordseditor/
Despite a nicer appearance, it’s not quite as good as it used to be, and not nearly as good as it needs to be, but it’s still my favoured way of import/export and management of thousands of keywords and ads.
Chrome Tools for SEO
Safari doesn’t get anywhere close to being useful for SEO, and any nostalgia for Firefox is long gone in the wake of Chrome’s speed and invaluable Extensions.
My current Google Chrome SEO Tools setup includes, but is not limited to, these extensions:
- Redirect Path
- Tag Assistant by Google
- Buzzstream Buzzmarker
- Resize Window
- Ahrefs SEO Toolbar
- LinkMiner for Broken Links
- NoFollow Simple
- Search by Image by Google
FaceTime for WiFi Calling
This has the added bonus of allowing me to wear a headset, which looks ridiculous but keeps my hands free for note taking or digging around in email.
If everyone was on Skype, the world would be a better place. As it stands, some people use Skype, which means we use Skype, sometimes.
Slack – https://slack.com
Slack is solid for project communication, especially because it integrates with Trello, amongst other things.
No Cloud SEO Software As A Service Tools?
There’s no mention of Cloud-based SEO SaaS here. Well, they’re not strictly Mac tools.
Don’t forget – Tools don’t replace knowledge and hard work, they just enhance it.