Andrew has 20 years’ experience in the website arena from design, content creation, building and launching and is the Founder of Optimisey, an SEO consultancy and meet up based in Cambridge, UK.

Generous with his SEO knowledge, Andrew regularly blows my mind with digital marketing tips and tricks via his twitter feed. In fact, Andrew is one of the 25 Digital Marketers we think you should be following on Twitter!

Knowing Andrew has all this amazing knowledge ready to share, we thought it was about time he wrote a top 10 digital tools article for us!

10 Digital Tools Andrew Cock-Starkey Couldn't Live Without

Over to you, Andrew…


Here are the 10 digital tools I couldn’t live without:

Google Search Console: It’s been mentioned a lot by previous contributors, but it really is the cornerstone to a lot of what I do. Like many I still lapse into calling it ‘Webmaster Tools’ every now and then – but whatever name it has, it’s bloomin’ useful and often overlooked. There is reams of data in there, about your site and how Google sees it – direct from Google themselves.

The ‘new/beta’ version isn’t quite there yet and I still find myself clicking back to the old version for some things – but Google are clearly investing a lot in this, making it better, more usable and more non-geek friendly. I still work on an alarming number of sites that don’t have ‘GSC’ set-up. It’s really useful and it’s free – get it set up ASAP.

Google My Business: I promise I won’t just promote Google tools throughout – but another often overlooked tool which I find really useful and impactful is Google My Business. Again, lots of people don’t seem to even know this exists or might have it set-up but done five years ago by the intern and they’ve never looked at it since.

Again, Google is investing a lot of time and resource into this which should be a big hint they think it’s important. You can control how your business is seen on Google, on Google Maps, what info customers can find about you easily (from opening hours to photos, to uploading your menu (if you serve food), your phone number etc. etc.) And they’ve added new things in the last year or so too, like Google Posts, where you can post things about your business directly onto the search results pages (SERPs).

Given how much time and money businesses spend competing for SERP space, overlooking Google My Business (again, it’s free) is criminal.

ScreamingFrog – yeah, I’m an SEO. I love ScreamingFrog. It’s just ace. I’ve lost count of the number of times it’s helped me find absolute doozies of mistakes on people’s sites that I’ve been doing an SEO audit on. Like a rogue “noindex” on a key landing page (meaning search engines won’t list that page in their search results); to glaring duplicate content issues; conflicting http vs. https protocols – all sorts.

The free version will crawl 500 URLs for you – perfect for most small sites. But at just £149 a year it’s an absolute bargain for the unlimited version.

Podcast Addict – an aptly named app I have on my phone. I love a good podcast. I cycle to work. 10 miles each way. Twice a day. Five times a week. I don’t tell you this to boast, but to demonstrate the amount of time I spend on my bike. Cambridge is a pretty cycle-friendly city so I can half one ear-bud in listening to a podcast, whilst I’m away from any traffic for most of my commute. I get through about 8-10 podcasts a week. There are some belters out there, like Experts on the Wire, Marie Haynes’ Search News You Can Use, MozPod, BrightonSEO has its own podcast too.

But I’d be lost without my podcaster app of choice to play them all. It’s free (with unobtrusive ads), intuitive to use, has a handy ‘volume boost’ function (to help even out those sound levels) – I use it a lot.

Notepad – I know. There are better tools out there. I should use Evernote or Google Keep or whatever but I don’t. I’m a big note taker (mostly because I have an awful memory) – and more often than not, if you’re in a meeting with me, I’ll have Notepad open and will be typing notes into it as we go.

I love it because it’s simple. No formatting, no frills, just the notes I make. And I can take them out of Notepad and put them in an email, a presentation, a web page, a document whatever – and not have to worry about formatting getting messed up along the way.

SEOquake – is a Google Chrome plug-in. With it set-up you can right-click and examine any web page and get: Page Info (like the page title; meta description and even meta keywords (remember them?); Diagnosis info: which brings a whole lot more including headings and if it can see iframes, schema markup, even Google Analytics tracking code; Link info (listing out all the internal links the page points to; and the external ones too) and Density: by which it means words. So how many words appear on the page? Which are the most common two, three and four-word phrases (or n-grams); where it found them (in headings, in the title or just in the body copy) etc.

It’s a really useful little tool. But it does more too.

Hook it up to your SEMrush account and it’ll add useful data to search results. It’s ace for checking out your competitors in search results. Find who’s ranking above you for that key search term and find out: SEMrush’s Domain Score and Trust score for that domain; links to that page; to that domain; the age of the domain; a quick link to see the source code of the page – all sorts. A real time saver.

Keywords Everywhere – another Chrome plug-in and it does what it says on the tin. Gives you keyword’s everywhere. Switch it on and next time you’re browsing your Google Analytics or Search Console data it can overlay how many people search for that term each month. Or again, with a right click you can send it whirring into action on any page (even this one) and it’ll pull out how often and where a word or phrase appears and add monthly search volume data, ballpark cost-per-click info and much more. It does loads more – but Emma asked me to be brief so…

Awesome Screenshot – another Chrome plug-in and another that does just what it says on the tin. A lot of times I’m writing emails to people and I want to show them what I see – Awesome Screenshot is perfect. It can capture just what you see on the screen at the time; or scroll and capture the whole page (and stitch it together in one pic) or it can record your screen (in short bursts only, unless you pay for the upgraded version) which is priceless when you’re trying to demo to a dev that works in a remote team that “No, that button doesn’t bloody work… look, here’s 10 seconds of me clicking it!!!”

Twitter: OK. I know I haven’t just discovered fire by unveiling Twitter – most of you have probably heard of it. But it’s a huge part of most of my working days. Often for really great insights, content and articles shared by the super-smart people I follow on there; sometimes to bounce ideas of some of those people; most often just to inject a bit of fun and funny gifs into a day where I’m drowning in spreadsheets. And who doesn’t like funny gifs?

Last but not least and a new addition to my stable: SparkToro Trending. Co-created by Moz founder Rand Fishkin, SparkToro Trending is a great ‘noise filter’ for Twitter. Like most of us, I sometimes get lost in all the jumbled timelines and “What you missed” and “[x] random friend of a friend like this Tweet…” stuff.

SparkToro Trending cuts through all that noise with a rolling, daily ‘Top 25’ of what the key people are talking about and sharing. Been away for a couple of days and wondering what you missed? It also has historical Top 25 lists by day and even top 200s by month (rather proud to point out optimisey.com itself made it to #6 on 31st May!).

Andrew Cockstarkley tools


Thank you, Andrew, for sharing your list of digital tools you couldn’t live without. On a personal level, SparkToro especially was one I have been meaning to look into a bit more and I definitely will after reading this!

Look out for future ‘10 Digital Tools … Couldn’t Live Without’ blog posts from additional digital marketing industry experts as we’ll be publishing more of this series soon!

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