Though its definitely geared towards the web development crowd, its live editting functionatlity makes checking page sources a breeze. Once Firebug is installed, you can pop the plugin open by hitting F12 in an open browser. Most of the thing you see here are beyond our uses as search marketers, but there is one button we want to pay attention to: inspect.
Inspect allows us to hover over any element on a page and view the markup for that item instantly. This makes checking markup practices exponentially faster, as you can jump from item to item as you see it rather than dig through source code. However, Firebug's usefullness doesn't end there.
Yahoo! jumped on the Firebug bandwagon and created an add-on, YSlow. Straight from the YSlow website:
YSlow analyzes web pages and tells you why they're slow based on the rules for high performance web sites. YSlow is a Firefox add-on integrated with the popular Firebug web development tool.
Speed is a huge thing when getting crawled by search engines. If your page doesn't load fast enough, the spider leaves, and your page remains unindexed. YSlow helps identify trouble areas so you can rest easy the next time your site gets sweeped.
Tomorrow, we're looking at two more plugins. Until then, be sure to give Firebug and YSlow a whirl. They've been instrumental in our work, and hopefully they give your productivity the same boost they gave us. Already tried them, but not sure what to make of them? No problem. Give us a shout and we'd be happy to get you started with some search marketing consulting.