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At this point in your life as a business owner or marketing manager, you’ve probably heard about all the ways that SEO can help you generate more traffic, leads, and sales from the web. So you’ve done a little research and found out that SEO isn’t exactly a walk in the park, and now you’re looking for some sort of SEO software to help you get your website to the top of search engines.
Did I get that I right?
Well, before you jump into purchasing some subscription to a half-rate SEO plugin, let’s get you up to speed on the truth about SEO software:
- What even is “SEO software”?
- What exactly does SEO software do?
- Do I need to buy SEO software? How much does it cost?
- What are the best SEO tools and software?
Keep reading to find the answer to all the questions above.
What Is SEO Software?
The definition of SEO software is an online platform that helps you monitor, organize, and analyze data relating to your website’s performance in search engines. This data can include everything from keyword rankings and trends to backlinks and even website speed. The result is a snapshot of how your website is performing in search engines for your top-priority key phrases, and (depending on the software) opportunities for improvement.
Remind Me—How Does SEO Work?
Here’s how SEO actually works: Google and other search engines crawl pages on the web, indexing and categorizing them in what would be the universe’s biggest library. When you search for something online, you’re putting in a request to the library. Google’s search crawlers then analyze your search term and spit out web pages that are most relevant to what it thinks you want.
However, search crawlers speak a different language than we do—HTML. So, they need some extra help to determine what a web page is about so they can correctly index it.
Think of it like this: You’ve gone to the world’s biggest library, but the librarian speaks Russian, and all the books are in English. By optimizing your website for search, you’re adding in extra bits of code and structuring your website a specific way that helps crawlers understand, categorize, and index each web page.
What Does SEO Software Do?
While there are many different SEO software platforms, for the most part, the software measures:
- How well your site is currently optimized for search engines based on a number of ranking factors—some tools also allow you to evaluate how well individual pages of your site are optimized for certain keywords
- How well your site ranks for your designated allotment of keywords
Types of SEO Tools
From there, it gets more granular into the types of SEO software available, and each piece serves a different purpose:
- Keyword software – SEO was built on keywords, and it remains true today. The very basic application of SEO includes picking the right keywords and key phrases, and keyword software only monitors keyword volume and opportunity. Examples include: Google Ads Keyword Planner, Keywords Everywhere, Google Trends, Wordtracker
- Website audit software – If you’ve got your keywords covered by one of the tools above, the next thing you might need is website audit software. This type of software looks at all the technical aspects of your website—like site speed, mobile-friendliness, robot.txt files, etc.—and spits out a summary of data that can help you pinpoint places that are hurting your SEO strategy. Examples include: Screaming Frog, Google Webmaster Tools
- Local SEO software – While regular SEO focuses on organic search results, Local SEO focuses on local search results, including the local pack and map listing. Local SEO software monitors and analyzes data relating to ranking factors for the local and map listings, including consistent NAP (name-address-phone number) across online directories, presence of reviews, etc. Examples include: Moz Local
- Content SEO software – Are people sharing your content on social media? Where are the content opportunities you’re missing? Is your website content scraped from another site? Content SEO software will tell you all the above. Examples include: BuzzSumo, Copyscape
- Full-suite SEO software – Full-suite SEO software does all the above, and there aren’t that many good ones. Examples include: Ahrefs, SEMRush, Search Console by Google, and our own proprietary SEO software
Do You Need SEO Software?
Eh, maybe—it depends on your capabilities. If you have an in-house SEO team, yes—you need some type of SEO software. If you haven’t crossed that threshold yet, you may be better off investing in SEO services instead, for two reasons:
Reason 1: SEO Software Rankings Are Extremely Unreliable
Pick a keyword, any keyword. For this example, I’ll use the keyword I find myself searching the most often: “liquor store.” The search results that I see for “liquor store” are going to be different than the search results you see for “liquor store.” That’s because Google personalizes your search results based on:
- Your location
- Your search history
- Your personal sharing
- Your social connections
- And previous search queries
As you can imagine, this makes it difficult to accurately measure rankings. Fortunately for you, as a business owner, you don’t really need to be concerned with rankings as a measure of your SEO success. Rather, you should pay attention to the leads and sales being generated from your SEO campaign. Does your SEO software tell you that? Probably not!
Reason 2: SEO Audits or Reports Don’t Fix Your Website for You
Say you pay money for SEO audit software that tells you that you have 100 broken links on your website that are negatively impacting your SEO. That’s great to know, but the software isn’t going to fix it for you!
SEO reports and audits aren’t going to help you unless they offer you clear, actionable takeaway items that you implement to improve your website.
If you’re going to do SEO in-house you’ll need someone on your SEO staff who can understand the reports your software generates and can turn those reports into actionable items to improve your website. You’ll also need the proper website tracking installed on your website to determine whether or not your SEO efforts are doing what they’re supposed to do—generating more sales and leads for your business.
Alternatively, you can hire an SEO company like Blue Corona. We have our own proprietary SEO software, in addition to a variety of third-party tools, that allow us to track how well your website is optimized for search engines. With this information, we can then create and execute an SEO strategy that will not only increase rankings but also increase leads and sales from the web.
What Is the Best SEO Software?
I gave a few examples above, but aside from our own SEO software, these are our picks for the best SEO software:
- Google Search Console
- Google Ads Keyword Planner
- Keywords Everywhere
- Google Trends
- Screaming Frog, Google Webmaster Tools
How Much Does SEO Software Cost?
SEO software can cost anywhere from free—like the Google SEO tools—to over $5,000 per year. The cost depends on the type of software, how many features you need, how many users and web domains you need to track, and how many keywords you’re looking at.
Chances are, if you’re going the DIY-route (which we don’t recommend) you’re going to need a few different tools. While it may seem cheaper to do it yourself, after adding up the cost of all the different tools plus the time it will take for you to analyze the data and create an implementation strategy, it may be cheaper for you to go the route of hiring an SEO company like us that does it all for you.
Our SEO software monitors all aspects of your search profile, and our SEO professionals are second to none.
For small (and not so small) companies that don’t have the time or expertise in-house to perform any real, meaningful SEO analysis, Blue Corona has developed several cost-effective and turn-key competitive SEO analysis packages. Drop us a line to learn more!
About The Author: Betsy is Blue Corona's Digital Content Manager. When she’s not directing Blue Corona's corporate digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring with her wife, diving into the latest marketing trends, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
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