Mastering Search - Finding Your SEO Workflow

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Take my advice: Latch on firmly to anything that helps you plan, scale and master various SEO-related tasks.

While WM produced a big list of SEO software a few months back and continues to profile interesting SEO platforms and services, it is also useful to provide guidance on how your enterprise can best use the features and functionality these SEO services provide. Consider the following a baseline for evaluation or a selection criteria for discovering the platform that can actually help develop an effective SEO workflow that is your own.

Auditing: Call it what you will (competitive analysis, benchmarking, research or auditing), but at the core of any reliable SEO software solution is the ability to accurately asses the performance of others and yourself. Those which offer their customers the ability to generate customized reports and receive practical insights will have the most positive impact on your SEO campaign. Pay attention to not only the amount of data, but also its freshness and relevancy to your specific objectives.

Task Management: The top-tier search engine optimization platforms offer not just tools to support specific SEO tasks, but help manage the entire long list of tasks associated with shoring up top positions on search engines. In-house or agency-side SEO teams (as well as geographically distributed teams) must be able to track progress, communicate and access information as they need it. Selecting a platform which enables you to create and assign tasks, message team members, see the pending tasks and simply manage the overall workload is the sign of an enterprise-ready system. 

Keyword Research: You didn't think we'd leave something as important as keyword research out, did you? It would be difficult to do so, even if we tried. The reason we've placed "keyword research" further down the list is pretty simple - while certainly important, it is far from the most important element of a sound system. The benefits of having an informed understanding of the competitive landscape and using another system's infrastructure and expertise far outweigh anything else. When it comes to keyword research, however, being able to analyze keywords and related terms and phrases (volume, competitiveness, value, relevance), adding keywords to a specific campaign are those systems which bring the most value. 

And Yes, More: Let this list act as a starting point for developing your own ultimate SEO workflow and the solutions mentioned as guides to higher rankings. Any support for link building would of course be welcome, as would having a platform that can sync with analytics accounts or the webmaster tools accounts of popular search engines. 

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Ina Stanley 04-06-2011 4:50 PM

I would suggest conducting an audit of your website using a free tool BEFORE you begin the seo software selection process. The reason I suggest this is that in order to truly know what your goals should be for your website, you need to know where you stand in the industry, what you're doing well with and what your weak spots are in order to develop the kinds of goals that seo software can help with.

After all, you wouldn't choose and hire a web designer without knowing what you want a website for, would you? To me, the same concept applies with choosing seo software. You shouldn't choose a software to help you implement an seo strategy without first knowing what that strategy is. And you won't really know what that strategy is until you know where you stand and what needs to be focused on.

I know that some will likely disagree with me here, stating that the whole point of the seo software is to audit your website and help you create & implement a strategy. Problem is, some of the best seo software can be extremely expensive (some even having quarterly or yearly costs). The less you know about where you stand, the more time you stand to waste once you've made your selection and purchase. You don't want to risk wasting valuable time after you've spent that much money. So a good idea would be to have an idea of where you stand and what you need to focus on to achieve higher rankings beforehand so that you can choose the most appropriate seo software to match those needs. You can then use the software to further refine your goals and implement your strategies.

I suggest a free web app to do this, such as

Ken Lewis 04-08-2011 3:21 PM

For a lot more detailed info on this very same topic, I'd recommend this amazing post to SEOMoz:

Suzi Beaumont 04-08-2011 5:13 PM

Ken, that SEO Moz post IS amazing.  I'm thinking of using it to explain to clients how much work is involved in SEO!

On the topic of finding your workflow, it seems to me that no one tool is going to do it for me, so I've yet to settle on one.  I agree with Ina, you have to know where you are, and where you're going, before assessing commercial software.

That said, I appreciate this post, as it categorizes 3 of the most time-consuming aspects of SEO - research, task management (not mentioned often enough) and keywords.  this should help me prioritize when investing in SEO software.

KennethH 04-15-2011 10:40 PM

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