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Selecting SEO Software & 4 Solutions to Know

Posted on 6.03.2014

By Peter Prestipino, Editor-In-Chief

Not every enterprise needs to use a software solution to manage their search engine optimization efforts. It is, after all, still possible (with a little digital elbow grease, of course) to conduct an effective SEO campaign without; but would you really want to?

As you may know, SEO can be a time consuming and often complex endeavor. What’s more, since the rules are continually changing, a brand’s approach to the practice must also change. Those that take advantage of the features and functionality provided by SEO software tend to know a little more than their competitors and about the available opportunities that “search” as a channel presents. It’s true that most Web workers responsible for SEO can manage the process without the assistance of any formal tool (or toolset), but for others it remains too cumbersome to do so alone – particularly in highly competitive industries – so they turn to solutions for automating many of the most routine tasks.


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If you’re struggling with SEO, and these solutions seem appealing, what precisely should you be looking for? Price and ease of use will certainly be important, and the best tools on the market make both accessible. The numerous other considerations are the focus of this issue’s Mastering Search column.

REPORTING & EXPERIENCE OPTIMIZATION INTEGRATION

Many enterprises are drawn to the performance reporting features that SEO software provides. Of all the benefits one could look past, however, reporting tools are often it. For example, if a marketer is leveraging third-party analytics solutions to understand traffic statistics and trends in general, the same performance reports provided by SEO software tools will be far less important to his or her success.

That said, many SEO tools do take their reporting features a step further, offering general SERP position tracking, historical reporting (tracking positions over a period of time), and some form of alerts to notify SEOs of new competitors or position increases or decreases. Due to the dramatic increase in personalization by the search engines, however, tracking specific position changes can be rather meaningless. Today, SEOs are turning their attention to a different kind of optimization - that of the user experience.

Many of the SEO software solutions Web workers consider are simply better suited to the digital do-it-yourself crowd (if you’re looking for free search engine optimization tools, check out Website Magazine’s collection of SEO freebies at wsm.co/freebiesseo). There is certainly nothing wrong with these offerings as many are quite powerful, but for larger enterprises (and agencies in particular) a more robust and comprehensive solution is required - and a solution like SEO Clarity fits the virtual bill.

The platform provides its users with all the required features, including customizable dashboards, functionality to conduct site audits that automate the process of identifying duplicate content and site errors, tools to review and track on-page content and the analytics and ranking data behind it. It also provides competitor insights, local search optimization support, as well as link building and management tools. Where the platform excels is in its integration with the Adobe Marketing Cloud (e.g. Adobe Analytics, Adobe Experience Manager). As SERP position becomes less important, and optimizing the experience becomes more so, SEO software solutions that help create and maintain more engaged users are those that will rise to the top.


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LINK BUILDING AND CITATION ACQUISITION

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of using software for search engine optimization is their usefulness in helping acquire and manage links and citations. Many of the solutions on the market provide tools for locating link partners, and in some cases provide email templates to make contacting prospective link partners more efficient, and even offer features that make it possible to verify links are actually active on partner sites – as well as finding other sites linking in that SEOs may not be aware of.

What tends to be most important for companies prioritizing link building is the size (and obviously quality) of the database that’s used for finding suitable links to acquire. MOZ, formerly SEOMoz, has long been one of the premier SEO software solutions thanks to its own Mozscape Index. Moz’s spiders crawl the Web and analyze inbound and outbound links, calculating page authority and storing the information for its clients to access on demand. What’s more, its new Moz Local offering (which helps local businesses manage an online business presence, and publish listings to search engines, apps and directories) further expands the platform’s usefulness to a broader audience base.

KEYWORD & COMPETITIVE RESEARCH

Another highly useful feature of search engine optimization solutions is the keyword research offerings. The keywords being used in your SEO campaign will not necessarily make or break a marketing initiative, but knowing which terms and phrases are driving traffic, and being able to analyze just how well those keywords are being used, remains important.

One of the most popular tools among professionals to perform keyword and competitive research is that of SEMrush. The platform collects SERP data for more than 106 million keywords and 71 million domain names and includes AdWords’ ad copy and positions (for paid search marketing professionals), organic positions for domains and landing URLs, search volumes, CPC, competition, number of results and a lot more. If you’re looking to extend your marketing efforts, few tools compare to SEMrush.

SUPPORT

Finally, another important point of consideration should be the help and support that’s offered by the provider. Some companies make it difficult to reach technical support with product questions. Others are proactive, providing live chat, user forums, free trials, online tutorials, phone-based support and more; ideally, the vendor you choose will offer some combination of these.

CHOOSE WISELY (OR NOT AT ALL)

There is much more to these software solutions than the aforementioned essential features. What makes them unique individually is what will make them most appealing to your brand.

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