Since all major search engines have evolved at a rapid pace, SEOs have had to keep up with the changes, but also have had to find new efficiencies. Analyzing on-page factors, tracking natural search visibility and optimizing for specific engines and audiences means SEOs are inundated with massive amounts of data.
Not all of the data is useful, though. Often, the real insights aren't obvious, but are the result of analyzing and calculating the effect of a number of factors. Add to this the need for current, relevant insights in as close to real-time as you can get and you can see how modern SEO calls for technical skill, but also technology.
What Does an SEO Actually Do?
Literally, an SEO optimizes content for search engines. Over the last decade, however, the role of an SEO has evolved greatly. Today, they're expected to optimize content for audiences, as well.
There are two reasons for this. First, it's pointless to get high rankings for content actual readers won't enjoy and second, the search engines increasingly factor human signals into their ranking algorithms. How long did people stay on the page? How popular is the content? How relevant is it to the audience being targeted via various keywords?
SEOs primarily focus on two areas to achieve higher rankings:
- On-page optimization, reporting and analysis
- Defining reporting and the workflow so that the entire organization is creating content that is found - not just the SEO team.
In earlier days, much of this work was done manually – SEOs tracked page and keyword performance in spreadsheets, wrote reports, and pulled from that the insights they could. Manual reporting is still employed by some, but its utility has worn thin. It's time-consuming and tedious work, giving the SEO only select glimpses into overall performance in the increasingly complex search landscape.
How Does SEO Analysis Software Help?
Using technology to automate processes and analyses gives SEOs deeper insight through their ability to gather and analyze more data more often. Insights become closer to real-time. Far larger swaths of data can be processed in minutes than SEOs could achieve in days using manual reporting.
In each step of the SEO analysis and optimization process, tasks can be automated, saving massive amounts of time even while scaling exponentially to reach more of the target audience, across more engines, with more content.
The data SEOs need lives all over the web, in analytics, in different tools, and across a variety of networks. SEO software provides a single interface to pull in, house and analyze data. Further, efficiency grows and opportunities are uncovered as the software identifies potentially problematic issues as well as untapped opportunities.
The benefits of using SEO software are clear and can be summed up in just a few words. It's faster, more accurate, and scalable.
At first, SEO software was prohibitively expensive for smaller brands. Today, the playing field has been leveled and there are solutions for every budget -- from the single entrepreneur to multinational enterprises. As the use of SEO software has become the status quo, interfaces have become more user-friendly, features more useful and prices more affordable.
Evaluating SEO Analysis Software: Tips & Tricks
How do you choose the right SEO software solution for your enterprise? Consider these factors:
- Utility – Does it offer the types of insights and recommendations you need to help build your business?
- Usability – Are the interface and options logical, user-friendly and easy to navigate?
- Ubiquity – Does it give you access to data from all of the engines, countries, languages, etc. that will help feed insights to benefit your business? Does it take you everywhere you need to be?
Keyword research and rankings, backlink analysis, workflow and task management, competitive intelligence and search visibility tracking are pretty standard features in most SEO software tools.
Depending on the size of your business and your objectives, you may also be looking for:
- High frequency reporting
- Content insights
- Cross-team workflow for teams multi-location/language teams
- Paid search integration
- Customized recommendations
- An API for custom applications and data integration
- Social signal tracking
- Predictive analytics
- Scalability to manage thousands/millions of keywords and pages
Making an SEO software decision can take weeks or months. Identify your "must-haves," then demo the software you're interested in and compare features against other solutions. It's an important tool that will help drive the insights and opportunities to build your business and improve ROI.