We’ve been asked by our clients in the past, “what do you think of this SEO software, does it work and should I get it?” Or in some other cases, clients would claim that their sites have been optimized because they installed some SEO plugin. Clearly, there seems to be a misunderstanding of what SEO software is, whether it’s in the form of an actual app, a website plugin or SAAS. So in this article, we’re going to explain what it does and why it’s not a substitute to hiring certified SEO experts.
What SEO Software Does
SEO software or tools are applications that either run on computers or served over Internet browsers as web apps. There’s a wide range of different SEO tools out there, some of which have unique features; but generally, they are capable of measuring search engine visibility, providing insights, recommending improvements and monitoring backlinks. For example, Moz.com offers a Link and Keyword Explorer that provides analytics on inbound links, as well as a browser plugin to help measure domain and page authority. Google has a Keyword Planner, Google Trends and Search Console that helps plan focus key phrases, forecasts search volume and measure search visibility. Yoast offers SEO plugins for content management systems to aid content creators in writing search engine optimized contents.
- This is an SEO performance dashboard for one of the websites we manage and optimize for. You can see it brings thousands of leads (clicks) to the website every month. The site name, URL and keywords are censored for confidentiality reasons
Limitations of SEO Software
All of SEO software mentioned above are great and we use them on a daily basis, but they are still just tools with learning curves. For example, say that you’ve learned that you should target certain key phrases from one of the tools, now what? Do you just enter the target key phrases into a SEO plugin such as Yoast and call it a day? Unfortunately that’s not how it works. Yoast is only a tool that helps you check your content against the keywords you wish to target and make suggestions. To fully utilize them, you need to first learn about search engine optimization and be hands on with it, which most business owners don’t have the time for.
If you check out our SEO services page, you’ll see there are many aspects to this, from keyword research, copywriting to technical SEO. In addition to this, there’s also link building. Let’s go over them one by one and explain why having SEO software alone doesn’t help.
There’s a lot that happens behind the scene that website users don’t see on the front end and yet affect search visibility. For example, website structure, page load speed, XML sitemap, SSL certificate and etc. Most of these are related to web design, development and server. SEO software may recommend that you “eliminate render-blocking resources” or “serve static assets with an efficient cache policy,” but you’ll need the technical know-how to do so.
- Because Google takes page load time into consideration when ranking websites, many SEO software will report recommendations made by Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
On-page optimization basically revolves around content, you need to place the right words, links, images and schema markup at the right places. If you overdo it, you may get penalized by search engines for keyword stuffing. SEO software can assist you with keyword research, and may even suggest content ideas, but you still need to write it. So if writing and wordsmithing aren’t your things, it’s probably best to hire SEO consultants.
Off-page factors such as backlinks and social signals are also very important to search visibility. This is why most SEO software have features that help you explore backlinks to your and your competitors’ websites. But don’t go posting your links everywhere on Internet and exchanging links with every site that’s willing to do so. The reason for that is not all backlinks carry the same weight. First of all, a website can tell search engines not to follow certain links, or disclose that they are sponsored links. Secondly, linking without context or from irrelevant sites won’t improve search visibility much. Furthermore, linking from spammy sites might even get your site penalized. So steer away form sketchy solicitation for link building services.
Like a modern car, SEO is a complex subject with lots of moving parts, and SEO software is like a car diagnostic tool. I have one myself and I could use it to retrieve error codes if my car’s check engine light was on, but I wouldn’t know how to fix it. Can I learn how to? Probably, but I rather spend my time doing something else. Case in point, as a business owner, your time is better spent on running your business than learning how to optimize your website for search engines. This is where SEO consultants like us come in. So if you’d like to drive more qualified leads to your site, consider working with us. We have a proven track record in helping our clients outrank their competitors. Just click the button below to get in touch.