Tools of the Trade: SEO

SEO ToolsIn the SEO industry today, the problem is not lack of necessary tools, but rather which tools to be used in SEO. The answer is, “nobody can tell you”. And not because these tools are irrelevant but rather because these tools are not made with one size fits all principal. Thank god for that. The range of tools are available because there are a variety of business and within the same type of businesses, there are many approaches one takes towards company strategy, including search engine marketing.

Factors to consider when choosing SEO tools

There are various types of tools and within each type there are multiple variants of the tools available for a successful SEO.  Before choosing a tool, one must consider many factors, some of which are listed below.

1. Does your business need a specialized tool or a standard tool?

This question needs answer to make sure that the tool you chose works with your offerings (product/service) and is also in line with your search engine marketing strategy. If there are specific needs of the business which cannot be fulfilled with a standard tool, then you will have to look at what degree of customization is absolutely crucial. Based on these factors, you would decide if you need a customized tool, and how much customization is required or if standard tool would fulfill your purpose.

2. What are the customization options?

When the need for customization is indispensable, you would see how much customization is possible in a given tool. The more the options, the more choices you have to align it with your marketing strategies. Also they are a welcome addition to the functionality of your website and credibility of your services.

3.  Can the tools be regularly updated?

This is possibly one of the most important considerations you will have to make. The reason is that your market is continuously changing, and so will be the requirements from the tool. You need to know that your tools can be updated and you won’t have to buy a new one every time there is an update in the search engines. With the intensity algorithms have been changing, you will need to keep up with the changes.

4. What is the level of customer support?

In the complex world of tools, you will need this more than in most industries. One should consider before choosing tools how much customer support can be expected in the future, and if the customer support would remain the same when you move from free trial to being a paid customer? Another important aspect will be to look at the information available on using the tools and updating them. The more comprehensive the information in the form of FAQs, videos and other literature, the better it is for you.

5. Does the cost fit with your budget? Are there any free tools available?

While this is a factor in every aspect of any business, here it gains a little more importance because prices between tools will vary greatly with minutest of differences. You would need to decide whether the small add on is worth the money, or if there are other free tools available with almost the same offerings. Many times you could do well with free tools if they suit the major part of your requirements.

Types of Tools

Once these factors are taken into consideration, then you would look at the multitude of tools available. The types of tools can be broadly categorized into following types.

Keyword Research Tools

These tools are used to determine which keywords to target which most closely address your products/services. Not only these tools suggest possible keywords, they also give you details such as the competition on the keywords, usage by people of the keywords in a particular industry, and even details of keywords that your competitors are ranking on. Some examples of such keyword tools are Google Keyword tools, SEM rush, Uber suggest and similar others.

Technical Audit

These tools are used basically to monitor the health of your website. They would tell you about the errors, issues of duplicate content, redirects and similar others. These tools are also aimed at keeping track of websites on search engines in terms of rankings, the friendliness with crawlers and indexers. These tools have interfaces which will allow seeing how a search engine perceives of your website. Some of the examples of these tools are SEOmoz’s SEO toolbar, SEO browser, Google & Bing Webmaster tools, screaming frog, firebug and many more.

Link Analyzer and Tracker Tools

Everyone involve in SEO business how important the link is. And with the new updates of Google, it has become all the more important to see where the links are, what kind of traffic are they generating and how much and web page’s & domain’s authority. It can also help monitor how social media is affecting your website. Couple of examples would be Open site Explorer and Majestic SEO.

Evolution of Tools

As the market has evolved, so have the tools. There are many new tools available which give more detailed results for a more specific criterion. Some of the examples below will further explain this

Omniture

Recently acquired by Adobe, this company offers tools to track social media. Since social media is gaining importance not just in search engines but in other spheres of life as well, these tools can help you monitor your performance on social media. It gives detailed results about the likes, shares and other such activities on social media and also helps identify Spam in social media.

Google Analytics Advanced Version

This is an advanced keyword search tool, which helps in real time tracking of keywords and also can track specific events when using the options available. These events can be set by the company such as when a user fills a form, or when a user leaves a shopping cart with items in it and similar other events.

Google Trends

This particular tool is useful for keyword tracking, the seasonal variations of the search, the regional details of the search and similar other options.

Google Zeitgeist

This new offering from Google is one large database. Here you can search for trends associated with anything and anyone, for example which person/movie/product was the most searched for in last year, searches by region and similar other options.

One of the main reasons that have caused the evolution is the way search engines today display the ranking. Search engines today are trying to understand the consumer by mapping his behavior, intent and then displaying personalized search results based on location. This means that new factors have come in which would further affect the way tools are used.

Some of these factors are listed here.

Geotargeting

Even if the user is not logged in the search engine, it can still increase the relevancy of the results by giving preference to local results first. There are tools needed, which would help with Geotargeting and localized SEO has gained importance.

Multiple Browsers Compatibility

With the array of browsers available to user today, it is difficult to generalize which one he uses. Now this becomes a problem, because what is configured or designed for one browser may not display the same way in the other. Tools are required to make sure there is more flexibility and information is displayed in the same fashion across different platforms.

Multilingual Capability

Global search engine marketing required SEO to be able to cater different countries in their own language. Tools are required which could automatically transform the page in the user’s preferred language when he/she views the information.

Real time Dashboard

With so many factors coming in, it is only natural that work needs to be done faster and quick real time decisions are taken. Real time decisions need real time data and one way to do that will be through a tool which shows this data real time on page.

With more advanced options available, smart SEO’s will be able to keep up with the growing pace of the market. There are tools which can give you a helicopter view and tools which can give you microscopic views. The trick is in choosing the best tools that suits your personal requirements. And if there are not met by the tools today, rest assure more are coming.

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