It’s easy to understand why you might want to keep track of your SEO.
One of the most obvious ways to do this is via SEO tools. But how good are they really?
I get asked by so many marketing managers about the real value of SEO tools, and whether any of them are actually useful. It’s a difficult question to answer, because I’ve personally never really had much use out of them.
Below, I’m going to explore a little more about what SEO tools have to offer, and whether any of them are actually worth paying money for.
I’ll also share with you the only SEO tool you’re likely ever going to need.
Why use SEO tools?
Most people use SEO tools to look at their search engine rankings, but this doesn’t actually give you a full picture of how well you’re doing.
For instance, you’ll never find out what your customers actually think by using an SEO tool.
You may also want to use SEO tools to analyse your competitors – which can be useful, if you’re especially nosey.
However, the information you’ll receive from analysing those competitors is very passive – in other words, you’ll get the data, but it won’t help you know what to actually do with it. Essentially, it’s useless.
In truth, the only competitor that is really worth analysing, is yourself.
How to get the most out of SEO tools
In order to improve your website from an SEO perspective, you need to take the focus away from your competitors, and towards becoming better than YOU were six months ago.
You can do this by looking at your web content, and how your visitors are responding to it. You can also use an SEO tool to analyse your site from a technical perspective.
SEO tools can be great for analysing how your site is performing from a technical viewpoint. They can help you:
- Check whether your site has malware or has been hacked
- Check for broken links, deleted pages or 404 errors
- Find out if Google has the right idea of your website and what it does
- Determine whether your keywords are spot on or need a bit of work
So, which SEO tool should you be using?
The best (SEO) tools in life are free
In truth, Google WebMaster Tools is the only SEO tool you’ll ever really need.
It’s perfect for checking all of the above-mentioned things, and the best part? It’s completely free.
However, if you are thinking about paying for an SEO tool, you need to first establish if the data it provides will help you to:
- Make decisions that will ultimately increase the revenue of your business
- Calculate and report on the ROI of what you’re doing
- Identify the technical issues search engines may have on your website (Remember, Google WebMaster can do this for free)
Asking yourself these questions will ultimately help you to determine the value you’ll get back from your investment. If that value is minimal, or you can get the same results for free, don’t pay up.
If you want to keep an eye on your SEO, the most obvious way to do this is with an SEO tool. However, there’s a lot of confusion about whether SEO tools are actually worth it. Ideally, you should be using an SEO tool to analyse your own website from a technical perspective, rather than collecting useless data about your competitors.
I’d recommend a free SEO tool such as Google WebMaster Tools, as it does everything you need without being a drain on your bank account. If you are thinking about paying, ask yourself what value you’re going to get in return.
Will an SEO tool help you make decisions that will ultimately increase the revenue of your business? Will it help you report and calculate the ROI of what you’re doing? Will it help you identify any technical issues with your website? (Google WebMasters does that last one for free)
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, don’t pay.