Evaluating SEO and Marketing Software – #1 Doesn’t Mean the Best Product

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Posted by: Jahnelle Pittman-Seaman

Evaluating SEO and Marketing Software

Anyone who’s heard about the miraculous, site saving service known as SEO has eventually researched it online. Anyone who’s researched it and has had problems with their site has probably looked at SEO providers at least once. Anyone who’s had problems with their site, researched SEO providers and decided optimization didn’t fit into their budget has probably looked – at least once – at potential SEO and/or marketing software.

If this is you, did you look past the first results in the search engines?

You know, even most professional SEO specialists have some form of marketing or SEO software. – And, sometimes, we end up testing software that flops or doesn’t perform like we think it should (or as it’s marketed to perform). Overall, however, most of us do a good job of finding software that does what we need it to. Usually, we don’t find it in the #1 place for an “SEO software” query.

First-page ranking doesn’t always mean the best

This is true whether you’re looking for software, hardware, vacuum cleaners or laundromats. In fact, if a site shows up in the #1 spot for a high competition search result, this is more likely to be due to an excellent SEO instead of an excellent product. As you research for SEO and/or marketing software, keep this important point in mind.

Finding and Evaluating Marketing or SEO Software

Yes, look at the top results. However, before signing on the dotted line, you always want to look further than the SERPs. Here are a few tips to help you find the best software for your project.

Define what you need your software to do

As of yet, there isn’t a single piece of software that will perform all the tasks you’ll need for an SEO project, although some come close. Most SEOs have four or more tools in their toolbox. Before you actually start researching, you’ll need to lay out some basic guidelines. For example, “I need this piece of software to help me…”

  • Track my key term rankings
  • Research my competition
  • Research key terms for competition and search volume
  • Perform a site audit for errors
  • Perform a page speed check
  • Find other, related key terms

Now, you may end up with a long list. If so, pare it back to those you absolutely have to have a piece of software do. Remember, there is no complete SEO tool out there… yet (although many SEOs are working feverously to create one).

Let’s Go Fishing

Go fishing

SEO software, or marketing software, doesn’t always go by these two terms. To get a complete picture of what’s available, you have to use other search terms as well, such as:

  • SEO tools
  • Marketing tools
  • SEO platform
  • SEO management tools (or software)
  • market research tools

Use any search term you can come up with to find what you’re looking for. For search ideas, you can also look on the left side of your search engine. For Bing, “Related Searches” are shown right at the top. For Google, click “Related searches” under “All results”. Bookmark software offerings that look promising.

Research your potential SEO or marketing software

Once you have a list of potential software options, start clicking through them. Do searches on each product name. Read reviews and testimonials. You can also gain great information on these products by searching under the “Blog” or “Discussion” tabs available in Google.

Most software review sites are, unfortunately,<ahem> useless. If you use a software review site to gain information, read their review process and, always – always – look for backup reviews, no matter the review site.

Choosing between paid and free versions

Just as a #1 placement doesn’t mean it’s a good product, a price doesn’t mean it’s worth it. If you’re looking at a paid version and it offers a free trial, take it. You may end up trying several products before you find one that fits the bill, but the time will be worth it. For example, Raven Tools and SEOMoz (either of these tools is a great addition to your toolbox) both have free trials of their pro version. You’ll get full access to the tools available before you pay a dime.

Now, not all the good tools are paid. Some really good tools are free, just limited in what they can do. Professional SEOs often look for a tool that does as much as possible, and then use other tools to supplement where the big one is lacking. Conceivably, you can choose several free tools to take the place of one large one. Therefore, don’t choose based on price unless you have no budget. Choose based on what the software can do, versus what you need it to do.

SEO and Marketing Software – A Short List

Below are listed a few of the products (free, paid and trials) we’ve either used or heard great things about through the SEO grapevine. Listed in no particular order, with a variety of functions, the list includes:

Conclusion

Amazing amounts of people pay for products, services and software simply because they rank on the front page of the search results. – And sometimes, it works out okay. However, when you’re talking about SEO and marketing tools, you’re basically talking about the backbone of your site.

Don’t buy marketing and SEO software just because it ranks well. Do the research; take the time and test those product offerings with free trials. Find out what product will do the most for you!

Okay, it’s your turn. Do you have a favorite piece of software in your SEO or marketing toolbox? Give us the product, and don’t forget to include the link so we can check it out!

Comments (9)

  • Avatar
    Glenn Ferrell Reply

    I’ve found that many free products I’ve tried “degrade” without continuous support, e.g. you can get a wide variety of results from backlink checkers. I suspect this is because, over time — without going through proxy servers etc., these bots get detected and blocked by increasing numbers of webmasters. Even some pagerank checkers (which technically should not degrade) may give incorrect results. Perhaps this happens because the parsing routines aren’t changed when something (eg. a css tag, etc.) changes in the code the Search Engine generates.

    So if I were going to use one of these tools professionally, I would want to make sure it has support and do occasional manual checks of the results.

    If you are a programmer, an alternative is to write your own tools – with the caveat that writing, testing and using these tools requires more than the normal amount of care, research and consideration of others. Testing/debugging has to be designed to avoid constantly crawling the same sites over and over again. That’s just being rude to webmasters.

    Writing your own tools can be surprisingly rewarding. For anyone who wants to take the plunge into this, Michael Schrenk’s book “Webbots, Spiders and Screen Scrapers” is a great place to start.

    June 3, 2011 at 7:39 am
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    Jeff Riddall Reply

    Hi JR. Can I add one more to your list? gShift Labs’ Web Presence Optimizer is an SEO platform, which offers all of the features you’ve described along with a tie to Google Analytics for conversion optimization and WordStream for Keyword Research. Check us out at http://www.gshiftlabs.com if you have a chance.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:43 am
    • Avatar
      JRPittman Reply

      Hi, Jeff – I’m always interested in checking out new software, and thank you for bringing yours to our attention. 🙂 Like your site; very easy to navigate… sent an email your way, as well.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      P.S. Do you have a free or limited trial people can use to test it out before investing?

      June 3, 2011 at 10:24 am
  • Avatar
    Auroin Reply

    SEO is the core mantra of success when it comes to internet advertising and marketing. Optimizing our website, goes a long way in increasing the sales of our business and it’s a new online wave that everyone has latched on to. There are quite a number of companies who will offer their services in this regard.I am really thankful to you for providing this unique information. Please keep sharing more and more information.

    June 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm
  • Avatar
    analytical Reply

    Analytics is a great bit of kit for analysing your historical seo progress, but does nothing to your actual rankings. The link building tab leaves most of the work up to you. Then you can either use a tool like Ignite SEO to build the links automatically, or find some good footprints and do it yourself.

    September 13, 2011 at 8:37 am
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    Austin Reply

    Thanks a bunch for the useful tools.Should start exploring now 🙂

    January 23, 2012 at 8:31 am
  • Avatar
    LARSENJordan34 Reply

    Guys in the entire world know that social bookmarks submission is an effective option in promoting an internet site! At our online social bookmark service, we provide all required social bookmarks submission and our prices are reasonable!

    February 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm
  • Avatar
    Ditmar Reply

    Hi! We’ve launched a new SEO Tools https://Topvisor.com and we’d love if you tested it and shared your opinion in your blog. We’ll create a privileged and free test account for you and provide a worry-free support.

    A short summary of our key features:
    1) Rank Tracker Tool (on-demand and scheduled reports, all locations) https://topvisor.com/rank-tracker/
    2) Keyword Research Tool
    3) Keyword grouping Tool (Keyword clustering) https://topvisor.com/clustering/
    4) SEO Audit Tool https://topvisor.com/website-auditor/
    5) Website Watcher (tracks title and description changes) https://topvisor.com/watcher/
    6) Index status checker
    etc.

    I hope to hear from you and will be satisfied to answer any of your questions.

    April 11, 2016 at 9:32 am
    • Avatar
      Gabriella Sannino Reply

      Hello Ditmar, I’ll have our analyst and consultant reach out to you.

      April 12, 2016 at 11:31 am

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Evaluating SEO and Marketing Software - #1 Doesn’t Mean the Best Product