Recently, I wrote an article on the top 10 features that I need in an SEO tool. I received a lot of wonderful feedback since I wrote the article, but one of the most important questions has been: why use an SEO tool in the first place? And that got me to thinking about SEO tool use cases.
So to bring some clarity (no pun intended for those of you who read the first article) to the situation, I developed the following outline that illustrates the different use cases for SEO tools.
An SEO tool should be the main hub of SEO reporting and should be capable of delivering the following metrics (at a minimum):
|Search Rankings||Including recent trending of those listings|
|Search Traffic||Via Omniture, Webtrends, or Google Analytics Data|
| -brand vs. non brand |
-historical year over year
-month over month
|Traffic / conversion performance|
|Competitive analysis||Rankings, keywords, and link data for competitors|
|Link acquisition metrics||Number of links acquired in a given time frame|
|Quality Assurance (QA)||Did recent optimization result in gains or losses? Were all recent recommendations implemented?|
One of the big values of an SEO tool across large sites and/or data sets is the ability to distill the huge amount of data into tangible opportunities for search engine optimization. These opportunities include:
|New Keyword Discovery||Identify new opportunities for optimization|
|New Pages||Identify new pages to be optimized|
|Existing Optimized Pages||Identify which optimized pages are under-performing|
|Duplicate Content||Identify duplicate content or redundant URL structure|
|Duplicate Page Titles / Meta Data||Ensure title and descriptions are unique for each page|
|404 / 403 Errors||Make sure you aren't missing pages of content|
|Internal Link Opportunities||Identify opportunities for additional internal links|
|External Link Opportunities||Identify and prioritize external link opportunities|
|Keep track of recommendations||Historical record of all optimization recommendations|
|Workflow management tool||Assign tasks and keep track of who did what and when|
|Link Management Tool||Manage all aspects of link acquisition process|
These are the most common activities that a strong SEO tool can add value to, especially for large sites with enormous data sets. Leveraging the automation technology that these kinds of tools provide can save you hundreds of hours of time and in some cases, allow you to do things that are just not possible to do manually (like tracking traffic changes over time across thousands of pages and aligning that data with changes in the site optimization to understand SEO performance).
All of the activities described in this article are important components of a successful SEO campaign. If you want to improve your campaign, especially if you have a very large website, it may be worth your time to investigate what modern SEO tools can do to make your SEO campaign more efficient and help you attain better results.
If you have something to add to this list, please let me know in the comments.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!