Using SEO Tools vs. Hiring a Professional SEO
A search for “free SEO tools” will turn up lots of options. If you’re inclined to try your hand at performing search engine optimization on your own website, a number of these tools can help you. Some may even offer a more comprehensive overview than others. However, there are a number of ways, in which these tools fall short.
SEO Tools Can’t Think for You
No amount of SEO tools are going to help you if you don’t understand the issues that they uncover with your web site. For instance, let’s say that you use a tool which tells you that you have 10 duplicate title tags, 20 missing Meta descriptions, 3 broken pages, 12 broken images, and 10 broken links. How much of a problem are these issues? Which ones, if any, should you fix first?
Utilizing SEO tools on your own is only as useful as your own personal knowledge of how to manage SEO. You need a clear understanding of ranking, keyword positioning, and how this correlates to the business trends you are experiencing. If you are unsure of these aspects, you may need to seek the expertise of an SEO professional.
Excusing context for the moment, in our example above, broken pages and duplicate titles are both very important and should be the first focus for resolution, followed by broken images. The reason for this is that title tags are still a strong indicator and relatively simple fixes, while broken pages won’t be scanned by Google crawlers and may even be de-indexed.
Broken images are signs of poor site quality and can lead to penalties. Missing Meta descriptions do not effect rankings directly, but are important for marketing and click-through rate, as they represent missed chances to entice the searcher into clicking. Broken links are important for the same reason that broken images are, but may not be as big of a factor because they are less interruptive to site flow.
But let’s change the context – if you’re ranking fairly well but no one is clicking, then Meta descriptions suddenly become more interesting. As well, you may be ranking on the wrong keyword for the conversions you desire, even though the terms you are ranking on are overall relevant to your industry.
Same example, but If you’re getting the traffic but no conversions, then what do you need to change to address that? You may not realize that you need to build a traffic funnel, or that your on page isn’t enticing. This doesn’t mean that your product is flawed, but the message is being lost somewhere. This is why a tool can’t replace an internet marketing expert versed in SEO.
A professional SEO can not only help you find any existing problems with your website, but they can also help you to prioritize those needs. He or she will not only tell you how you’re ranking, but they can help you to understand which keywords bring in more sales, not just more traffic. A professional SEO who handles a number of clients gains a certain perspective that permits them to see patterns – and to tell whether a sudden rise or drop in the rankings is due to changes made to the site, an algorithm shift, or another factor.
Some Tools are Expensive or Exclusive
While there are several free and useful SEO tools out there, many of the best ones are quite expensive. Unless search engine optimization is your business, the average SEO do-it-yourselfer would prefer to invest that kind of money into items that they will help their main business, such as equipment upgrades. In addition to the expensive tools, there are other SEO tools that you cannot buy at price. These programs are often created specifically for SEO professionals. This provides a competitive advantage to the SEO company that uses this exclusive tool.
For instance, let’s look at this page from SEMrush:
Some of this is extremely simple: Keyword, Volume, Position – oh wait, what period of time does that volume apply to? And when was that position last referenced? How often are they referenced and when is that comparison number coming from?
Maybe it’s not so simple. Let’s try another one – WebCEO this time:
As you can see, there are some nice charts and graphs to lay out what you need to know – except we again run into the issue of expectant knowledge in the industry. Excessive title length means what exactly, and how important is it for your SEO? It can’t be less important than H1 headlines, that just how big some text is, right?
Being an online marketing manager is a full time vocation, requiring the constant updating of knowledge and changes in the industry. No tool can replace that, and these tools start at $50 a month, with the most ambitious easily pushing over four digits.
This is not to disparage www.semrush.com or www.webceo.com. Both of these tools are very useful in skilled hands. Without the skill, you can easily be throwing your money away, or worse actually cause damage by misunderstanding or operating on old data.
For an SEO specialist, these kinds of tools represent an investment in improving their understanding of how their clients’ websites are performing. The data that an SEO can glean from their tools gives them guidance as to the next steps to take to improve their clients’ positions in the search engines, whether it’s creating better content, unblocking site resources, building more links, or fixing other issues.
An SEO Company is more Than Just Tools
As with many SEO firms, we maintain proprietary tools that provide us with a wealth of information. We do not sell or lease these tools. More importantly, our professional SEOs know how to get the most out of these tools to plan and execute your SEO campaign. If you’re ready to look at the big picture, give SEO Company a call today. Leave the SEO tools to us, so you can focus on your business.