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SEO Software 2020: Complete Guide

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines (like google, bing) continuously try to optimize their ranking algorithms to show the most relevant results for their users. Optimizing your webpage by these guidelines to appear high in their rankings is referred to as SEO. The traffic from this process is also called organic, free, natural traffic.

SEO helps to increase high-quality traffic as the intent of the audience is high when looking for information on search engines. It also pushes up the quantity of traffic as search is the most common discovery mechanism for most users. Ultimately, what matters is your content is high quality, highly relevant to the target audience.

Related Software Categories

How does SEO work

Daily over 2 million blogs get published. Add videos and websites, and images, etc. All this new content comes to these search engines every day. Google, Bing, Duck Duck go, Yahoo, etc do the hard job of ranking these pages and showing us the most relevant results. Your website/content is also one of them.

The search engines will scan, crawl, and try to understand (user-friendliness, content quality, ease of navigation, etc) all the new websites. Based on its parameters, it tries to identify high quality and high relevance websites across search queries and rank them accordingly. The process of optimizing your website to rank higher in their search results is called search engine optimization.

What are the factors that Impact SEO?

Source: moz.com

On-Page SEO

These are factors that you control and hence can show faster results. Authority and usefulness are the top things search engines look for based on following -

Content

The quality of content on your website is one of the biggest factors in deciding your website rank. Search engines look at the content quality and depth, font size, images, interactive elements, video, ordered lists, readability, etc to determine your content quality.

UX - Design / navigation

Another thing extremely important to google is how the users are experiencing and liking your website. Search engines look at tIme on site, bounce, click-through rate, etc to estimate if your website is user-friendly. Hence it becomes critical what to show first, how to show it, how to make users interact with your content etc.

Technical / Tags

Finally, the technical factors like performance, https, Title tag, meta description, Heading and Subheadings, internal links, Alt tags, etc are crucial to tell search engines how to crawl and understand your website. Without this, it is extremely hard for them to rank your website even if you have everything else right.

Off-Page SEO

These are factors that you have very little control over and hence may take time to build.

Backlinks

Trust is an extremely crucial dimension on which search engine ranks websites. One of the most critical factors for determining trust is how many high-quality websites refer to you. This process of other websites linking to you is called building backlinks. Search engine rankings are very sensitive to backlinks from high-quality websites. Building high-quality content and relationships with influencers/fans are the best way to get backlinks.

Social

Another way to build trust is by having quality shares from influencers. Social signals like shares, likes, comments, etc influence your page rankings.

What is SEO Software?

SEO software helps you get free traffic by giving you tools like keyword research, link builder, SEO audits, rank tracking, content optimization, etc to rank at the top of the search results.

These tools together help you build your domain authority, page authority, and performance in the eyes of search engines. They help you optimize the keywords on which you should win and strategize which search terms to go after. Overall, their main job is to help your website build trust so that you can rank higher for your target audience.

Who uses SEO software?

Seo software is mainly used by digital marketers. The top two profiles of people who use SEO software include

SEO Analyst

The analyst is the person who uses the tool thoroughly to leverage its capabilities to the fullest. They are responsible for keyword research, link building, rank tracking, etc. SEO analysts work alongside the technical teams (or sometimes they are adept with front end technologies) to implement the SEO audit changes. They may also work with marketing teams to come up with user research, content ideas, and market analytics.

SEO Manager

Managers are responsible for driving the company’s SEO strategy. This involves regularly monitoring the KPIs and metrics the team is responsible for and staying up to date with the latest changes in SEO. They mainly use SEO tools for reporting, analytics, and dashboards to be on top of team deliverables. Occasionally they do some keyword research to understand the user but regularly use it to understand the market needs and trends. They are also responsible for most of the heavy lifting on the off-site SEO strategy around link building - building relationships and getting backlinks.

Content marketers

Content marketers’ primary KPI is to produce content (blogs, videos, images, etc) to drive traffic to the website. And for content to drive traffic it has to win on search engines and hence SEO becomes a key part of their strategy. These tools help them plan their content better and analyze their performance as well.

Which business problems do SEO software solve

Which business problems do SEO software solve

Acquiring New Customers

Most of the online users go to search engines for their discovery needs and click on top 5 search results. This is the raison d’etre for SEO software. Its main job is to help your website get free, the high intent audience to your website. Since these users have come from organic search, they are usually high intent and usually have good conversion metrics, boosting your website’s credibility further. Free is usually understated. You may be acquiring customers from multiple sources and SEO is the source that usually helps you lower your blended cost of acquisition. If you can start winning on SEO and bulk of your traffic/users start coming from search engines, you have a drastically low cost of acquisition which directly impacts your bottom line.

Visibility and brand

Users trust search engines. Hence they regularly go there for their discovery needs. If search engines rank you high, the users automatically trust you. Once they start coming regularly to your website because of your good SEO ranking, they start bypassing search engines and your brand starts to build. You also get good visibility in front of your target audience (and competition too) if your rank is good. Also, link building is a part of SEO which makes you build relationships with influencers and fans. This helps you build a stronger online brand in the mind of your audience.

Great UX - Website design and performance

The SEO strategy is tightly linked to having a good user experience and usability of your website. Over time, search engines have learned how to evaluate good user experience in terms of design and user metrics. So if your ranking high on search results, it's likely that your user experience will be well reflected by your superior engagement and conversions. You have to improve the performance of your website and the quality of content as it is one of the factors that contribute to ranking which ultimately results in good user experience.

Understanding Visitors, competitors, and market

This is almost a prerequisite to winning in the SEO game. You have to understand your users, their needs, their searches and their behavior across channels if you want to rank high on SEO. You can also use these tools to understand your competitor’s marketing and SEO strategy.

Top Capabilities of SEO Software

SEO software is usually packaged as a small number of tools put together. Some software only solves a one-pointed problem while some others solve a combination of them. Most popular tools include:

SEO Audits

This tool helps you with your on-page SEO. This requires the crawler to be really good to dig out deeper issues on your website. You can do a detailed audit of your website, analyze ranking factors for your website, identify areas that need improvement, give actionable recommendations, and prioritize issues that need your urgent attention. It also gives detailed analytics into AMP implementation, security issues like https, and detailed comparisons with top performers on search engines. They also have alerts so that the system can monitor as soon as it discovers a new issue.

The features for auditing your own website or websites of your competitors to find SEO issues or analyze the keywords those sites are ranking for are incredibly useful.

C C

Conrad C

Digital Marketing Associate

Keyword research tool

This is the most used tool. It is primarily used to answer two questions in which users (and search terms) are coming to my website and which searches should I go after next. It can help you find search traffic for keywords, related phrases to your target keyword, competitor keywords, new keyword ideas, keywords across languages, competition on those keywords, etc. All this can help you understand your users, market, and competition to craft your SEO strategy.

It is a great tool to track your ranking by analyzing your backlinks, ranking keywords etc. It is a basic tool to track website performance. Its keyword explorer is good to find new keywords. Its biggest benefits are the keyword difficulty report. It is very good for basic SEO of your website. It helps in on-page SEO of your website. For its better functionalities and easy to use the interface I like it.

P K

Pawan K

Digital Marketing Specialist

Rank tracking

Some tools provide the ability to track your rank for search keywords (local, national and global). This helps you understand where you are winning, where you are losing, users with which intent are coming to your website. You can use all this data to design your website and content strategy. It also gives you information about who are your competitors, which keywords and phrases your competition are winning for, what is their SEO strategy and insights into their marketing strategy as well. This information comes in handy in differentiating your company from the competition. Having this information over time keeps you on top of keywords which you continue to dominate and the ones where new competition is taking your pie.

Link building / Backlink Monitoring

The tools help with off-site SEO by giving capabilities that can help you make a good backlink strategy. They give an in-depth link analysis, domain authority score, page authority score, check for backlinks, geolocation of links, etc. They also flag the potentially dangerous backlinks and give a spam score to each, thus maintaining a clean backlink profile for your website. You can also keep a tab on where the competition is getting their backlinks from.

BACKLINKS--Ahrefs is the king of backlinks.

G A

George A

Marketing Writer

Reporting

Finally, It gives reporting capabilities that you can use to customize your reports with drag and drop features. You can automate the report creation and mail to desired recipients.

Content Optimization

These tools help you measure content SEO and social performance. The content audit tools look through your content and report the user metrics (Sessions, CTR, bounce, time on page, etc), social engagement metrics (like, share, comments, etc), websites linking to your content and identifies issues which can be preventing your content from being visible to search engines. Finding the best author, best article, comparing them on various dimensions, etc helping you decide which topics your writers should focus on. Apart from the performance of your content, some tools also help you monitor your brand reputation on social media.

SEO toolbar

It gives you your website health and authority scores for the websites you are interested in.

Buyers Guide - Guide to Choose Right SEO tools

Most of this software either go deep into any one of the above capabilities or do a good job or all of them. So depending on what your need is ( you are an expert and want to go deeper into one or you are starting out and want to do everything in one place) you need to select your tool. Below we list down the key considerations before selecting SEO tools:-

When do I need to buy an SEO tool

How deeply you get involved with SEO is directly dependent on how important traffic from search engines is, to you. If that is a big part of your customer acquisition strategy, then buying an SEO tool makes sense.

Who should buy an SEO tool

Any company that is dependent on traffic from search engines could buy an SEO tool. B2B or B2C, small or big, Financial or technology matter is much less than the above criteria. Beyond that other thing to look at:-

  • A large number of online pages
  • Large online marketing team size with each team needing its own set of accounts

Horizontal vs pointed

Seo tools come in various shapes and sizes. Some tools specialize in any one area of SEO like keyword analysis or backlinks etc. These tools go deep into the topic and should be used if you are looking to specialize in one domain of it.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a tool that does all the bits together, then some tools are one-stop-shop for all areas of SEO.

For example, If you are a big company with multiple business units and over a hundred thousand pages, you may want to specialize in each area for all your businesses. It would make sense to buy specialized tools for each area.

Which metric to look at while deciding on tool capabilities

To evaluate the capabilities of tools capabilities, look at the following parameters -

SEO audit - Technology audit
  • How well the crawler can crawl your website and
  • How well it can identify/prioritize the SEO issues
Keyword research
  • Depth of the keywords, related keywords, accuracy of the search volumes matter.
  • Most importantly how well they can give competitor data is critical
Back-links
  • How large is the link database/link index
  • How frequently they update this database
Rank-tracker
  • The frequency with which the tracker can show you the changes in your rank
API
  • If API exists or not
  • What quantity of data it allows you to interact with
Community and support
  • Obviously while using the tool you will have questions and that's where the community and support will become critical

Some tools offer capabilities of local SEO software that help winning in local listings, local search, etc while other software helps you provide tools to optimize PPC, paid search, ads, etc.

Pricing

Usually, tools have followed a freemium model. They offer a free version for a small time period and then ask you to pay. Some software offers small tools free as a means to acquire customers for the full set of offerings. The pricing is usually a function of users and their usage.

TTV

SEO is usually a long term game. It needs a good amount of time before these tools start to bear fruit. You may start seeing early results within a month but the full-fledged results only show up after 3-4 months. Unlike other customer acquisition strategy, SEO is slow but delivers high-quality results for a long period of time.

Top Challenges using SEO software

Different rules for different engines

Google, Bing, Duck Duck go, etc all search engines have different rules to rank websites. Having a website and doing SEO for each of them can be time cumbersome. Hence it makes sense to prioritize the search engine where the bulk of the traffic is coming from.

Changing SEO guidelines

To complicate matters further the guidelines of each of these engines are continuously changing. Every new update released by the search engine, will have you to rework on the website to make it compliant with the new guidelines.

SEO Software

Serpstat Icon

Serpstat

4.63
★★★★★
★★★★★

Serpstat: Growth hacking tool for SEO, PPC and content marketing.

Screamingfrog SEO Spider Icon

Screamingfrog SEO Spider

4.60
★★★★★
★★★★★

Screaming Frog SEO Spider: Tool & Crawler Software. The industry leading website crawler for Windows, MacOS and Ubuntu, trusted by thousands of SEOs and agencies worldwide for technical SEO audits.

CanIRank Icon

CanIRank

4.56
★★★★★
★★★★★

CanIRank| The best DIY SEO software for small businesses and startups looking to quickly improve Google rankings

Semrush Icon

Semrush

4.55
★★★★★
★★★★★

SEMrush - online visibility management and content marketing.

Spyfu Icon

Spyfu

4.52
★★★★★
★★★★★

SpyFu: Competitor Keyword Research Tools for AdWords PPC & SEO

Yoast Seo Icon

Yoast Seo

4.52
★★★★★
★★★★★

Yoast SEO: Semantically link entities to your content.

Conductor Icon

Conductor

4.46
★★★★★
★★★★★

Conductor: SEO Platform & Enterprise Content Marketing

Searchmetrics Suite Icon

Searchmetrics Suite

4.46
★★★★★
★★★★★

Searchmetrics Suite| Enterprise SEO and Content Marketing Platform

cognitiveSEO Icon

cognitiveSEO

4.40
★★★★★
★★★★★

cognitiveSEO: SEO Tools to Increase Your Traffic

Moz Pro Icon

Moz Pro

4.40
★★★★★
★★★★★

Moz Pro: Higher rankings. Quality traffic. Measurable results. Moz Pro is our all-in-one suite of SEO tools.

Webceo Digital Marketing Icon

Webceo Digital Marketing

4.38
★★★★★
★★★★★

WebCeo Digital Marketing| SEO Tools, Software and White-Label Reporting

Dragon Metrics Icon

Dragon Metrics

4.37
★★★★★
★★★★★

Dragon Metrics: The First Global SEO Tool Platform Designed for Asia

Authoritylabs Icon

Authoritylabs

4.36
★★★★★
★★★★★

AuthorityLabs: SEO Software for Search Engine Ranking Reports

DeepCrawl Icon

DeepCrawl

4.35
★★★★★
★★★★★

DeepCrawl | #1 Website Crawler - SEO Audits, Insights & Monitoring

Botify Icon

Botify

4.35
★★★★★
★★★★★

Botify | Leading enterprise SEO platform. Uncover those missed opportunities and turn them into profitable business outcomes.

Raven Icon

Raven

4.34
★★★★★
★★★★★

The Best SEO Tools & White Label Marketing Reports

Google Trends Icon

Google Trends

4.33
★★★★★
★★★★★

Google Trends: Explore what the world is searching

Majestic Icon

Majestic

4.22
★★★★★
★★★★★

Majestic®: Marketing Search Engine and SEO Backlink Checker

Glasshat Icon

Glasshat

4.21
★★★★★
★★★★★

Glasshat SEO Tools - SEO Analysis and Management Tool

Dareboost Icon

Dareboost

4.18
★★★★★
★★★★★

Dareboost: Website Speed Test and Website Analysis Free test

Advanced Web Ranking Icon

Advanced Web Ranking

4.15
★★★★★
★★★★★

AWR: World's longest standing rank tracking tool

Beam Us Up Icon

Beam Us Up

4.09
★★★★★
★★★★★

Beam Us Up: SEO Crawling Software

seoClarity Icon

seoClarity

4.04
★★★★★
★★★★★

seoClarity - SEO Platform for Enterprises & Agencies

Authoritas Icon

Authoritas

3.92
★★★★★
★★★★★

AUTHORITAS | SEO Software Platform & Content Strategy Automation

Feefo Icon

Feefo

4.50
★★★★★
★★★★★

Feefo | Collect Genuine Customer Reviews

Siteimprove Icon

Siteimprove

4.49
★★★★★
★★★★★

Siteimprove: Optimize Your Website From a Single Platform. SEO, Accessibility, Analytics, GDPR, & more.

UpCity Icon

UpCity

4.39
★★★★★
★★★★★

UpCity: Find Great Digital Marketing Service Providers

Act-On Icon

Act-On

4.35
★★★★★
★★★★★

Act-On: Marketing Automation Software. Generate more leads, better opportunities, and increased revenue in weeks

Similarweb Icon

Similarweb

4.33
★★★★★
★★★★★

SimilarWeb | Website Traffic Statistics & Market Intelligence

Crownpeak DQM Icon

Crownpeak DQM

4.32
★★★★★
★★★★★

Digital Quality Management | Crownpeak

MaaxMarket Icon

MaaxMarket

4.25
★★★★★
★★★★★

MaaxMarket | Marketing Automation Software | Email and Social M

Clickx Icon

Clickx

4.05
★★★★★
★★★★★

Clickx Marketing | Online SEO & Lead Generation Software

Colibri IO Icon

Colibri IO

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

Colibri IO | Get Opportunities from search engines and social networks

GeoRanker Icon

GeoRanker

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

GeoRanker - Local Citation Finder

AsinSeed Icon

AsinSeed

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

AsinSeed - The Most Accurate Amazon Reverse ASIN Search ...