Local SEO software
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Last week’s announcement by Raven tools that they would remove all ‘scraped data’ (e.g., ranking reports) from their toolkit came as an unwelcome surprise to many of their customers. This action effectively makes a big portion of their service redundant, and the reaction to this news hasn’t been all positive for Raven.
This must have been a tough decision for Raven’s management team to make, and I’m sure they agonized over it before deciding on this course.
This event got me thinking about the relationship between SEOs and the tools they use, and wondering how much understanding there was about how tools work and how to select the best tools for you.
An Insiders View Of SEO Tools & Software Companies
I thought it would be useful to give an insiders view of how SEO tools and software (‘tools’) work, addressing some regular questions which arise. I also thought it would be useful to provide a checklist of questions you should ask when researching which local SEO focused tools to use.
And, to make this post even more useful, I have curated a list of the leading ‘locally-focused’ tools, what they do and what they cost. Enjoy!
What Are The Benefits Of Using SEO Tools?
Every week, I speak to an SEO who tells me that they do all their research by hand and manually track their performance, often storing data in uber-sized excel sheets. Whenever I hear this, I want to scream out ‘why! why would you subject yourself to that?’
Data is power in SEO. We need fresh, accurate data to inform every decision we make. Gathering this data by hand is such a waste of precious time which would be much better spent analyzing findings, taking informed action and working closely with existing and potential clients.
The reason we (for the purposes of full disclosure: BrightLocal) switched from being an agency to a ‘tools’ business is because we struggled to cope with the volume of intensive, data-gathering tasks we need to complete each day, and we could not find appropriate tools to automate them. So we built them ourselves.
SEO is a cerebral occupation. Data gathering is not. Using tools to automate these time-consuming processes frees up valuable time and enables you to spend more time focusing on your clients, implementing strategies, finding solutions, winning new customers and knocking off a few hours earlier on a Friday to have a beer with your team.
SEO Is Not An Exact Science, Neither Is Reporting
SEO isn’t conducted in a lab, and for each situation, there are a ton of variables and relationships which influence the results. We can repeat the same action for different campaigns, and the results are always slightly different.
Our approaches and methods are also different. SEO strategies are often similar, but the actions and implementation can vary greatly from one SEO to the next; but, both can achieve great results for their clients.
The same is true for tools and reports. Different tools have different approaches based on the knowledge of the team who develop them. You may run a ‘citation tracker’ report using one tool and get 155 citations, while the same report on another tool yields 178.