RANT: SEO tools

By | August 12, 2019

Hello, this is John Locke, and today I want
to talk about SEO tools. Now the first part of this video is going
to be about what I recommend or what I use in my SEO tool stack. And the second half of this is going to be
a bit of a dissertation, or rant on what I see people doing with SEO tool, and how it’s
a bit of an over-reliance on SEO tools to get the job done. So Part One. People ask me, or they ask a lot of the people
that I know in SEO, “What tools are in your stack?” So basic tools that you’re going to need for
any website. Making sure that they have Google Analytics
installed on their site, and making sure that the site is registered in Google Search Console. If you have these two things, a lot of your
job is going to be easier. Now, tools that I pay for? I pay monthly for Ahrefs. If you want to use a multi-purpose tool like
SEM Rush, that might be good. Some people prefer Moz Pro. But I think you need at least one multi-purpose
SEO tool in your stack if you want to be a professional SEO. How I define that [a multi-purpose SEO tool]
— something that does rank tracking of you and your competitors in a project. Something where you can look up the back link
profile of you and your competitors, for your clients site’s competitors. And something that gives insights into content,
and I prefer Ahrefs above the rest, because it gives a good overview of the content gap
[between competing sites], what pages are getting linked to by the competitors. It has the deepest link graph of any of the
tools that I have found. Majestic is probably second. But there’s some good things. SEM Rush would probably be my second choice. Moz is okay, because it has some things where
it suggests things to do, and mostly those are on-page. We’ll talk more about that in the second section. Basically, it gives you ideas of what to do
do fix SEO. Other tools that I pay for monthly, are KWFinder. So Ahrefs and KWFinder I pay for. KWFinder is part of a suite of tools, called
Mangools. So SERP Checker and KW Finder are part of
this suite. So KW Finder allows me to look at the search
engine results page of any search query with a parameter for looking up the city. So, I can simulate a search from a specific
city or county. For local SEO, this is very useful, as you
could probably tell. Other things that I pay for: Moz Local. Anytime that I have a local SEO client, they
usually need citation cleanup. So that’s Name, Address, Phone Number, Website
— making sure that those are consistent on the little data aggregators. That’s important. So I pay for that anytime I have a local SEO
client. And that’s pretty much it. Sometimes I’ll do a citation burst with BrightLocal,
sometimes I’ll do one with Whitespark, citation building for local SEO. But those are kind of more one-off. Yeah, that’s pretty much it, aside from my
Adobe subscription. So I pay for Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop,
and Acrobat Pro. That’s it: Ahrefs, KW Finder, Adobe, that’s
pretty much it. So the second half of this, I want to talk
about the over-reliance on SEO tools. Now, this is not a knock on anyone, but I
do think that the SEO tools that are out there, they are good at measuring certain things. For example, they are good at telling you
if your keyword is in the title and the description and the H1 and the H2 and in the body text. SEO tools are good at doing that. Great for that, it makes it easy. And SEO tools are good at reading link profiles. They can tell you, “Hey your competitor is
getting links from this site over here” and if you see a pattern in that, some of these
are spammy, but some of these might be really good. Or these all look legit, or hey maybe my client
over here doesn’t have hardly any links from anywhere, so they need some links. I can look at what the sites that ARE ranking
have for a link profile, and I can draw conclusions from that, so that’s good. Here’s what I don’t like about a lot of the
SEO tools, and how they’re used in a lot of cases. I think a lot of people get confusion from
SEO tools telling them to focus on things that don’t matter. And I saw this many years ago, an agency that
I did a subcontract for that shall remain nameless. They insisted that because they ran the site
through Raven Tools or WooRank, Ican’t remember which one it was, but it was one of these
tools. “No, it’s saying that you must add Dublin
Core markup in the page, and you must have something else” that had nothing to do with
making the SEO go up or down. I think that happens a lot. People have an over-reliance on SEO tools
and not drawing their own conclusions. So, if SEM Rush tells you that your blog archive
pages have duplicate title tags, that’s something that you focus on because it shows up as an
error in the SEO tool. If Ahrefs tells you “all these pages have
thin content” but they’re not really pages that you’re trying to optimize anyway, for
example, your Terms of Service page, or Thank You for Coming to the Website — those types
of pages. It’s not something that you’re really going
to optimize too much anyway. That’s what I mean by over-reliance. When people run things through tools like
UpCity or WooRank or Siteliner or MySiteAuditor, it’ll give stats that it can measure. Like, this competitor over here has a whole
bunch of Facebook shares and followers on Facebook and Twitter, and now you start to
think, “That’s really important. I need to work on that.” Instead of focusing on content or links or
changing the actual elements on the page and adding elements that appear on the other competitors
that are ranking higher above us. And that’s what I’m saying. The SEO tools, you have to realize the limitations
of what they do. They can measure certain things really well,
but they are not a substitute for the Google algorithm. Please remember that, always. Every SEO tool is just a tool for collecting
information, but they are not the Google algorithm. Google’s algorithm is being updated on a daily
basis. They make tweaks to it to change it. I would venture to say that many of the Google
engineers don’t know exactly why the algorithm chooses things, because of the machine learning
aspect, RankBrain, in there. So take everything that your SEO tool advises
you to do with a grain of salt. Because it doesn’t necessarily have an effect
on SEO. I would say this too: Look at the bigger picture. This is what we try and do in our SEO audits
here, is look at the entire picture, because there are a lot of things like reviews, like
brand sentiment, like links — the weight of the links, the category of the links — that
your SEO tool isn’t showing you. Like yeah, “This guy has links from these
domains that are really high in Domain Rank, but they are not categorically related to
the website”. Or maybe you have a bunch of “lower Domain
Rank” links but they are categorically related, those are going to be more important. So that’s what I’m saying. Look at the bigger picture, and the biggest
thing is, look at what’s ranking in Google, and draw your conclusions from that. Don’t draw conclusions from a SEO tool. Actually look at the SERPs. Look at the search engine ranking pages. Look at that top ten and then draw your own
conclusions. If you do that, you’re going to be ahead of
90% of all the other SEOs out there. Because a lot of people do rely on the tools,
and a lot of companies they rely on formulas. Not everything in SEO is a formula. Some things you need to make your own deductions
and not just cut it out of cookie cutter. That’s my rant. I would love to know what you think. If you hate it, if you love it, if you think
I’m full of crap, let me know. I can take it. My skin is thick. My name is John Locke. My business is Lockedown Design & SEO. We help manufacturing and industrial companies
with SEO so they get more Requests For Quotes. We’re publishing every week, so I would love
to see you subscribe. That’s it for now, peace.

One thought on “RANT: SEO tools

  1. Patricia Shetler Post author

    You don’t sound very “ranty”…Oh wait….look at the SERPS and draw your own conclusions got close to a rant!


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