By putting your site in front of the people who are already seeking services like yours, SEO is a powerful way to reach high quality leads. That said, it can feel a bit like trying to thread a needle while wearing a blindfold if you don’t have the right tools in place.
Here are a few ways you can take advantage of such software:
- Using link tracking software, you can easily identify which pages on your site have been most successful as link bait
- The same software can also be used to isolate which pages on your competitor’s sites are best at capturing links, which can be a great source of inspiration
- Analyzing your competitor’s link profile is a good way to find sites to build relationships with in order to build links
- Rank tracking software can help you identify the relationship between your actions and your rankings. At the same time, it’s important to understand that nearly all short term changes in rank have more to do with changes in the Google algorithm, server information, and the behavior of other sites, than your own actions. Focus on long term ranking changes to identify what is working.
- By combining rank tracking information with link tracking information, you can get closer to identifying which rank changes are the result of link building efforts, and which are more likely the result of changes made by your competitors
- Using SEO toolbars, you can quickly identify the domain and page authority of a website you are considering working with. You can factor this into your decision of whether or not it makes sense to collaborate with them as part of your link building strategy, and how much effort is worth spending on it.
- Tools such as Followerwonk allow you to identify prominent social media personalities who talk about keywords similar to yours. This makes it easier to focus your efforts on interactions with people who are more influential online. You can also use it to discover people that your followers follow, or people that you have previously worked with follow. This gives your interactions context that make it easier to start a conversation.
- Keyword research tools can help simplify the process of identifying which keywords are most worth targeting. Google’s Keyword Tool is specifically designed for AdWords, not organic search, and so it doesn’t provide all the information that is most useful to an SEO. Keyword tools that help you identify the amount of competition you are up against, for example, dramatically simplify the process of choosing which keywords are worth chasing.
How to Interpret Data from SEO Software
- Correlation does not equal causation. Just because two things often go together, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one of them is causing the other. What you think are cause and effect could actually be reversed, or they may both share a common cause.
- Try to identify root causes. In a perfect world, you would do this by creating some kind of controlled experiment, where one version of your content used a tactic, and another version of your content did not. This would allow you to identify whether or not the tactic actually had any impact. Clearly, the world of SEO is too messy to make this work in most circumstances. However, you can vary your tactics over time and analyze the results in the long term to see which of them make a difference, and which don’t.
- Compare change, not absolutes. If one page has more links or better rankings than another page, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better. Older pages naturally have more links, and fresh pages tend to get a boost in rankings for the first week or so. Established pages can also see an improvement in rankings over time even if no links build up. When comparing content, it’s best to only compare pages that went live around the same time.
- Don’t jump on initial numbers as an indication that one tactic or another is a “sure thing.” If you haven’t reached statistical significance, you can’t be completely sure. It’s very difficult to reach statistical significance with something as complex as SEO, which is why it’s important to keep experimenting and trying new things as well as using what has worked in the past.
- SEO is still just as much art as science. Tools can make the process more objective, but they shouldn’t be relied on too excessively. Use them as a guide in combination with common sense and your own intuition in order to achieve the best results.