A quick Google search for search engine optimization tools will return an endless number of articles detailing the must-have SEO tools you should have in their arsenal. Search engine optimization can be difficult, especially when you’re just getting started. So it’s not surprising that many marketers lean on SEO tools for recommendations.
While there’s no arguing that SEO tools are valuable to your digital marketing efforts, what many marketing professionals don’t realize is that there’s a right way and a wrong way to use them.
Here’s what you need to know.
Top SEO Tools
One of the best things about digital marketing is that you can track and analyze virtually everything — from every ad you post to every word you write. You can track your website traffic or your competitors’ online presence.
SEO tools provide you with the data you need to determine the overall health of your campaigns, website pages, and search engine results. There are tons of tools on the market, and each one seems to do something different, from monitoring the keywords you’re ranking for to detecting broken links. While they may all have a different role, they all ultimately offer the same purchase: helping you identify SEO opportunities and weaknesses within your digital marketing efforts.
Some of the top SEO tools right now include:
- Google Analytics: Tracks and reports traffic, conversions, and behaviors on your website.
- Google Search Console: Helps you measure your website’s performance and traffic, and fix issues. It will also show you which keywords are driving traffic to your site.
- Ubersuggest: A tool that generates new keyword ideas for your web pages.
- Ahrefs SEO Keyword Tool: Generates relevant keyword ideas you can rank for.
- SEMRush: A comprehensive online visibility platform that includes solutions for content, social media, competitive research, and pay-per-click advertising (PPC).
- KWFinder SEO Keyword Tool: Offers both traditional and competitor keyword research to help you find the best ranking opportunities.
- All in One SEO for WordPress (AIOSEO) Plugin: Provides recommendations that will help you optimize your WordPress SEO and increase your results on search engine results pages.
- Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin: Offers suggestions that make it easier for search bots to crawl your site, so you can improve your rankings.
- SEOPress WordPress Plugin: A plugin that makes it easy to optimize SEO and boost traffic.
- Rank Math SEO Plugin: Helps you optimize your website content with built-in suggestions based on widely accepted SEO best practices.
What’s Included in SEO?
From the descriptions of these SEO tools, you would believe that they would be incredibly helpful in helping you optimize your website for search engines, so you can increase visibility and rankings. Ultimately, the higher you rank, the better your chances of increasing web traffic and conversions.
You wouldn’t be wrong. SEO tools are helpful. However, they aren’t the be-all, end-all of search engine optimization. Leaning on them too heavily could actually harm your performance.
SEO tools deal with the technical aspects of SEO and content marketing. What’s important to understand, though, is that SEO is actually part science, part art. It’s search engine bots vs humans. If you focus too much on the technical aspects, you might fail to add the human component to your equation. Speaking to search bots is important, sure, but remember: humans are the ones who will visit your website, read your content, and ultimately buy from you. That’s where the art of copywriting comes in: Your content needs to be relevant, natural, and interesting, not just stuffed with keywords for technical SEO.
The Problem with SEO Tools
SEO tools are good for technical SEO. They can give you data about your competitors and provide valuable information like when you should add internal and external links and where you should include keywords for optimal search results. It’s nice to have benchmarks to follow, like adding a keyword in a blog X number of times.
The problem is adding the keyword in your blog that many times might not come off sounding natural. Adding keywords to every header and to the title may be awkward.
The same is true with keyword finders. While a tool may be able to tell you which keywords are popular, it won’t tell you how relevant it is to your industry or unique business. Focusing on them without thinking about the humans behind SEO may ultimately mean that you’ll be ranking for keywords your target audience simply isn’t using. What good is that?
The Right Way to Use SEO Tools
Every SEO toolmaker will claim that their offering will help you “win the SEO game.” What they fail to consider is that SEO isn’t just technical in nature. Humans need to be part of the equation, too.
If you really want to improve your rankings to get to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), use SEO tools the right way by taking their recommendations with a grain of salt. Use your best judgements to determine when their suggestions make sense and when they would make your content awkward or unreadable for humans. Don’t follow the recommendations these tools offer blindly, and you should be OK!
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