Like a tree falling in the woods, if you create a website, and none of its pages are on the first page of Google's search results, does anyone see it? With more than half of all website vistors arriving through search engines—many of whom don't look past the first or second result—the answer is: "not as much as you'd like."
Search engine optimization (SEO) has become a vital practice for any marketing department that wants potential customers to land on their business's website. While SEO is increasingly important, it's also become more difficult to carry out. Between unexpected search engine algorithm updates and increasing competition for high-value keywords, it is requiring more resources than ever before to do SEO well.
If SEO is an important facet of your company's online marketing strategy, you should consider investing in an SEO platform: software designed to help businesses track, manage and achieve better results with their SEO efforts.
In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about SEO platforms to help you choose the right system for your needs.
Here's what we'll cover:
SEO platforms are software systems designed to help companies improve the results from their SEO efforts and track the search engine performance of their websites over time.
If you're currently using multiple tools and spreadsheets to monitor search engine rankings, do keyword research or perform SEO audits on your website, an SEO platform can consolidate all of these important functions into one centralized system.
SEO competitor analysis in HubSpot Marketing Hub
SEO platforms can be purchased to stand alone or as a functionality set within a larger, more comprehensive marketing software suite. These suites also provide applications for functions such as content marketing, social media management and more.
There are a variety of SEO platforms out there, ranging from simple keyword tools for freelance bloggers all the way up to enterprise-level systems for multinational marketing departments. In general though, SEO platforms all tend to have the following five functions:
|SEO tracking||Tracks search engine rankings and related traffic metrics for various web pages.|
|SEO auditing||Analyzes whole websites and individual web pages, recommending areas for SEO improvement.|
|Keyword research||Recommends relevant keyword targets. Users can search keywords to discover different SEO metrics about them.|
|Backlink analysis||Monitors overall backlink quality. Performs a scan looking for broken or low-quality backlinks to web pages.|
|Reporting||Generates standard or customizable reports for key SEO metrics, which are sent to stakeholders on a regular basis.|
Another function that is often requested but is less common than these five is competitor research: tools that allow users to track important SEO metrics for the other businesses in their industry.
Finally, though most systems focus solely on organic SEO, some SEO platforms also have tools to support search engine marketing (SEM) (i.e., paid search). These include: campaign management, bid optimization, ad copy A/B testing, budget tracking and more. If managing the SEO and SEM arms of your marketing department in one system is important to you, there are systems out there that support this. SEMrush is just one example.
Most SEO software vendors charge a flat monthly fee ranging from $20 at the low end all the way up to $1,000+ for more robust systems. Oftentimes, you'll find that vendors offer a tiered pricing structure where paying more money per month gets you more functionality, more user seats, more pages you can track, more keywords you can research etc.
Tiered pricing for Moz Pro
Because a lot of systems offer similar functionality at a relatively affordable cost compared to other types of software, these limits on users, keywords, campaigns and otherwise can end up being the most significant factor in your purchase decision. Make sure you choose a system that can not only accommodate your needs today, but can also handle growth in the near future.
The most important thing to keep in mind when talking to different software vendors is due diligence. Don't skimp on research, and definitely don't be afraid to ask a million questions. Otherwise, you may pay for a system that's not as good a fit as you thought.
With that in mind, here are five important questions you should ask every SEO platform vendor on your shortlist:
Whether you're an SEO pro or a new kid on the content marketing block, it's important to stay on top of trends in this ever-changing field. Here are some additional resources to help you with your SEO needs:
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