There are a frustratingly high number of individuals working in SEO that claim that using paid tools is the only way to effectively work, however, most of the time these tools can have metrics that are, out of date, inflated, incorrectly segmented and overall not helpful. When it comes to making use of this information, you can quickly do the wrong thing as you rely on the data your tool has gathered with no real understanding of what or how this information has been gained.
A recent example of SEO tools gone awry, around the 12th-13th February, marketing and SEO circles started bleating about a Google Update and how they hadn’t been informed. For reference, Google doesn’t send out personal emails, but they do advise, usually in advance, on their social media platforms that an update is about to be rolled out. Turns out, all these SEOs that were shouting about the update were wrong and their SEO tools had incorrectly flagged what turned out to be general updates that Google carries out on a daily basis.
Their tools hadn’t flagged these small updates before, so why now? No-one seems to have the answer but thankfully it has stopped the marketing and SEO Twitter circles from shouting quite as loud. For now.
Are There Any SEO Tools I Can Rely On?
The reality is, there is no one tool that will do the job of SEO or marketer seamlessly, which is just as well because it would put hundreds of thousands of people out of a job. However, what marketers and SEOs should be doing, is getting to grips with the basics of their data and learn to analyse this from scratch, by themselves. Consider it like an old school maths exam, sure you can use the calculator but if it gives you the wrong answer, how are you to know what the approximate answer should be, without doing the working out yourself to understand the calculation?
When looking for a quality digital marketing solutions agency to help with your campaign, consider one that employs people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. These sorts of experienced teams use tools only for data gathering and spend time ‘calculating’ together the best aspects of a strategy to put into action.
Where Should My Data Come from If I Can’t Rely on Tools?
Gathering data isn’t too difficult, Google has some excellent free platforms that provide access to your search data from the Google search engine. This will give you a closer to true understanding of how many visits your pages received, what queries bought visitors to your page and provide an average ranking position. You can then use this information to decide your strategy, whether it’s optimising existing pages to provide additional value to visitors or adding a new page with information that visitors are looking for but haven’t been able to find.
How Do I Know What to Do with My Data?
If you are relying on tools to do the ‘fun’ part of your job, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and consider learning from scratch what marketing and SEO is about. The data is there to influence your strategy, not lead it and if you rely on it too much, you’ll struggle to see the forest for the trees – in summary, you’ll miss the overall picture and potentially a lot of new customers.
If you are struggling to see how your data can help you from the point of a marketer, consider putting yourself into the shoes of your potential audience. Think about and plan their thought process around purchasing a service or product and work forwards on what their next steps might be. Comparing brands and prices, researching products with quality feedback, looking at their additional benefits i.e. free shipping, free customer service or long guarantees and consider what of these aspects can be built into the strategy.
For example, you are a business selling pet collars and you’ve noticed a high number of visitors landing on the website for a query around ‘Is it a legal requirement for my pet to have a collar’. But the bounce rate (the measurement of whether a visitor interacts or stays on a page or instantly leaves) is hovering between 90-100% and you don’t hold any interesting, citated content around the legality of pet collar requirements. The strategy here would be to create quality, well-supported content around pet collar laws local to you and if you’ve got visitors coming in high numbers from other countries, from these locations too.
Not only are you likely to see an improvement in online visibility, you are offering value in something your potential customers are looking for and from there you can encourage them into the sales funnel.
SEO isn’t rocket science but it’s also not like baking a cake, where you can just follow a box of instructions and end up with a semi-decent end product. It requires creativity, passion and an understanding of your potential audiences and what they need and expect, if you’ve skipped over this section of ‘Marketing: 101’, take some time to get to grips with the basics and start bringing some extra oomph to your campaigns.