Your SEO Tool Gives You a Lot – Is It What You Need?

Post written by Grady Neff, SEO Consultant at Demandwell 

Grady Neff

Grady has been working in SEO for over a decade. 

In his free time, he makes his own music with a band called Bonnie Lola. 

SEO is as volatile a marketing practice as any out there that I can think of. The rules of the search engine optimization game are ever evolving. When people try to outsmart existing rules, they change again.

Despite that wild volatility, SEO software has stayed in about the exact same spot. Marketers can see search volume, check meta information, and see how their link architecture is performing. Competitive data is highly accessible. You can see keywords your competitors are bidding on, even their site performance.

Everything mentioned above make up a single component to your SEO strategy, albeit a very important one; data. This never ending ocean of data is a great starting point, but without a filter, it can be overwhelming for marketers to make sense of. And without inherent knowledge of SEO and how to generate the right pieces of content, your SEO efforts have serious potential to fall short.

So you have all the data in the world, and SEO is a key component to your marketing efforts, but you need more from your SEO solution. This is why Demandwell exists. 

The importance of organic traffic cannot be overstated 

We see organic search drive from 60-80% of web traffic to client sites on average. Most importantly, it search drives qualified traffic: real people actively searching for solutions you provide the answer to. 

Not all SEO software is built to generate the right traffic from your target audience, just whatever traffic it can pull. 

Demandwell’s software is geared to provide the exact opposite of data volume; data value.

Our process is geared towards prioritizing the right SEO tactics for your business, from technical site changes to prioritized keywords for content production, and even the right way to create content for it to rank well. 

So, let’s take a look at the standard data points from SEO software that people get tripped up on. 

Search volume is a double edged sword

Ah the gold standard of SEO data, monthly search volume (i.e. the number of unique people globally searching for an exact term on a monthly basis). This is always the starting point for vetting keywords in a content strategy, paid media strategy, share of voice report, persona research, you name it. But lean on it too hard, and you’ll get cut.

Search volume is existing data on exact match terms. It’s a snapshot of a point in time. It can muddy the water on what terminology is most relevant for your site, business, and audience. New terms might not register yet with volumes, though how people search is always changing. 

So what is search volume good for? Volume helps to identify the broadest applicable search terms across a vastly dynamic audience. These searchers may be a good fit to become leads, but most probably won’t. Looking at a number of searchers first completely ignores the intent of those searchers, where they are in the funnel, and their own needs while researching for solutions.  

Most SEO tools can give you some sense of search volume. What they lack is guidance. They don’t help you decide which terms to start with, or how to go after them. 

Technical page structure can only enter you into the arena

We get this all the time: “We have a lot of content, but we need you to make it rank better.” 

This shows a key lack of understanding of SEO as a practice. Many people think that you can take existing content, improve the technical aspects of the page (the title, meta, page speed, images tags etc) and it will automatically perform better. 

While technical components can help pages perform better, content is the primary way a search bot can determine relevance for a matching term. Without the correct mix of content on a page, then you will never be able to unlock premier rankings, even if the technical elements are in place.

What is the right mix of content on a page? First, it takes more than your “focus keyword” to get a page to rank. Google is smart enough at this point to know that target keywords are more relevant when paired with a handful of defined related terminology. If those terms are missing overall, it seems like keyword stuffing, and your page will never rank well. 

Your run-of-the-mill SEO software can tell you if there are problems with technical page structure. These are common data points they’ll provide. But which are the critical errors that need to be fixed? Which will help your performance against a specific term? Which should you execute against to help target a search audience that matters?

Links first will put you last

Speaking of being stuck in the past…Too many SEO firms and practices out there depend solely on external backlinks. And while they still influence search performance and rankings, they’re also dangerous to generate. 

Let me be clear: any SEO provider who offers link building as a service should be approached with caution.

Multiple Google algorithm updates are geared towards disrupting linking schemes. Like we said before – when you try to trick the algorithm, the algorithm changes. Whether through forums, multiple domains, reviews sites or even plugins and known integrations, Google understands that an entire industry of people exists solely to build links to manipulate rankings. Doing so incorrectly or too quickly can get your site flagged by Google and de-indexed from all search results unless you remove the links in question.

Jumping straight to links is a horrible idea. It results in large numbers of people to the site, but not the right people. And even then, without a proper web experience, pages for that traffic to navigate to, ways to convert and validate that your business is right for them, then the likelihood for that traffic to bounce immediately is almost guaranteed (which hurts your site authority also). 

External endorsements and linking should be the last tactic you execute in your SEO strategy, and it should be done with caution. SEO tools can simply pull sites and locations with the existence of links on them, but what else does that tell you? That it’s a link farm? That they have been flagged by Google for link manipulation? Or is it just another massive data dump for you to figure out on your own?

SEO is touchy, old SEO software attempts to stay neutral

Increasing your organic performance is a lot of work. SEO development paired with content strategy is a long term marketing play. It takes months of effort and manpower to generate meaningful content that will rank well and convert traffic, which is exactly why most SEO software platforms only provide the information necessary for the end user to make the final call on how to execute. It’s the safest play for a platform: enable someone else to execute without actually guiding them and risking the damage for any negative side effects. 

We at Demandwell understand the hurdles of creating a marketing engine. This is why we built a hybrid software and services approach to helping clients succeed with SEO. Our PACE process finds the right opportunities for SEO growth, and prioritizes the right moves for our team to generate traffic online. We don’t shy away from helping you prioritize in order to remove risk from ourselves.

Talk to us today to learn more about the Demandwell platform and how to earn traffic that converts on your site.