Choosing the right SEO platform can be difficult with so many options, packages, and capabilities to choose from. It can also be confusing and full of technical jargon. Whether you’re upgrading from an existing SEO tool or seeking your first SEO platform, there’s a lot to consider.
Not only are there hundreds of tools that could help you scale your SEO and appear higher up the SERP, but they each provide different features. From all-inclusive platforms to more specific software that focuses on particular aspects of SEO.
If choosing an SEO platform is a little dizzying, you’re in the right place.
We think an informed buyer is the best kind of customer.
So we’re here to let you know what’s available so you can make the best decision based on your company’s and team’s needs. But, first it’s important to note that there is a difference between SEO platforms and SEO tools. We cover both kinds of SEO software in this post.
First, What is an SEO Platform?
An enterprise SEO platform allows you to research, devise, implement, manage and measure every aspect of your search visibility. It's used to discover new topics and to manage content ideation and production, and to implement search engine optimization, or SEO, as part of a larger digital marketing strategy - all while continuously monitoring results.
And, that's just the beginning.
To align your entire digital marketing team, an SEO platform brings in all your data to provide a single source of truth. Instead of working with information scattered across many tools and systems, SEO teams base their decisions on the complete data picture.
The analytics and analysis is delivered in real-time, eliminating the need to update a spreadsheet or access another data source and keep collecting over and over again. An all-in-one platform scales your SEO results to enable you to achieve consistent and repeatable SEO growth.
To start, we’ll tell you what the following three SEO platforms deliver with a short description of each one.
Everything In One Place
All-inclusive SEO platforms provide everything you need to scale your SEO and content. How do we know? Because this is where seoClarity fits into the SEO tools picture, as an all-in-one enterprise SEO platform. But we’re not here to talk about us, but to educate you on the different types of SEO platforms available.
BrightEdge helps its customers create powerful content marketing strategies, build high-performing websites and identify SEO results and the associated return on investment plus performance versus the competition.
This SEO software provides users with research, rankings and recommendations that help you:
- Identify what customers are looking for on the internet
- Develop an effective content strategy that targets the right customers, guides them further down the sales funnel and keeps them engaged with your brand
- Boost your social media campaigns
- To be visible in local searches
- Put mobile consumers at the centre of your SEO
Conductor believes that SEO is as simple as connecting customers who are searching for information with your company’s expertise.
They do this by providing ‘beyond the platform’ services that - similar to BrightEdge - uncover new customer insights, create powerful marketing content and track SEO performance. By performing advanced SEO tasks, like rank tracking, the platform generates insights that inform strategic digital services like content optimization and performance measurement.
And of course, their overall aim is to maximize the return on your search engine optimization and content marketing investment. If you want to know more, take a look at their app that provides an instant snapshot into your customers’ world.
Want to be able to easily spot global and local search opportunities, support decision making and connect SEO with marketing strategy all with a clear link to revenue? SearchMetrics offers this through:
- Analysis of mobile search engine rankings and traffic to optimize search specifically across mobile devices
- Access to millions of data points across 30 countries
- Enabling you to drill down into data for hundreds of cities in 14 countries
- Optimizing web page performance with backlink analysis
- Optimal site architecture to make your site attractive to search engines
- Evaluating the effectiveness of paid search campaigns and comparing them to organic search results
- Identifying opportunities with keyword analysis and making web pages and content more complete
If we had to sum up these enterprise SEO platforms we’d say that they:
- Provide comprehensive functionality
- Have the capabilities to provide insights
- Create actionable roadmaps
Here’s a popular resource from SearchEngineLand, their annual enterprise SEO tools report that goes in deeper to these platforms and others to give you an even broader scope of the SEO tech industry.
Because of its breadth and depth of data and capabilities, this kind of tech comes at a premium, so to get the most from your investment, you’ll need sufficient support to act on the insights. If you have the right talent in place, they’ll be supported by your new SEO platform to:
- Gather, manage and analyze data more easily and at scale using a dashboards and automated reporting not manual spreadsheets.
- Provide a single SEO source of truth and approach across your entire enterprise which:
- reduces inefficiencies and drive scale
- helps inter-department communication as everyone speaks the same SEO language
- enables enterprise level SEO reporting as everyone’s using the same metrics
- provides a single version of the truth enabling you to consistently identify clear, hard facts
- Prevent your organization from guessing when it comes to SEO
- Take a strategic, holistic approach to SEO that optimises the customer search experience throughout the entire buyer journey
- Provide repeatable SEO workflows that delivers a consistent and trackable approach to SEO
Our research from our own clients who shift to an SEO platform shows that SEO professionals spend 77% of their working hours on analysis, data collection and reporting. These platforms release that time so SEO professionals can generate insights, deliver strategy and help others drive better SEO results. All of which gives you the organizational oversight that makes SEO scalable.
What’s important with the above tools is that you have a team that leverages it. We recommend focusing on evaluating an all-in-one platform if at least two of the three apply:
- You plan to hire or have at least one dedicated SEO team member
- You have content marketers that support optimizing and writing content for your site
- Your need to scale your SEO efforts and centralize your processes and data to drive SEO growth
If that doesn’t fit your situation or if the cost of an SEO platform doesn't fit your budget, what’s the in-between option that could be a fit to improve your SEO traffic and conversions?
Niche SEO Tools for Specific Tasks
Different from the SEO platforms, these are the more specific or specialized SEO tools, like keyword research, keyword ranking tracking, and backlink analysis tools. They start from as little as $99 a month and could make sense for your business if you don’t have SEO budget or you don’t have a team to act on the insights from an SEO roadmap.
Sounds like you? Then take a look at any of the following brands:
- SEMRush - includes a lot of different features within digital marketing from search to social media. This works well for experienced digital marketers who can turn the data into insights for themselves.
- Ahrefs - best known for their backlink analysis they’ve also added a range of other features to their platform including ranking data, keyword research and competitiveness.
- Moz/GetStat - this recent merger provides a tool that combines GetStat’s daily, localized rankings and SERP analytics with Moz’s local SEO expertise and their keyword and link research tools.
- Authority Labs - has a more limited list of features than some other niche SEO tools and plans are priced by number of keywords per month. This could fit smaller businesses or those with limited SEO needs. If you want more keywords included in your plan, you can scale up to over 5,000 keywords for $450 per month.
- Screaming Frog - is an SEO website crawling and auditing tool and can be combined with custom filters to provide additional insights.
- DeepCrawl - a little more expensive than some of its competitors, DeepCrawl goes further into your site and provides you with recommendations to help you prioritize your technical SEO website issues.
These tools all have a starting price that is less than the all-inclusive platforms but the trade off is that you might need multiple tools, more time and effort to provide a unified view of the data you need.
What About Free SEO Tools?
If you do not have the budget to invest in SEO tech, you could opt for free tools like Google Search Console, Google Analytics and Keyword Planner.
These options are good for certain tasks, like coming up with ideas for keywords, understanding organic search traffic, and monitoring your site indexation. However, they come with limitations including: they only base their data on Google searches, you might not always be able to find low competition keywords and there could be gaps in the data that make it difficult to know which information to trust.
You’ll also have to spend time downloading and combining data to create a single, meaningful report. This approach is probably best suited to your business if you only undertake occasional SEO research or are just want to understand your overall visibility, but don’t have the resources to execute an SEO roadmap.
There are also many other free tools out there. Many free ranking tools that provide you ranking data, but as a one-time rank check, or you leverage the incognito window in Chrome to do a search to find out where you may be ranking. Additionally, there are keyword research tools that offer a couple of free queries per day, and even SEO audit tools that will allow you to “try” their tech with a free, one-time site audit.
Whether you want to get started with a rank tracking tool as a first step or you’re ready to dive into the data, gain valuable insight and act on a roadmap, there’s a SEO platform for you.
If you’re ready to scale your SEO with a comprehensive, all-in-one platform, use our evaluation template to compare and contrast the different SEO tools to help you reach an informed decision.