Are your SEO tools limiting your search visibility?
Could they actually be hurting your overall success?
Few people know this, but the SEO tools you choose have the power to influence your workflows, efficiency, and business growth.
When you pick your core SEO tool, the data you get and the limitations of that software will impact how you do your SEO work.
If your tool forces you to manually analyze data, what does that mean for your available resources?
Are you accidentally spending more money to do more work?
Manual tasks versus SEO task automation is only one small checklist item out of the many you need to take into account.
That’s why it’s important to understand how your current tech stack and internal processes depend on one another – and what’s the cost of change.
To showcase how that process looks when it comes to choosing a rank tracking solution, we’ve partnered with Steve Walker, Technology Director at Journey Further.
Walker has over 13 years of experience, and he co-founded Journey Further’s organic proposition. He is an ex-Dentsu SEO Director and leads the technical development of Salient and Journey Further’s other proprietary toolkit; so, he has a lot of know-how in dealing with tech stacks.
We know change is painful.
There are many behaviors and learning curves involved, but as Walker puts it: “Don’t be afraid to swap ranking tools – we delayed the process, as we thought it would be too difficult and risky to swap from our existing provider.”
But how do you manage that risk?
Let’s learn more about how Walker and his team at Journey Further navigated the process of defining their rank tracking needs, and what it meant to switch SEO tools.
When Is It Time To Start Looking For A New Rank Tracking Solution?
The perceived cost of switching SEO tools is quite high and painful.
But in the end, switching to a new, upgraded SEO tool stack can actually save you money and time.
There are critical moments when you know it’s a good idea to start exploring alternative SEO tools – when you ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my current rank tracker updating data slower than I need it to?
- Is my current rank tracker missing the mark on accurate data and insights?
- Is my business scaling? Do I need my rank tracker to be more efficient?
- Do I need more collaborative functions?
- Should I reassess my tech stack, in terms of cost efficiency?
For Walker, the need for a new solution was triggered by a mix of issues: “We had a period of approximately one month where we were being given incorrect ranking data, which we had to update in client reports manually.
Paid shopping listings were being recorded as organic, so a range of keywords were ranked as first. When we spoke to support, after one week of waiting, they claimed that the ranking data was correct. The combination of incorrect data and the slow response were the main instigators of our search.”
Once you establish that there’s an issue of unreliable metrics or that your current SEO tool is not covering all your functional or business needs, it’s time to research.
Don’t be afraid to swap ranking tools – we delayed the process, as we thought it would be too difficult and risky to swap from our existing provider.
7 Key Questions To Ask When Assessing Your SEO Business Needs
To make your SEO tool search even more practical, here are some more guiding questions to ask your SEO team.
These additional questions will help you pinpoint SEO tool pain points and more:
- Does your current SEO solution give you enough data?
- Does your SEO tool provide the right data?
- Does it provide data with the frequency you need to do your work?
- Is your tool stack scalable for the mid/long term?
- Is the quality of support on par with your expectations?
- Is the pricing right for your business?
- Do you need a more specialized SEO tool for specific parts of your work?
In the end, for Journey Further, their needs boiled down to:
- Pricing – “Reducing cost. We were spending a significant amount of money and believed the value for money was low.”
- Data accuracy – “The previous tool served us incorrect ranking data. The ranking data wasn’t trustworthy, and we had multiple complaints from the team.
- Lack of proper customer support – “The answering time was very slow. Took more than a week to reply.”
- Usability – “The need for a better user interface was another important factor. The old provider hadn’t updated their UI for at least 10 years.”
6 Key SEO Tool Selection Criteria For Stakeholders
Once you’ve gained clarity on the types of issues you want to solve and what your main non-negotiables are, it’s time to build the shortlist of possible rank tracking tools and start testing.
When you’re assessing a rank tracker, you’ll need to look into:
- Desktop and mobile data availability.
- Multiple user seats.
- Collaborative features.
- The Visibility metric and other key performance metrics.
- Data access – exports, integrations, API.
- The data migration process.
And, of course, you’ll need to decide who is joining the decision-making process and when.
Let’s take a closer look at what Walker and his team did:
“We’ve used nearly all enterprise ranking tools on the market across the team and had a good idea which ones we wanted to set up trial accounts with. So, the first stage was for me to get access to a trial with each of these tools. Based on our experience, we had a good grasp of what features we needed.
Then, I extended the trial and included two other senior stakeholders – the Head of SEO and our Organic Director. There were a few concerns as some of the team were very attached to the old provider, but they saw the positives and were quickly won around. We also had to consider our historical data and reporting dashboards to ensure we were able to retain existing reporting methods.
In the end, I had to ensure we had buy-in from senior staff members and double-check that the entire team also preferred the new tool over the existing provider.”
From Journey Further’s story, you can add another set of critical factors to your decision-making framework:
- How will the new SEO tool influence your team’s day-to-day?
- How do your processes look with the new tool in place?
- Do they offer support during the trial and make the buy-in process easier for you?
Best Features & Benefits To Consider When Looking For A New SEO Tool
By now, two weeks or more have passed, and your trials are reaching their end. It’s time to draw the line and see which of the tested tools ticked the most important features for you.
- Are the non-negotiables fully solved?
- Did you discover new power features that will improve your SEO processes?
- Is the pricing in accordance with your current status and growth plans?
For Journey Further, together with accuracy and pricing, the following were relevant benefits and features that convinced them they reached the right choice with their rank tracking solution:
- User interface.
- Speed of collecting ranking data.
- Free ranking data for pitching purposes.
- Cannibalization monitoring.
As Walker highlights, the reasons why these were so important had to do with efficiency – both in terms of time and resources.
“Due to ease of use, we can now collect data and insights far quicker. The speed of ranking data collection saves us huge amounts of time, and we can react to new business opportunities faster.
Then there’s the free ranking data for pitching. We used to spend a significant amount of money on collecting data for pitches. Now we’re saving resources, and this has allowed us to make the organic team more profitable.
As for cannibalization monitoring, it saves a lot of time that we’re able to do this directly with our ranking tool. We used to have to go to another tool to collect this data.”
If you can find a rank tracker that solves multiple needs, raising your organic team’s productivity, instead of switching between multiple tools for different types of rank data, then you’ll save for the long term, as Journey Further shows.
SEOmonitor Has Everything You Need In A Rank Tracking Tool
When you choose a core SEO tool for your team, it’s critical to evaluate where you are and what you want to improve.
You can think in terms of:
- Data accuracy.
- Key metrics.
- Frameworks and learning curves.
- Support and training.
- Pricing and cost-efficiency when scaling.
It’s important to stay in control of the decision-making process and involve all the necessary stakeholders from the start. In the end, a tool will influence how you work and how you get to the targeted results.
For a rank tracker specifically, it’s crucial to deliver accurate, fresh data that you can easily access.
At SEOmonitor, we’re constantly developing our rank tracker, so it helps SEO professionals:
- Get the data granularity you need with desktop and mobile daily ranks included in the same price.
- Own the data – there’s unlimited API access, exports, and integrations with Google Data Studio or Google Sheets.
- Onboard the full team and even clients – you get unlimited users.
- Scale – with the dynamic pricing policy, you only pay for the resources you use.
Join us, and agencies like Journey Further, in our quest to create more transparency and accountability in the SEO industry.
Rank Tracking at scale. For SEO Pros.
$29.9 / 1.000 keywords tracked daily on mobile & desktop.
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The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor's own.