What SEO software would you recommend for a small business?
August 24, 2011 7:44 AM   Subscribe

SEO software suggestions for small businesses?

I've been looking for a good set of SEO Software that I can use for my business. We've been using an online marketing agency for a little while now and for a number of reasons we're deciding to pull the plug with them.

They use Conductor for their SEO purposes which I understand to be a really, really expensive piece of software. I was wondering if any of you could recommend a similar tool or piece of software that isn't geared towards huge companies or online marketing companies?

I hear IBP and SEM are great, but am curious to know what else might be out there.
posted by inTikiwetrust to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It really depends what kind of small business you have, and what you need. How big is your organization? Generally speaking, what industry are you in? How do you approach lead gen and conversion?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:24 AM on August 24, 2011

We're a window about 120 people altogether. We have footholds in the Northeast and Southeast with a network of about 10-15 dealers across the nation. Leads are generated, by far, mostly through google searches or word of mouth. Phone calls to our offices convert those leads.

Frankly all of the heavy SEO lifting has been done, which is why the company has become too expensive to keep on as consultants. We've hired someone in-house (myself) to take over duties and just sort of get the ball rolling.

Our main site is basically done, short of creation of new content (we're hoping the software would help us optimize that for SEO) for the site. We've also got construction coming along for websites centered on our other services. We would use the software to help us optimize that as well.
posted by inTikiwetrust at 11:13 AM on August 24, 2011

If you have a large volume of pages (especially landing pages) that take a lot of time to update and optimize efficiently, it may make sense to buy an off-the-shelf product to automate SEO (btw, SEO is a continuous process, because of changes to Google's algorithm, and changes in how people search; it's not uncommon to revise and tweak SEO every 6 months).

Unfortunately, I'm unfamiliar with Enterprise-grade SEO implementation solutions. I work with an online marketing company, and we have the expertise to do keyword research etc in-house on behalf of our clients, and we generally work with WordPress (which Google loves, but may be unsuitable for your org); there are SEO plugins like Yoast and All In One SEO Pack which can assist with automation on WordPress.

For optimizing content, there is a newer software product called Inbound Writer which may help. I've played around with it and think it's effective. There's a free version, and they also have a pretty good blog.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:45 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Software won't do you a damn bit of good unless you know the concepts and methods. It's not a tool to do work you don't know how to do, it's a tool to automate the work you already know how to do.

Learn Google Analytics (or whatever package you're using) inside and out. Know how to do keyword research yourself (without depending on software to do it for you). Spend a few weeks reading everything on SEOMoz's blog, and read through their SEO training. Read it again. Then, read the Google version of the same document. Know how to use call tracking and tie that into your analytics seamlessly, since it's a big part of your conversion path.

As far as analysis, I'm a fan of Raven Tools, especially if you've got a social media presence. It has tools to assist in keyword research and link building, but if you don't know how to do that by hand, it's going to get you in trouble.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 12:29 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

chrisfromthelc speaks wise words, but I think the key question is whether the OP needs a scalable solution. Keyword research is not hard, by the way. Most SEOs are just winging it.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:56 PM on August 24, 2011

I have been doing a fair amount of reading to get myself up to speed. We have call tracking set up already and I am getting to know GA pretty solidly.

Just a matter of time. But at this point my supervisor, who does know SEO, is hounding me to figure out a software package that will work within our budget range.

Thanks for the help, fellas.
posted by inTikiwetrust at 9:33 AM on August 25, 2011

My advice to you is to empower yourself and learn as much about SEO as you possibly can - it will pay dividends in the future for your career. Keyword research is not hard to master, nor are basic SEO best practices.

In regards to finding an SEO tool to help automate updating web pages (but *not* to automate keyword research, which you should always do yourself, as it is part analytical, part intuitive), check out SEO Roundtable. This site aggregates the best of the forums, so you may find the right forum in which to pose a question and find the tool you need.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:49 AM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Most SEO and Analysis software tools are too expensive for small businesses and most of the features are offered by numerous free software out there. It's more cost effective to learn SEO from blogs such SEOMoz and Search Engine Land. Google Webmaster got a pretty useful SEO guide.
posted by giftguru at 8:46 AM on September 26, 2011

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