SEO tools are a great thing, but search engine optimization also takes human input as well as experience and insight. If you took three SEO professionals and asked them to optimize the same site, they’d take three different approaches. All three would optimize H1s, title tags and content, but each would take a slightly different path to this goal.
SEO tools can collect and present data or streamline certain tasks, but you still need to understand the information they’re giving you and know what to do with it. For example, there are metrics like Moz’s Spam Score, which is determined based on factors which are common to sites which are considered spammy; or Majestic’s Trust Flow, which calculates the quality of links based on the sites they come from.
If you’re working on local search, you have a somewhat different approach than a traditional SEO professional does when it comes to link building. A link from a local website can be much more valuable than it would be in traditional SEO, but that’s not something that most SEO tools will factor in. In fact, many SEO tools would tell you to avoid these kinds of links. Why? A lot of the factors that are counted by tools like Spam Score are also common to small local websites, such as:
Low number of pages: local businesses tend to have smaller websites with a lower number of total pages.
Too little content: Again, a small local business isn’t likely to have (or think they even need) a lot of content on their site.
Too few links: Most local business websites aren’t run by third parties; and since most local business owners aren’t SEO professionals, they’re unlikely to have put a lot of time into link building. Because of this, most don’t have a large number of inbound links.
Too few internal links: Most small business owners don’t know much, if anything about optimizing their site’s internal link structure and many of these sites have no internal links at all in their site’s copy.
External links in navigation: If you’re not experienced in SEO, chances are that you aren’t up to speed on best practices and may include external links in your site navigation.
Low link diversity: This can mean too few inbound links or a lot of links from a small number of sites, both of which are common for local business websites.
A local business website that’s run in-house might be doing fine in terms of local SEO, but it’s easy to see how it could trigger a lot of red flags from tools like Moz’s Spam Score.
Now, if you take a closer look at these inbound links, chances are that most, if not all of them are valuable. These are likely be links from other local businesses and from organizations in the area – in other words, just the kind of links that a local business’ website wants to have. Before doing anything, take a deep breath and have a look at what exactly your SEO tools are telling you.
It’s human nature to want an easy fix, especially with complex tasks like SEO. Tools can be very useful, but all too often, they lead people into making bad choices because they see them as a panacea for their optimization problems.
Tools are part of it, but they’re just there to make your job easier, not to do it for you. There are a lot of nuances to SEO that no tool, no matter how sophisticated, will pick up on. The most powerful SEO tools you have are your brain and your good judgment – use them. You’ll be happier with your results and so will your clients.
Category Search Engine Marketing