Richard Kirk ponders five SEO tools that he’d love to see created one day and lays down the challenge for anyone to build them.
The SEO tools industry is a pretty broad church; from free-to-use scripts through to comprehensive workbench software, there’s plenty of stuff out there on the web designed to make constructing an SEO strategy easier.
Despite there being more SEO tools available today with better functionality than ever before, there are still those maddening tasks that refuse to be automated! As someone who, I’ll admit, is just too damn lazy to do anything constructive about this state of affairs, I thought I would toss a few tool ideas out there and ask for your ideas in return. Who knows? Some SEO demi-god with mad development skiillz and a boatload of free-time may even go off and build one of them…
#1: Reverse Google Trend-alyser
Anyone ever had to do keyword research to inform seasonal content production? I have and it sucks. You spend hours in Google Trends trying to come up with keywords that have a relatively clear annual spike in traffic. The problem with this is a) you can’t bulk upload terms, and b) you’re reliant upon your own knowledge and imagination to know what to put through the Trends tool.
Imagine you work for a recipe website and they say “we want to put together 500 new recipes which will prove popular through December, January and February”. Currently, that’s going to be a nightmare manual task.
Your inputs for the tool are:
- Seasonal trend sought (e.g. highest annual demand in January)
- Category – Using the categories available in Google Trends already (e.g. food & drink)
- Country – (UK)
- Keyword filter (include / exclude keywords containing xxxxxxx)
The tool itself queries Google’s database and comes back with all the terms for that category which match. Hey presto! You’ve got yourself a whole load of seasonal ideas to go and write about for your recipe based website.
Come on Google! Build this already! Imagine how many more AdWords campaigns it could spawn!
#2: The Link Grader
Credit to Mr Jonah Berger in the SEO team at Performics EMEA
This one came to Jonah after Google released the Disavow tool but didn’t really do a great job of explaining clearly when and how to use it (why would they do that?!). It seems like there’s a whole lot of SEOs out there right now manually (ugh) assessing huge long lists of links and making subjective (double ugh) assessments of what constitutes spam.
If there was a tool that assessed a list of URLs which linked to your website in a consistent manner, and assigned each a score to indicate the quality of the link, it would sure make our SEO lives a little bit easier.
Based on my limited knowledge of how such a tool might work, it does seem as though there are several factors which a tool could easily survey to help it formulate a score for each link’s quality:
- Is the keyword in the anchor text mentioned elsewhere on the linking page?
- What’s the code: content ratio of the linking page? Alternatively, does the linking page have more than 100 words of content?
- Does the linking page contain ads?
- When was the last update made to the linking page / site?
- What’s the Page Authority, or the Trust / Citation Flow of the linking page?
- Does the linking page / site reside at the same IP address or C Block as other links in the bulk upload?
- How many social shares has the linking page received?
Get this data for each URL in your list of linking pages and you are most of the way towards a killer link grading tool. The only other thing you’ll need is an algorithm to crunch the data and build a score for each linking URL in the list. SIMPLES!
#3: Live SERP rich snippets checker
Credit to Stu Dunsmore, also of Performics EMEA
Google is keen for us all to mark-up our structured data, but it isn’t exactly the kind of thing that earns an SEO instant gratification. Even if the page you have marked up has ranked #1 for its main keyword since the last ice age, it can still take weeks before you get your glorious, gleaming, gigantic search result with all that lovely “click me now for goodness sake” data in it.
Google does offer you a testing tool so you can check you haven’t made a dog’s dinner of implementation, but I think of it more as a teasing tool…. “here’s what your nice, big, juicy high-CTR result would look like Mr SEO, now go away and if we can be bothered you might see it in the wild someday.”
All that is needed is for a standard rank checker to go the extra mile and actually detail which types of rich snippet data are appearing inside your website’s listing: reviews, cooking time, author picture, address, whatever.
Look! The code to indicate a picture is right there in the SERP!
Get it sorted Rank Checkers!
A rank checker could even be configured to alert you the first time it spots a certain type of markup appearing in one of your listings. This would enable you to note the date as an annotation in Analytics or Webmaster Tools, so that you can compare the CTR for traffic or that particular term and quantify the rich snippets have generated.
#4: An Attribution Modeller for Excel
Multi channel funnels in Analytics are amazing for performance marketers. The data they produce allows you to understand exactly what each channel contributes on a first or last click basis. However, if you want to get more sophisticated than that and apply U or J shaped attribution curves to your data, to really assign value to performance media in a very sophisticated manner, there’s going to have to be a lot of manual work happen in Excel. You can see more on these models via this downloadable report.
There are some tools that will go slightly beyond what Analytics can do like this one.
Yet a full Excel attribution modelling tool is not available.
A fantastic macro or add-in for Excel would build a U or J shaped attribution model based on a standard Multi Channel Funnels report, and I’m sure that not just the SEO community but the whole performance marketing industry would be eternally grateful!
#5: What’s my real rank?
Depending on what you read there are between 50 and 70 factors which dictate the format of your search result; these are based on how & where you, as the user, are browsing. SEOs can’t impact upon these factors.
So what’s your real rank? Nowadays it is very difficult to understand the answer to this question. Most ranking tools check rankings from one location; in the case of tools like BrightEdge and SearchMetrics they check rank from one location in each country they cover. This currently represents one of the most accurate ranking check of all but it’s far from completely accurate.
In order to get closer to understanding true rank it is necessary to have infrastructure in each major population centre within a country, so that you can survey localised results across an entire territory. Sounds pedantic? Think about how important it is to know rank on a local basis for a firm like Premier Inn or McDonald’s. Simply surveying from one point and changing the search location using Google’s API is not going to be as accurate as having hardware in major population locations.
Having spoken to key players at BrightEdge & Linkdex, we know systems like this are in beta or an initial rollout phase, however, I think we’re a fair way off really having quick access to true localised rank across multiple territories.
The other drawback of many tools is that they only survey rank weekly. For certain keywords it’s highly desirable to know rank on a daily basis (anyone reading this currently trying to rank for a term containing “Christmas”?!). Improving the rate of ranking updates would be useful to many SEOs.
By providing an average rank across multiple cities in a country, and at several times throughout a week or even daily, tools could get much closer to a genuine “true rank”. Given the amount of infrastructure this involves, I suspect it will only be the really big SEO tool players: BrightEdge, Linkdex, SearchMetrics, Covario, or perhaps a PPC tool provider like Marin or Adobe SearchCentre, that fully explore this area.
Well, there you have it, five tools I wish they would hurry up and build so my SEO life can be even easier than it already is! So I guess it’s over to you… what tools would you love to have access to? Could you build anything mentioned here? Do these tools already exist? It would be great to hear from you…
The views expressed in this post are those of the author so may not represent those of the Koozai team.
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