A Google search for “SEO tool” delivers over 10 million results, which is only a bit higher number than the variety of solutions offered to the market. Tools not only differ from one another in terms of price, but also with regard to functionality, ease-of-use, and enterprise-grade versus smaller use. In order to select the right tool, the main thing to look at is what are the needs and requirements of the company in doing its SEO work. An international company has unique and different considerations that often add an additional level of difficulty to the selection process. These include access for different branches or subsidiaries, language considerations, and a myriad of domains and microsites registered to the larger entity.
In light of these challenges, we will look at the three most important questions to consider when choosing an SEO tool for your international company or organization.
1. Which Search Engines Are Needed?
SEO tools tend to be largely limited by language, in that they function best in the language and market (search engine) that they were developed in. German SEO tools often do good work for google.de, google.at, and google.ch, but generally not for our of market engines such as google.co.uk.
In this way, it is imperative to define from the onset which languages, markets, and search engines are the priority for SEO optimizations—aka where are your customers searching. Many SEO tools are designed with a specific search engine in mind—typically some version of Google. However, in some countries, Google is NOT the most used search provider. The Chinese prefer Baidu, Russians use Yandex, Koreans have Naver, and Seznam is popular in the Czech Republic. For these cases, if one of these markets is a priority for SEO, it’s crucial to find a tool that can operate successfully in not only that particular language, but also that search engine. On a similar note, it’s important that you have adequate staff to deal with these localized data so that they can make proper changes to website content in the needed language and dialect.
2. Which Features Should Your SEO Tool Have?
In order for your SEO tool to work properly and be the most useful, it’s important that it has the following functionality.
Monitoring of Rankings. This is important because it allows for a quick overview of keyword rankings for an entire website.
Recognition of Technical SEO Errors. The means that the tools should be able to identify common SEO problems such as duplicate content, missing H1 tags, or broken links (404 errors). These easy-to-correct mistakes have the potential to dramatically boost rankings.
Competitor Analysis. All statistics need a frame of reference in order to be deemed useful and actionable. Therefore, having information on how your competitors are doing in SEO is essential in order to track your own progress and make necessary adjustments along the way. Key pages and rankings should be monitored just as closely as your own, so that you can continually optimize and strive for the best position possible vis-à-vis your competitors. Surprisingly, this feature is not a common one and is only available in a few platforms.
Integration Options. SEO cannot stand alone, nor should it have to. It’s important that your SEO tool be able to integrate and exchange data with other systems, such as web tracking (ie. Google Analytics), paid advertising (ie. Google AdWords), and Webmaster Tools. This is also crucial if your online marketing strategy places a pivotal role on conversion tracking (lead generation).
Individual Page Optimizations. While not a be-all-end-all measure for SEO, having a tool that provides data about keyword density, suggestions, and on-page statistics can be incredibly useful. It’s important that any suggestions from the tool are incorporated into an overall strategy, and please note that most of the work needs to be done manually and with a careful eye, rather than taking everything the tool says verbatim.
3. Do You Need an Enterprise Solution or a Local Tool?
SEO platforms that only cover one language usually offer a free version,
or at least a low-cost freemium option for non-enterprise customers.
- A single enterprise tool that can do everything (covers a variety of search engines, languages, high functionality, etc.). A good example of this type of SEO tool is Searchmetrics (Disclosure: We are Searchmetrics Partners), because it provides the most extensive global SEO coverage in terms of search engines, languages, and features available.
SEO tools that cover specific regions. Examples of these sorts of tools are Xovi, for Germany (and France at the end of 2014), and Moz for the United States.
When weighing your options about which SEO-path to wander down, keep these things in mind:
- Monthly Costs. Enterprise versions that have a broad coverage of international markets are
more expensive than localized tools.
- Training & Materials. Does the provider offer in person trainings, online support, video tutorials, etc.?
How much help and time does your team need in order to use the tool effectively?
- Extra Features. Built-in features such as a Task Manager or automated reporting can save time
and money in terms of labor costs.
As soon as more than two people working (the also applies to an agency) with a particular SEO tool, an enterprise-grade tool should be considered.