There is no denying that SEO has gone through some serious changes over the last year or so.
While there are plenty of trends to catch up on, the most overwhelming one is of course moving to mobile first index.
Google released plans back in 2016 to throw themselves headfirst into mobile ready website rankings. While website owners would have had a few years to catch up, in 2018 those changes are starting to really take effect.
As a result of this shift to mobile focus, SEO in general has been a little harder for smaller businesses to crack. Even though major content management systems are trying to make it simple for non-tech savvy business owners to make viable websites that are already mobile optimized, the fast-changing SEO environment is getting even more intimidating. As a result, small business owners are losing hope to ever get it right.
SEO is a constantly shifting, adapting practice. You have to be continuously improving your website, releasing content and using the proper tools. Falling behind means potential losses in profits as well as a blow to reputation management. It’s a bit too much to handle especially for small business owners who are already overwhelmed with their daily business management routine.
Some people reading this will be SEO masters who have a plan in place to keep things moving along. Most will be needing some help. The best advice I can give as someone who has worked in SEO through more than a decade of its shifts in direction is this: have good, updated tools to help you along the way but keep your collection of tools very limited because otherwise you’ll make it even worse.
Having a good toolkit is going to make more for your business’s SEO out of less resources. That means less energy and time on your part, while getting benefits that help build your company up. What is better than that?
The Must-Have Small Business SEO Tools
One of my favorite tools this year, Serpstat is one of those tools I was referencing when I said to narrow keywords and phrases. The tool has a variety of features you can access from within one dashboard:
- You can add your site as a project to monitor its overall SEO health as well as spot some crucial mistakes that may be preventing your site from ranking higher than it could
- You can monitor your site rankings
- You can watch your competitors. You can get a clear look at how well your competitors are narrowing down the market on specific keyphrases and ones you can target that are parallel and will reach a similar audience.
- You can use it to watch your backlinks coming to see who is referencing your business
- You get related keyphrases and important data on each. It uses a variety of sources including Google’s Keyword Planner and Google’s Auto Suggest tools to make a list that includes volume, CPC and competition.
Check out the full list of features SERPstat is offering to make your DYI SEO doable.
Whether you are keeping SEO in-house or outsource it to remote teams or agencies, there are too many pieces to keep an eye on. It’s exhausting to open dozens of emails and open multiple accounts to keep an eye on everything, including your content development and social media campaigns.
Cyfe (Disclaimer: Cyfe is my personal content management client) is your business management Swiss Knife that you can use to organize just about anything, including your SEO efforts.
With Cyfe you can keep all the pieces under one roof saving yourself time accessing reports, managing tasks and measuring the impact. Add widgets to:
- Record your upcoming tasks
- Keep an eye on your calendar
- Monitor traffic to your key landing pages
- Record content ideas
- Monitor your (and your competitors’) mentions
- Track your site performance (uptime)
- Monitor your site mobile traffic, etc.
Now organize those widgets into dashboards to keep things even better organized. For example, I have an Analytics dashboard, social media dashboard, project management dashboard, editorial management dashboard, etc.
Here’s more info on how you can use Cyfe specifically as an SEO dashboard.
Whatagraph is a tool targeting business owners who are tired of clumsy growth reports and complicated analytics data. If keeping an eye on your weekly numbers is all you need, Whatagraph is what you need. Set up your website analytics accounts you are using and the tool will send you weekly reports.
The three accounts you may want to set up within Whatagraph are:
- Google Analytics: The most obvious tool on this list, everyone should be using Google Analytics to help track their metrics. It is more complicated and less user friendly than many others. But they are also the originators and the main source for the information you are looking for. In other words, it’s a necessary evil, so get it set up and running but use Whatagraph to make its data easier to digest.
- Facebook Advertising: While Google Adwords is somewhat expensive and Twitter ads are somewhat useless, Facebook Advertising platform works well for everyone I know. Set up lead generation campaigns and use Whatagraph to send you monthly reports of how you are doing.
- Google Search Console: Google is prompt at signaling of major SEO health issues, including malware attacks, ranking drop and crawling mistakes. Therefore it’s recommended that you have your site verified with them. However if you have no time to check your account weekly, you can use Whatagraph to send you weekly stats roundups retrieved from Google Search Console.
SEO is always changing and can be hard to keep up with. Having the right tools means you don’t really have to.
Do you have a tool to put on the list? Let us know in the comments!