Automated tools are great and can make our lives much simpler. Using automated software and SEO tools isn’t a secret in the world of online marketing as it makes it easier to: organize social media campaigns, find local SEO citations, optimize content and even run online ads. In our busy world, it’s easy to want to let these tools run on auto-pilot without doing the heavy lifting ourselves. But it doesn’t mean you can give up on using the greatest tool of all… your brain!
Some Things to Consider About Automated Tools:
Method – Some things are absolutely necessary when it comes to online marketing. If you need to do some link pruning, backlink analyzers are a must. But all tools aren’t made the same. It’s important to do research to find out how often the site/link is crawled, how far back the timeline goes and how often reports are/can be run etc.
Grading – Most of the problems come from tools that grade pages, links and keywords. First, you have to understand what is being compared to give you the grade. If it’s not clearly explained, you have the right to ask customer support. If their answer doesn’t suffice, it’s time to choose a better tool!
For example with Moz’ on-page report card, it can be frustrating to see that your pages are getting D’s and F’s. A closer look shows that Moz is pulling up keywords about oranges and comparing them to pages about apples. No wonder you’re failing!
Oversight – Unfortunately, you can’t let things go on auto pilot. Even when it comes to “simple” things like social media follows and fans. Even growing your list of followers means that you need to sit down and take the time to weed out valuable potential customers from blatant spammers or robots. Although it’s more time consuming, there’s no tool that can do this as well as a person. Set aside some time, even if it’s once a month, to review things.
How to Get a Bigger Picture:
No matter how fancy and reputable a tool or site is, it all comes down to one thing: the tool has been programmed to do it’s job based on certain calculations and rules. These tools don’t offer any human reasoning, alternatives or explanation. Sometimes, you may get a client or boss barking at you about how a tool has indicated there is a problem with SEO/social/writing/design etc. and that you need to fix it asap. Even if you use automated tools on a regular basis, it doesn’t mean that you know exactly how they work.
So that’s the first step, learn how to use the tool and where data is gathered and why the results look like they do. This not only gives you a better understanding of a specific area of online marketing but will also cool your nerves when you can offer a calm and collected answer. If you take the shortcut and rely on automated tools as a quick fix, you could do your website more harm by fixing things based on a diagnosis that might be inaccurate.
Final Thoughts on Automation?:
Tools are good for effectively budgeting your time. The downside occurs when you don’t have the details to answers that pop up. Be wary of what tools tell you and check different ones for cross reference. Many popular tools have free versions which you can keep on the back burner and compare with your main paid tools. Check around on forums if you need help with troubleshooting or assistance with reading the results. And remember, if you get any weird or unexpected results, don’t take them as a sign that it’s the end of the world for your website. But don’t brush it off either! Don’t forget to use that brain. Check us out on Google+ and continue the conversation there!