SEO Analysis Tools — The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Many of the SEO Tools you will see in the following video can help understand how Google and the other Search Engines think of your site.

The tools can also trick you into believing inaccurate things about your website.

In the video, I give an example of a BIG mistake that a client made that cost them dearly…and much more.

Check it out:

SEO Analysis Tools -- Dallas SEO Geek

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Approximate Transcript:

Hello. David Hood here with the Dallas SEO Geek and this video is about SEO Analysis Tools, the good, the bad and the ugly. You really want to be careful with making conclusions based upon tools out there because there are a bunch of different angles to consider things from and sometimes something on one tool can look completely different than what it really should look like. It can give you a very bad impression. Some of the tools, a lot of the tools in fact have huge flaws. That doesn’t make them not useful, especially if you understand what those flaws are and how to kind of work your understanding around those tools.

Now, I’m going to show you a lot of the tools that I actually use to do my analysis of new websites and all sorts of other kinds of websites and projects that I come into contact with. A couple of things that you relay want to be aware of, and this is actually true for not just SEO but anything and something that I call … Beware of being, of thinking that something is proved via what I call naked data. Essentially what naked data is is giving a single or a few data points and determining that that is proving something of meaning.

I’m going to give you a general example for this. That would be like someone saying, in the state of Texas, x number of people have died from this thing. Oh no, everybody is going to die. That’s the only information they give. Well, what about, what was it the previous year. What was it the year before that. What’s the trend. That’s important to know because maybe it actually it went down. That’s good right if it went down. Maybe it went up but there was a trade off with something else that went way down so overall it still was good and you’ve really got to beware of any single data point that doesn’t have sort of a reference. This frustrates me to no end, especially in like politics and just news in general when they show one number. It’s almost completely meaningless and in a lot of ways it actually is worse than being, than nothing because you’re getting only a small part of the information.

Each one of these tools that I’m going to show you by and large you just can’t take them all by itself. Another thing that I really want you to be aware of is a lot of SEO packages out there that you will pay for that are really inexpensive, like anything less than two hundred dollars per month, a lot of times what they are are just reporting tools that aren’t actually improving your SEO at all. They don’t actually do anything other than give you information and especially if you don’t know a lot about SEO, that information is going to be not useful to you because you’re not going to know how to interpret it right?

I’d be very careful to pay recurring payments for SEO for any tools if you’re not like an SEO professional. I do pay for quite a few tools but that’s because I use them a lot and I understand a lot more of what they mean. I can put them within the context of all the other data of that goes on there. This naked data is so true with SEO. There’s just so many different angles that need to be considered to understand what’s really going on with an SEO project and how Google really views your site. One of the primary source of tools that people use and you might not have heard of this. You might not even know that much about Off Page but this is essentially link building. These are link aggregators.

One of the most popular ones is Moz. I’m going to go over some of the biggest ones and kind of the good, the bad and the ugly. Moz is more than just tools. There’s lots of information on here. I would be very wary of spending much time on here. They do have some good tools but unfortunately they sold their company, the guy who runs it sold, I don’t know if he sold a lot of it or a large percentage of it and as a result when you get a big company to come and take over this they’ve kind of stripped the resources and what used to be a big strength of theirs. What used to be a big strength of theirs actually has really turned out to be not so good. This is one of their tools. It’s called Open Site Explorer.

This was one of their main tools that came along that was really good. What it does is it analyzes the links and if I do it’s going to look at the links coming back to their site. There domain authority and page authority are actually pretty good calculations for sort of the overall authority of your site. However, even before they sold, their crawler, which is their little robot that goes out and looks around on the internet for the links was really slow. I feel like it’s gotten even slower and there’s a lot of people that would back me up on this and that’s what they’re seeing as well. It’s so slow that it just misses a ton of links. It’s highly unreliable and over time I haven’t really used them anymore so I would be very wary of basing much information on this.

I actually had a client come to me and say, you haven’t built this many links and even though it was really early in the project and, you’ve only built one link or something like that. I was like, well first of all I sent you a report with these links that I did build. That was more than one, right. But also it’s like look, the person who you’re consulting with because they were consulting with someone else trying to see if I was doing my job, didn’t know that when they do find the links, when the open site explorer does find the links, sometimes it takes two to three months. We were three months into the project. I would consider this to be, well maybe the bad and the ugly. I would not use any of Moz’s tools. Their Moz Local Tool is pretty good but that’s kind of a separate thing. In terms of analyzing links they have a good calculation but their crawling is really terrible. It’s the worst okay.

Let’s look at Ahrefs. This is actually one of my favorite tools. Ahrefs. You can see now this is sort of the reverse situation. Their site explorer. Now they’ve got some new tools up here. Their crawler is one of the fastest if not the fastest and they catch links a lot of times almost immediately and one of the most important things that they are good at is how they display the anchor text which is very important to how your site ranks. But their calculation for ranking your domain and how powerful it is, they’re still kind of testing that. I don’t think their calculation is as good as Moz’s. If only they could combine Ahrefs’ data with Moz’s calculation then that would be a lot better. But if you’re looking at … I should not be doing this because it will use up all my credits. When you’re looking at their data you can trust their links a lot more.

Now, they’re still not perfect. They’re still links that they can miss. There are ways to block this tool. If you want to hide links from your competitors there are definitely ways to do that so it’s still not perfect. Keep that in mine. There’s another one, Majestic. I like this one as well. Let’s do. There are several things going on here. One of the most important things they do is something called trust flow and citation flow. This is something unique to them that they’re estimating essentially something that Google definitely looks at which is trust. There’s not really another tool out there that does this as well as them.

I feel like their crawler is sort of in between Moz and Ahrefs. It’s a lot better than Moz’s but not as good as Ahrefs’ but it’s still really good and it catches a lot of the stuff. Usually, not always but usually you’ll see more links in Ahrefs because they find more links. It’s important to know it’s still not perfect but as long as you, essentially you want your trust flow to be at least half your citation flow and this is actually pretty good. It’s a little outside the scope of this video to explain why you want that but just know this is good.

The higher the trust flow. You want this number to be as high as possible. It’s not bad if this number is high. If you have let’s say twenty trust flow and thirty citation flow that’s still good. Actually twenty in trust flow and ten citation flow wouldn’t really be as good as twenty thirty. You wouldn’t want twenty fifty or even worse sometimes people come to me and it’s like one trust flow, twenty five citation flow. Well that’s going to be an indication of low quality links or spam. That’s something that’s really good, that Majestic is really good.

Again, their calculation is really good. Crawler not quite as good as Ahrefs. I would definitely, if someone is giving you link reports based upon Moz, maybe their domain authority is good and the bigger the site and the more links it has the more accurate it is but for smaller sites with smaller amounts of links, their domain authority becomes less accurate because they find fewer links. Beware of using, putting too much weight on any of Moz’s metrics like domain authority or any link reports from Moz.

The next is On Page. This is one of the biggest things that is frustrating in terms of people, I’ve had clients who will do stuff on their site and then they’ll send me an automated grader report and say, what’s up because the automated grader will have all these marks and they think that there’s all these things wrong with their site. Now, not that there isn’t some value in some of the automated graders but by and large the vast majority of them there is what I want to call a ton of minutia on there. Really when it comes to what’s going on on your site there’s only a few things that are really going to be, account for ninety nine percent, there’s three things that are going to count for ninety nine percent of what causes your site to initially rank. Taking out the fact that if Google doesn’t have any traffic or engagement data on you. Okay, when you first set up your site what’s going to cause it to rank. Well there’s only three factors.

Okay, there’s three major factors. Title, URL and interlinking. If you do all those things right then you can have an F on automated graders but that’s not what Google is giving you. Be very aware, beware of taking too much stock in those automated graders. They can identify a little bit of opportunities. While technically a lot of things technically will help, sometimes it’s a little bit like throwing a bucket of water in the ocean. You technically, you’re adding water to the ocean but is it making the ocean bigger? Not really.

There’s another tool I like called Screaming Frog. This is what it looks like and if I were to pick, I just search Dallas Painter and I pull the first local site and there’s a lot of information. What this is does is it goes and crawls your site and it looks for information about what’s going on in your site. This is a much more useful tool than those automated graders but it’s not going to give you a grade. You kind of have to look at things and what I like to look at is actually the titles and the URLs. Again we talked about the top three and interlinking is one of the three so if you take that out and you consider a single page isolated by itself then what you’re left with is titles and URLs. You can use this heavily to look at what’s going on. Dallas Painter we can see the title of their page, right here this is their full title. They have painting and URL which is helpful and this is URLs. URLs and there’s a lot that you can get just from looking at this pretty quickly

I like tools like that. There’s a lot of tools that are actually like that. They crawl a site and give you information but again you can’t just, just like these other tools and just like [inaudible 00:12:23] data you can’t just take one isolated data. What is good for your On Page depends on what your Off Page has done and vice versa. They work together. If you’re under optimized on your On Page you can be more over optimized on your Off Page and again vice versa.

One of my favorite tools is SEMrush. Now we’re kind of in other tools. What this tool, it does have like we’ll look at links and key words and stuff but primarily what I do is to see … I can put a competitor in here and I can take some key words from them. A lot of times I just use it to see okay how are you ranking right now. Again, as with all these tools, they’re imperfect and it doesn’t catch everything. It estimates the traffic. You can see right here and if you go to SEMrush you can see some of this data and I have a paid account so you won’t see all of it. All of the exact same data that I see. Here, this is not really SEO because it’s his brand but Dallas Painting.

You can tell, what did I surf Painters Dallas or Dallas Painters. For some reason it showed up higher. For me it showed up Dallas Painter so it’s showing nine, ten right here but for me it actually was six. You can see that it’s not perfect. This tool is not perfect. It’s usually not off by that much but it only checks this like maybe once a month and rankings fluctuate. This is going to be really great for sometimes you’ll put your own site in here and you’ll be like, wow, what am I, wow I didn’t realize I was ranking for that. By knowing what you’re ranking for it can give you some ideas and potential opportunities so I really like SEMrush. It’s very useful.

You can even see, let’s see, look at the competitors, a lot of information on here. Wouldn’t really recommend necessarily spending money on this and getting it. Just because it’s probably not something you would use very often and it’s recurring. Not cheap. These tools are, the paid accounts are not cheap. We’re looking at maybe like, usually between sixty and one hundred dollars per month. It’s again not cheap. Especially if it’s something you’re not going to use very often.

Who Is. This is actually something that can be useful so this take a look at. This is and the domain. There’s all sorts of other kind of who is type tools out here we can see. They’ve got privacy. That’s good. You can see in here if you’re getting a bunch of spam, even like mail to your home address, a lot of times it’s because you don’t have privacy and so your address, your home address or whatever your business address is public information on here. We can also see sometimes where it’s hosted. This doesn’t always. We can check to see if this is the name service or this is where your host is. You can see how old the site is so they’ve got a really old site. That’s useful to know but not like critical.

Google Search Operator. This can be useful as well so. This is one of the useful ones. You can see how many pages that Google has indexed so ninety one. It’s only going to show ones that have, so you can see that they have a Houston location. We can see the pages that Google likes. Here is another thing, if you wonder what pages does Google like most for certain search phrase, you’re not really ranking that well for. We put Dallas Painter. What’s the first one that shows up, okay. This is going to be their best page for this search phrase, right. There’s all sorts of other Google operators you can use. Google is your friend here and there’s a lot of different ways in which you can use Google to kind of understand what they think of you. This is something that can tell you a little bit more about a site. Your own site as well as other people’s site. It doesn’t always work but what this does is this actually pulls, this actually looks at historical so on January 10th it pulled a snapshot of a site of this Phillip’s painting. Let’s see how it, let’s compare it to the way it is now. Again it doesn’t always get all of the images and the data exactly right. It looks like it kind of has trouble with that there. We can go even further back. We can see. This might not be incredibly useful to you unless you’re looking at some of your competitors so this is, it’s not perfect right. We can see, this could be useful depending on a lot of sort of things.

Actually one of the most useful scenarios that can kind of save your end is like let’s say your site gets screwed up or hacked and you have no backup. Your backup is messed up or whatever. You don’t have backup. I have restored a site. At least I got like eighty to ninety percent of what I needed from so that’s really really useful. Actually this should be Rank Checkers. Okay. You definitely want to be checking your rankings. I wouldn’t, I don’t like the daily rank checkers because you really shouldn’t be looking at your rankings daily. SEO, especially now a days, it’s just slow. It’s not something that happens really quickly usually.

Now for low volume searchers that are low competition, you can sometimes get fast rankings but it’s a little bit like watching the stock market. You shouldn’t look at the stock market every day. It’s not good for you. It’s actually, they’ve done studies and the people who look at the stock market on a daily basis or on a regular, very regular basis, do worse than the people who look at it very infrequently. Really if you’re disciplined about your investments and you’ve got safe, kind of good safe index funds, this is a little off topic, you probably only need to look at your investments once or twice a year. With SEO I look at the rankings about once a month and that’s about as frequent as you want to get. Even with that, there’s quite a bit of randomness in the data that you can’t put too much stock in one data point. You can’t put too much stock in one single month of improvement or non-improvement for search phrases.

If you have any questions about information that you’re being shown about your website and you’re not sure what it really means, feel free to give me a call or go to my website and submit a discovery form. Go here. I’ll take a look at it and I will, or you can click get free SEO analysis. Take you here. Fill this out. I will get back to you and let you know and I’ll use a lot of these tools and you can see how I look at it from a specific perspective for your site. Thanks for watching and have a great day. Bye.

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