If you are a search engine optimizer, internet marketer, blogger, or small business owner you are probably always looking for ways to get an edge over your competition. This makes you always on the lookout for new search engine optimization (SEO) software and tools to buy to add to your SEO toolkit.
Companies that build and sell SEO software and tools won't like me saying this but a lot of times I see people needlessly waste money on these SEO programs. To be honest with all of my readers I've been one of those people. If you have also wasted money on SEO software I can tell you that the issue, like buying anything, is that you don't ask yourself the right questions before opening your wallet. To try to save my blog readers time, money, and hassle I've decided to make this list of “6 Questions to ask Yourself Before you Buy SEO Software and Tools.”
1. Do I need this SEO Software or Tool?
Sounds pretty simple and like common sense, right? Not quite. A lot of people will just buy any SEO program or tool because they saw on some forum or blog that it was supposedly really useful.
What you need to understand is that most SEO software and tools have fairly good affiliate programs. Meaning the blog or site owner gets money if you click through their link to buy it. (Just so everyone is aware I have nothing against affiliate links and use them on this blog.) The reason I want you to realize when someone is using affiliate links is that most people don't.
Consider if the person is recommending the product on the merit of it's usefulness or if they just want to collect affiliate money. Just because someone recommends something doesn't mean you have to buy it.
2. What will I use this SEO Tool for?
I guess this goes into question #1 but I'd recommend you ask yourself this anyway. You need to have a clear idea of how that SEO tool or SEO software you are going to be paying for will be helping your online business.
If you can't think of an area where the tool will help you, then just don't buy it. If the SEO tool seems legitimate, you know what you will use it for, and it's going to fill a specific SEO need you have, then go ahead and open your wallet.
3. Is there good Documentation and Tutorials?
Before I put any money on the table for SEO tools or SEO software I like to check the website and see if they have a reasonable amount of documentation.
For instance I want to know if the software has any bugs. Issues with certain operating systems might be something you want to think about. If you use Mac computer you will probably need to run most SEO programs in Parallels, which emulates Windows in a virtual environment. Most SEO developer don't spend time making a version for Macs or Linux desktops. Often times in the documentation they will state if there are issues of it's been tested in Parallels or WINE (like Parallels but for Linux).
I also like to understand how the SEO software works and what it does. Is an SEO tool that can be used for whitehat or is just for blackhat link building techniques? Consider who built and who the developers are behind it too.
The creators of any SEO software should have clear and easy-to-understand video and picture tutorials on how to use it and state specifically why you need it. This will make your decision for question #2 easier.
4. Is this SEO program Easy to Use?
If you don't understand how to use the SEO program and software, you will have just wasted your money. If you check the documentation and tutorials this should give you a clear idea of the difficulty for picking it up.
I've personally found that most SEO programs and tools have a learning curve higher than average. So you will need to put time into learning but do consider how much time you want to put in. 1 hour or less? A week? Keep in mind a lot of SEO programs are built by programmers and NOT people that are great with intuitive design layouts. Often they focused on making things easy-to-use, but failed miserably.
Most creators of various SEO tools will offer a short free trial period before you buy so you can see whether it's useful, easy-to-use, and will fit your needs. They vary in length but usually are between 7-30 days for a free SEO software trial period. Some don't but I'd take advantage of any free trials.
5. Is the Support Good?
If support is non-existent or isn't helpful, don't buy. I've been surprised by how many times I've needed to contact support for an SEO tool due to an unexpected bug or issue.
I usually recommend you send an email after looking over the documentation, FAQs, and tutorials and see how long the response time is and what the response is like. If they seem helpful and answer your questions clearly that's a good sign. If not, you might want to move on and keep searching for another SEO software with the tools you need that has responsive and helpful support.
6. Can I afford these SEO Tools or SEO Software?
A lot of SEO tools comes with monthly subscription costs which can be quite costly. The reason for this is that most SEO programmers know that marketing and SEO agencies often charge a king's ransom.
Most of us probably don't have a huge amount of money to drop on every single SEO tool that we feel we need. So don't break the bank by overextending your finances. Again, it's common sense but if you can't afford something don't buy it. If you feel you need that SEO software with a monthly subscription cost for your toolkit ask some friends or family with websites that wan't better Google rankings if they want to split the monthly cost with you. All of you could then save a ton of money learning and building links on your own sites. You will have to all collectively ask questions 1-5.
I usually try to find SEO software that does not have a monthly or yearly renewal. I like to pay once and forget about it. That's just easier for me and my wallet. Also I like to weigh whether the software will cover the cost of buying it. Meaning can I make back what I spent on the SEO tool? You should consider the same thing too.
Sometimes it might be worth it to check around first to see if there is something for free that can fill your SEO needs. Honestly for something like basic keyword research you probably won't need much else besides the Google Keyword Planner. If you want free keyword rank tracking all you need is Google Webmaster Tools. Most of the time though you will find you need to spend money on buying an SEO tool, unfortunately.
Final Thoughts on Buying SEO Software and Tools
My final recommendation would be to just watch out for any shyters selling useless SEO tools or ones that will get you banned or deindexed by Google. There are a lot of people selling useless products out there and I met plenty at Affiliate Summit.
I hope you've found my “6 Questions to ask Yourself Before you Buy SEO Software and Tools” useful and helpful. If you want to refer to these next time you are considering purchasing any SEO Software and Tools feel free to bookmark this article. If you have any questions or comments to add feel free to leave them below.