SEO Tools: The Complete List (2017 Update)

SEO Recommendations Tool

Tools / February 8, 2021

Automated SEO WarningGive me a chainsaw and I will very quickly put it down and back away. I’m no good with power tools; I shouldn’t be in the same room with something as potentially deadly as a chainsaw.

Hand that same chainsaw to an expert, though? They’ll use it to make something like this:

They’ll make art.

Believe it or not, SEO tools aren’t much different, and they deserve the same respect.

Sure, an automated SEO audit or website grader may not cost anyone a limb (well, depending on your boss’ temper if you get a “failing” grade), but they do have something in common with carpentry tools. With the skills of a craftsman, both have infinite potential. In the wrong hands, though, they can be downright dangerous.

Always Wear Your Safety Googles

There is something intrinsically attractive about the efficient and time-saving nature of being able to automate a task. If I could automate getting dressed in the morning, I’d do it. But automated SEO? Not a chance.

SEO tools require trained, human oversight to bring value.

Relying on a tool report without properly scrutinizing the output can result in unnecessary anxiety, and wasted effort from addressing non-issues or chasing down “problems” that really aren’t problems at all.

For instance, your boss gets bored curious and drops your website URL into a grader tool to see how things are performing. The automated tool spits back a report that declares, “RED FLAG! No sitemap exists!” Your boss rages; “Where was the SEO team on this!” Your team drops what they are doing and gets to work generating one.

Except, it’s a false alarm.

The tool looked at the robots.txt or checked /sitemap.xml and found a 404, triggering the “warning”. It didn’t catch that your sitemap is located on sitemap_index.xml and is uploaded to Search Console. So, you’re fine.

But the tool said…

Nope. Don’t care. Believing everything an automated tool outputs is like believing everything you read on the Internet.

I’m not here to throw unadulterated shade. These tools can be a great jumping off point. They put several data points in one place and in some cases they provide a nice outline of what we should be reviewing.

But, these reports also have a habit of sending little chunks of intellectual nonsense flying at your face. If you’re not wearing protective gear made of context and awareness, someone could lose an eye. Or a job.