The internet has leveled the playing field regarding independent businesses competing with major corporations. Smaller companies have more resources at their fingertips than ever before, but this also means that they are up against some fierce competition.
Every company, no matter what size, needs to be running at maximum efficiency to take full advantage of the available opportunities and overcome the challenges.
Eyal Aldema is the creator of SheerSEO, an online software that consolidates every SEO tool a business owner needs in one place. He took a moment to answer our questions about the changing field of SEO, and tell us how to use these changes to your advantage.
Who is SheerSEO? When did your company start? What prompted you to start your own company? Who are your main clientele?
SheerSEO is an online SEO software. I founded the company in late 2006. At the time, I had another website and discovered the powers of search engine optimization. Google was fairly new, and I easily could get my website to rank first for anything I wanted. Having seen great other online software in other fields, I wanted to see an online software in the SEO field. But there were mainly desktop apps for SEO at the time, and they looked pretty scammy. So that made me want to create such a solution. I wasn’t sure if people would actually pay for such a service, but I still decided to quit my job and start to develop it.
The main clients come from two groups: people trying to promote a single website, usually their own business’ website; or SEO companies with multiple clients’ websites.
One of the main benefits of SheerSEO is having all of your SEO information, including Facebook likes and Twitter mentions, in one place. What are the main benefits of this for individuals as well as professionals? How important is it to be organized and streamlined these days?
It is easy to see the benefit of having all of your SEO information in one place. It is a time saver; and considering the fact that you probably still need to login to other applications for more data (like PPC, extended visitors information, sales conversion, etc.), it becomes critical to save time. It also prevents a loss of concentration from using all those numerous tracking applications.
Can you give a rough estimate as to how much time a business or an individual could stand to save in a given week?
Let’s just take one of the indications we track and see how much time it takes without using our service. Let’s try to see where your website ranks in Google and Bing for say, 50 keywords. For each keyword, you would have to enter it in the search engine and look for it in each page of results. Sometimes you get lucky and see it in the first page, but sometimes you have keep looking for it page by page (each page has 10 results) and you probably give up after around the 10th page. Assuming an average of 5 pages per keyword and 8 seconds per page, that would take 3 search engines * 50 keywords * 5 pages * 8 seconds = 6000 seconds = 100 minutes. That’s assuming you didn’t take coffee breaks in the middle, since this process is so boring and tedious. Our professional package allows 400 keywords, and you also track up to 5 competitors. So, this saves much more time than we just calculated. And that is only one indication. Some other indications are even impossible to do yourself, like examining your back-links.
SheerSEO also lets the user keep track of their position in search engines over time to give them a better idea of what’s working and what’s not. Can you give a scenario where this kind of insight can be advantageous? How can this type of fast reaction be used to an advantage over older, slower business models?
Examining historical results helps us understand the progress or regression made in each field. This is always useful to try to understand how recent activity impacted your website.
Our service is frequently used by SEO companies who just want to show the customers that they justified their fees. Being able to compare current statuses with past results is just what’s needed to prove to the customer that progress was achieved.
SheerSEO can be used to automatically find blog reviews and to automatically get in touch. How and why can this tactic be useful?
Well, a lot of SEO is about getting backlinks. Those serve as a vote of trust coming from the site that links to your website. Google’s algorithm is heavily based on that. Not every backlink is worth the same. Google examines the source and sees how relevant and reliable it is. Blogs in your niche are probably one of the best sources you can find. So, getting a backlink from a blogger in your niche is a big deal in SEO. Our software helps you find such bloggers and saves you a lot of time in the first communication. We first find the relevant blogs, then let you choose which ones you want to communicate with; and once you choose them, we send them a message that you compose that asks them to review your website. If you were to do this manually, you would spend a lot of time finding those blogs then filling out their contact forms.
Since the automation takes just a few seconds, you can send a request to 100 blogs in a few minutes. Usually, only a few of them will consider your offer; but since it didn’t take much time, it is well worth the effort.
Your software also tracks keyword density. Do you have any words of advice for people who are looking to still have keywords in their articles, but don’t want things to come off as spammy or link stuffing?
I suggest simply not to overdo it. If you have the keyword embedded within an article in a normal way, that is okay. But if you just stuff it many times for SEO, that will look unnatural. If the page is focused on a specific keyword, then I advise you to pay attention to HTML tags and embed the keyword in them.
Take the title and H1. We have 4 tools in that area:
- a. Simple keyword density – it just shows you what density each keyword has in the page. 1%-4% density is considered optimal.
- b. Weighted keyword density – this one considers not only the number of times each word appears, but also the HTML tag it is in. This makes sense because for example, having the keyword in the title of the page is much more effective than having it in regular text.
- c. Content benchmark – this tool shows you how keywords are used in pages that rank in the first page for the keyword you’re targeting. So for example, although you want to promote the keyword “SEO,” you might find that pages that rank high for “SEO” mention another keyword like “Google”. So if Google is smart, it probably expects your page to include that keyword too. Although “SEO” is the keyword you want to promote in this example, just spamming with “blah blah blah SEO..” is not enough.
- d. Page Optimization – this tool checks that you have used the keyword in each important HTML tag of the page, like title, H1, etc.
Those 4 tools deal with the content of your page. Simple keyword density is the most naive one.
SheerSEO keeps track of links to your pages on social media as well. How can companies use this information to make their content more viral?
Companies just want to know about any mention of their website on social media. Each such mention is a tiny success, and businesses want to know that. Like knowing how much you sold this month, you want to know how your marketing fared. Knowing is the first step in figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Based on that, companies make decisions. Common decisions would be investing in a new campaign, removing an ad, or even firing the marketing guy!
SheerSEO can be used to automatically apply for your website to be added to web directories, which can be very tedious and time consuming on its own. Why is it important to be listed with the directories? How much time can a new company hope to save, by automating this task?
Getting backlinks is crucial. And this is probably the easiest way to get backlinks, so why not use it? As long as it takes just a small amount of time, it is worth the effort, especially if it is a new website which still has no backlinks.
What do you see as the future for SEO? With search engine algorithms getting more complex all the time, it’s weeding out the old way of keyword stuffing and things like that. How important will things like word-of-mouth and original content be, and how should companies take that into consideration?
Word-of-mouth is always important, but SEO is too. People still use search engines to find content, and businesses still want those people to find their websites. I agree keyword stuffing is not the way to go, but SEO is not about that at all. Simple tricks like keyword stuffing used to work 10 years ago, but they will do more damage than good these days. Today, you should respect Google and take action that can’t be detected, even by a human. For example, if you want to promote your website for the keyword “photography,” write valuable content about photography and make sure the keywords you want to promote are there – not stuffed, just there in the right place. That is not spamming. You can have that page linked from various places in your website, which also isn’t spamming. You can also try to get a relevant blogger to write about that subject and mention your content. So SEO doesn’t have to be spam; and if you do the right things, it can’t be considered as such by Google. You just need to be smart about it.
SEO is here for good. Google hates it, but companies will keep trying to manipulate the results.
For more info and updates about SheerSEO, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.