What Resources Are Needed For SEO To Be Effective – We Tell, Well Almost Everything!
Time, that’s the first tool or attribute that we would advise a website owner to have in their SEO toolbox when considering an SEO campaign. ‘Time’ comes as a premium to most businesses, and for that reason alone, we needed to mention it first.
For those planning to build an online business that continuously drives targeted traffic to their website, we strongly recommend that you have enough patience and time to be able to wait for the inevitable results that we’re able to provide you.
The speed at which results can be obtained by our SEO services depends on several different factors;
- How old is the target website?
- How many targeted links are there?
- How many links do competitors have?
- How many pages are needed to compete in this niche?
But how much time, do you need on average?
There is a general minimum for a local niche between 6-12 months to really start to notice significant traffic changes from a brand-new website. If the site is already established (over 2 years old) and has a few dozen naturally looking links pointing to the website, then we could very quickly move things along within 6 months.
However, if the website is looking to compete in niches that are clearly competitive and it’s up against other websites in the same niche that have hundreds of referring domains pointing to their websites – the journey will require patience!
Now that we’ve got the most important factor out of the way let’s dive into the tools that we use and that you’ll need to conduct an effective SEO campaign.
We will not claim that SEO software ‘A’ is significantly better than software ‘B’, or claim this software is the best SEO software available.
There are many different variations of SEO software that are available, some are free, while others require monthly payments. We have our own preferences for our own resources, and we’ve gained this from several years’ experience.
Whether you may be an individual reading this with your own website, or a business with a hundred employees, the requirements are the same*.
*Obviously to protect our business methods, we will not be divulging all our ranking methods that have helped hundreds of businesses expand their operations over New Zealand.
Always, Always Plan Your Websites!
Although we placed the highest importance of ‘Time’ when considering what SEO resources are the most important.
In a close 2nd place is the ability to think about the structure of a website and in particular, it’s URL structure, and this is mainly dependent upon what your domain is.
Take, for instance, you’re a plumbing company in Auckland, and you’re thinking about starting a website to attract people looking for plumbers in Auckland, or services that plumbers provide.
The first thing you need to consider is what shall my website be called? Say the business is called ‘Rogers Ltd’;
Here is a selection of options:
If you know how Google operates, then one of the above domains is a clear winner, 2 will not help that much, and one will be suitable if Rogers Ltd is planning to expand their business throughout the rest of New Zealand.
Numbers 1 and 4 are branded domains, but they don’t tell Google as much information as they could do about the business. (rpsltd.co.nz = “Rogers Plumbing Services Ltd” for those wondering)
Domain number 2 is a great domain to use in that it is partially branded ‘Rogers’, and that it contains a target KW – ‘Plumbers’. This domain will help you rank in Google for related ‘plumber’ terms. Google is smart enough to be able to interconnect phrases and words.
Domain number 3 clearly is the best option for Rogers Ltd if they want to provide plumbing services IN Auckland only. This will give Google the best information with on-page URLs and with subsequent inbound links to the website.
If Rogers Plumbers Ltd were only considering operating within Auckland and be known for all plumbing services, then we would recommend they consider using this domain.
Although domain 3 is an ideal domain for the current business, what if Rogers Ltd decides to expand to Tauranga? Or provide ‘Air Conditioning’ and Heat Pump installation?
Rogersplumbersauckland.co.nz now fails as it doesn’t make sense if you were to do the following:
If Rogers Ltd wanted to buy a website that would accommodate this future expansion, we would recommend that they purchase rogersltd.co.nz and naturally expand their locations and services by adding inner pages.
Top Level Domains – The Location!
One crucial factor is that ALL the above domains in this example were ‘.co.nz’, this will tell Google to rank the website in the New Zealand Search Engine.
If Rogers Ltd wanted to expand to Australia eventually, then he would have two options:
- Buy a ‘com.au’ domain, but to do that he would need to have an ABN number and a business set-up in Australia. Or,
- Buy the .com and create inner folders for each country, for instance, rogersltd.com/nz and rogers.com/au with separate websites within each inner folder.
This comes in the planning of the website and why planning is highly essential, especially when starting a brand-new website. International SEO takes on a whole different form of expertise and knowledge, for more information about this rather complex service, read our page on International SEO.
We obviously find that most of the potential clients who approach us for SEO have already bought a website, it’s a few years old and 9 times out of 10 have purchased a domain that is branded and hasn’t factored in Key Words in the domain.
So where, can you buy websites from? Good question, most of the options are free.
The Free Options to Buy Domains
Once you’ve planned your website, so that it aligns with your long-term business goals, then it’s time to purchase the domain.
Although you might be in New Zealand and your business operates in New Zealand, it doesn’t really matter where you get the domain registered. Provided you choose a good company that will respond to your questions relatively quickly, you’ll be fine.
Although our preference is Name Cheap for most of our domains, they, unfortunately, do not support New Zealand domains (.co.nz).
For buying domains in New Zealand:
We use Crazy Domains, the cheapest on the market. It’s free to search, but you’ll need to buy the domains obviously, and they will cost around $20 -$25 a year to register.
Paid Options to Find Suitable Domains
There paid options to find specific domains that are aged, but this falls outside of the scope of this article and involves more advanced techniques that are kept inhouse.
You’re able to purchase domains that people have already built and have aged – these domains come at a premium and involve using paid software to look to for them.
Sort the Hosting and Make Sure It’s Quick
This is often overlooked, and it would be a mistake to consider doing that, especially as Google declared that website loading speed was a ranking factor in 2018.
When you construct a house, you want the best foundations for that house.
When you want the best SEO software for your website, you need to consider what hosting company to use so that the website loads as quick as possible.
- Where is the hosting server located?
- What are the general response times of the server?
- Can a CDN be installed on the server?
We use several hosting companies for our clients, but as a choice the following we would choose in order of preference:
- WP Engine
- A2 Hosting
We could write an entire website about hosting, in fact, there are many! But that is beyond the scope of this page and a vast majority of the website.
Within each hosting company, you then have the choice of what type of hosting:
- Standard shared hosting – you’ll find this is suitable for most websites with less than 100k visitors a month
- Cloud Hosting websites that have over 50k visitors a month
- Dedicated and then Enterprise Servers
The costs will start from $20 – $30 for the shared plans and all the way to $1500/month plus for dedicated and enterprise hosting options. At the top end of the scale, its more relevant for websites that use a lot of resources and have a million+ visitors a month.
Top Tip – Don’t go for cheap here, it will cost you more money to fix than if you were to have got it right in the first place. Avoid GoDaddy hosting or anything owned by EIG for that matter.
You will need to pay and expect good hosting to come with an additional cost.
What Research Tools Do We Use?
Once you’ve established your domain, registrar and the best hosting for your website you’ll need to conduct research into the phrases that you’re going to want to rank for.
The way we approach this is to take some ‘seed’ phrases and locations and place them into the best free SEO software available:
Google will then provide you with a list of 10 websites that organically rank for the ‘seed’ phrases that you want to rank for.
These are your competitors and the best resource for finding all the relevant, targeted Key Words that can bring in suitable traffic.
Free SEO Research Tools
Now that you’ve found a list of competitors you can then use any of the following tools to help you find more suitable Key Words to include:
- Google Keyword Planner (GKP): Simply drop the competitor websites into this tool and Google will provide a list of phrases that it thinks your competitors should be listed for in Google. Do this for every competitor (we find that getting 10 websites is overkill and the top 5 should be sufficient).
- All the phrases into a spreadsheet*, from all the competitor websites, remove the duplicates and then order them in highest volume first.
*We assume that you have access to Microsoft Excel a fundamental tool that needs to be used for all forms of SEO.
- A free alternative would be to add ‘Keywords Everywhere’ application to your Chrome browser.
- The tool uses the API from GKP and therefore will produce results that are directly from the source – Google.
- A positive of using Keywords Everywhere is that when you’re searching in Google for phrases, it will create a list of synonyms and alternative phrases on the right-hand side of the Google home page.
The Paid SEO Key Word Research Software
All SEO agencies need to be using one or several types of paid link aggregator tools as part of their SEO research software methods. There are several available on the market that will find competitor links, competitor keywords and give you a lot more data and will allow you to examine the competitors.
Most of the following link aggregators will cost upwards of $100/month and if you have the agency versions then a few hundred dollars a month:
- SEO SpyGlass
For digital marketing agencies offering SEO services, they will undoubtedly be using at least 1 of the above software, or a combination of the above software.
Each of the above software will provide a list of organic keyword phrases that your competitor websites will be ranking for organically. Once the data is extracted from and added to an Excel Spreadsheet, it can be manipulated.
This enables the user to obtain a particular set of targeted phrases to add to a website.
The primary function of the above aggregators is to find links that competitors have.
As for Weka SEO, we use all the above software to give us as much information as possible.
SEO On-Page Ranking Software – You Need Auditing Software
When you first start a website, you might not actually need paid SEO software that will conduct an audit on your Website other than the free options, which we shall list below.
Google’s Free Website Auditing Software
Not surprisingly, Google provides two free software interfaces that can provide priceless information for webmasters. Google Search Console – SC and Google Analytics – GA.
To be able to install the tracking code and use the free SEO software provided by Google, you’ll need to know how to add specific code to the header section within the website or add designated plugins that will do the job for you.
Google Search Console
If you want to find out what Google thinks about your website, you need to connect your website with Google Search Console.
Within Google Search Console, you will be able to do the following:
- Ensure that Google can find and crawl your website
- Ensure that all your pages are within their Index, or request Google to re-index your pages
- Show you which websites link to your website
- See what Google lists your website for, what search terms are showing your website, the Click Through Rate for those pages and more items
- Any alerts from Google will be in here
- Troubleshoot any issues, such as Schema and AMP.
This used to be formally called Google Webmaster Tools.
This is one of the most used free software options for website owners, SEO agencies, or business.
Google Analytics will provide you with the following information:
- Where your visitors come from
- Social Media
- Paid Traffic
- When your visitors come to your website
- How long they stay on your website
- The time they spend on the website
- The number of pages visitors look at
Overall, GA helps webmasters to make decisions based on data from the behaviour of the visitors, where those visitors are acquired from and then track and conversions of those visitors.
There are many pages on the internet with detailed information about Google Analytics and its functionality that you can read about. All of which is beyond the scope of this website.
Alternative Paid SEO Auditing Software – Further Information
This is more relevant to larger websites that belong to existing businesses that have several hundred pages whereby content is being added continuously from specific departments within a company.
It is those websites that will need to have regular auditing checks to ensure that there are no technical issues, such as missing or broken links, oversized images, over optimised internal link anchor texts or keyword cannibalisation.
There is no getting away from the fact that all SEO agencies should have suitable auditing software within their arsenal in addition to SC and GA.
Our preferred software to construct an overall picture of all the pertinent on-page ranking factors is Website Auditor, by Link-Assistant.
SEO Ranking Software
Notably, there are several options when it comes to software that can track specific ranking positions for targeted phrases.
However, there is one often overlooked option when it comes to finding out what your website ranks for. It’s entirely free; it just needs to collect the data.
The Free Option is Google Search Console
Although this doesn’t precisely track a defined set of keyword phrases, it does allow you to glimpse how Google perceives your website.
By looking in the ‘performance’ section within Google Search Console, you’ll be able to see what phrases Google is ranking you for. Over time as more and more links are built to your website, your rankings should improve, and you should then start to receive ‘clicks’ from those phrases.
To get more of a picture of how specific phrases are ranking with the major search engines, you’ll need to consider using paid SEO ranking software.
Many Paid Tracking Ranking Options
There are several options when it comes to tracking phrases that you want to rank for.
The following ranking software does similar things, you give them a list of targeted phrases, your URL access to Google Analytics and then press play. They will then monitor the rankings of those phrases on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis:
- Microsite Masters
- SERP Fox
- Rank Tracker by Link-Assistant
Our preferred software to track rankings is Rank Tracker.
Overall Advice on SEO Resources that You Need
We hope this article has been fruitful and our suggestions have been useful, more information within our free SEO advice section.
Many companies say they use ‘x’ product, or ‘y’ software to conduct SEO. If you’re thinking about running your own SEO campaign, then you need to consider software that can answer the following questions:
- What phrases do I want to rank for?
- What keywords are my competitors ranking for?
- Can I rank for those phrases?
- I need to track my SEO campaigns with a suitable Ranking Tracker
- I will need to audit my website periodically, which software do I need
- I need to find competitor links, what software do I need to achieve this?
If you have the software that can answer the above six questions, then you’ll be on your way to a successful SEO campaign.
To say we’ve included all the software that we use and methods we use to determine the benefits of individual factors for specific links for SEO purposes would disingenuous of us. We have access to a wealth of search engine optimisation knowledge, both internally and in private forums worldwide.
Together we collaborate our knowledge and help our clients beat their competitors ranking for some very competitive KWs.