SEO platforms have evolved from glorified ranking tools to full-scale platforms that manage SEO end to end.
But it can’t stop there.
Meanwhile, Google’s free Google Search Console (GSC) service has come a long way by incorporating additional data and displaying changes in month-over-month traffic and organic performance.
In fact, the new GSC provides:
- 16 months of search traffic data.
- Detailed information about a specific page – including index coverage, canonical URL and mobile usability.
- Flow tracking to help monitor, fix, and request a recrawl of pages affected by crawling issues.
GSC v. SEO Platforms
While GSC does not currently provide content analysis, I think this will change as Google integrates additional tools to help users create better content experiences.
I think GSC will soon be so advanced, it will be like an operating system (OS) for the web.
Think of it like the Windows OS, which flags errors in real-time and provides recommended fixes – including diagnostic tools with helpful guides to walk you through the repair process – and optimization tips and techniques for better performance overall.
What’s more, Windows OS has programs like Word for creative direction in writing and grammar and PowerPoint for design and audiovisuals.
And, as structured data feeds become imperative for site owners, GSC will likely be able to offer creative/presentational alerts for website content, kind of like a quality score.
But I still don’t think GSC will replace SEO platforms.
Instead, I expect to see more integration with Google’s products by enterprise-level platforms because Google is a source of truth for data and therefore a source of desirable tools as well.
That being said, SEO platforms must continue to evolve alongside Google to remain competitive.
Some platforms have changed their models to be more service-oriented, incorporating professional services like content creation to their data and insights. It’s like one-stop shopping, which is where the industry is heading overall.
Here’s what else I’d like to see from SEO platforms this year.
1. SERP Changes
Monitoring changes in SERPs is usually done by third-party tools, which is yet one more tool for SEO managers to monitor.
Instead, SEO platforms should build this into their systems.
This way, they can show clients how SERPs are changing, which could indicate Google is testing something or an update is coming, right from the platform itself.
2. Real-Time Reporting – and Apps
SEO platforms also need real-time data reporting functionality.
So, for example, during the critical end-of-year holiday period, a retailer could log on to the platform – or even an app – to get real-time data on SEO performance and make necessary changes that much faster.
And SEO platforms that offer apps would make it all that much easier for brands and agencies to get real-time data on SEO performance even quicker.
Another great feature would be if SEO platforms enabled real-time alerts for changes or problems.
Some platforms are starting to build this capability, but it’s time for all of them to get on the bandwagon because I have seen a lot of standalone tools start to pop up that offer these features at more reasonable price points.
3. Goal Reporting
Every brand and agency have monthly, quarterly, and annual goals.
SEO platforms should have goal reporting functionality that mirrors this timeframe so marketers can see if they are on target to hit their goals.
They should also offer recommendations for clients who don’t hit these goals and what they need to do to improve their sites.
And I don’t mean generic recommendations – I mean real recommendations based on data.
4. Actionable Recommendations
SEO platforms charge thousands of dollars each month.
To justify this cost, they need to start providing more actionable recommendations.
Most SEO platforms give generic suggestions their users likely already know, such as pointing out a keyword is missing from a title.
In other words, instead of telling a client they should have structured data, I believe SEO platforms should empower users to create and test structured data directly on the platform and implement it on their websites.
I want an SEO platform that can read the content on my page and recommend a title with the keyword, so all I have to do is push a button to optimize.
With advancements in machine learning, SEO platforms should be able to upload the new title directly onto my site, regardless of what CMS I’m using.
In addition, the platform should be continuously monitoring and retaining the title that performs best based on click-through rates of previous versions.
5. Video Metrics
Video is a great tool to help consumers understand your product or service.
Video builds brand awareness by up to 74%, according to video production company Filmless.
In fact, YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, per Google, and 75% of users visit brands’ websites after viewing a video on the site, Filmless says.
Because video is in such great demand, SEO platforms should provide more reporting on related metrics, like:
- View counts.
- Play rates.
- Social sharing.
- Click-through rates.
- Conversion rates.
- Average completion rate.
- Viewer feedback (i.e., “I liked this video because it showed how to build a staircase in 20 easy steps.”)
In addition, Google determined 53% of users will click off a mobile page it if takes more than 3 seconds to load, so SEO platforms should offer metrics for load speeds, too.
Many SEO platforms offer some of these features, but they could all be more robust.
6. No Extra Charge
It would also be nice if enterprise-level platforms did not charge extra for new features or if they offered new features at a more reasonable cost.
In my opinion, new features should be included in the platform price tag because brands and agencies already pay a pretty penny.
Adding additional fees might make the platform cost-prohibitive – particularly when they are planning for the future.
That means everybody loses: SEO platforms miss out on renewals and clients potentially miss out on critical new features like content analysis.
There are some great SEO platforms on the market that help digital marketers manage SEO end to end and provide tools to increase clients’ visibility and drive more high-quality traffic to their websites.
But they must continue to evolve with additional features that serve brand and agency needs so these clients don’t have to seek out tools elsewhere.