Back in the day, businesses would hire an SEO specialist to take care of website optimization while they focus on keeping the company on the right track. Nevertheless, much has changed since then, SEO isn’t a one-person job anymore.
And moreover, objectives of search engine optimization often can’t be achieved without the tremendous power of analysis that only well-designed software can offer. In addition to that, if you do a little research, you’ll probably find out that SEO services can cost a fortune, so you start looking for an appropriate software.
You need a leverage to get the web in the palm of your hands.
Which leaves you with two options: cut corners and choose from the variety of available solutions, or take the bull by the horns and develop your own software.
In this article, we’ll take a look at pros and cons of each of the given options and try to define which of them is likely to work for exactly your business.
The pros of buying a ready-made SEO software
Lucky for us, SEO software products have been on the market for quite a long time and are readily available at reasonable prices. In fact, some companies even offer it for free.
Buying the ready-to-use solution will surely save you a lot of time and money:
- No need to hire the additional team of developers. The primary resource of every SaaS business is a highly dedicated and qualified staff. Often, that can also become the most significant cost component of a business’s budget.
- Instant experts. You get a team of skilled professionals, who’d take care of all the operational issues of the particular software. It’s not you who makes things happen, so there’s no training required.
- No development and operational costs. We believe that there’s no need to explain this one to you 🙂
- Projected pricing for the clients’ base widening. In case of buying a ready-made SEO software, you know exactly how much it’ll cost you to start tracking more keywords.
The cons of paid SEO software solutions
- It’s not flexible. So, you picked out the software that seems to fit into the company’s current challenges. However, your business evolves, and you find out that you need features that this particular tool so far doesn’t provide. At the same time, you don’t feel like switching to another SEO software. All you can do in such a case is to drop a line to the support team and wait for the implementation of the desired function. There might be a long queue, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get what you’ve been asking for anytime soon.
- Data is not transferable. Even if you decide to try a different software, it may turn out that data that had already been collected won’t be maintained. There are only a few SEO software providers that offer the possibility to import the data from the CSV file, which is why the transition to another SEO software can be a rather complex issue.
- It’s risky. Storing data on a third-party server is not the best idea when it comes to the safety of users.
The pros of building in-house SEO software
- Private server. It’s always better to keep all the data on your own capacities. Thus, you can guarantee cybersecurity in your business. Even though it may cost you a fortune – based on the unfortunate experience of many SaaS businesses – it’s worth it.
- Mission-tailored functionality. When you decide to build a software for the needs of your business, the objectives of your team are the first things you think of. You don’t have to wait for the implementation of this badly needed feature on the third-party product, just hire your own developers and set a relevant task. That’s obviously easier said than done, but, as the saying goes, “if you want something done right, do it yourself.”
- It can be monetized. Once you develop a decent SEO software, you can try to rush it into the market. There are a lot of examples of SEO companies capitalizing on products, which have been originally designed for the internal use only.
The cons of devising in-house software
- It’s pricey. First of all, the development of your own SEO software can cost you a pretty penny. Although the development cost largely depends on the desired outcome, from our personal experience, we can say that it ranges from approximately $10,000 and all the way up to $600,000. Most businesses won’t be able to tell precisely how much it’ll cost them before the process is complete, so the price of software development is always, as they say, a “scientific wild ass guess.” 🙂
- Hiring more people. To create a tool that resonates with the needs of your business, you need few experts of a narrow field. In the best case scenario, one experienced alpha geek can get all the work done in a couple of months. Nevertheless, in the end, you’d probably get a poorly-designed software with minimum capabilities and void usability. If you don’t want to sacrifice quality, you definitely should build a dedicated full-scale team of developers.
- It takes time. In-house SEO software, unlike paid solutions, would take a considerable amount of time to devise. Development of any product is an exhausting marathon rather than a sprint. In our case, it can take months – and sometimes even years – to go from the first line of code to the fully-operational tool. So, unless you like to be kept waiting, the creation of the in-house SEO software isn’t really an answer to your issues.
- It’s challenging. There are numerous technical problems encountered in devising SEO tools. First of all, you’ll need quite a few proxy servers to track keyword rankings from different locations and keep monitoring the changes in SERP. It’s also crucial to set up an API to extract the necessary data from the results pages and websites.
You might think that building your own software is cheaper than buying a third-party solution, but it doesn’t necessarily work out this way. Obviously, any company needs to make profits on the top of the workload, but at the same time their products also take a lot of the financial burden off your business.
Moreover, ready-to-use SEO software is basically suitable for the companies of all sizes. There are hundreds of tools available on the market with prices ranging from virtually nil and up to $50,000 for the monthly subscription.
Here are just a few examples of the simple solutions at the ready, from both the higher and lower end of the pricing scale:
- With a starting price equal to only £7 ($10), Wordtail is one of the cheapest SEO software at hand. At the same time, it noticeably lacks functionality: “Starter” option includes only 460 weekly tracked keywords.
- Founded in 2015, its tools have already proved itself as one of the best solutions for SEO agencies and businesses of all sizes. RankActive’s optimal plan offers 2500 daily tracked keywords, and 15000 crawled pages for $70 a month.
- Being one of the most recognized names in the world of search engine optimization, Moz provides a great set of innovative SEO tools. Nevertheless, prices are a little above average: $99 and $149 for 300 and 750 tracked keywords respectively.
- If you’re running a relatively large business and ready to pay extra, Conductor seems like a good solution. Prices for its products start from $1000 a month and depend on the total number of keywords, domains, and competitors you want to track. The good news is that Conductor provides literally boundless possibilities to its privileged users.
If you want to focus on your business while software engineers take care of software, the ready-to-use route is for you. You don’t have to worry about building a new team or any of the disruption it might cause – let alone the financial aspect.
So, if you need fast results for a relatively low cost, then buying the ready-to-use SEO software is probably the best option.
Who should devise their own SEO software?
Businesses that have their in-house SEO tools are often industry leaders. They have an unlimited budget and, in most cases, they’re already using paid software – so they can afford to be a little more patient.
If you can afford to devise a set of necessary tools, have a team of software developers with little work to occupy them from day to day, and enough confidence, why shouldn’t you give it a try?
In turn, we are willing to ease the burden of developing the effective SEO software for those, who decided to device one. Here are some tips from the team of DataForSEO:
- Be careful with proxy servers. By using free/open Proxy servers, you put your network and data at a huge security risk. Keep in mind that nobody installs a Proxy server on their own computer and lets anyone get access to it and use their bandwidth. Therefore, you should use only private and paid Proxy Servers from trustworthy providers. Another option is to purchase the ready-to-use API. Here at DataForSEO, we don’t use any proxies to extract the rankings data from Google and other search engines.
- Pay particular attention to APIs. There are many useful and functional APIs and libraries that can make the development of your SEO tool much easier. Although almost all APIs are free to use within the particular usage restriction, you can quickly max out the number of calls you’re allowed to make per day. At the same time, most of them return an XML or a JSON formatted response, which you have to decode in order to extract the values. Unlike these solutions, DataForSEO API is a credit-based, pay-as-you-go system and returns the needed data in a comprehensible format.
- Hire the right people. From our own experience, the developers dealing with big data should have at least two years of experience in a narrow field. We’ve seen it many times when newbies trying to build inroads into the industry face numerous faults and contact our support team to solve their technical issues. Even though we’re always happy to lend a helping hand to our valuable customers, we can’t help those who simply lack experience in programming. So, build a team of skilled developers – it will save you more time and money as you might have expected.
Quite frankly, not every business needs its own SEO tool. It’s often easier and cheaper to pick something that is ready-to-use. Nevertheless, if you can wait for some 4-6 months and have at least one skilled programmer, the development of your own SEO software is worth trying.