While many SEO software vendors are striving to break into the all-in-one segment, compiling as many features as possible, point solutions in SEO remain widely employed. The most recent Forrester report on the SEO industry found that the average client reference uses three SEO tools to facilitate the optimization process. In the local SEO scene, the tech stacks get even broader. Moz ‘State of Local’ survey says that the overwhelming majority of respondents apply from 2 to 5 (67.7%) and from 6 to 10 (11.1%) SEO tools in their workflow.
Below, we have compiled several cases where SEO software vendors hold to a narrow approach to help you evaluate the benefits and outline growth perspectives.
SEO Software as Point Solutions: Cases
Not everyone is looking for enterprise-level or all-in-one SEO software. But everyone who’s doing SEO is looking to have a particular problem solved, be it broken links identification or keyword research for voice search optimization. Rather than overpaying for numerous unnecessary features, many people and companies prefer going with point solutions to fix separate issues one by one. For example, Screaming Frog’s ‘SEO Spider’ is widely used by virtually everyone engaged in SEO, from freelancers to large enterprises.
Screaming Frog is a search marketing agency founded in 2011. However, they began developing their first in-house tool a year earlier.
SEO Spider is a website crawler for on-page SEO analysis launched in 2011. The number of downloads surpassed 100K in just one year when Screaming Frog relied only on social media to raise awareness of their tool (according to the company’s website). In 2017, the SEO Spider was nominated for a UK Search Award as the best SEO software.
At the time, the team behind Screaming Frog counted less than 40 members and has about 50 today. However, the story of Screaming Frog started with just a few people aboard. Less complexity for development and maintenance is another advantage of focusing your SEO tool on a narrow niche. Smaller tools don’t require enormous resources and can be handled by smaller teams.
Keyword Tool is a good illustration of this. The tool scrapes long-tail search queries from Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, eBay, Google Play Store, Instagram, and Twitter autocomplete and search suggestions.
On the day, the company’s website generates around 3.11M visits, and their customers come from 227 countries around the globe. Still, there are not more than ten people on the team.
In some cases, such a team can be enough even when your audience and customer base become quite substantial, if you maintain the narrow focus, as does the Keywordtool.io.
But in other cases, companies employ a different strategy and widen the feature spectrum of the tool or even later combine several point solutions into a broader SEO toolkit.
Consider the example of AuthorityLabs. Initially, it was a simple position tracking tool for Google, Yahoo! and back-then Live Search (now Bing).
In 2017, the company teamed up with SERPS.com and ZoomRank to bring their functionality to the platform. Up till present, AuthorityLabs became a rank tracking software that supports daily reporting, device- and location-specific data, featured snippet tracking, and competitor monitoring.
AuthorityLabs has about 60 people on the team, and their website attracts 15.9K visitors per month. In 2020, AuthorityLabs became a part of the Traject suite. This umbrella brand united seven marketing technology solutions for social media management, rank tracking, data services and visualization, reputation management, and e-commerce.
When your tool is evolving, and sales are growing, enlarging the initial offering, as AuthorityLabs did, makes perfect sense. However, remember that expanding a business to generate more revenue requires a good deal of forethought and strategy.
Developing SEO software as a point solution does not mean your company will be boxed in it. As you spot the right timing after the viability test of your initial product is successfully passed, you can expand the feature spectrum or combine several point solutions under one umbrella. Yet, at an early stage, the essential thing about point solutions for SEO software vendors is that starting small, you take fewer risks:
- Less complexity for development and maintenance
- Less financial and human resources required