Why you can’t rely solely on SEO tools for insight

In my time working with small businesses, I found many owners saying they didn’t need an SEO expert and could rely on an SEO tool to do their work. It’s a half truth because tools will automate and save time but they also have their weaknesses and you can easily miss critical details if you don’t double check.

I was asked to help a friend with SEO and never missing an opportunity to flex some SEO muscle, I happily obliged. I ran my friend’s website through Woorank to see what it would come up with.

I had already manually gone through the site and made note of the issues at hand and thought I’d compare with Woorank which is a good tool that has improved considerably since launch.

I agreed with most things it reported but there was one thing that I didn’t agree with and it further highlighted the issue that you encounter when you solely rely on automated tools.

It said everything was ok with the XML sitemap. The problem is, it lied. Nothing was ok about the sitemap.

All the tool did was check for the presence of an XML sitemap but not the contents of the sitemap. If it did that, it would see that the XML sitemap was not generated correctly and was in fact missing URLs to pages on the site, so it’s in fact an invalid XML sitemap which is an SEO problem.

Similarly, a tool may check for the presence of a robots.txt file but not the contents of that file – you could in fact be disallowing everything and the tool might say it’s all good! (as a side note: some tools will check to see if you’re blocking important elements but this is far from perfect and could raise false flags).

This is the reason why you need to hire a professional SEO expert with experience – because they’ll give your website a once over with the human eye, before running it through tools. Some things are easily detected by humans but often missed by robots. You could run a crawl of a website and find there’s no 404 errors but you might miss the daisy chain of 301 redirects on your site that could have serious consequences. You might miss inconsistent linking between your pages (non-www/www/trailing slashes in URLs) and so on. Sometimes there’s legitimate reasons for certain things on your site – but a tool won’t know this and could cause you unnecessary worry by raising alarms.

Don’t leave things to chance and ruin your business. Consult with an SEO expert, get their insights and ensure they don’t just deliver exports from SEO tools – anyone can do that. It’s the detailed advice and recommendations based on this data that matter. And if you’re smarter than the average bear, you’ll know if they’ve done their job!

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