There are a number of obvious signals that an SEO tool is not serious in the vernacular. Read on for some of our all time gross-me-out tell-tail signs.
Promotion By Spam, Not SERPs Success
One clear signal is how the tool’s owners or affiliates promote the software. Do they speak at conferences, offer white papers or provide testimonials from respected industry players? OK, mainstream does not always have to be the path. Maybe the tool is more underground and promoted by word of mouth, quietly amongst insiders, or succeeds by SEO prominence or even dominance in the organic SERPs. I can hang with that.
Our theory is that spammers don’t often make good tools anymore. For instance, we’re getting pretty sick of SEO tool affiliate posers, like SENukeX, spamming the bejesus out of Twitter. If the tool is so freakin’ cool, then why resort to recurrent spam tactics? Even aside from what an SEO tool does or most likely does not do, why would we ever engage with a company that either practices or does not put a stop to such spambler tactics?
I’d much rather look to mainstream SEO tools like those from SEOmoz, Raven Tools, and SEOBook. Underground tools can be killer, too. ScrapeBox dominates YouTube like a big kid and that’s how I found it. Moz, SEOBook, Raven and SB tools rank well because Aaron Wall, Rand Fishkin, and ScrapeBox’s mysterious owner in Australia actually understand SEO, an admirable quality for leaders of companies and programmers that ostensibly produce legitimate SEO tools. Umm, I see SENuke’s Twitter spam. Where’s the unpersonalized SERPs beef, dude? One would think that a suite of SEO tools could help an SEO toolmaker rank organically.
Hyperbole & Claims Of Automated SEO Riches
Get rich quick exaggerations are a sure tipoffs that software may be claptrap. For starters, the homepage for BruteForceSEO EVOII, a last gen’ black hat darling rave, sports a ridiculous 4,610 words and 21 pages. That’s not SEO. If this tool’s performance, in partnership with, their “Top team of In House professional SEO programmers… and a network of THOUSANDS of savvy users in Fight Club Forum” is indicative of what can be accomplished with BruteForce software, then we’ll pass. Just check out BruteForce’s lowly keyword rankings in Google and Bing for “SEO software,” “SEO tools,” and, “Search engine optimization tools.” Now that’s a radriffic #FAIL.
Check out the message I got when trying to leave the BruteForce site. I would not buy a used car from these people, let alone an SEO tool.
Watch tools that spout hyperbole like:
- “Provides a deluge of backlinks to your money sites on dozens of high page rank sites”
- “A Hyperactive Super-Assistant, cranked up on caffeine… Never taking a break… Never demanding a raise… Never asking for a day off or holiday”
- “If you are ready to seize this embarrassment (SP) of Automated SEO Riches I’ve just slapped down in front of you, the the time and place to act is Right Now… Right Here.”
The search engines have bullshit detectors and, these days, there are no free lunches.
Whoa! A Search Engine Submission Tool?
Search for “SEO tools” and you’ll find a plethora of posers. There are many utilities out there, even those with monthly charges that are all about search engine submissions. Buzzer! Search engines don’t index by “submissions” any more. They haven’t for years. Google says, “We add and update new sites to our index each time we crawl the web, and we invite you to submit your URL here. We do not add all submitted URLs to our index, and we cannot make any predictions or guarantees about when or if they will appear.” Though you can technically submit your site to Bing (for free, without paying for any tool), its web crawler, BingBot, can find most pages on the Internet without assistance.
Both Google and Bing’s Webmaster tools accept multiple XML-sitemaps submissions, small files that live on your web server. Most CMSs these days output them dynamically and the engines regularly crawl sitemaps, to remain constantly updated on what pages are in your site. If your SEO tool is all about guided site submission, and not sitemap submission to Google and Bing, the tool is a bunch of hokey bunk.
Yippy! A Meta Tag Generator
Meta keywords have been dead for years as ranking factors. Any tool that is about automatically generating meta keywords is scary, to say the least. Google’s webmaster help devotes a whole page to meta tags and the word “keyword” isn’t anywhere to be found. In 2009, Matt Cutts confirmed that Google doesn’t use meta description tags as part of the ranking algorithm.
Yes, search engines sometime use Meta descriptions as the body copy of the organic result in the SERPs. Essentially this means you’re writing the organic “ad’s” body copy. I would never trust my marketing message to a “generator.” SEO tools that feature meta tag generators are a bunch of hooey.
The list goes on. Here are a few more choice signals that SEO software packages are posers:
- Focus on H Tags: H Tags may matter by accident, because of their prominence high up on a page. However, they have little or no ranking benefit.
- Rank checkers for recurrent fees: Rank checkers, if they return unpersonalized data, are useful as a baseline for measuring SEO. Guess what? Rank checkers are a dime a dozen. If they are high up on the list of a tool’s features, forget it.
- No focus whatsoever on buzz or social media: Links, page structure and semantics are only part of the pictures these days. Authority users out there in social media land need to be broadcasting and re-broadcasting your content. Any tool that’s only about links and semantics (words) is not a true SEO tool.
- Anything that creates fake content: Dude, it might work today. Long mechanical content it’s not a good strategy. Create real content for real people, with great structure and semantics. Promote it and brand it.
- Networks of people who game: Look, consortiums of users who gang up to game systems were all the rage in 2007 and 2008, ala early digg.com. The only networks that work, to any extent today, are fully private. You’ll never hear about them, let alone in an SEO tool that you can buy. Google and Bing are not that stupid.