As a marketer, I work with many SEO tools and monitor demand constantly. Customers of our product often use several competing platforms at the same time, so I decided to study the issue of obtaining SEO data in different ways. In addition, we constantly see comparative articles like “Semrush or Ahrefs: which is better?” But nobody compares these SEO platforms to monofunctional tools. Therefore, this article is for those who want to learn more about the market for SaaS platforms for website optimization and understand what to choose for a business.
Briefly about the current situation on the SEO tools market
SEO tools are a must-have for an online marketer, webmaster, or website owner. Each of us has used or tested at least several platforms to analyze the site, competitors or track positions. Demand creates supply, which is why the market is full of various applications, plugins and multifunctional SEO platforms. They can be divided into different categories based on their main functions, but there are also two main groups of tools:
- multiplatforms with many features,
- simple toolsthat are focused on a specific function.
Serpstat and the SEOnews team conducted a survey and identified the most popular tools among specialists. According to the research, there are three popular multifunctional SEO platforms in the TOP.
Well-known SEO bestsellers – Serpstat, Semrush, Ahrefs – have many features such as keyword analysis, site and competitor analysis, rank monitoring, site audit, and backlink analysis. At the same time, there are simple tools that only work in the area of keyword analysis and clustering or tracking of SERP updates.
Why do SEO professionals use several similar tools at the same time?
Having worked in the SEO platform industry for several years, I have encountered many times situations where clients, using, for example, Ahrefs, track positions using the monofunctional Rank Tracker. It seems illogical, because by paying for a rather expensive tariff plan (starting price – $ 99), you already get the opportunity to monitor the position of your site by keywords.
Why do specialists use several tools at the same time? The answer is based on personal communication with representatives of agencies and SEO specialists who are clients of our product. There are several main reasons.
First, if you are working hard to optimize your site for search engines, for you data quality is important… Unfortunately, many multifunctional SEO platforms try to provide as many useful features as possible, forgetting about quality. Frequently, the frequency or position data is not updated every 24 hours or even 7 days (especially with low-frequency keywords). Therefore, experts use third-party monofunctional tools that care more about data quality.
Secondly, each platform has strengths and weaknesses… Of course, everyone praises themselves and highlights positive points. This is marketing. But among experts who have tried many SEO tools, there is a general opinion that Ahrefs is better for analyzing backlinks, Serpstat is good for keyword analysis, Woorank is better for accurate position tracking, etc. You need to understand what data is most important for your business and ongoing SEO work and make decisions based on the needs.
It is also worth mentioning that price acting. Of course, using Semrush and Surfer in parallel, you overpay. But buying a plan for a well-known SEO-multiplatform for $ 100 and using only a few features sporadically, you are overpaying for limits and brand.
In addition, it should be borne in mind that the platforms have different User Experience and the ability to create customized reports for clients. Many SEO agencies consider the reporting function to be important when choosing a tool. Therefore, it turns out that they analyze competitors and keywords in one tool, and track positions and send reports from another.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Simple Tools
The main advantage of simple tools is data quality. They are not overloaded with features, provide data in an accessible way and care about the quality of the product. Also, depending on the tool, the price is much lower than that of the well-known multifunctional platforms. Such tools are very valuable in that they do not compete (openly) with giants and do not compete with who has more features, but simply do their job well – they provide high-quality data for making decisions without guessing and theories.
The main concept of simple tools is sometimes also the main flaw. Many SEOs and business owners find it easier to buy a subscription to one tool than to search for more suitable individual tools. In addition, in the case of using multiple platforms, there are difficulties with data import, especially when there is already a history of positions for a domain for several years.
Who can benefit from monofunctional platforms
- SEO Agencies: Many SEO service companies use higher pricing plans on multiplatforms. But often the first place when choosing a tool is the quality of the data and a flexible reporting system. According to a survey, more than 80% of SEO professionals consider update frequency and data completeness as the most important factor when choosing a tool.
Based on the experience of communicating with representatives of agencies, I can recommend not to get attached to one specific tool, but to look for quality alternatives. For example, using Serpstat, you can track positions using Wincher, where the data is updated every 24 hours, and you can add an unlimited number of users for free. Or buy a BuzzSumo subscription to analyze keywords and trends.
The market for SEO tools is large, so consider alternatives that can help you better manipulate the data and cut your SEO budget.
- SEO freelancers: If you single-handedly provide optimization or website promotion services, then simple tools can significantly reduce budgets. For example, if you need tools for content marketing or internal website optimization, you should not immediately buy the Guru plan in Semrush, which costs $ 230 per month. Try Surfer, a content and on-page SEO platform. It will be more profitable, the speed and quality of work will increase.
- Small and Medium Business Owners: If you don’t have an internal SEO team yet, that doesn’t mean your website optimization results should be less impressive. Usually, business owners hire a freelancer or small SEO agency. When communicating with clients who work with agencies, I noticed that only 30% of business owners do not want to delve into the process at all. Others want to track the results on their own and understand how and what was done. Your business is only in your hands. You should not overpay for a brand of well-known companies just to monitor positions. Consider other options. A list of useful and inexpensive monofunctional tools is at the end of the article.
Advantages and Disadvantages of SEO Multiplatforms
As for the multiplatforms, their main advantage is their versatility. By purchasing one subscription, you can analyze sites and keywords, extract a lot of important data needed for SEO and PPC. It is convenient and effective. Plus, if you really want all the features – from keyword analysis to SEO audits – one purchase will cut your budget.
At the same time, SEO multiplatforms sometimes have some inherent disadvantages. For example, the data quality of certain functions and service. In addition, the interface of some platforms is so overloaded that it can be difficult to navigate, especially for SEO newbies and business owners. They just don’t understand the value of many “unique” features. They need an easy-to-read dashboard with accurate data to make decisions.
When to choose a multiplatform like Semrush or Ahrefs
- If you work for an agency, then in most cases you will not be able to do without using at least one of the multifunctional platforms. Yes, this is not news. Because it is convenient and effective.
- If you really work on website optimization in many ways: you need to collect semantics, conduct a technical audit of the site, and conduct a link building campaign. Then buying a subscription to a single platform is profitable and effective.
SEO tools are essential for every webmaster, marketer, or business owner looking to promote online. In the modern world, if you are not online, you are invisible to 80% of the audience.
Before choosing a tool for website optimization, think about what exactly you want to get from the platform and what functionality you need. In this article, I’ve compared different tools and provided examples of where each category is appropriate.
What platforms do you use and for what tasks? Share in the comments.
PS Some of the tools that were mentioned in the article and how they might be useful
Semrush, Ahrefs, Serpstat – SEO platforms with great functionality. Key features: analysis of domains, specific pages, keywords, PPC, position monitoring, audit, clustering.
Surfer is an on-page SEO platform that can help you optimize pages, write quality content, and analyze keywords.
Wincher, a platform for monitoring online positions by keywords, includes several free tools.
Key Collector is a tool for working with semantics, keyword analysis and structuring.
BuzzSumo is a great solution for content analysis, keyword research, trend monitoring and media work.