Ch. 9 – Your Dream-Tools – Critical Thinking

Your Dream-tools

 

Having tried a hundred different tools and settling upon a half-dozen that perform at least part of what we need, we often still find ourselves wishing for something more. This is where our coder-fiend toolbuilder friends often get their inspiration – filling a void with increased functionality.

Not all our dreams, unfortunately, can be easily made reality. Alan’s below, for example, might still be a few years away. But feedback to toolbuilders does feed innovation. “Give us this option”, “add that capability”, “lose that¸ it’s just clutter!”… constructive criticism and suggestions can contribute a lot to the evolution of a tool into something that we later wonder how we lived without.

Besides, without dreaming, where would we be, as a species? Flight, medicine, automation, space travel… they all began as dreams. Surely a tool that does our job while we languish on the beach can’t be too much to ask, can it?

As you go through your selection process of the tools you intend to make use of, I strongly suggest you reach out to the developer and share your impressions and suggestions. Whether you find their tool to be a keeper or not, your feedback may help them improve it, and if delivered constructively, will most likely be appreciated.

Here are a few of our panelists’ ideas of some new tools that they would find helpful additions to their arsenals. Coming from these folks, I’d say their recommendations warrant some consideration.

We put this question to our contributors:

 

8. What tool do you wish existed to use in your work?

 

Alan Bleiweiss

The one where I could be sitting on a tropical beach, enjoying the sun, sand and surf, and where I’d still be able to provide world class SEO to those I choose to work with.  J #WIN

Andrea Scarpetta

Something that would speed up keyword research, because it has become very time consuming!

Andrew Bleakley

I would like a tool like browsershots.org to allow me to grab snapshots of SERP’s from computers physically located in and around my target markets – constantly switching proxies and remote desktop sessions takes its toll some nights.

Anthony Verre

A tool that allowed me to conduct keyword research while simultaneously looking at semantic and temporal variations of that keyword.

Barry Adams

I’d love a tool that automatically writes insightful, detailed monthly reports to send to my clients, because that takes up a lot of my time nowadays. I suppose such a tool exists – it’s called a junior digital marketer.

On the software front, a configurable and reliable rank tracker that takes universal search elements into account would be handy to some degree, though nothing will ever replace actually typing in queries on Google and see what comes up, including Instant and Suggest results.

Dana Lookadoo

A ranking tool that provided a synopsis of exactly why each listing ranked #1.

Danny Sullivan

I wish Sea Monkey was improved as a light-weight HTML editor. I really miss how FrontPage could produce clean, simple HTML and had auto-save. Sea Monkey is close, but I sure miss not having auto-save.

Dean Cruddace

A tool that would encompass everything from the audit right through to the analytics in one shiny box would be a good start but I am guessing I would need 30GB just to install it, tools are great in themselves but I have never been over reliant upon them and when it comes to the important aspects of SEO I have never put my all into the reliability of a single tool, always looking at alternatives and never taking away the human side of understanding what it is I am trying to achieve.

Eren McKay

Since we’re talking wishes here,  I wish a tool existed that would somehow make me an invisible fairy that could fly into Google’s headquarters and find out how much PageRank, anchor text, relevance and authority flows through every backlink on the internet.

Gabriella Sannino

One program that can let me track all my SN including SERPS on one platform; this includes being able to schedule and track my social, blogs, etc. I would also like it to allow me to add to my favourites so I can pull things out of my hat of preference.

Garrett French

I wish the tools I’m building were completed 🙂

Heather Lloyd-Martin

A magical way that I could peer inside people’s heads and figure out exactly what they’re thinking at any given moment.

Hugo Gill

An accurate tool that can check for consistency in external mentions of a company business address and phone number.

Ian Lurie

A true, unified reporting platform. Something like Geckoboard, but with broader support for different platforms.

Jahnelle Pittman

The same tool everybody wants – one that does it all! Technical SEO – scanning the site for issues and allowing page comparisons. On Page SEO – including the keyword research, relevancy computations, and so on. Oh, and Off Page SEO – with good link recommendations, link tracking, etc. Give me some campaign tracking, with the ability to track SEO and social campaigns. Most importantly, I’d like it all wrapped up in a big bow with A/B/C testing ability and reliable data.

Jey Pandian

A tool which constantly updates itself in realtime and shows conversions and inbound

links on basis of search rankings would be invaluable for gauging the success or failureof search campaigns.

Joe Hall

I would love to see a persona social media management tool. That can scale quickly. I have read rumours that the NSA has one. Though it might be a project I build in the future.

Joshua Titsworth

I’d like to see a type of backlink checker that not only counted where the links were at, but how the links are being used on the page, where the links are located at on the page and how it compares to the other links on the page. This tool would also check the usage of that particular anchor text against the other ways it’s used on similar sites. It would be a way to check for link wheels/mini-nets.

Justin Parks

I wish I had a large virtual gun to blow websites off the internet that are so obviously spam or just plain crap. I can wish, can’t I ? Aside from that, everything else is quite well catered for, although I think, and this is quite possible, that a dashboard that allows me to pull any sets of data into one screen for comparison in one place would be very useful.

Lyena Solomon

Many tools integrate Analytics into their reports, which is fantastic. However, there is not enough segmentation of data.  For example, you can see the amount of organic traffic you are getting from a keyword but not the revenue. I think, smarter integration of Analytics in any tool will be very useful.

Michelle Robbins

I think marketing campaign analysis tools are still in their infancy. I look forward to the “one tool to rule them all” that easily combines data across platforms and channels,  tracks the distribution and spread of a viral event,  and enables deeper social graph analysis than current tools provide.

M.J. Taylor

A crystal ball to see into the minds of users.

Rand Fishkin

I’ve been longing for a better version of Google Alerts (more comprehensive, less spam, good data about the site/page’s importance + reach, historical tracking, etc) at a low price.

Rebekah May

I see a lot of online tools for generating sitemaps easily, but I have yet to find an online based video sitemap generator – I would like to see one of those.

Right now, I think there is a problem with too many similar tools rather than not enough tools.

S. Emerson

One tool that encompasses all of the above without annoying the search engines. There are tools out there you can buy but you have to be really careful how they collect the information they give you.  Google specifically states in their Terms of Service you are not to use automated tools to access their site and collect information.

Thomas Fjordside

A cloning device. I don’t need more tools, just more people doing the work, but if I had the option I would like a keyword research tool that was effective in other languages than English. 🙂

Tim Nash

Time travel, or similar device to allow me a few extra hours a day – that or a decent content aggregator. Many people have tried to create it but no one has got it quite right; but to be able to see content and linked content across all channels would be very powerful not just in brand management but for generally keeping up to date with my interests. A combination of brand watch, summify, del.icio.us, ipaper and Reeder and Tweetdeck would be perfect.

William Slawski

A flexible project management tool that can track hours different people have worked upon a project, with different “rates” for different types of work, the ability to customize workflows based upon the needs of a specific project, and to define different importance levels associated with those tasks.

 

You can begin with Chapter One of Critical Thinking for the Discerning SEO here.

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Doc Sheldon has been writing professionally since the 1970s, and has worked in marketing since the 1980s. He owned and published weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines during the ’80s, before becoming a business consultant and ultimately "retiring" in 2008. He began studying SEO in earnest in 2003, and now specializes in technical SEO. His passions are the development of the Semantic Web, trying to figure out what changes may be coming next from the search engines and eliminating misinformation.

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