Who’d have thought that in 2018 we would be publishing a Forrester Wave™ evaluation on SEO platforms? Honestly, even I’m a bit surprised.
We published this Wave because we have seen a rising number of inquiries from Forrester’s clients about SEO and how to improve their websites for searchers. A pivotal part to any enterprise company’s organic search strategy is leveraging technology to automate the process. These tools help do just that. And every company should be using one if they are trying to get more high-quality traffic to their website.
In our Wave, we featured seven vendors: BrightEdge, Conductor, Moz, Searchmetrics, SEMrush, seoClarity, and Siteimprove. Each vendor has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, and each one is good for a different use case. Therefore, I highly recommend reading our report and using our Excel model to customize the Wave graphic to fit your needs (you can download the Excel model from the report). For instance, if you don’t care about making site changes directly from an SEO platform, give the “Optimization and implementation” criteria a 0% weighting. Or if you have many brick-and-mortar locations and want to use search as a way to get people in-store, consider bumping the “Local SEO” criteria up a bit in the weightings. The tool is there for your customization!
Finally, I thought I’d share a few unfiltered thoughts on some of the learnings we had during this research process:

  • The market for SEO tools is ripe for consolidation. In this Wave, we decided to only focus on true SEO platforms — tools that help enterprise marketers manage the SEO process across stakeholders, support keyword research, help track success in organic search, and audit the technical foundation of your website. But there’s a whole host of tools that have very specific niche capabilities that marketers can use to optimize their website. And, honestly, it’s hard to see this being sustainable, especially when you consider that marketers typically spend somewhere between $100K and $500K annually on organic search. There simply aren’t enough dollars spent on SEO to continue to support the vast number of vendors in this overall category. Consolidation will happen. Conductor was recently snatched up by WeWork. I’d expect larger vendors like BrightEdge to be more aggressive in their acquisition strategies going forward. And inevitably, smaller niche SEO vendors that weren’t included in our study will be snatched up by competitors or by larger martech companies for their valuable capabilities.
  • SEO platforms must innovate and expand their offerings and think big-picture to grow. Consolidation will occur across the overarching SEO market. But for any vendor that strives to grow, increase share of this market, or get more visibility within the marketing technology category, you have to invest in greater innovation and bigger thinking. Specifically, there are three growth opportunities for every SEO platform:
    1. Build better measurement capabilities that can speak to upper-level management and the C-suite. Please, throw rank tracking away! That goes for you too, marketer!
    2. Expand into other parallel markets to enrich your data (call analytics or social listening, for example).
    3. Take a wider-lens approach to the vision for your tool and company. Every vendor in our Wave evaluation should be thinking of how data from their platforms can be used in areas across the marketing organization and across the company.

Have any questions about these SEO platforms or which one you should be choosing for your team? Set up an inquiry with me, and we can talk.