SEO Tools Build vs Buy
As a provider of SEO Software we're often asked "Why should I pay you when I can build it myself?". We completely understand this attitude but we believe that the software and the service that we provide can't be matched by something built in-house. Here are some of the reasons why we'd argue that a buying in an SEO software tool provides better value and benefits than building your own.
Total cost of development/ownership - we offset the development and R&D costs across thousands of clients. You'd have to defray the costs against your client base only. So with us you only pay a fraction of what it would cost to develop and maintain your own comparable solution.
Opportunity Cost - consider what else you could do with the resources that you're ploughing into building this tool; could you get a better return by investing the time and financial resources into another project.
Time to market – We have had a dedicated team developing the platform since 2009. This experienced team had already developed a successful PPC platform in 2003 so had great experience of the challenges, pitfalls and processes that building, supporting and operating a SaaS platform entailed. By the time your platform is ready, where will the market have moved on to?
Practical SEO Reasons
Comprehensive nature of the platform – we have invested tens of thousands of man hours in building the platform and have had a fully tested platform in the market for more than 2 years. Will you be able to dedicate the time required to produce a comparable solution?
Customer Requirements – we have listened to thousands of SEOs and have a range of different options to help them get exactly the data they need in the format they want. Can you really deliver all you need to do to satisfy all your customers’ requirements now and in the future? Instead, why not benefit from the ongoing collective intelligence and contributions of thousands of SEOs worldwide.
Keeping pace with the changes in the marketplace – Google made 500 algorithm changes last year. Some of these changes have a bigger impact than others. Having anonymised access to data across thousands of sites gives us great insights into what it takes to rank well. Will you have the resources in-house to spot the changes that might stop your software working or make it less relevant?
Big SEO Data – are your team experienced with the technical challenges presented by continuously analyzing and running thousands of different jobs across thousands of sites simultaneously? Ours is :-) Do they regularly handle databases with millions of rows and Terabytes of data? Ours do :-) Do you have (and want to pay for) access to; MajesticSEO, SEM Rush, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools? We have it all their for you! Have you developed a sophisticated and multi-threaded, customisable web crawler? Yup, we've got that too!
Core business – Is developing software your core business? If not are you wasting time and resources on this unecessary side project. And could you sell the proposition to help you defray costs? (Is this even a realistic proposition given the fact that you would end up trying to sell your technology to your competitors which has potential pitfalls on both sides?)
Optimising across the business - Are you planning to build a system that can be leveraged across your organisation to help you at each stage of the SEO client lifecycle? Or are you only sub-optimising and going for a set of tools that you can use for site audits, keyword research and reporting. Our platform supports the growth of your business from lead generation, pre-sales pitching, sales conversions, client setup and on-boarding, client communication and reporting, internal team management and client retention.
Do you have all the skills you need? - Do you have all the skills you need today (and tomorrow) in-house? If not, can you hire the right talent? To build an enterprise class platform requires a dedicated and multi-skilled team and we’re talking about a lot more than a few talented software developers.
At different stages of the product development process any or all of the following skills are needed; Chief Technical Architect, Information Architect, Application Architects, User Interface and usability designers, graphic designers, QA lead, Project Manager, Production managers, System administrators, DBAs, team leaders and ….software developers. Of course there is the additional continuous management overhead of leading the project, project managing its implementation and product management to specify what is required now and in the future. Of course, once implemented there’s internal customer services; listening, prioritizing and acting upon internal feedback, bugs and feature requests.
Can you dedicate the resource to this full time (all the time)? - What are the chances that they will be pulled off onto other projects? How do you handle recruitment, career development, training, succession planning. This is a full time job in itself!
Staff Training and Development – Can your system be used for educating and training new team members?
Is having your own in-house solution going to be a competitive advantage or disadvantage? - Could you become wedded to your own technology and fall behind the rest of the market?
As our business grows we continuously re-invest in the technology and in hiring the best talent to take the platform to the next level. Using external specialists puts you in the best possible competitive position. You can white-label our platform so you get the benefits of presenting this advanced technology as your own during the sales process and thereafter.
We have to stay on top of our game to retain your business or you could switch to an alternative provider and take your data with you.
Technical Development & Operations
Tool Development - Are you going to build one set of tools or an integrated application? How do you plan and cater for all the eventualities? We’ve analysed thousands of websites and have strategies, tactics and work arounds for all sorts of problems that you will encounter (if not on your client sites then their competitors) spider traps, circular re-directs, etc.
Proxy Services - Do you have experience of working with multiple proxy server services? You'll need to understand how to circumvent the constantly changing obstacles that the search engines use to obfuscate the data or at the very least make it difficult to access.
Infrastructure Costs & Decisions - Will you adopt a cloud-based, co-located or virtual server infrastructure? How long will you have to commit to these costs for? Do the costs flex according to peaks and troughs in your business?
Database Management - How will you handle backups and archiving Terabytes of data? Will your staff be prepared to come in out of normal working hours to undertake critical system upgrades and system maintenance?
Operational Monitoring - Have you planned how long it will take to implement a sophisticated operational monitoring system? This will have to cater for all single points of failures, job scheduling and management. How will you handle peaks loads, job failures and application performance? Have you got the time, skills and resources to do this for the application, the database(s) and the physical infrastructure?
Security – are your team experienced in securing large amounts of data? What virtual and physical procedures will you have in place to ensure the security and privacy of your customer data.
As you can see there are many reasons why building your own SEO Software may not be practical - with many factors and eventualities to be considered. If you're interested in learning more about our software then take a look at the features. If you have any questions about this then please get in touch.
By: Laurence OToole
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