SEO Mistakes: software mistakes

When you’re starting out at SEO, think carefully when you’re deciding whether to buy a software package (or service) that promises SEO results. Why? First, when you’re making pages yourself, there’s a limited amount of pages that you can make a mistake on; when you’re using software, any damage can be amplified a thousand-fold. Second, you should really know what exactly the software is doing. If you buy a piece of software that makes many doorway pages that do sneaky JavaScript redirects, that can raise a red flag to search engines. “I bought this thing and didn’t know what it would do” is not a great explanation for a reinclusion request, because you’re ultimately responsible for the pages that you make on your domain. A third reason is that if you decide to buy a particular piece of SEO software, other people might be trying it too, and lots of people all using the same software package can lead to your site attracting more scrutiny.

A final reason is that many SEO software packages are not very (at all?) effective. I recently saw software for sale to generate blog links. Personally, I get a little suspicious when you also get an offer to sell the software yourself. Before you know it, everyone’s trying to sell the same piece of software–even producing templates where you only have to change your name or a few other pieces of info. Check out this screenshot of an auction I saw:

Template that hasn't been modified

Notice the pink text? That’s where someone was supposed to fill in their own name or other details. For the auction that I checked on, the seller didn’t even bother to personalize the stock template! Instead, they’re taking something that they bought and trying to sell it to you without customizing it with even their name. Now at the point where people are buying SEO software and turning right around and trying to sell it again without modifying even a template HTML page, what’s your opinion of that software? Also, did you notice the misspelling in the template about “quite that day job”? I usually get skeptical about typos when I’m about to buy something.

Maybe this is a useful piece of software. I could buy the software for $4.89 and check it out, but instead I’ll just stick to some high-level advice: for all the reasons I’ve mentioned, carefully consider any piece of SEO software before buying it.

41 Responses to SEO Mistakes: software mistakes (Leave a comment)

  1. I was quick to notice “quite” instead of “quit” and immediately thought to myself “Why would I trust anybody who makes claims but can’t even type?”

    I think it is quit funny (pun intended) that the guy didn’t even bother to personalize the template and kept the text like they did — people got to be thinking “What the heck is this?? Some kind of joke?”

    It just goes to show you how dumb the people who fall into these scams really are.

  2. Aaron Pratt

    Thanks to gmail all offers for this crap are excreted directly into the email spam basin/then flushed.

    (People will say “come on Matt tell us something new”)

    BUT I believe you are doing a good service by making newbies aware of SEO traps. There is nothing worse than getting your first website hosed because you fell for some sort of “get top placement in Google in 10 easy steps” thing. I have to admit, I am still bitter for some bad advice I once got in the forums that set me back a few months, but just like crack it is your choice to smoke it or refrain.

  3. Wow Matt you are a posting maniac – good stuff. As somebody who used to work with a lot of mom and pops I think they’ll (eventually as the info trickles out) benefit from these posts.

    …. and when are we going to see YPN on the blog as you (sort of) promised J.Z. in Vegas?

  4. It is great thoughts. Rule of thumb would be dont buy any software which violates google guidelines. These software may give shorterm benifits but keep it in mind that can you sustain for 5 or 10 years with this kind of practice.

    When i started my first site i tend to look for some short term benifits. What i learned over the period of time is that before doing any optimization will my site outperform every other competitor in long term?.

    Ask your self simple question “If your site become world famous will you be able to say this kind of cheap practices as your secreat of success?”. If not dont do it.

  5. I wish I could ‘quite’ my day job too hehe. Actually, I don’t have one, but still…

    Maybe they are saying you will rank high for all typos of a specific word? 😛

  6. Hi Matt,

    What’s your opinion of IBP 8 ?

    Is it even allowed to use this type of software, according to the google rules?

  7. Matt

    Joe, I haven’t gotten a YPN invitation, so no YPN for me for now..

  8. Harith

    Hi Matt

    You are really “producing” something very informative these days. How come 🙂

    Btw, are you still taking care and action of Jagger/Jagger3 spam reports? Any good informative examples of spam reports which you have acted upon and wish to share?

    Wish you a great sunny day and a successful week.

  9. I consider all pieces of SEO software.

    I consider them garbage.
    I consider them useless.
    I consider them akin to boobs on a bull.

    Yep. Considered. 🙂

    Man…I love how the software guys screw up their template selling. Hope that guy doesn’t plan to “quite” his day job. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to spell simple four-letter words, but apparently the average idiot can’t handle it.

    You gotta find more of these, Matt. They’re a great laugh!

  10. Matt

    I’ll dig around and see what I find, Harith. We have gone through most/all of the Jagger reports at this point.

  11. Matt

    P.S. I might put out a call for comments on that test data center sometime this week.

  12. Harith

    Thanks Matt. Much appreciated.

    Take your time 🙂

  13. Matt – I would like to know how google search spiders react to vBulletin forum software. There is alot of speculation, and in fact people attempting to sell vBulletin modifications which do a mod rewrite. Its my belief that such things are unecessary and that Google spiders and indexes vBulletin Forum software just fine.

    Could you shed some light please?


  14. Stephen

    >>>>>P.S. I might put out a call for comments on that test data center sometime this week.

    Hmmz – What is the test datacentre IP ?

    Is this the DC where as stated at Las Vegas has the attempts to solve some of the 301,302,Canonical and other problems.



  15. >>>>>P.S. I might put out a call for comments on that test data center sometime this week.

    Good idea!. I can’t think of a more objective, unbiased, virtuous, and better looking crowd than those who post and lurk here at your blog.

  16. mike

    very informative…


    what happens if someone purchases these software to spam competitors’ websites. How would Google detects if the webmaster is a victim of someone else’s action????

    thanks, Mike

  17. haha Joe Hunkins…speak for yourself 😉

  18. PS Virtue is in the eye of the beholder 😉

  19. you really only want to buy a custom doorway page maker BTW 😉

  20. Matt, I think the SEO industry also needs a way to spread the word far and wide for newbie site designers trying to SEO who get conned by the “100 top 20 keywords for $100” type of scams. We’ve had numerous customers who’ve gone down that route, wasted their money and now think all SEO is a bunch of hokey.
    I know my rant might sound self-servient, but think about the hundreds, probably thousands of customers who dont realize they’ve been scammed and end up losing great sales opportunity because of this.

  21. There are some useful titles around, but they are being swamped by the kind of crap Matt has pointed out. Before buying anything read reviews (and not just the biased crap on the vendors website), search for comments and articles and definately test drive the software.

    That said, nothing can beat some expert knowledge, so go out and learn for yourself!!!

  22. Thats true Matt.. Well some software are really very good to give it a go. Like IBP and Arelis are really very good. But I still believe doing things manually.

  23. My logic is that if you are selling a SEO software you had better
    be on the first page of Google and Yahoo
    If you can’t cut the mustard there then who would buy your
    software package?
    With this in mind I am considering getting SEO Elite as they seem
    to have scooped the field
    The only counter point would be the revelation that they didn’t
    use their software package to get those results
    Does anyone know if this is true?

    Thanks for any input on this

  24. Their are some good SEO software and other helpful programs
    available but they are definitely in the minority.

  25. So is there actually a good software to get links other than blog spamming ?

  26. I’m new to SEO and this good sensible advice, esentially if a piece of software seems to good to be true or suggests anything that maybe breaking the search engines rules, then it is, and don’t touch it.

    The more I research SEO the more I realise that there is no piece of software that will just do it all for me. I do think that there are some good analysis tools available, but I wonder if it’s worth paying the $150+ price for them. Myself I will be trying them out for a good long while first, and if they get me results that work I will be able to consider any payment to be a donation for the results I have had previously.

    However I won’t be touching any software that affects my code automatically. As you said we are responsible for our code, and any software we install (knowingly or unknowingly). I’m also suspious of software that does automatic site submissions.

    There is no quick solution, you have to do the hard work, renaming rewriting, editing your keywords, manual submission and making your site interesting and relevent. If this sort of software does work its a bad day for all internet users as this sort of rubbish can only lead to generic sites that just sell affliate links with out giving anything back to the users.

    Finally if you want good BLOGGING results, the answers really simple…
    Participate in blogs, share your thoughts, don’t just stick your URL on any old blog afterall if the surfer comes to your site from a professional cooking blog and you only sell fake noses they aren’t going to stay long.

    Chris Pettipiere

  27. So what are your SEO software recommendations, if any? I personally like IBP and WebCEO.

  28. Hi!

    I’ve been researching and testing SEO for only about 2 years, so I think most of you might call me a “newbie” – and this is how I really feel about this issue.

    But I have learned enough during this period to gain from your experience.

    Yes, I use the freeware version of an SEO software bundle, WEBCEO, but for analysis purposes only. My wife and I always made the final decisions, always thinking from a final-user standpoint instead of this or that search engine’s algorithm.

    I think that is the true reason behind of our success – and we don’t define success in SEO terms, because we are using the web to plant the seeds of a non-profitable organization. Thus, most widespread SEO recommendations must be adapted, modified or simply dropped, because they are forwarded strictly toward e-business sites.

    By reading this forum, I became convinced that we did the right thing when we dropped those “fast-cash” scams… Without even knowing they were scams!

    Today, I feel the best SEO advices to start with are Mark’s:

    “What i learned over the period of time is that before doing any optimization will my site outperform every other competitor in long term?.

    Ask your self simple question “If your site become world famous will you be able to say this kind of cheap practices as your secreat of success?”. If not dont do it. ”

    and Chris Pettipiere’s:

    “There is no quick solution, you have to do the hard work, renaming rewriting, editing your keywords, manual submission and making your site interesting and relevent”.

    Thank you all and happy 2007,

    Alexei Gonçalves

    P.S.: Hope you pardon my poor english writing!

  29. Its hard to admit but such SEO programs do work if you know how to use them right, and could save a lot of time and hard work.

    However there is no 1 program that can give you everything you need, you gotta see which programs do what and use them accordingly. Some of the features on IBP are worth looking at but im sure as hell not gonna pay $200+ for it.

  30. I am still struggling to increase traffics to my page and recently a friend of mine suggesting me a SEO software products. But I find no conclusion from your article whether it is good or not to use SEO software. Thanks anyway

  31. yeah you’re right ! there’s a lot of s..m in thoses software

  32. Great article you have there.

    I agreed that it’s common to make mistakes when selecting/getting the right software to do the job. Besides, many of these softwares have features that can already be found in other websites free for everyone to use.

    I personally feel that a seo software can only reach its full potential when it’s used by someone with good seo experience. The software is able to speed things up and to utilise most of the works by experienced seo people.

    If one knows nothing or little about seo, the software can’t really help much too.

    Therefore, i advise everyone to learn more about seo before looking into the seo softwares so that your money is well spent.

  33. Great post Matt,
    It amazing how lazy and stupid some people can be. Surely most webmasters wouldnt fall for such a crap sales attempt??? There is a lot of good seo software programs out there if you really put the effort in to learn how to use the software properly

  34. That’s an absolute eye opener for all those who run after all sorts softwares to promote their websites. Yes, there are good softwares but one should understand that SEO is all about researching, studying and understanding a subject. Marketers sell Blog Posting softwares and people buy them – not knowing they are buying Blog Spamming Tools.

  35. #1 listings in Google require expert knowledge. Unless the software was developed by Google, it is close to worthless. Also keep in mind that everyday, SEO as it pertains to search engines diminishes. Web 2.0 traffic is growing. For a recent client, 80% of his traffic came not from search. If you have specific questions, email me at

  36. Hey Matt, is there any way I can track about 2,000 keywords for an 800 page site that would be considered OK? I understand what you said at the top of the thread about using software. It gets rough trying to keep track of where my site is doing OK and where it isn’t and the software is the only real time saver I have found to do this.

    The only type of SEO software I use is a keyword rank checker (the one in SEO Elite) but it can be very inconsistent. Is there any better method than this that Google would think to be OK?


  37. Adi

    The best thing to do, is to close your page when you see a “sales pitch page” on the web.

    Everything and i mean everything sold that way is junk. The best software come with a trial always!

    If someone doesnt offer a free trial ignore them.

  38. I too agree with your view on seo softwares. But there are some genuine SEO software’s in the market that truly help the webmasters. However, If you are not time conscious then you can manually handle the things. But I would say it is a tedious process.

  39. yeah, i think all of those automatic submission things are bogus and that you’re better off learning the material and implementing things yourself.

  40. Hi Matt,

    What is your opinion on Joomla, as far as search engine crawls go.

    Jason Oram

  41. sam

    yeah, thank you very good