When Should a Blogger Upgrade to Premium SEO Tools?

When trying to get the blog to perform well in Google, many will turn to premium SEO tools. This is because most have an impressive amount of data and have the potential to help you. But that’s the key phrase…potential.

You still need to put that information to use. This means being able to write content people want and are willing to read. Otherwise, the tools are pointless and you just wasted a few hundred dollars.

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Upgrade to Premium SEO Tools if You Can Afford It

Most premium SEO tools are quite a bit north on the expensive side of things. In fact, some could easily run you up to $300 per month just for the sake of convenience.

Of course, most of those more expensive platforms are tailored more for the business dynamic.

But from a blogger’s perspective, it really depends on whether the tool will give you want at an affordable price.

Something like Rank Tracker will only run you about $149 per year. And it has all of the things I want to use, including the ability to export to a spreadsheet.

Unfortunately, not every premium tool will have an affordable option for the simple blogger. As I said, most are developed for SEO professionals, companies, and SEO freelancers.

Personally, I won’t buy an extra tool for my sites until the sites themselves bring in enough to pay for it. However, not everyone feels this way.

As the adage goes, “You need to spend money to make money.” This is true, to an extent. There is such a thing as wasting money on things you don’t absolutely need.

For me, writing is a business. And all businesses need to be able to sustain themselves in order to be successful. When the blogs pull in enough cash to pay for something new, then I buy it.

Otherwise, I’ll wind up bleeding cash for years on end in the hopes that I’ll eventually make it big. It becomes an expensive hobby that is just unrealistic to maintain.

Are You Serious About Using the Premium SEO Tools?

Tools of any kind are only as effective as the person using them. If you dump a lot of money into SEO tools, you need to make sure you’re using them to their fullest extent.

This means spending some time learning what they can do, finding features that offer the most help, and diving as deep into the platform as possible.

Luckily, there are a lot of free SEO tools out there you can try. Afterward, you can then upgrade if you want to use additional features.

The bottom line is that you need to commit to the platform if you plan on dumping a lot of money into it. Otherwise, it’ll be a waste of money you could have spent on other things for your website.

When You Need Time-Saving Data Collection?

Most keyword tools I’ve used grab a large portion of the data they collect from Google Keyword Planner and Search Console. In fact, every top-performing article I’ve ever written so far came from these two tools.

And they’re free!

However, there will come a time when being able to access all of this data from a single screen will save you hours of research per week. Then again, it really depends on how serious you are at blogging.

I’ll go over that point in a moment.

For the most part, though, premium SEO tools focus on convenience. They collect data from sources that you can actually look up yourself. Then, they bring that information to you in an easy-to-read format.

So, these tools can vastly improve your productivity if you plan on taking blogging more seriously.

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As Soon as You Get Serious About the Competition

Speaking about getting serious, as a blogger, you’re going to face a lot of competition. The odds of you writing about a topic no one else has written about before is slim to none.

That’s because of how massive the Internet is and how many blog posts are created per day. If you want traffic from search, you need to do better than those other bloggers.

A lot of premium SEO tools will help you analyze how the competition is using keyphrases and help you come up with strategies to surpass them.

For example, Ahrefs has played a crucial role in how I’ve surpassed competing articles for clients. Though, that tool will run you $99 per month on the lowest payment plan.

But when you have a team cranking out two to three competitive blog posts per day, a tool like this is greatly beneficial.

Are You a Freelance Writer?

One thing I do want to bring up is how some premium SEO tools can greatly benefit the freelance writer.

Every client you write for wants stellar optimization practices to rank their articles well. Being able to quickly gather data and put those terms to use can help you make more money.

Clients are more likely to toss money at you if the content you create ranks well. In fact, SEO tools helped me make more money on content mills like Textbroker.

Direct Order clients would keep coming back to me because of how well their content performed in search.

Free SEO Tools Can Easily Last You a Long Time

In reality, free SEO tools can last a blogger a very long time before he or she has to upgrade to a premium alternative. That’s because many people are satisfied with the information many of these systems provide.

In fact, I use the free version of Rank Tracker quite often because of the sheer amount of keyword ideas it produces. And, it’s one I plan on upgrading as soon as I can stabilize a bit of the income.

The bottom line is that you can go pretty far without spending a single dime on SEO tools. And while premium versions can offer all kinds of bells and whistles, you need to ask yourself if they are worth the money.

Remember, most premium SEO tools are focused on enterprise and business aspects. If you only plan on writing one or two blog posts per week, you probably don’t need more than the free alternatives.

Case in point, the only reason why I want to invest in Rank Tracker is that it would shave off about an hour of research time every day. And right now, an hour is an incredibly long time for me.

With five blogs to manage, I don’t have a lot of time to dig for topics.

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Blogging Success Depends on Content Creation

At the end of the day, the overall success of your blog depends on how you create the content. If you write about topics no one wants to read, no one is going to read them.

Elements like search intent, understanding your target audience, grammar, and even personality all play roles in how well any piece of content is received.

It all comes down to how you create the content itself. You can use the best keywords for the topic and still have a blog post utterly fail.

Another aspect of building a successful blog is your level of commitment. A handful of blog posts per month, even if they’re well written, will take you a lot of time to attract a massive audience today.

In the meantime, competing blogs are cranking out content left and right, which makes it more difficult for you to rank your articles.

If you want a popular website, it needs to stay relatively active. This means setting up a publishing schedule, creating content relevant to your niche, and keeping the readers engaged.

Now, there’s nothing wrong if you want to just blog about your day or share interesting stories about your life. In that case, premium SEO tools are really not necessary.

I’m talking to the people who want to make blogging a career or replace a full-time income.

Premium SEO Tools Are Useful, But…

It won’t matter much if you’re not capable of writing a good piece of content people want to read. Before you spend a ton of money on tools, features, plugins, or themes, consider the expense and your level of commitment.

Remember, a tool is only as good as its user. If you want things to pan out, you’ve got to become an expert at the tool you choose.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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