The Cloud and Your SEO Data

The cloud is all the rage these days and with good reason, it certainly can make life easier for a roving SEO, freelancer, or anyone really. I am a big fan of the cloud and consistently utilize services like:

Dropbox
Evernote
37Signals suite of products
SEO tools like the ones here at SEO Book, toolsets like Raven & SEO Moz as well

Most of the mission critical data for a web marketer would be stuff like:

Keyword information
Link building info
Rankings
Analytics
Marketing plans for a site
And so on....

HOSTED SOLUTIONS AND EASE OF USE

Many hosted solutions in the SEO & PPC toolspace offer you the ability to conduct those areas of your business on their servers. I'm leaving out Google Apps, Gmail, and Google docs because I don't really use them much these days and because they are kind of the angry elephants in the room.

For an increasingly mobile worker, access to data at all times is a big benefit to being able to run a smooth and effective business. Not only are workers more mobile in the space these days but many folks also have multiple computers and devices to work off of.

Some folks have the slew of Apple devices (maybe an Air, an iMac, an iPhone, and an iPad) while some have a mashed up set of devices based on their personal preferences or their company's requirements.

Trying to sync desktop stuff to so many different platforms is a real PIA as you know, so more and more folks are begin to use cloud based solutions for everything.

WHO HAS YOUR DATA

Sit back and think about who has your data and where it is. You probably see these folks at conferences, watch webinars, follow them on Twitter, etc. You've probably gotten recommendations from people you trust with respect to using that company's services.

It's not about trusting one person or a couple people you know at the company, you have to be able to trust the company. Sometimes it can be a difficult thing to think about because you feel a personal connection to a particular group and you might feel like you are attacking their personal character by questioning whether you can trust the safekeeping of your data.

In any event, you have a right to question whether or not having your mission critical data hosted by anyone (not to mention another SEO company) is a good idea.

IS THERE A RECORD OF TRUST

Some of these products are newer but there's no evidence of any wrongdoing or snooping going on behind the scenes. To be fair though, how would you know :)

The value is probably in the aggregation of such data (oh wow those links work, oh look at how well these keywords convert...etc) rather than something specific to a single campaign.

You really have to ask yourself if hosting SEO or PPC data with a company that operates in that space is a good business practice. Personally speaking, I have accounts at the two spots I mentioned above (Raven and SeoMoz). So I feel comfortable with those accounts mostly, but I still think it's important to revisit the thought process from time to time.

I like to peruse the privacy policy of these places prior to stockpiling data with them. Here's an excerpt from SEO Moz's privacy policy

**SEOmoz offers a variety of online tools and software. These include, but are not limited to, our free SEO tools, our paid SEO tools, our API, and our tools on OpenSiteExplorer.org. These tools require you to enter a variety of information, such as URLs, domains, keywords, or other items relevant to Internet marketing and link research. We associate this information with your account in order to provide useful features, identify and terminate accounts that violate our Terms of Service, to improve our products, and to provide customer service. We never use this information for the provision of SEO consulting services so you do not need to worry that entering your information will be used against you or your clients by SEOmoz.

We take appropriate physical, electronic, and other security measures to help safeguard personal information from unauthorized access, alteration, or disclosure.***

DATA IS THE NEW GOLD

Knowledge is power and as SEO becomes more and more difficult, or at least more and more gray, your data becomes exponentially more important. What do you think your competitor(s) would give to know exactly what keywords were bringing you traffic and conversions, as well as which links you noted were more valuable than others?

Some of this data can (roughly) be gleaned from the use of competitive research tools but the pieces of information you are storing on other companies (sometimes other SEO businesses) servers are full of hard, actual data rather than estimated or scraped data.

Occasionally I'll hear about people storing all sorts of sensitive SEO data in Google products, I personally think that is a bit cavalier (yes, yes I know that risk reward is not in Google's favor at all there, at least on an individual basis..but the cynic in me puts nothing past them :D )

Most places use heavy-duty security to lock down your accounts and restrict access to key employees but if you've ever worked in an office setting you know that it usually isn't terribly difficult to take a peek at a key account or two.

Published: March 3, 2011 by A Reader in

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