Search marketers are a unique bunch -- we're often a little bit marketer and a little bit techie. Today's post is designed to reach out to the techie in all of you -- the techie that longs for greater SEO efficiency through APIs.
API stands for "application programming interface" and provides a mechanism for developers to access software. APIs can be a handy tool to streamline SEO efforts and make SEO monitoring (and reporting) more efficient. My philosophy as the owner of an SEO agency has always been that I'd rather use APIs to make certain functions more efficient, so I can spend more of my time focused on the kinds of analysis that only humans can provide. Using APIs, you can create your own dashboard to monitor the elements you want to monitor in real time.
This week's list covers the top APIs every search marketer should consider using for SEO. Next week I'll cover the APIs for search advertising.
You can access the Google AdWords Keyword Tool via the Google AdWords API. However, if you are not approved for special pricing, you will be charged for each hit to the API. There are also issues in using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool as a sole source of keyword research. Some alternative tools with APIs available include Wordstream and Keyword Discovery. Whatever your choice(s) for keyword tools, you can use APIs to gather keywords quickly and aggregate data from several sources into one comprehensive keyword list to work from.
There are several inbound link measurement tools out there. The original tool used by many SEOs was the Yahoo Site Explorer tool, but Yahoo shut these API tools down in December. Some alternative services include SEOmoz's Open Site Explorer, which has both a free and paid version of its API. SEOmoz's Linkscape database updates every few weeks. If you're reviewing links for many clients, an inbound link API, like SEOmoz's tool, can help you pull data for multiple clients quickly.
Google Analytics provides an API allowing you to pull reporting data into your reporting system. In addition to Web traffic information, Google also provides an API for Webmaster Tools, which can be really convenient for seeing key measurements at a glance, without having to log in to Google Webmaster Tools every time you want to access data. Using these analytical APIs, you can keep a quick eye on everything from organic keywords driving traffic to keyword ranking movement to potential malware issues.
Wherever your SEO priorities lie, figure out which elements of SEO take the longest time and what might be streamlined using an API. What would you put on an SEO dashboard for yourself? What capabilities might save you the most time? Answer those questions, and you'll know which APIs are right for you.