I run a small, white-hat SEO firm and up until now I've done EVERYTHING by hand. All of my keyword research, ranking reports, etc.
The problem I now have is now that I have grown, I am wondering if it's time to use some type of software to automate some tasks.
For example. when I'm doing a baseline report for a client, I use one site to check page rank, another site to check back links, another site to test readability, etc.
I am NOT against paying for a product, and I don't want something to help me "gain some magical advantage" over other SEO people. I just want to automate some of my routine tasks so everything is in one place.
And I've come here to ask because much of the software I've looked at as a wide range of pricing, and many sites still have flashing "buy now" and "100% guarantee" banners from the early 80s.
-Also, is it still true that if you use an automated program to check rankings for keywords for a website, that google will penalize you?
Thanks in advance!