This session is PACKED. With all caps. I have a feeling my hands are going to especially hurt after these gentleman get through unleashing some serious knowledge. So let’s just do it. Christine Churchill is moderating Dixon Jones, Dave Snyder, David Naylor, Wil Reynolds, and Bruce Clay. Don’t worry, we’ll get through this together.
First up is Dave Naylor.
The best SEO tool in the world mashes up python and Google APIs. He lists off the following Google tools:
- Google Adword Keywords Tool: Phrase match to identify long tail opportunities. Use exact match.
- Google Trends: Gives you normalized data month by month.
- Google Analytics
- Google Webmaster Tools
Once you have all those, use a python script to bring it all into one interface.
[Dave is telling Tiger jokes that are making me blush and Bruce Clay put his head in his hands. They involved golf clubs. And holes. And I need a shower and possible new ears.]
Competitor Link Research Tools
- SEO Spyglass: The Pro version is only $50. It will spider back links. It’s good for small sites, bad for big sites.
- Majestic SEO: You need the API access. Great for comparing your back links against your competitors. Can sometimes be a bit out of date.
- Syntryx: Great for comparing your back links against your competitors. Think Hitwise for links. Best in the industry, not cheap.
- SEOmoz – Have backlink analysis, rank tracker, crawl tests, check backlinks, check PR, juicy link finder, SEO Toolbox, SEOmoz FireFox Toolbar
- Aaron Wall’s SEOTools: $300. You’re paying to be part of his community. You ask questions and he’ll help you. Most of this tools are free.
- Raven: He loves this software. When he went out to build his own system he found this and started swearing he was so excited. You can white label it. It mashes into everything. You can do KW research, post content to blogs, manage social profiles, schedule reports. If he was going to build software to give away, this would be it. That’s quite a testimonial from Dave Naylor.
- Dave Naylor Tools: Playground – plugin to show you the external back links. He uses it to find links hidden away on a page.
- Bronco Tools Blinkx – backlink tool; Clickability – daily rank checker
Data is great but if you don’t know what do with it, it’s useless.
Next up is Bruce Clay.
He shows a chart about features commonly desired in a tool set. It’s long and wordy. He’s going to put it up on his Web site. The biggest things to note are the ability to set up multiple users and to give privileges so that not everyone can touch everything. For example, you probably don’t want everyone with access to keywords. You want to monitor competitors, be able to set up profiles, validators, etc. Most of these features are provided for free by lots of tools, but you need like 40 tools to get them all.
Bruce goes through all the free tools listed on his SEO Tools site. He mentions his Cloaking Checker, Rank Checker, his keyword tool and his SEO Toolbar, which he said is more for marketers than Aaron Wall’s toolbar. Play nice, ladies.
Understand what you’re looking for before you pick a tool.
Next up is Wil Reynolds.
When he thinks of super tools, he thinks of New Kids On The Block or the people from Jersey Shore. SNOOKI!
Clients are interested in Web position. That tells them everything they need to know, right? Er. Scary. What happens when all of your competitors have access to the same software? If you think your competitive analysis is you have Linkscape, so does everyone else. Tools are not what creates value. It doesn’t matter how many tools you have access to, it’s how you use those tools to break into the top.
His Favorite Tools
AlertRank: You get too many Google Alerts. Most are useless but you have to click on them to find out. If you drop a domain in with “”s around it, it will help prevent a lot of the crap. But it doesn’t take care of scrapers. However, you can make it. You can set it up so that AlertRank will exclude alerts that fit certain criteria. You can say if it shows AdSense blocks, you don’t want it to show up. Helpful because that’s probably a scraper site.
Flaws: Their ranking algorithm has flaws. Alerts on popular sites that allow UGC content will rank higher because of the domain even if the content’s crap.
No one tool is going to do it.
Take control yourself. Find a programmer that loves mashups or has worked with one of your source APIs in the past. Will says that every day he checks:
He can email these reports from Google Analytics, but its takes too long. So sometimes you just delete stuff. He used to spend 45 minutes/day going through data for clients. Until he built a tool using the Google Analytics API. This helped give him time back with easy dashboards. Now he spends 10 minutes a day.
What if you don’t have a developer? He says not to worry. Excellent Analytics will allow you to bring the same information into Excel.
Attacking Data Siloing
Problem: Community keyword performance between SEO and SEM is poor in house and at agencies. He wanted to fix that. Problem exist for in house teams, outsource to one agency, outsource to two agencies.
There’s an API for AdWords and Yahoo. They go into there, pull the information out of their campaigns. Then they look for high volume terms. When they pull them out, they push them through their Raven rank checker. Pull keyword search volume/impressions. Pull conversion rate.
Produce an opportunity cost metric to determine if going after that word is worth it. If the natural ranking is low, alert is sent to our SEO team member.
Up next is Dave Snyder. Dave is introduced as a teddy bear and the entire room “awwww’d”. It’s hard not to aw at Dave. I haven’t seen him in awhile. I’ve missed him.
The problem with most SEO tools is it’s like giving your grandmother a hammer. She’s not going to be able to build a house with it. However, a contractor can.
The quest for him was to create a small business platform. He wanted to figure out how to monetize small business. The problems were that a tool set alone couldn’t do it, automation alone is blackhat, and humans alone are pricey.
The result: a scalable set of work flow solutions that can provide useful tools and staff solutions for enterprise-level in house SEOs, competitively priced and useful SEO services for SMB owners.
It’s People, Empowered: empowered trained employees with tools and managed workflow to turn them into super workers.
Replication: in your work you can replicate elements of what they do by finding tools that fit your needs and utilize outsourcing solutions such as Odesk.com and Mechanical Turk to fulfill labor.
Auditing: Is your site crawlable, does it have link equity and is there good content? That’s the foundation. Auditing takes care of the information architecture. They crawl your site, have humans interact with the data and then make recommendations created by an analyst on how you can improve workflow.
How do you create scalable quality content?
Copypress: Give them an excel sheet of all of your products and all of your IDs. They keep ratio of their writers judging quality, how long it takes to get back, what they’re interested in, etc. They give people the ability to have a full writing team.
How do we create scalable linkbuilding that is as clean as it is quality? Clean to him is very important. He describes his linkbuilding process which sounds amazing and awesome, but he’s talking way faster than I can type. It sounds a little something like this – get keywords from the client, find their competitors, scrub off all the crap, etc. Take link data, take core link analysis. Outsource labor. Have different inventory-level sites. There’s more. He’s awesome.
Next up is Dixon Jones.
Ping URLs to get free link juice. Find the true page links worth OR reclaim lost links. Find people with malformed links, broken links, etc. He calls HubFinder a cool tool. It shows where your competitors have co-citations. It’s one of Aaron Wall’s tools. It finds where multiple competitors are linking.
Raven SEO Tools: Helps you prioritize tasks.
….and he’s done. He said he has no time to speak because other people went long. And I have no time because another session starts soon. omgimgoingtocry.
About the Author
Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.