Industrial Strength SEO & Analytics Power Tools

March 1, 2012
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Hang with me, friends. It’s time for the last session of SMX West. Are you ready?  Can you even handle it? Take a deep breath and let’s close this thing out.

Up on stage we have Allison Hartsoe, Dixon Jones, and Dave Lloyd.  Chris Sherman was supposed to be moderating this session but he’s not feeling well after lunch so Dixon is going to fill in for him.

Dixon starts us off by asking everyone to start clapping and shouting to get some more people in the room. We do it. I’m not sure it worked, though. At least we tried.

Predicting the future is about two things:

  • Knowing what’s happening now
  • Knowing what usually happens

If you’ve got those two things you can make a pretty good prediction about what’s going to happen next.

Rank Checking

He went around for years saying that rank checking was pointless and that it wasn’t the way to go about presenting your SEO. But when it comes to large industrial scale measuring, rank checking has some other uses. It comes into its own when you start tracking your competitors and people outside of your space, as well as yourself. That gives you an idea of what’s happening out there in the whole ecosystem. He thinks rank checking tools are more important now than they were years ago.

But there are issues with them:

  1. If you try and track them from your computer, Google gets really nasty. It’s almost impossible to do rank checking with any sort of level from your own PC. You need something bigger.
  2. How do you represent data? How does a tool represent info to you so you can get useful feedback with some kind of consistency?
  3. Location. When they were looking for rank checking tools he was in the UK. So he wanted a tool that had good checks from the UK. They found that the vast majority of tools were just checking from one individual location. There was a lack of tools that were breaking down the search.
  4. We’ve had a tendency in the past to go and find out what’s happening now instead of what’s happening all the time. Tracking over time is the only way to get decent signals from ranking checking data.

He went through all these puzzles and didn’t find a solution that met all his criteria. They ended up with a product from Authority Labs.  He can track thousands of sites. It can be quite useful.  The graph system is good but you can only graph10 keywords at a time.

Things he likes about it:

  1. White label
  2. Country specific
  3. They have to fix it (the tool is their only business so you know they’re paying attention)
  4. Scale
  5. Timeline

GA Free Alternatives

  • Yahoo Web Analytics: He used that for a long time. He likes the data. One of the big advantages is the data is precise.
  • Piwik: You can store all the data on your own servers. If you’re a bank or something, you might want to go this route. It’s open source.

SEM Rush is an excellent source of data.  He typed [bbc] into the search box and it gives you 653k keywords that they rank for. It just tells you. It doesn’t have to think about it. It’s got the keywords, it has the volume, and if you drill down you can see even more information like trends over time.  You can track up to five different Web sites. This is all done within seconds in the system.

Google Custom Search: A great search engine tool if you have been tracking things over time. This is why he tracks a lot of keyword rankings that you don’t have in your own army. When Panda came along, people started posting the winners and losers from Panda. He created two custom search engines to see the winners and losers side by side to start analyzing them.

Industry Composite Suites

Look at:

  • How tools display data at scale
  • How tools prioritize next steps
  • How tools manage workflow

SEOytics is a good one.

Hydra: Displays data in interesting ways. They group keywords in multiple views.  Box size denotes volume, while color denotes how well you are ranking. You can also compare things side by side.

Some Workflow Management

  • RavenTools
  • Linkdex
  • CognitiveSEO

Next up is Jesse Gross.

Core Web Analytics Tools

Segmentation is Key: The single most imortant analytic technique is segmentation. Make sure your chosen Web analytics tool has robust segmentation capabilities

  • Google Analytics
  • Adobe SiteCatalyst
  • CoreMetrics

Why segment?

Two-tiered segmentation naturally builds a rich set of metrics that progress beyond meaningless aggregate KPIs and function as use case specific KPDs

Start with who:

  • High ticket buyer
  • prestige giver
  • SMB shopper
  • Brand Loyalist


  • Product directed shopping
  • category directed shopping
  • early stage research
  • discount shopper

Finish by building the metrics that are segment-specific.

Survey Tools

Behavioral Integration Is Key

The most important feature of any survey tool is the ability to integrate Web intercepts survey responses into your existing Web analytics tool.


  • Pro:Easy integration, inexpensive
  • Con: QP branding on surveys

Adobe Survey

  • Pro: seamless Omniture integration
  • Con: Poor survey tool

Fluid Surveys

  • Pro:Inexpensive, layout flexibility
  • Con: More difficult to integrate than QP


Pro:Methodology and industry leader
Con: Expensive to use and integrate. Very long survey

Why Survey?

Integrating Web behavioral data with survey responses provides immense analytics power because you can segment sessions by demographics, visit reason, satisfaction, etc.

Next up is Dave.

  • Identify critical SEO metrics
  • Use relevant tools
  • Develop a clear action plan

That will be your most cost effective revenue source.

Track every outcome that matters

  • Where can SEO deliver the most effective value to the organization?
  • KPIs: Visits, Trials, Orders, Revenue
  • Does it drive business value?
  • What can you track to gain valuable insights?

Does data from tools matter to anyone but you? WHO?

  • Social
  • IT
  • Global Teams
  • Analytics
  • Product marketing
  • Execs
  • User Interface
  • Store Teams
  • Direct marketing
  • BU and content owners
  • Web Strategy
  • Web production

Web Strategy, Editorial

  • HTML suggestions, content optimization, search queries, formulaic metrics

Web Production

  • Crawl errors internal links


  • Correlation of social activity with SEO KPIs


  • Crawl rate, crawl errrs, 404 trends, redirect chains, log file analytics


  • Country Web ranking of terms, country growth trends, impact of geo strategies


He then opens things up to an audience participation segment. We’re supposed to turn to someone we don’t know and share our favorite software, web or browser tools and then tell them our best kept secret.  I don’t understand people who encourage us to talk to strangers. THIS IS HOW PEOPLE GET ABDUCTED!

His Answers

  • Software or Web: Webmaster Tools
  • Browser: iSEO, SEO Site Tools, WooRank, Web Developer
  • Best Kept Secret: GTMetrix

Enterprise SEO Dashboards

  • BrightEdge
  • Conductor
  • Covario
  • SearchMetrics

Mid Level Dashboards

  • Bruce Clay’s Toolset
  • SEO PowerSuit
  • LinkDex
  • SEOClarity


  • SEMOz
  • Majestic

And with that, we’re done. I hope you found our coverage of SMX West 2012 useful.  We’ll see you back here next week.


The Labor of Leaning In

on Aug 27 by Rhea Drysdale

Hi there! Long time, no blog. It’s been months since you heard from Outspoken Media and for that I apologize,…

Internet Marketing Conferences
Internet Marketing Conferences

Surviving Personalization with Bing and Google – SMX Advanced 2012

on Jun 5 by Michelle Lowery

I have to say, this is the fourth conference I’ve liveblogged, we’re only one session in, and I’m already digging…


What To Do When Branded Employees Leave (or go to Miami)

on Jul 12 by Lisa Barone

Last week a top player, someone who had spent seven years developing his name and his skill at one company,…

^Back to Top