MicroSoft Submit It / MSN Bcentral Keyword Research Tool - Usability Still a Hunk of Crap

A while ago I posted about my anger toward the MicroSoft Bcentral line (in particular login problems). I sent them an email and got no reply, but randomly they recently called me and asked me why I have not used their service in a while, and while the guy was on the phone I got my account information for how to login.

So MicroSoft has a keyword research tool in their small business section, although it is not easy to find from their site.

Their site is ticking me off so bad that I refuse to give them any link popularity for sucking.

go to their directory
click on the small business tools tab and get a 404 error

once you log in to your Bcentral account there is a link that says "free tools" and when you click on it the link goes to here
which ends up offering you specials on software. How shady is that?

if you search MicroSoft small business for keyword
you get no results.

if you search the entire MicroSoft site for searches like that (keyword research, etc) you get to explore their software products like MicroSoft Office.

it took me a while to find the login button on the Submit It site
because they blended it with the page layout in the upper right corner. after you log in you are still at square one hunting for the tool (I must have logged in at least a half dozen times in the last hour).

they have a live chat feature,
and so I asked:
I know it is not your fault, but your site usablity sucks. How does one access the keyword research tool.

the quick start page
mentions the keyword research tool, but of course has no link because they want you to do stuff linearly and sign up to add another site first. adding another site at that point can mean just spidering the URL of a site you already submitted.

you have to crawl a domain before you can even use the keyword research tool. they try to have you do stuff liniarly from begining to end (right through submission) because it makes their solution seem more holistic and makes the submission part seem important and helps justify you spending more money on their service.

so you have to do the crawl function. if your site is large this takes a while, and the tool says you might want to come back in 15 minutes if your site is over 50 pages. the tool also arbitrarily caps out at spidering 100 pages, which are pages arbitrarily chosen by the spider and not pages you chose, and realistically not every page should have SEO in mind.

after you do the crawl function you do not need to recrawl to reuse the keyword tool, you can do the following (quoting from Ethan from their customer support):

1. Click the "URL Manager" button next to the new URL.
2. Click "Go to Page Details", and then click "View complete Readiness Check".
3. On the "Keyword Tool tab", select Use our keyword research tool, and then click "Continue".
4. Follow the instructions in the "Keyword Research Tool" wizard.

just to further clarify my opinion on the topic all of the Bcentral tools and services are useless if people can't actually access them or are so annoyed that they do not want to use them.

Most other keyword research tools take less than a minute to use. Assuming I need to do everything just to let me access that tool is some pretty close ended non hyperthreaded bogus paternal crap their MicroSoft.

I should be able to just go to this URL
and use your keyword tool.

Published: July 14, 2005 by Aaron Wall in seo tools


November 14, 2006 - 6:19am

wow... I feel the same way. I have a account with them and can not access submit it log in?? I have been billed for the last four years at 50 dollars a year and now I have to fill in some forms that impinge on my privacy... not to least take my time and it is all so infuriating.....

March 22, 2007 - 1:30am

Microsoft usability is legendary or better infamous =)
I still wonder which button to choose when at the login i see real buttons like "Cancel" and "Back", and of course cancel does nothing when clicking on it.
I almost lost my patience trying to sign up with that service. =O( argh!

February 4, 2007 - 10:29pm

It is Feb/07, and they haven't corrected this problem. Here's the difference, Google improves services, while Microsoft launches....that's it!

baju muslim zahra
December 4, 2010 - 6:26pm

I feel lucky to read your articles, thanks

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