Advanced Web Ranking Review

Advanced Web Ranking (further referenced as AWR) is a fairly robust website rank checking product which is recommended by lots and lots of people in our forums. There are many rank checking tools on the market, some worthy of mention and many not (although some of that is just do to feature overlap). AWR is one of the more full featured ones out there.

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Overview of Advanced Web Ranking

AWR is a software based tool which can be purchased on its own or as a package with Advanced Link Manager (a powerful link tool worthy of it's own review in the near future). AWR has 4 product levels which you can choose from (the bundle prices are nice with Advanced Link Manager but we will focus on just the AWR prices here):

  • Standard
  • Professional
  • Enterprise
  • Server

Picking a Version

A good comparison can be found here.

Quite a few folks find the Standard version to be just fine. However, if you are into local search or if you want AWR to create printable reports for you, then you may want to drop the extra $100 to get the Pro Version which includes printable reports, reports by email, the ability to custom brand your reports, and a nice local search feature which we'll cover in a minute.

If you need more advanced features such as:

  • Managing multiple users
  • A more intuitive project manager
  • Triggers which will automatically alert you when certain things change, can be helpful if you run this remotely or if you run auto updates and only want to be notified if certain parameters change.
  • Advanced Web Ranking Triggers Option
  • Ability to assign different proxy servers on a per project basis

They also offer a built in keyword suggestion tool with the standard and pro versions which hits up Google Suggest and Word Tracker:

Keyword Suggestion Screenshot

The one up in the Enterprise version is the built in Keyword Research Tool which gives you the Google AdWords KW Tool, Wordtracker if you have an API for them but I normally do keyword research outside of this tool so I don't pay much attention to this feature.

The enterprise version also offers a Google Preview tool where you can preview results in other Google search engines across the globe and in select regions/cities, which is helpful if you have clients all over the map.

Setting Up a Project in AWR

When you first start using AWR it can be pretty daunting, lots and lots of features. I find that focusing on what I bought the product for, a kick ass rank checking tool, helps me avoid some of the feature bloat I think it has (keyword tools and such). Although the way the segment the products removes most of the bloat in my opinion.

You start a project by selecting your search engines like so:

Advanced Web Ranking Search Engines

They have over 1,000 search engine options including Google Data Centers (and corresponding IP addresses) that you can plug into the tool as well as many country specific ones

Then you select your keywords, and you can color code them for easier charting and tracking.

Adding keywords to AWR

The next step is to add the websites you want to track, for this example I'll just throw one in but you can add more here or you can add some from the competing websites you find right in the Top Sites report provided by AWR:

Adding sites to AWR

The next two tabs we'll skip but they are pretty self-explanatory.

So now you've got your keywords, the search engines you want to track, and the website you want to track so you're ready to rock.

Using AWR

The first screen you'll see is as follows, I ran an update when I set up the project so it's already been run through but that is usually the first step.

AWR initial project screen

There are a slew of reports within AWR:

  • Current Rank
  • Keyword Rank
  • Search Engine Rank
  • Top Sites
  • Overview
  • Visibility
  • Keyword Analysis
  • Competition

It's important to note that when you add keywords to AWR it will automatically check sub-pages of your site for any keyword you enter and they associate www and non-www as default.

I originally started the example project with Coca-Cola products (mainly Vanilla Coke of course) but there wasn't much data there so I went with a different example.

I went with Geico.Com and the keywords car insurance, auto insurance, car insurance quotes, and motorcycle insurance quotes.

Current Rank Report

The Current Rank report will show you current rankings of your keywords within the search engines that you chose within the project set up screen. You can select the keyword, the search engine, and the site to get your current position, previous position, change since last update, the page you are on, and the best ranking you've achieved with those parameters.

Current Rank Report

You can choose "Expanded View" to see the rankings for all keywords within that specific engine if you want a broader view of things:

Extended Data View

The chart feature shown here is from their example as I don't have historical data on this project but you can see where there are added competing sites in the lower left corner and they correspond with the chart's colored lines showing the ranking trends of those sites, and your's, for the highlighted keyword. This is extremely useful when looking at trends as well as trying to keep an eye on competitor strategies, what's working and what's not working, etc.

Current Rank Chart

Some other options in the Current Rank report, in terms of viewing keyword reports, are the ability to only show keywords which are in the top 10/20/30/40/or 50, only show keywords that are ranking at all, check by multiple dates in addition to variables like keywords in the top "xyz" spots or ones that moved up or ones that moved down, and a few other tweaks as well all over multiple update dates.

Keyword Rank Report

The Keyword Rank report is kind of similar to the Extended Data view in the Current rank report where it groups keywords by search engine and website by selecting the website and engine from the left column (Google in this case, omitted in the interest of redundancy). Also note how you see the sub-page listed for one keyword and the main domain for the same keyword as Geico has two listings for that keyword in Google.

Keyword Rank Report

Shows similar data like position, previous position, change, page found on, and best rank.

If you have lots of keywords you can categorize them with the Category Data option (helpful for larger sites and grouping keywords which are aligned to specific pages or sections of your site) which is something not available in the Current Rank report.

It has a charting feature as well. It groups it by keyword and uses little icons to denote the different sites (if you are tracking multiple sites) so each colored line represents a keyword and you can click on a specific keyword to highlight the line (as the others are lighter to avoid a messy interface).

Search Engine Rank

The Search Engine Rank report groups the selected keyword with the search engines to quickly show you how you rank across the search engines for that particular keyword.

Search Engine Rank Report

Again, another nice visual graph option which is kind of a staple of AWR (lots and lots of visual data points). The site is tied to a search engine via a line graph with the icons used in the Keyword Rank Report to denote different sites. These charts really become powerful if you are able to track things like your link building efforts or other marketing efforts and tie them into how each engine responds to those types of practices.

Search Engine Report Chart

Similar to other reports, the multiple dates feature can help you compare trends across a variety of timelines defined by you within the program.

Top Sites

The top sites report shows the top (10 in this case) sites that are ranking for the highlighted keyword in the highlighted search engine. The cool thing here is you can add sites from the top sites report right to the websites you are tracking. Adding those competing sites will help you keep an eye on the competition and hopefully spot some trends that you can capitalize on sooner rather than later.

Top Sites report

This is also a cool report to find sites that are consistently ranking for core and longer-tail keywords across your SERP's. Most of the core keywords might be similar but identifying competitors that are winning the core keyword AND long tail keyword battle could give you a nice headstart into figuring out what they are doing, how they are doing, and so on so you can go ahead and improve on those strategies and start to move past them in key areas.

Overview Report

The Overview tab kind of puts a lot of stuff into one spot for you, which is nice for reporting and such. Below is a screenshot of the basic overview with the options panel open.

Overview Report

So here you have three options in the upper left corner, Search Engines/Keywords/Websites. Whichever one you choose the remaining two are used as data points for that selection. Examples are as follows:

  • Websites - Keywords grouped by Search Engine
  • Websites - Search Engines grouped by Keywords
  • Search Engines - Keywords grouped by Website
  • Search Engines - Websites grouped by keywords
  • Keywords - Search engines grouped by websites
  • Keywords - Websites grouped by search engines

A good example of this in practice can be found here. If you are looking for a higher level of how things are going, quickly, then this is probably the report you want to be looking at. It will show you movement in each area for each data point (what's going up, what's going down, etc) which you can then investigate further in the specific reports we discussed before.

Visibility Report

The visibility offers the same input/output relationship as the Overview report (choose websites, keywords, or search engines as input and the other 2 will be the data points you can play with). A screenshot is probably helpful here.

Visibility Report

Here you can see all sorts of juicy information about the sites you are following, the keywords you and they are targeting, and the coverage for all the sites in the search engines you care to follow. We've charted you to death here, suffice to say there is a chart for this as well (another great reporting feature). They have some custom stuff at the bottom like Visibility Score, Visibility Percent, Site Rank, Average Site Rank. These formulas are explained by them here. I personally find that quickly browsing the results gives me the same idea of coverage and site strength as these custom metrics do but we all know some people love custom, special metrics.

Keyword Analysis Report

This is a report that I personally don't use as I do not feel keyword density is something worth looking at as a ranking metric, other than to plug in a competitor's site to see what keywords appear most often on the page. This report shows a ton of words and phrases for each site/page, the density of the word or phrase, and total occurrences of that word or phrase. It shows some other basic info like total words on the page, whether the page employes global no-follow links, size of the page, meta information, and page rank. Also, it shows the page title, link text, and image alt tags.

Keyword Analysis Report

It can be kind of useful when comparing two sites and their on-page text occurrences and you can view changes over time as well. It has a basic original content filter as well but I much prefer SeoBook's Duplicate Content Checker for that type of stuff.

The Competition Report

This report shows total competing pages in the various engines for your keywords. Not incredibly useful for me, I just want to know how strong the top ranking sites are, the amount of competition is irrelevant if most of it is suboptimal. Conversely, I don't care if the total number of pages are really low if the ranking sites are really strong :-) .

Competition Report

Additional Reporting Options

As we mentioned earlier, AWR has fantastic reporting options in their Professional plan and most of the reports mentioned above (Current Rank, Keyword Rank, Overview Report, Top Sites, and Search Engine Rank) can be printed out for your own use and more importantly for your use with client work. All reports are can be customized and can be branded as well.

They have a great user guide and the section on printable reports can be found here.

Local Search Engines

In addition to the Google Preview Tool (Enterprise Edition) which lets you define engines by location AWR allows you to check Google Maps and Yahoo Local for Rankings, which is a terrific feature if you are involved with local stuff. It comes preset with many of the larger cities in the US and capitals of foreign countries.

Here is where you add it (you can customize by long/lat but I just chose Pittsburgh here).

Local Pittsburgh

Then you go back to project settings and add it to your engines

Local Add to Engine

Update the project, then check out the top sites report where you can right click on a listing and view it in the search results and view the local 10 pack right there, cool stuff!....

Local Results

Local Map

Additional Links

AWR comes with a downloadable and HTML version of their detailed user guide here.

Pricing options here, and feature overview here.

Final Thoughts

AWR is a top notch rank checking product used by many of the members here at SeoBook and is even better when combined with Advanced Link Manager (which we'll cover in another post). It is one of the most feature-rich products on the market and does not attempt to upsell you at every corner either. For a full-featured product, it's at the top of my list.

The support is solid as well. They actively monitor their forums, have 2 phone numbers to call, and have a live chat feature for your convenience.

At the end of 12 months you'll have to purchase a maintenance plan which is really inexpensive when you consider what you get with the software.

It can be slow at times (due to human emulation settings and the overall feature set) if you are running large query sets and find your updates taking awhile some tips are to get a second machine to run the checks or rent a dedicated box somewhere for cheap dollars, remote in and run it like a remote desktop (a great tip shared by a member here).

Hope this will give you some insight into how useful AWR can be. They have many, many sorting settings as well (which are common to most reports) so you really can get a lot out of this tool if you understand most of the capabilities from the start. Their user guide can be a bit overwhelming so hopefully this will give you kind of a basic look on what it's core strengths are.

Update Rank Checker

We updated rank checker this morning - sortable columns, faster code, works with the new Google SERPs, etc. If you are one of the dozens of people who filled out a support ticket and didn't get a reply...always check to see if updates are available before filling out a support ticket. And even then we probably don't need support tickets, because it rarely takes us more than a day to update our plug-ins as Google changes.

DIY SEO Software Reviews

Is DIY SEO any good? Does it work?

When I got to look at DIY SEO my first thought was: good structure & layout, lets see what is under the hood. But then after opening up the hood I found a car with no engine.

On a score of usability I would give the site a 9 or a 10, but in terms of utility it would be lucky to score as high as a 2 or a 3.

Google AdWords: The Cheapest SEM Strategy for Small & Local Businesses

Maybe there are some small businesses out there who are content being obscure, or who only want to rank for their own business name plus maybe 1 or 2 longtail keywords. But for those businesses I suggest bypassing SEO and buying a few Google AdWords ads.

  • Low traffic keywords are typically cheap to buy search ads on - because you only pay by the click. If few people are searching for something then there will be few clicks to buy.
  • Not only are such markets small, but due to their small size they are also heavily fragmented, making the AdWords traffic even cheaper.
  • If few people are searching for your brand then you can likely spend $25 a month on AdWords and ignore learning SEO.

A Legitimate SEO Strategy Requires Investment

With a paid search campaign, you can use Google AdWords to instantly buy search traffic and gain new customers. SEO is a drawn out strategy & typically requires a much deeper initial investment.

There is little value in investing in SEO unless your goal is to dominate your market, and there is sufficient market scale to justify investing thousands of Dollars (and far more when you consider the value of your time). After all, a single link from Business.com or the Yahoo! Directory will run you $299, and 2 links hardly makes for an effective SEO strategy - but they will set you back $600 a year.

And you don't get those links any cheaper just because your business is small. ;)

Why Does DIY SEO Offer Such a Weak SEO Solution?

When looking at DIY SEO it took me a while to think it through, because I kept thinking "something is missing." Why did they raise funding to build THAT? But then I thought it through. DIY SEO was designed by marketers looking to sell something that would be easy to sell at scale - it was not created out of passion to solve a real problem with the desire to help make a difference in people's lives.

The difference is not subtle.

After all, Andy is the guy who had time to build out hundreds of thin affiliate sites, while being too lazy (and lacking the concern needed) to fix his SEO blog for months while it installed malware on anyone who visited his site. That blog had the tagline Livin' the dream, but that is for him though...you can live with malware. He doesn't care.

Could you imagine a reputable SEO site like Search Engine Land, SEO Book, SEOmoz, or Search Engine Journal delivering malware for months without any care or concern? I can't.

SEO Consulting is Expensive

SEO is both time consuming and expensive. Neither Andy or Patrick offer consulting services because they value their time too much to actually dig into client websites and provide useful, relevant, honest, and effective feedback. Patrick states this on his blog

And as Andy's site states: he no longer sells consulting, and he does not want you to email him

DIY SEO was designed as a high margin automated solution which is so automated that it wouldn't require much feedback or interaction with customers.

But there is one big problem with that strategy...

SEO is *NOT* a Mechanical Process

For anyone looking to seriously compete on the web the DIY SEO tool/system is inadequate, and potentially even harmful. Why?

In SEO, a lot of the potential profit comes from knowing your market well, leveraging new technologies & distribution channels to gain market share, and putting a new spin on old marketing ideas. But they tried to make SEO too black and white...far too mechanical. Anywhere where critical thought & analysis can add value to your SEO strategy, you can count on none of it being done with DIY SEO, just some predetermined path which doesn't really account for everything that makes your business and your market unique.

In an age where the algorithms keep advancing faster and subjective things like branding start playing a role in the search results, mechanical doesn't cut it.

DIY SEO is too prescriptive and limited in nature, and it is a backward looking product. What the phrase "for the rest of us" actually means is "good enough to rank on page 5 of the search results, where you will get virtually no search traffic and make no money."

Paint by Number SEO: An SEO Failure Case Study

Google doesn't always respond to marketing efforts in a predictable way. Consider what happened when Patrick purchased SearchEngineOptimization.net for over $60,000.

At the end of last year he tried to do a 301 redirect to get it to rank, but when it didn't work he asked Matt Cutts about it:

Google's spam czar Matt Cutts never responded (of course), but Patrick ended up having to remove that redirect. Months later that $60,000+ domain name was a "coming soon" page.

And now that the redirect has been removed the original redirected site does not rank as well as it did in the past. So that was certainly a lose / lose scenario.

And the worst part is, when he mentioned the strategy people warned him about what would happen right up front:

He would have been better off donating that money to charity!

Advanced SEO? Or Simpleton SEO?

I don't want to share too many examples of how/why/where their program falls short, but to pick a rather glaring one...

Links are the backbone of an effective SEO strategy. Patrick Gavin built from scratch the #1 link broker on the web - Text Link Ads. A few years back he sold that company for over $30 million. Since then links have only increased in importance while becoming harder to get, but if you check out the advice on links in DIY SEO (or at least when I recently checked it out), one of the "advanced" SEO tips was to ensure that you are not engaging in any link buying or selling.

The advanced tips were not sharing safe & effective link buying techniques. Nope.

The advice was to ensure you were not engaging in link buying or selling.

And, of course, on their own websites they don't follow their own advice.

What Do Effective SEO Campaigns Consist of?

I have no desire to out any of their specific websites (hey I have some crappy ones too), but when you look at the EFFECTIVE strategies that you see Andy and Patrick use in their own publishing efforts, at a minimum they contain strategies like:

  • buying old websites
  • buying strong domain names
  • selectively buying links
  • providing a bit of grease to certain About.com guides for coverage of new 1 page sites
  • nepotistically cross linking sites
  • launching top 100 linkbait lists about trending popular topics
  • building social media accounts to promote those lists
  • buying out some blogs to further seed giving legitimate looking coverage to those lists
  • launching egobait lists of topics like the top 100 ambidextrous hermaphrodite bloggers (complete with running an automated email script to alert people of the "award" they have won, with some people winning multiple awards in the same day - congrats again Nancy P. from Texas on your multiple meaningless awards + thanks for the links...your email address is now in the database, and you will win many more awards as they build out their portfolio of websites!!!!)

... all the clever bits of marketing that go into REAL SEO campaigns that compete on the competitive commercial web ... well that stuff is NOT part of the DIY SEO program.

And it likely won't EVER be, because it isn't paint by number.

Better Small Business SEO Solutions

Want an effective guide to small business SEO? Check out Matt McGee's small business SEO guide. It will give you more than the above program while only setting you back $25.

There are numerous free guides worth recommending as well. Both Bing and Google offer SEO starter guides. We created this one for non-profits, this one for bloggers, and this one for general business websites. SeoMoz offers a pretty good one too.

Is Alexa Relevant in 2010?

We recently reviewed a bunch of competitive research tools, and in that spirit I thought it would be a good idea to review Alexa. It is not that Alexa is the #1 service available, but they do provide one of the better services while being free. Every few years it seems they fall behind and become a bit of a relic, and then every few years they catch up.

Recently when using Alexa I saw they added a good number of features, so I thought it would be worth doing a run down.

Traffic


What Alexa is most popular for - their traffic rank, is popular because it has been around for a long time and is well referenced. I don't consider it to be a high value tool in terms of accuracy though. I think all these traffic estimation tools have a big margin for error, and its easy to read too much into the base/core number. Having mentioned that, you can try to use traffic data from Alexa, Google Website Trends / DoubleClick Ad Planner, Compete.com, and Quantcast to try to see how well they agree in terms of the traffic volume of a site or the relative volume between multiple sites in the same vertical.

In spite of my lack of faith in the Alexa rank numbers some people do put weight on it. Some investors use it. And when Markus Friend was launching PlentyOfFish he redirected Alexa users away from his site to stay below radar until his site was strong.

Pageviews Per Visit

This is a good hint at how compelling people find a particular website. Sites which are driven by arbitrage efforts typically are not very engaging, hoping to either sell something right away or get people off the site. They also offer a time on site feature which you can use to compare how sticky sites are.

Bounce Rate

This is basically a flip of the above...people who see 1 page and then are gone. You can see in the yellow area where we tested using a pop up. While the pop up did get more people to register on our site, we dropped the pop up because it was somewhat inconsistent with the rest of our marketing (our core audience of customers tends to tilt torward the expert end) and the types of people who were receptive to pop ups were not as good of a longterm fit for our site as customers.

Downstream Traffic Sources

Who are they sending traffic to? Where do their visitors go after leaving the site?

Upstream Traffic Sources

Who is sending them traffic? In many ways this can be unsurprising, but certain sites end up being more or less dependent on social media due to certain things like if they appeal to younger or older customers, what they are doing offline, if they are producing linkbait relevant to a specific audience which is heavily integrated into social media.

This can also help you locate some advertising locations, figure out how reliant they are on search, and help you see which sites in the vertical they are closely aligned with. DoubleClick Ad Planner also has a pretty awesome traffic affinity feature.

Search Traffic Percent

This shows the percentage of their traffic which comes from search engines. If it is abnormally high, that might mean the site has a search-heavy focus and needs some thickening out in terms of community participation and developing other traffic streams. If it is abnormally low, and you have similar link profiles to other sites that are higher, then it might mean that you are missing some important keywords that you should target. This is where digging in for more data with a tool like SEM Rush or Compete.com shines.

Subdomains

Do they have a membership area to their site? If they host it on a subdomain you can see how active they are. Having anywhere near 5% or 10% of your traffic in the private member's area is quite good if you have a well connected high traffic website. You can also see that our tools subdomain is a quite popular section of our site.

Top Search Queries

You can use this to find some of the most important keywords for a competing site. If some of your best keywords are being revealed it might make sense to publish some filler content on a popular topic that is hard to monetize so that it better shields some of your best keywords from free public viewing.

If you install the Alexa toolbar they will also show you a bit more query data and list some opportunities for that site on the paid search front.

Demographics

You can see what countries a particular site is popular in.

And you can get more detailed demographic data on a per site basis.

Many sites within the same field will have fairly similar demographic targets, but even things like at work vs at home can indicate if the site is primarily targeting independent types or corporate types. When compared against the above, notice how (generally) SeoMoz has a fairly similar audience composition:

They skew a bit younger (I think sometimes my cynical nature turns off some young pople), a bit more college educated (they go to like 10x as many SEO conferences as I do), and we are perhaps a bit more popular with self employed people. And then for Search Engine Land you can see that they have a similar profile to SEO Moz, but with even more people at work and more college educated people.

And then you have sites which are extreme demographic outliers. Ever wonder who the customers are for those websites primarily marketed through hyped up email launch sequences by affiliates?

Well throw some of those sites into Alexa, and you will find that for many of those sites it appears the target market is: old desperate and gullible men from the US who failed at life, still don't have a good b/s meter, and want to believe there is a silver bullet they can use now to automatically generate wealth. They can't, of course, but there is a crew that will sell them that story and get rich by working over the remaining crumbs in their retirement accounts.

I am betting that part of why our age distribution is a bit more flat than most other SEO sites is because we offer free tools which are recommended to some of the audiences that buy the launch product stuff (or, that is my theory, based on some of them left their member's areas not password protected and sent a bunch of traffic at our site).

How do your demographic profiles compare to other sites in your space? Have you checked out all the features Alexa has added? What do you think of them?

Which Multivariate Testing Software is Best?

My buddies from Conversion Rate Experts have put together a review site for multivariate software called Which Multivariate. Surprisingly old school in the modern affiliate link filled web, they have made the site vendor neutral and are not planning on ever taking affiliate commissions in an attempt to gather honest reviews. Check it out. Its worth a look!

Google AdWords Tax Calculator

Many experienced advertisers realize that there are many gotchas in the AdWords system...optimization tools and default setting which optimize to boost Google's yield at the expense of unsuspecting advertisers, who don't yet know what match types are or that their ads are syndicated to content sites by default.

To help new advertisers get past many of the gotchas we created the Google AdWords tax calculator - a free utility which highlights many stumbling blocks that catch new AdWords advertisers.

AdWords tax calculator.

Given that each keyword market is unique it would be impossible to make a tool that was 100% accurate in every situation, but the goal of this tool was to simply highlight common issues, and help new advertisers address them. Individual efficiency gains may be greater or smaller than the rough initial estimates the tool provides.

Please let us know what you think, as we will gladly iterate this calculator to make it better if you have some great ideas you think we should include in it. Like all of Google's products, our calculator is starting out in beta :D

Open Site Explorer is Pretty Slick

From a marketing and a public relations standpoint this tool is brilliant. Rand just put up a full in-depth review here.

In the past I have not been a fan of certain outing policies, but of late I have seen that practice has went away...and if it stays that way how could I not recommend the above tool?

Sometimes it is hard to appreciate how spoiled we are as SEOs with cheap to free keyword data, cheap to free great link data, and lots of useful tools to help us organize and make sense of it all. And even lots of charts :)

One area where some of our tools could be better is on the usability front...we tend to presume some level of knowledge and/or the willingness to work through things to figure them out, but the presentation on OSE is very easy to grasp & understand at first glance. Part of this challenge comes from limited resources...and the most limiting one being time. It is so hard to make money servicing the SEO market (because there are so many great free options). As the market continues to open up more with more tools and options, at the same time the SEO *process* keeps getting more complex, with more competitors jumping into the SEO market.

It certainly feels like it will keep getting easier to make money as a publisher rather than a person servicing the SEO market.

But not all forms of publishing will get easier & more profitable. Companies like Demand Media and Aol sharing their results publicly will saturate some segments, but there are many areas where bullshit content won't be enough to compete. And some thin operations will see margin contraction as the investment needed to stay competitive increases.

But we are quite literally drowning in opportunity. If a person can't make money as a publisher with SEO knowledge, it is simply because they are not willing to put in the effort (or they are part of an old bureaucratic publishing company which moves slowly, is debt laden, and has a high cost structure).

I have always avoided scaling as a company, but there is so much opportunity that I might have a resolution for 2010 :D

The SEO Police Caught Duping Their Clients With Rehashed SEO Tools

While some members of the SEO industry encourage outing, it should be highlighted that they are not above duping their customers with launching a "new" tool that is actually a dumbed-down rehash of a tool we have offered for years here.

If you want the full version with additional features please do check out Hub Finder, as it is way better than the hyped knock-off is.

No Hype Required!

Our co-citation tool has way more options than the competition. It is better in every practical way, other than hype...and that is why we decided to make it free for you to test it for the next 24 hours.

Why Hub Finder is Better than the Hyped Knock Off Tool

  • It allows you to automatically pull in search results from Google, Yahoo!, or both
  • It allows you to enter up to 10 competing sites
  • It allows you to mix and match the above
  • It allows you to select pages that are linking to any page on a site OR pages that are linking to only the specific pages that were ranking
  • It shows you the exact pages the links came from AND tracks multiple links from a single site even if different pages within that site were linking to multiple resources in your industry.
  • Shows IP addresses
  • Offers lightning quick CSV export

Knock Off Marketing

How can a person roll with those sorts of business ethics (clone someone else's work and then pawn it off as their own) and then encourage SEOs outing each other (even after they have read about the caustic effects of outing multiple times)?

How About Honesty For a Change?

If you are dirty be dirty.
If you are clean be clean.
But no point being one and acting like you are the next.
The web has too long of a memory to play those kinds of games.
IMHO.

Update

Rand edited his post to add attribution, for which I thank him. Had the whole "standing on the shoulders" bit or any sort of attribution existed originally I never would have published this post. But it was the re-packaging something that has been around forever as being brand new (without any attribution) that is inconsistent with the openness some claim to strive for.

Google Adds Keyword Predictions to Search Insights Keyword Tool

Google recently upgraded their Insights for Search tool to include predicted keyword search volumes as well as interactive maps of how keyword search volume changes over time.

There are lots of business implications of the forecast data:

Having predictable trends for a search query or for a group of queries could have interesting ramifications. One could forecast the trends into the future, and use it as a "best guess" for various business decisions such as budget planning, marketing campaigns and resource allocations. One could identify deviation from such forecasting and identify new factors that are influencing the search volume as demonstrated in Flu Trends.

Some business categories are more predictable than other categories

  • Over half of the most popular Google search queries are predictable in a 12 month ahead forecast, with a mean absolute prediction error of about 12%.
  • Nearly half of the most popular queries are not predictable (with respect to the model we have used).
  • Some categories have particularly high fraction of predictable queries; for instance, Health (74%), Food & Drink (67%) and Travel (65%).
  • Some categories have particularly low fraction of predictable queries; for instance, Entertainment (35%) and Social Networks & Online Communities (27%).
  • The trends of aggregated queries per categories are much more predictable: 88% of the aggregated category search trends of over 600 categories in Insights for Search are predictable, with a mean absolute prediction error of of less than 6%.

If you were to launch a brand new business from scratch it might make sense to target a less predictable category since it would be more open to new market entrants & they would not appear on the radar of competitors as quickly.

And Google now make their Insights for Search charts embeddable in third party websites via iframes. :) Given that, I just added those data points to our keyword tool below the keyword data our tool returns, which is like having an instant second opinion on the keywords.

This allows you to instantly estimate the seasonality of a particular keyword. And if our search volume seems somewhat inflated and/or you are uncertain if it is accurate then you can look at the search volume graph for more data. If the keywords graph is quite spiky for a non-seasonal keyword (or if it has no data returned) then there is a good chance that there is a bit of noise in the data.

SEO Pivot - a Lightweight SEM Rush 100 Results Deep

The folks behind SEM Rush recently launched SEO Pivot.

SEM Rush does a great job of comparing sites head to head, but is a bit top heavy in the search results (only searching through Google's top 20 search results).SEO Pivot is more for just looking deeper into 1 site at a time, however it does use a smaller keyword database of 500,000 top keywords. It can help you uncover some broad keywords that you rank better than expected for.

Who knew we ranked #97 for price fixing, #98 for invisible hand, or #32 for dark art? The 3 examples I used were more of an attempt at humor than useful data, but we also rank for other valuable phrases.

Between this tool and SEM Rush I still like SEM Rush way more, but this is another useful tool to add to the toolbox. Look at deeper search rankings for such broad keywords...

  • can help give you a good idea of how strong a particular site is
  • help you see the unlocked ranking potential of a site that is currently poorly optimized
  • perhaps can help you rethink making some site structural changes like promoting some pages a bit harder in your link structure and/or using internal 301 redirects to combine some related pages

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