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

Free Keyword Research Tool for Bloggers

Free Inline Keyword Research Tool

WordTracker recently announced the launch of a new free Firefox extension that aids you in doing keyword research while blogging. The keyword tool works with any publishing software, and helps you ensure you work selected keywords into the content. The tool sits to the left of the browser window, and as you type, it will search your post and does an analysis of the text in your content to see if any of the phrases appear.

How to Use It

You can manually select keywords that you think would be highly relevant and then try to work them into the content. And when it is not possible to fit in a whole phrase naturally, you can always try to sprinkle those keyword modifiers that make up the phrase into your post's content. For instance, in the above post I worked in the words software, free, search, and generator into the content quite naturally in only a 4 sentence blog post.

“Bloggers often don’t take the time to do keyword research for each article they write – they just want to get their story out there. Now, bloggers have instant access to relevant keywords so they can easily produce optimized blog posts. That’s sure to bring them extra traffic.” Said Ken McGaffin, CMO at Wordtracker.

Free Keyword Research Guide

And with this tool Wordtracker offers a free companion keyword guide for bloggers from my buddy ChrisG worth checking out if you are new to blogging or SEO.

Google Sending Out Keyword Suggestions via Email

A few days ago Google sent me the following email, which somehow sent me keywords for other websites.

Google did a follow up email appoligizing for the first email sending me the wrong keywords and sending me a new list of keywords.

Almost every time I start a new AdWords campaign I am impressed by new features that recommend more keywords inline during the sign-up process. This is sorta where there is great risk in data sharing with ad networks. The more data you feed into the network the more likely that data is to pour right back out into the hands of competitors & higher market prices.

Links VS Content VS Rankings VS Search Traffic

Majestic SEO just released free graphs tracking link growth rates, which can be used to compare the overall link profile of competing sites, and how they are growing month to month

Such data can be used to compare sites against traffic growth of sites.

You can further analyze the number of pages indexed in Google (and how it has evolved over time).

These data points can by synched up to help evaluate if a site is particularly strong or weak in any area, and how to address that weakness or build off that strength to further grow a site.

  • Have way more links than competing sites, but few pages? Create content.
  • Have way more content than competing sites, but few links? Work on link building.

Such data can further be refined by plugging sites into our competitive research tool to see what they rank for, and coming up with more ideas by looking through our complete guide to competitive research.

SEO Book Competitive Research Tool Review

I recently created a video walkthrough of our competitive research tool, which is powered by SEM Rush, and has a couple extra data points added in. It is about 8 minutes long, and should give you at least a couple good ideas for how to use competitive research tools to make more money from your websites.

Introducing The SEO Book Competitive Research Tool

I have been a big promoter of the SEM Rush service because I think it rocks. As an extension of that, I partnered with with SEM Rush to license their data and offer the organic search piece of their service as a free bonus to our SEO training & community members.

If you are a paying subscriber you may want to check out our new competitive research tool.

Site Specific Competitive Intelligence

You can use it to find the most valuable or highest traffic rankings for competing sites

Page Specific Competitive Intelligence

You can use it to find the most valuable or highest traffic rankings for a specific page

Similar Keyword Audience

You can use it to find sites that have a large overlap in search rankings / audience

Easily Export Data


The columns are sortable and it is easily to export 1,000 listings in a couple of seconds.

Advanced Uses

On the competitive research tool page I list 10 high powered ways to use this tool. I would share them publicly, but if you only find one of those tips applicable to your site & situation you should still be able to make far more than $300 from it - making the cost of the subscription free.

Try it Now

If you are a subscriber try it now. If you are not a paying subscriber you may want to join. We keep trying our best to add new content and goodies each month :)

Spying on Customers & SEO Data Aggregation

We Do Not Spy on Our Customers

I have had a very well known SEO company dust one of best link building strategies (outing it directly to a Google engineer) because I was trusting enough to mention how effective it was inside our training program, thinking that a competitor would not out it, but I was wrong! At least I know what to expect, and can use that knowledge to mitigate future risks.

One of the common concerns about the SEO Toolbar is something along the lines of "does it phone home" or "are you spying on us" or "what data is it sending you". Some SEO companies offer a huge EULA and do spy on the people who use their toolbars, but we do not do that for a number of reasons

  • I felt rather angry when that well known SEO company outed my site (and haven't really trusted them since then)
  • I never really liked the idea of spying on customers, and going down that path could harm our perceived brand value
  • knowing that information is kept private adds value and builds trust
  • we are already under-staffed (running quite lean) and have more projects to work on than time, so we are not in need of new projects
  • With all the great competitive research tools available now (like Microsoft Ad Intelligence, Google Search-based Keyword Tool, Compete.com, SEM Rush, and many others) it is easy to get a lot of keyword data quickly, and I see little value add in spying on our users.

Why Give Away so Much Value?

It is pretty obvious that the trend in software (since the day I got on the web) is that open source software is commoditizing the value of most software products and tools. Providing tools that require limited maintenance costs and provide access to a best of breed collection of SEO tools makes it easy for us to evolve with the space and help our customers do so, without building up a huge cost sink that requires raising capital and having to listen to some icky investors. :)

The reason we can (and do) provide so many free SEO tools is because I feel doing so...

  • makes the web a better place (Tim O'Reilly says you should create more value than you capture)
  • offers value to the community
  • extends opportunity to more people around the globe (anyone who is just fresh starting out like I was ~6 years ago could use the help)
  • commoditizes the value of some bloated all-in-one SEO software (many of those products generally lack value and misguide people)
  • makes it hard for con-artists to sell hyped up junk (by commoditizing the value of their offerings to all but the most desperate of get rich quick folks)
  • helps to educate potential future customers (when we did a survey recently about 80% of our customers have been practicing SEO for over a year)
  • is an affordable distribution strategy for brand awareness
  • builds trust by delivering value for free (rather than trying to squeeze every penny out of potential customers)
  • is a big differentiator between us and most SEO websites

In addition to all the above points, most of the tools we create are tools I want to use. So the cost of building them would still be there even if we did not share them. Sharing them gets us lots of great user feedback to improve them, and does not cost us much relative to the potential upside.

Small Industry, Lightweight Strategy

Rather than centralizing things, we like to rely on a distributed software strategy which has a much lower cost structure.

That strategy allows this site (with a popular blog, an array of tools, some videos, training modules, and an active community) to run on 1 server. We find the Plenty of Fish story inspiring, though doubt we will need his distributed computing skills anytime soon given how small our industry is. After 5 years we are still millions of visitors and over a billion monthly pageviews behind Plenty of Fish :)

Though we are doing ok in our little corner of the web :)

We have analytics on our website to help us see where we are getting coverage, and to measure and improve conversions (an area ripe for opportunity given our brand exposure and site traffic). We may add relevant affiliate links and offers to some of our SEO tools to help pay for the 10s or 100s of thousands of dollars we spent developing our various tools (for example, see how we integrated a link to our Wordtracker keyword guide and the Wordtracker keyword research service in our keyword tool). But we have no need or desire to spy on users who download our tools. Spying and outing are poor strategies for professional SEOs to employ....they erode trust and value.

Advanced SEO Toolbar Functions

I thought it would be worth highlighting a few of the advanced features in the SEO Toolbar. Some of the highest value ideas do not consist of looking at one data point, or boiling things down to 1 arbitrary and meaningless number (like many "professional" SEO tools do), but consist of looking at many data points across multiple sites, and hunting for inconsistencies that help you build new profitable traffic streams. Along those lines, I thought I would run through a few ideas to get your juices flowing...there are dozens more like these :)

The advanced tips are here.

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