Sweet New SEOmoz Tools

April 7, 2010

I hate writing “groupie” type posts, but this short one was earned.  SEOmoz just launched a new Keyword Difficulty tool, which, at first glance and after just a couple of tests seems to have a bit of merit.  I tested on some keywords I’m pretty familiar with and its ratings matched my general concept.

My only critique would be that its maybe its scale should be adjusted a bit… I put in “directory of handsome guys” and that was a 22%.  IMO that should be like 5% or less, there is no competition on that keyword.  I accidentally ranked a site of mine #1 for that, and after a few days I wouldn’t be surprised if this blog post ranks #2 for “directory of handsome guys”.

I guess it was a couple of months ago that the launched the Open Site Explorer tool, which I now use daily and love it.  My only critique with that is the size of the data set.  I have one client where we’ve tracked the total number of links its reporting by month with that tool and its showing drastically changing numbers – both up and down.  I believe its more reflecting of swinging changes in their data set than it is “real” changes in numbers of links to their site.

I’d say in general their data seems to be tracking the good-old-fashioned Yahoo Site Explorer and Majestic SEO, but their front-end interface and the tools’ overall usability more than makes up for that.  I’m a fan.  Good work, Rand and team.

Update: See my comment below and comment from Richard Baxter’s write up for another critique.  I’d like to see it weigh “domain authority” more and “page authority” less.

Good write up Richard.  Overall I like the tool, but I feel like its maybe favoring “page authority” a bit too much, and “domain authority” not enough.  Anyone else agree with me on that?

Take the “pivot tables” (49) vs. “pallet delivery” (64) example.  I’d argue that “pivot tables” is more competitive b/c all of the sites in the top 20 have domain authority over 80.  You need an 80+ domain just to to get a ticket to that dance.  But for “pallet delivery” only 2 of the top 20 have domain authorities over 80, and several have very low domain authority.  You can get into that dance with most any site, so long as the page itself has a little juice.  That’s much easier to do.

Last night at SEMCLT, I spent a few minutes chatting with Corey Creed.  He asked if I was still doing full-service SEO or if I had moved to a consulting model.

I had never described what we do as “full-service”, but I probably should.  Its pretty accurate.  You’d think in 7 years I would have spent a few minutes thinking about how to describe what we do.  When talking with prospects, I would generally say things like “we don’t just give you a list of recommendations, we actually DO the work” and so forth.  I often used other verbiage around the same point, such as “we handle everything needed to produce results” and so forth, but the phrase full-service describes this more accurately and more concisely.

But now there is a new problem.  What exactly is full service SEO?

I guess let’s think about what its not.  Oftentimes when companies hire a consultant what they are looking for is strategic guidance, advisement, etc.  They want to know what to do, and maybe how to do it.  As such, many SEO consultants do exactly that.  They provide a written report and/or verbal communications in meetings, training sessions and so forth and basically tell the client what to do in order to increase their site’s rankings, organic traffic and (hopefully) conversions.  The deliverable may be called a “Site Audit” or “SEO Recommendations Report” or something like that.  The pro here is that the client can get high-level direction and recommendations without too high a price tag (as the time to create a plan is inherently less than the time required to create AND implement a plan).

But to me, that’s no fun.

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I can’t believe I forgot to mention this on my blog!  Last week our developers finished work on our Exact Google PageRank Checker Tool and we launched it to the public via Twitter.  The response so far has been very positive!

We especially encourage SEO consultants and SEO agencies to check out the tool and share the results with your clients.

Feedback?  New features we should add?

So by now you’ve heard that Microsoft launched Bing a couple of days earlier than what was (most recently) expected.  I’ve read a few other SEO news bloggers who’ve summarized the initial feedback saying it was generally positive – that Microsoft had improved their search product over the most recent Live search product, though it likely wasn’t a Google killer.  In fact, many would say that there is no search product that would be a Google killer.  I’d probably agree.  I think the only thing that would de-throne Google anytime soon would be some sort of PR crisis or major technical lapse.  I don’t see either happening.

That said, an improved product from Microsoft (Bing) could increase their share a bit more, and it seems like that is the idea behind Bing.  Microsoft seem to have realistic expectations here.

Okay so enough about this background… what’s Bing mean to people who practice SEO and online lead generation for a living?  Well after about 30 minutes of messing around with it here are my thoughts…

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Okay so for this post instead of talking about using SEO for online lead generation, I’m going to talk about online lead generation for SEO services.

When I started my SEO firm back in 2003, I immediately identified Baltimore, MD as my primary geographic market.  At the time, I was living in the Towson area – which is a suburb about 15-20 minutes north of Baltimore.  In 2003, few people had heard of SEO so I was worried about getting enough demand in Baltimore, much less a smaller suburb.  I targeted keywords like “baltimore seo” rather than “towson seo“, as I thought the latter was simply too niche a keyword and didn’t have enough demand to support my lead generation needs…

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This is just a beautiful thing.

I’ve somehow started using Twitter again after our recent SEO Meetup about social media.  At the event, @george_murphy and @timstaines convinced me (@jonpayne) there was a business benefit – a way to leverage it for traffic and leads.

Anyhow, today I was looking for a good URL shortener that also does 301 redirects.  Why?  Well let’s suppose I post a URL of a page on one of my sites – like this blog post for example.  In Twitter, since I’m limited to 140 characters I need to use some sort of URL shortener or I might not have enough room for the long URLs typically associated with blogs.  Until recently, I had been using is.gd, mainly b/c I just liked the “is good” reference.


So what if – by rare occurance – someone who visits my page actually likes it and wants to link to it?  If they copy the URL in their browser post-rediret than I’m fine, they’ll link straight to my site.  But what if they copy the URL shortener version and then they post that in their blog or elsewhere?  I’ll get the traffic, but no link juice… and those are the perfect, real, natural “editorial” type links Google is really looking for.  I should get that credit…

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So the other day I found this post on Yoast that describes how to set up some Advanced Segments in Google Analytics such that you can isolate out the traffic you received from keywords where your site ranks on the second page (or any page) in the Google SERPs.  Its pretty slick.  It basically uses the start=10 value in the URL of the Google search results pages to identify whether they came from page 1, 2, etc…

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