Review: Bruce Clay’s Latest SEOToolSet
In our recent post, High-End SEO on a Low-End Budget, we briefly mentioned Bruce Clay’s SEOToolSet®. This is a great subscription service that has been around for a long time and has recently gone through a major upgrade – here we’ll take some more time to run through the service in detail.
Bruce is one of the original SEOs from back in the day, and his company provides a wide variety of training classes, SEO services, and even access to its proprietary optimization toolset. In a nutshell, this subscription service contains everything you need to work on every aspect of the SEO process. As detailed in our inaugural posting here, the questions you need to answer are:
- How many pages do I have?
- How many of them are appearing in the SERPs?
- What keywords are they receiving traffic from?
- How high are those pages ranking?
- How many clicks am I getting via those keywords?
- How valuable are those clicks?
If you look at the words above highlighted in bold, you’ll see what the pieces of SEO are, in the same order:
many -> Content Strategy
appearing->Architecture Best Practices
keywords-> Keyword Strategy
high-> Linking Strategy
clicks-> Traffic Analysis
Bruce Clay’s SEOToolSet addresses each aspect of the process. I tend to be bit of a content optimization and linking buff so we’ll spend some time on those areas in particular, but we’ll also try to touch on the others here.
SEOToolSet contains everything you need to research and prioritize your keywords – the sorts of things you would expect in a tool like this – easy keyword suggestions, the ability to easily add them to the account for monitoring, and the like. I won’t bother showing that here, but more interesting functionality is the ability to examine the top competitors for that keyword across a variety of variables. This is helpful in figuring out whether a particular keyword will be difficult to rank for, what sort of work will be necessary to get it there, and is highly useful.
With SEOToolSet, you can analyze competitors links in order to prioritize linking campaigns. Here you can see an analysis I did of my own (rather than a competitors) blog. A bunch of links from Bill Slawski’s blog came up, and as you can see, SEOToolSet grabs and displays the toolbar PageRank as well as the domain’s toolbar PageRank. This is a great feature and a huge timesaver when you’re prioritizing linking campaigns.
Architecture Best Practices
SEOToolSet comes with a single-page analyzer that you can point at individual pages, and it will automatically give you understandable instructions for optimizing the page according to architectural best practices. It also comes with a header checker (similar to Rex Swain’s Header Checker), with the really unique addition of checking for cloaking (i.e. it will perform a request using Googlebot’s user-agent, and then with another one appearing to be an end-user, and then it will flag the page as cloaked if the site is displaying different content to Google versus users for that page). Just about the only fault I can find with SEOToolSet on this front is, it’s oriented towards analyzing single pages, rather than spidering the entire site and giving you a comprehensive report on all problems across the entire site. However, with PowerMapper SortSite (also reviewed in our posting High-End SEO on a Low-End Budget), you can easily plug that gap to have a completely comprehensive set of tools.
SEOToolSet contains a number of keyword density analysis features. If you don’t believe in keyword density as a ranking factor, you need to “get on the cluetrain” – read this if you want some proof. The bottom line is, Google does appear to use keyword density as a ranking factor, and optimizing it works (try a simple thought experiment – if your keyword density is zero for a particular term, are you likely to rank for it? Actually, you still can, if you have tons of anchor text-rich links pointing at the page, but since that’s generally not the case, then all things being equal, you won’t).
More useful than simply analyzing a single page though, is the ability to analyze the top pages that are ranking for a particular term, so you can determine the optimal keyword density required to rank well. In the example here I analyzed the top search engine results for [coconut headphones], and as you can see, I can now tell how many times a page should say [coconut headphones], [coconut] (by itself), and [headphones] by itself, if I want it to rank for that term. Pretty nifty, and the SEOToolSet is worth the subscription price if only for this one feature alone.
There are a number of comprehensive SEO tool services available, but choosing one depends on what your purpose is.
If you are an SEO professional doing work for clients, you should consider Raven SEO Tools and Bruce Clay’s SEO ToolSet (both have great capabilities around creating impressive-looking PDF files, which is absolutely critical for conveying “evidence of industry” to clients).
Bruce’s product is very broad and comprehensive and covers more bases, in my opinion, than either of these other tools, is competitive with both, and is well worth trying out for both those situations. With various subscription levels starting as cheap as $29.95 a month for one domain, there’s no excuse for the in-house marketer at a small or medium business not to have the capabilities to compete with their counterparts at the big agencies.