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On our SEO courses we recommend a number of tools to assist you with your SEO and Social Media Monitoring.  My favourite tool is Raven, which is what my agency Marketing By Web use for managing our client campaigns.  Raven offer a free 30 day trial.

The tool is extremely comprehensive, and you may find you don’t end up using all the features.  Here are a few of our favourites!

Competitive Research

In the feature called Research Assistant, you can analyse a page and identify the keywords it is targeted towards or that a page is currently ranking for (these are not always the same thing – it’s possible to rank for a term accidentally!).

In the example on the right, it identifies the keywords dreadful looking AdWords, January Sale and PPC Management as some of the keywords this blog is targeted towards.

Research Assistant in Raven

See the keywords a page is targeted towards

Tracking Facebook Fan Pages

An extremely useful feature is the ability to track fan’s interaction with your Fan Pages.  You can track comments, likes, current fans in a graphical form as well as post directly to the wall from within Raven.  This is an extremely useful feature if you are an agency and managing a large number of Fan Pages, and the client wants some form of report.

Facebook fan page reporting in Raven

Raven has excellent Facebook integration

Social Mentions

In addition to monitoring Facebook Fan Pages, there is a great Social Media monitoring feature, allowing you to identify mentions of your brand or company name online.  You can set up alerts to ensure you are kept abreast of this information urgently.

Social monitor from Raven

Social monitor

Backlink Explorer

If you would like to examine your competitor’s backlinks, to monitor their strategy and identify places to gain links from yourself, there is an excellent feature called Backlink Explorer.  This identifies the power of the link in a ranking factor, the anchor text, and whether the link is no-follow.

Backlink explorer feature in Raven

Backlink explorer feature in Raven

You can also run reports on your own backlinks, and add these reports into a link monitoring system that allows you to identify when the link has been removed.  This is also extremely useful for managing reciprocal links.  Due to the fact many of the links will be from the same domain, there is the option to group domains together.

Keyword Monitoring

The most commonly used feature is that of keyword monitoring, where you can add the keywords you are aiming to rank for, and add them to various search engines and country variants.  For example – we add our clients to Google UK, Google UK (UK only), Yahoo UK and Bing UK.

Once you have added your keywords, you can see their rises or falls on a week by week basis, or alternatively set up a report that details movements within a defined period.

Keyword Tracking via Raven

Keyword Tracking in the SERPS

Custom Reporting

SEO providers and agencies will be particularly interested by the reporting features, which allow creation of brand reports to allow whitelabelling of the reports, of interest if working with web designers on a white label basis.

Some of the excellent items that can be added into the report include the SERP keyword tracking, Facebook fanpage graphs, Google Analytics reports (you can even split these by both Paid and Organic traffic if you are running both PPC and SEO) which show numbers of visitors, keywords they are using to find your site, amongst many other items found in Analytics.

Overall – a great tool for managing your SEO and Social Media, there are many other advanced features that will be the topic of another post!

Raven offer a free 30 day trial.

When optimising an AdWords account, it’s extremely important to make sure you are tracking conversions.  These might be such items as:

  • Sales, for an ecommerce website
  • Brochure requests
  • Call back requests
  • Contact us requests

The reason you need to track conversions, is to see which keywords are working for you, so you can up the budget for these keywords, and eventually consider pausing keywords that do not convert.

Your AdWords conversion tracking code needs to be generated by going into Reporting and Tools – then Conversions.  Choose the relevant conversion type and generate the required code.  Send this code to your web designer and ask them to place it onto the people see once they completed the required action.  This is extremely important!

Now here’s where the problem occurs – it’s very common for web designers to place the code onto the contact page, or the lead page.  This then creates false conversions, and you can very rapidly end up with hundreds of them!

What will be the end result?  A falsely optimised AdWords campaign, with the results skewed by people who were just trying to find your location, or even those who were seeking totally unrelated products…

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