Friday, 11 April 2008

SEO Suite 8 review: What does it do?

SEO Suite 8

According to the Apex website, SEO Suite 8 is a ‘comprehensive’ Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) programme doing a variety of SEO functions.

Some of the functionality of SEO suite 8 is new to me and quite useful (such as the external link checker) however much of it can be found in numerous free tools on the web.

The cost of SEO Suite 8 ranges from £75 to £300 pounds for a number of different versions. I tested the trial version (which is free) for about 20 minutes and there is also more functionality over and above the core functionality I will look at below.

On the sites I carry out SEO on there are already initiatives in place that cover a lot of the functions of this software – such as directory submitting from an online list monitored via an excel spreadsheet, a linking policy done in much the same way, a manual check of internal website structure, tags and links plus reporting done through a separate analytics programme.

As a result I won’t be buying SEO suite 8 but it’s not as bad as my cynical mind expected it to be.

Following is a break down of all the functions and overview of what they do.

SEO suite 8 is split into 4 tools:

  1. Site Optimizer
  2. Site Submission
  3. Links Building
  4. Reporting

Site optimizer consists of:

  • Keyword builder
    • Input in a keyword and it will give you more related keywords. Same thing as Google Keyword Tool or Quintura does.
    • Plus a ‘keyword library’ – which is where the list is stored, much like copy/pasting into Excel.
  • Site optimizer
    • Based on the keywords you input on the previous page this will scan your webpage(s) and tell you the keyword density
  • Page creator
    • I didn't use this but apparently it creates a page containing all the keywords. You could just do this yourself.
  • Meta Tag Editor
    • Hook SEO suite up to your website, enter in the meta tags you want and it will change them all. Again you could just do this without SEO suite.
  • Competitor Analysis
    • Do the same for you competitors and compare where you lie, what keywords they use etc.

Site submission revolves around submitting to search engines

  • This has a list of search engines. Essentially it’s a browser that will take you to each of these search engines where you go through the normal submission process.
    • Of course if you get people linking to your sites you may well get indexed without resorting to this. (click image below to enlarge)

Screenshot of SEO suite search engine submission page

Links building does what it says on the tin.

  • Backward Link checker
    • Find sites that link to yours. Do this in Google by entering "" into the search box. Update: This is actually inaccurate, read how to get backlinks here.
  • Competitor Link checker
    • Find sites that link to your competitors. Do this in Google by entering "" into the search box. Update: This is actually inaccurate, read how to get backlinks here.
  • Internal link analysis
    • In their words "this will analyse your internal linking structure to make sure that it complies with search engine standards. This will help to increase your link reputation." - I couldn't figure out exactly what this did, think it shows amount / proportion of links.
    • This seems a bizarre and slightly pointless way of checking site structure - card sorting and user testing (video on user testing) are probably more useful – however i could be wrong.
  • External link analysis
    • Checks your external links – this will check all the links to your site and look at the keywords contained within those links. One of the few functions of SEO suite I really liked. (click image below to enlarge)

Screenshot of SEO Suite external link analysis page

  • Link directory creator
  • Reciprocal link creator
    • "It will send "personalized" reciprocal link invitations to all potential link partners" – much like sending a "personalized" email to a list of websites.
  • Article submitter
    • I wasn't actually aware of this technology – it will submit articles to popular ezine websites. I've never seen an ezine website but imagine this submitter tool to be along the same lines as the link directory creator.
  • Link partner checker
    • Become an SEO Clouseau with your link partners. Once you've entered in your link ‘partners’ (the sites you've asked to link to you) this will check their site to see the link actually exists.
  • Link validator
    • I couldn't get this to work but if it checks internal links then it may well be useful. This would mean alerting you to links on your site (both internal and external) that return dead pages, 404s etc.
    • This is something that Google Webmaster tools also does, just not very well.


  • Web Ranking
    • Set up regular reports to monitor your 'ranking' on search engines.
    • I've always been a bit dubious of the word 'ranking'. Surely what’s more important are whether people are clicking through, not leaving your site, visiting other pages within it, buying products, reading articles etc. See my post on measuring SEO effectiveness.
  • Page Rank
    • Gives you Google page rank for all your URLs.
  • Link popularity
    • I got bored by this point but the promo is just as informative as this post on the matter telling me that "[checking your link popularity] can be done easily with the SEO Suite" no less than twice in a three sentence paragraph.
  • Index checker
    • What pages are indexed on which search engines, not just Google.
    • Ranking on each engine, not just Google.
  • Submission report
    • Remember that submission you did earlier? Well here's where you find out if it worked.
  • Site statistics
    • Didn't get into this but quite a stats package with everything from hits to unique visitors. Much like Google Analytics, webtrends etc.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Who should pay the costs of increased bandwidth requirements?

This is in relation to a row that's broken out between the BBC and some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Tiscali (more on this here with some good comments).

The increase in mass downloading caused by things such as the BBC's on demand TV iPlayer (why does everything have to begin with an 'i' these days?) is putting strain on the networks apparently.

I don't even understand why the ISPs are arguing. The network is core to their business, if the network can't take it then they have to upgrade it at their cost. The problem is their own fault, they sell 'unlimited' broadband, people use it, full stop. If 'unlimited' wasn't meant to include TV on demand then they clearly need to get better at predicting the future or at least be more careful about what they offer.

More multimedia, TV, films, legal downloading isn't something that's snuck up on the world. It's been inevitable since broadband was first introduced.

Maybe in the future they'll have to change their offerings and remove the 'unlimited' broadband option. That's fair enough. If you want to store ten boxes with a storage company it will cost you more than storing two. If you want to regularly fill up your swimming pool from the tap the water company will charge you accordingly. For the time being though they're going to have to live with it.

In the US this change from the 'unlimited' broadband offering has led to worries about ISPs prioritising content (i.e. such as blocking people from file sharing regardless of the files) and threatening 'net neutrality' (a phrase I've never heard before so see definition below).

Net neutrality = 'A broadband network free of restrictions on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, on the modes of communication allowed, that does not restrict content, sites, or platforms and where communication is not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams would be considered neutral by most observers.' (source: wikipedia)

The difference here though is that the US broadband market consists of 2 major providers. If anyone tried to do this in the UK users would just move to another of the 60 different ISP providers (I'd hope).

I say let the ISPs try and charge the customer, or try and sell packages based on internet usage. As long as there is a free (ish!) market and the ISPs don't all band together in a cartel, the competitive nature of the UK broadband provider market will mean that consumers will choose what they want...

Thursday, 3 April 2008

10 things you'll never hear a web marketer say

That's right it's the top phrases (or 'keyquotes') to have never passed the lips of a groovy web 2.0er.

  1. I've just been given a larger budget than the offline team.
  2. Of course you can use 'click here' as your link anchor text, that would be very original.
  3. AltaVista provides the most comprehensive search experience on the Web! (incidentally this is the Altavista tagline)
  4. Yes i'd be happy to work within the IT team.
  5. I fully support the use of double spaces, italics and all caps in online copy.
  6. A suit is a more appropriate form of office apparel than jeans.
  7. How about we try some hidden text?
  8. Woohoo, my network connection's dead!
  9. Need more hits, let's pay for some banner ads.
  10. I've got a degree in web marketing.

Can anyone think of any more? To be followed up by '10 things you'll hear a web marketer say and won't understand'...