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 "link:www.yoursitename.com" 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 "link:www.yourcompetitorssitename.com" 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.

Reporting

  • 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.

4 comments:

Easy ScreenShot said...

First off, the SEO Suite from Apex Pacific only spams directories.

I have been making money on the internet for over 10 years and fortunately I am in a position that I can buy whatever looks good even if it gets me one more strategy.

The SEO Suite software is simply not good software.

And unfortunately this makes Apex Pacific look bad and ruins their online reputation

They state,

"We offer a "no questions asked" 30 days money return policy on all our products"

I have had to waste my time to chase them up for weeks and finally they emailed me with:

"Your request for a refund has been passed onto our refunds department, this may take up to 3-5 working days."

Now over 10 days later .... nothing

Ok, it's only $250 but I hope this post can help someone thinking of doing business with this Apex Pacific.

The other thing is I very rarely ask for a refund because I sell software too but when it's really bad, as in this case, why throw money away on something that doesn't do anything.

I hope this gets to someone at Apex Pacific so they can clean up their act.

Today, customer service and online reputation is everything.

Ed Sexton said...

Easy ScreenShot - thanks for posting this comment. I only had the trial version so no money left my hand. And as i said i see no reason in buying it.

With all these SEO software things, there is very few i will actually use as you can achieve most things for free. Such as link building, link reviews, submissions.

I hope Apex Pacific read this and get back to you, but i wouldn't bet on it.

Like customer service, online reputation is also important in today's world and by the looks of things Apex don't care about either!

Bryan Cassady said...

I should have read more before buying the SEO suite. We dished out several hundred dollars to buy the software. Since we bought it has only worked ocassionally. When you try to get support it takes days and days. With so much free software available, based on our experience my recommendation would be to stick to these free solutions.

Sometimes you get what you pay for, with SEO Suite... you seem to get less than if you paid nothing...

Tommy Gun said...

Agree with Easy ScreenShot. Today on the web there are really good tools and free tools with is much more effecting even not taking to account that require no fees.

With the recent Google updates using SEO Suite your site would drop I have no doubts.

I personally was fully satisfied with free tools, though later when I faced with great amounts of data to analyze I had to switch to paid services from Link-Assistant.com(SEO PowerSuite)which are really of great help for me till today.