What are the best features the online SEO tools like WebCEO, SEOmoz, Raven SEO, and Hubspot have?

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Muhammad Zeeshan 182 views

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  1. Great answer by Rand, I’ll drop in my 2c as a bit of an SEO tool junky who’s also worked in the space.

    Like anything else it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re a novice or SMB owner looking for something to help you figure out online marketing I think Hubspot is a solid solution (note that I’ve seen a demo of the software and trialed it but never used it extensively). Hubspot is a bit more of a traditional SaaS company in the sense that they have a large inside sales team and an extensive services team that does a lot of work with you during the onboarding process (this is partly because there are a lot of touch points with the implementation, as Rand alluded to). There are some other solutions popping up in this market segment as well, such as DIYSEO.

    If you’re more advanced and/or working with multiple clients I think there are really five outstanding toolsets that all excel at different things IMO:

    SEO Moz

    The SEO Moz toolset is awesome – if you’re looking for something that
    generates a technical audit for clients the Web app is very useful. OSE and
    LinkScape are awesome tools for link analysis – there is a lot of great data
    there (some that you won’t find with Yahoo! Site Explorer) but the thing I find
    really useful is the filtering and prioritization functionality. It’s not a
    perfect mirror of what Google thinks obviously but it does a really nice job of
    bubbling up the most interesting links for a client, competitor, third party
    site and being able to look only at followed links, filter by 301 redirects,
    etc.  Between the Web app and the link data there’s a ton of value for a relatively low price point – the UI on these are excellent too and they’re super easy to use.

    SEO Book

    A lot of these tools are actually free with a free account set up and you get
    more with a membership. SEO Book isn’t really an “SEO Software” company in the traditional sense since the core component of their offering is a premium
    community membership (which is excellent) so the tools tend to be less
    integrated with each other and the UI on some of them is a little rough, but
    the SEO Toolbar, SEO for Firefox, and Rank Checker (which I believe are all
    still free) really give as much utility as most SEO tools you’d pay for (and
    more than many J).

    There are also a lot of great keyword tools (The SEO Book Keyword Tool, a
    competitive tool that uses SEM Rush data, and some others) which some of the
    other vendors tend to be somewhat light on, and there are probably more
    affiliate-specific tools (like a really sweet keyword research tool that returns keyword results side-by-side with domain and TLD availability) than anything else on the list.

    Buzzstream

    Buzzstream is great for link management – if you’re doing extensive link
    building campaigns with lots of people working on them these tools are
    excellent. Raven has some very slick tools here as well. This is more for
    industrial-strength link management, I think SMB owners and some of the people who get a lot of value out of HubSpot might have difficulty getting a lot of
    value out of Buzzstream.

    Ontolo

    I am a huge Ontolo fan – they serve a niche within a niche which is basically
    link prospecting or link discovery – if you are doing “industrial strength”
    link builidng (think hyper-competitive niches like gambling, finance, cont. ed,
    insurance, etc. or a lot of link prospecting/link building for clients) it’s
    really really valuable because it’s a huge productivity enhancer. You have to
    be looking to do this kind of work already, though – definitely not something
    for the Hubspot prospect.

    Raven SEO
    Raven is building a really comprehensive toolset and their product team is
    really innovative/clever (a lot of times they come out with stuff like their
    Text Broker integration or their recent Custom Rank and I think “obviously!”
    which for me is a sign they’re building useful stuff – useful for me anyway J). They have some very useful link management tools, their rank tracker is pretty good and it’s integrated with some of their other keyword tools (lots of APIs to leading KW research tools like WordTracker, SEM Rush, Google), and they have some blogging tools, content management tools, etc. The breadth of the toolset is really amazing, particularly as they’re boostrapped and never got any sort of VC dev cycle shot in the arm. Things they don’t do though are link prospecting, crawling a site, and I prefer stuff like the SEO Book keyword tools.

    I also like the Majestic SEO tools and the team over there is really smart, but for various reasons the above tools are the ones I use most frequently.

    And then there are a bunch of point solution type tools on top of these like WordStream (I’m a former employee), Linkdex, and a slew of Spy
    Tools (VC from SEO Book had an excellent series of remarkably in-depth reviews of these and a few other tools here: http://www.seobook.com/blog/vani)

    Really what the best features are depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, for my money. At a really high level/to summarize I’d say if you need:

    • A tool to assist with technical site audits, Moz is your best bet.
    • Tools to find affiliate opportunities (new sites/niches) SEO Book is probably the most valuable
    • To find lots of great link targets Ontolo is best suited
    • To manage your link building efforts, particularly across multiple targets, Buzzstream is probably the best with Raven a close second
    • To research competitors’ backlinks or do a lot of link analysis on a variety of different sites, I like Moz personally and Influence Finder and Majestic SEO are other good options
    • To integrate on-going rank tracking with any of the above tasks, Moz or Raven are probably your best options.

    So likely you’ll want to identify the top few items on your to-do list/list of recs and mix and match the tools listed above to try to get the best-in-class for the lowest amount possible. SEO software is still a pretty nascent space so it’s likely you’ll want to use a couple, but the good news is I think that the fact that the space is largely under-developed and that a lot of the tools are a bit narrow in focus leads to a DRAMATIC undervaluing of the functionality of a lot of the tools listed above, so even if you’re paying for three different subscriptions you’re likely getting a lot more value than the monthly cost you shell out (I certainly feel like I do).

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