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I first signed up for Raven Internet Marketing Tools about a month ago, played around with it for a bit, but couldn’t really make heads or tails out of it. I added some websites, set up some SERP tracking, but then pretty much forgot about it.
But recently I revisited my Raven Tools account, and found the data in there much more useful, now that there actually was data! You really need to use the 30-day trial to the fullest to get the real value out of Raven Tools.
Raven Tools isn’t just about SEO. They also provide tools for content and blog management, social media (Twitter, Facebook) engagement and monitoring, site analytics and e-mail campaign statistics. For a single affiliate with multiple sites, I’d say it’s overkill. But if you have an authority site in a niche and are looking to further your domination over your competition, Raven Tools just might help you there.
Before you dig in, you may want to read through Raven’s User Guide. Of course, if you’re like me, you’re not going to read a 100-page PDF and you just want to see what Raven Tools can do for you. Raven Tools gives you a 5 steps to quickly getting started:
- First, add a website (Domain Name) to your profile.
- Click on RESEARCH and do some keyword research with Wordtracker, SEMRush and/or AdWord Keyword Research Tool.
- Add your targeted keywords to the SERP Tracker.
- Click on SOCIAL and then SOCIAL MENTION. Create new searches for brands and keywords you want to track.
- Download the Firefox toolbar and use it to help with link building. Use the Add Link button on the toolbar to record your link building efforts.
Add A Website
The first thing you want to do is add a website that you want to work with. Simple enough. If you just want to get going, use Raven’s Auto-Populator, which will pull in your top keywords, competitors and links.
Raven Tools checks some technical things with your site, such as if you have proper canonical redirects and Google Analytics installed correctly (which Raven can interact with). Finally, you can have reports automatically created and sent to you, so you can be alerted when your rankings or other monitored settings change.
The Research Assistant, found under Research, is a great tool when just getting started. It’ll help identify organic keywords that you rank for and who your competitors are. When talking with Team Loxly about Raven Tools, I learned that if you’re using AdSense on your site, sort the Organic Keywords table by CPC, descending, and you’ll find keyphrases to target for AdSense.
Let’s take an in-depth look at what Raven Internet Marketing Tools has to offer.
The dashboard is like using widgets, allowing you to select which modules you’d like to see when you first login.
In a PRO account, you’ll have 1,000 keywords you can monitor. From this page, you can choose to record ranking for the keyword as well.
Which competitors do you want to watch? See the quality of their site, PR, number of indexed pages and backlinks.
When you do something with your website, like send an e-mail newsletter, start a contest, or any other irregular event, add a note here so you remember when looking at reports.
As mentioned earlier, when you get started with Raven Tools, after adding your site and going through the Setup Wizard, I highly recommend going right to the Research Assistant. What I find most useful is the Organic Keywords table. You can see where you’re ranking, how popular the keywords are, an estimated CPC (if you were bidding in AdWords for that keyword) and more. While I’d like to be able to see more than 10 results per page, and I’d like to be able to download the data from here, it’s a great tool. From this tool, I found a keyword that I rank #1 for (out of 23 million results), but can’t figure out how to monetize the traffic. However, I see the average CPC is $7.27, so if I put AdSense on that page, I could be looking at nearly $5 clicks. Not bad, considering I’m getting nothing from it now!
The Quality Analyzer is another tool you can get started using right away. While there’s still a bit of mystery behind this tool, it gives some good suggestions for improving the quality of your site in the eyes of search engines. One thing I have to do is extend my domain expiration, as it expires in less than a year, and Raven Tools explains,
Google prefers domains that have expiration dates that are more than one year.
For on-page SEO, this tool is super-valuable! When Jon spoke about Supercharging WordPress for SEO back at Affiliate Summit this past summer, he talked about the upcoming importance HTML5 and semantic mark-up will be. I imagine this tool will continue to grow as we learn more about the impact of semantic mark-up.
This tool is much like the old AdWords Keyword tool, but gives you quick access to adding keywords to the SERP Tracker.
Remember the Organic Keywords table from the Research Assistant I was just talking about? Here it all is again, but this time you can see it all at once and download a CSV, too.
Access to related words from Wordtracker. It’s nice not having to start another free trial at Wordtracker just to use their keyword tool, and without having to leave Raven Tools.
This report will analyze a page and report back the keywords on that page, and tell you whether they are keywords, people, locations, companies, or “other” (industry term, position, etc). Use this to “optimize your copy until it properly promotes targeted keywords.” Because this is a content optimization tool, it would be nice if we could just paste in a block of content, instead of uploading modified HTML to the web server, then running this report again. Maybe in a future version…
Keep track of and monitor your backlinks
No more, “Dear Webmaster…” e-mails. If you know the person who runs a website, keep track of it here.
Enter a keyword, and this tool will find link-building opportunities for you. Still in beta at this time. The report is again sortable like most of them, and will show you who is linking to your competitors. For example, clicking on the news.cnet.com result will show me which cnet article is linking to a competitor of mine. It’s not a list of where to get backlinks from, but it’s a step in the right direction. Backlinks still have to be worked for and earned.
See where your existing backlinks are, what the anchor text is, and add to the link manager for monitoring.
If you or your competition have links from these sites, they’ll appear in the directory. When you launch a new website, look through the directory to see if you can quickly get backlinks to the new site (since you already have relationships established with the sites in your directory).
The content manager will analyze new website content and report back the reading level and keyword density of the targeted keywords in the content you provide. If you’re happy with the results, with the push of a button it can be published to your blog.
How does the content manager publish to your blog? Via the settings in the blog manager, of course! Yes, it works with WordPress.
Personas are user accounts that you’ve created on social networks. Because a website can have multiple personas, this may be necessary for you.
Connect to your Facebook fan page for analytics and scheduling posts.
Connect to your Twitter account for analytics and scheduling posts.
Enter a keyword you’d like to track, and you’ll be able to view how often the keyword is mentioned, sentiment surrounding the keyword, and social monitoring results. This is actually pretty useful tool, and will be great to find people to follow on Twitter or to connect with for backlinks.
We know KnowEm. Raven Tools has a hook into them, too.
Find forum posts mentioning your keyword. Then go answer their questions.
Based on your tracked keywords, where do you & your competitors rank? Is it going up or down? The SERP tracker will tell you. When you’re just starting out, this will be useless to you. Let it run for a couple weeks (hey – that’s why you have a 30-day free trial!)
Mange your keywords here. Same as under the Dashboard menu.
Mange your competitors here. Same as under the Dashboard menu.
Select the search engines that you would like to track your keywords on. Besides the big 3, this typically doesn’t matter, but if you have to monitor results in another country, this may be useful.
Raven really simplifies what you need from Google Analytics. Plus, you can easily add new keywords to track and monitor links right from Raven’s Google Analytics reports.
So new, it’s not even in the User Guide! And since I don’t do e-mail marketing, I can’t tell you anything about this, other than it integrates with CampaignMonitor and MailChimp.
Everything you’ve seen above can be reported on, and the Report Wizard makes this easy. Drag & drop the order you’d like to see the report in, set parameters for each section, then have the report delivered via email on a regular schedule. You can also brand the report for your clients.
Raven Tools has a free 30-day trial (no credit card required). After that, pricing is anywhere from $19 to $1,499 per month. I’m looking at the $99 / month Pro plan, but may be able to get away with the $19 / month Basic plan.
As an Affiliate Using Raven Tools
Raven Tools is a great, all-in-one solution for managing Internet marketing campaigns. You don’t need to go from one website to another, aggregating the data yourself in Excel to monitor keywords & track the SERPs. You can set-up multiple websites under 1 account, and easily switch between them.
When you first start your trial, you may be slightly disappointed; but set it up, let it run for a couple weeks, then come back and see what data is available to you. I had more than a few “wow” moments when going through Raven Tools.
As an Affiliate Promoting Raven Tools
One of the things I don’t like is that Raven Tools is linking to other services with their affiliate link. What would be nice is if they had an in-house program where I could tell them my SEM Rush and Wordtracker IDs, and when a user signed up for Raven Tools, my IDs would be in those links, too. But, it’s not going to happen. At least mask your links, guys!
The Raven Tools is managed by Team Loxly, who represented them at Affiliate Summit in August and who will be with them at the ShareASale Think Tank in a couple of weeks. They pay 50% commission on the first paid month, and then 10% recurring. The cookie is good for 180 days.