Bernie Clark is the Co-Founder of Majux, a Philadelphia marketing agency that provides law firm marketing solutions to attorneys of all types.
It is important for your law firm’s website to be properly optimized so those searching for services you offer are neatly directed into your online conversion funnel. The good news is that there are an abundance of tools available to help build and track your website’s ranking within Google’s search results. Good software is crucial to help identify opportunities and track your results. Really good software can help boost new matters in a very measurable way. But how do you choose the best product for your business? Does your level of expertise matter? We will run down the industry’s top picks with the pros and cons of each.
1. Web CEO Professional Edition was ranked as the best SEO software in 2012 by TopTenREVIEWS. Features such as competitor analysis, link building and management, and performance reporting help users manage the functionality of their website. Included is a website auditor tool that helps improve the overall performance of a website, and keyword research and analysis features offering a multitude of keyword boosts that are backed up by built-in keyword research software. The ability to localize search results by a city or zipcode is useful for tracking the competition in your area instead of on purely a national level. Pros: many tools, excellent customer support Cons: cost, runs from your desktop
2. iBusiness Promoter offers an interesting money-back guarantee if your business does not land in Google’s top 10. Link building and management are this product’s top ranked features, along with reporting, and keyword research and analysis. Included are unlimited URLs/keywords, Google AdWords features, analysis based on real-time search engine results, keyword density analysis, keyword effectiveness index, unlimited keywords, Google AdWords features and the ability to support 12 languages accessing keywords suggestions of YouTube, Amazon, and Google. We have not personally tried this product, so I cannot attest to its promise of a money back guarantee. You may want to proceed at your own risk if you are counting on getting your money back for underperformance. Pros: many tools, money back guarantee? Cons: cost $299-$499
3. Advanced Web Ranking received high scores for its reporting functionality and ability to provide visibility into who links to your site. Top features include competitor analysis, link building and management, automated performance reporting, and keyword analysis. Advanced Web Ranking comes with a keyword research tool that includes Google Keyword Tool, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Wordtracker to give the user a comprehensive overview of the number of searches performed for a phrase or keyword. This is a desktop rather than online tool which confines your data to a physical machine. On the flip side, the benefit of having your data available on your computer is not having to wait for your data to be returned to you and avoiding network outages when keeping track of a high volume of keywords. A few of the support features include email, phone, user manuals, live chat, intranet, and a trial download. If purchased, the product comes with a free 12- month maintenance plan with the option to extend with various priced plans. Pros: cost, still offers scraped ranking data Cons: runs from your desktop
4. RavenTools’ most popular feature is its integration with 3rd party tools, pooling your data into one spot. This product has Facebook page manager, Mailchimp integration, Twitter tool, and PPC ad management features. New features are added on a weekly basis and many of the previous performance issues have been resolved. The rank checking feature is neat and user friendly on this version, and the cap on checks can be overcome by paying per keyword. The one downside is Raven’s recent removal (at the request of Google) of its very popular keyword ranking tool. Pros: (almost) one-stop software shop, price Cons: no ranking offering
5. SEOmoz Pro is a subscription service offering access to their tools, including their new ‘Web App’ which works to optimize your website. The highlight of this service is your access to their Linkscape data which is an index of backlinks that you can access through an API or via the Open Site Explorer tool. The biggest issues are not being able to track competitor rankings, the slow turnaround for first time keyword positions, and its lack of a link management functionality. Pros: one-stop software shop, price Cons: a jack of all trades master of none
6. BuzzStream is a very specialized product aimed at helping the link building process. It is quite useful for SEO’s involved in deep research for projects including large scale link building and link purchasing. BuzzStream can help keep track of your contacts and potential link partners. The email management facility makes this product stand out from its competitors by allowing you to always know where link building projects exist. Pros: focusing on just link building allows them to offer a very good product Cons: only focused on link building