A Tag-team Review from Level 343
In the SEO world, new tools are a dime a dozen. Some make the grade, some don’t; some are (frankly) laughable, others are worth their weight in gold. Over the past week, we’ve been reviewing a new SEO tool on the scene: the SEOGadget keyword research tool developed by Richard Baxter.
The SEOGadget tool states it is there to help you “build great keyword research“. Completely Google-focused, it pulls data from Google Analytics, Google Adwords and the search engine itself to help you do that. Several SEO tools integrate Google’s keyword suggestion tool and Google Analytics, however, so the SEOgadget software arrives in a relatively crowded space.
The question is does SEOGadget do what it promises? Is it a viable SEO tool or does it fall short of the grade? Gabriella Sannino and Jahnelle Pittman of Level343, a full service SEO company, dig into the tool to find out.
(ED; each of their thoughts are annotated as we go)
Setting Up Your Keyword Research Campaign
Jahnelle : My initial reaction when creating the test campaign was definitely positive. I love the fact that you can target specific devices: desktops and laptops or iPhone and other mobiles (or both). You can choose which country you want to pull Google Adwords data from, as well as which Google domain (.com or .co.uk, for example) and language to use.
For SEO’s with access to many different accounts, another positive is the ability to choose which Google Analytics account to use. I give it 4 out of 5 stars for the setup portion. By the time I got to the main dashboard for the campaign, I was eager to see it.
Gabriella: As an optimizer, sure, the setup might seem easy ““ but from a layperson’s perspective, not so much. It’s a matter of guessing. If I’m a small business owner wanting to do my own SEO, it’s a matter of guesswork. “I guess I probably want to target desktops and laptops. I’m in the U.S., so that’s probably the country I want to use“, etc.
I’ll be honest with you; I wanted to see the little question marks with pop-up explanations. There weren’t any. The setup didn’t score as high with me because of that. Setup gets 3 out of 5 stars from me.
When we held up the score cards, the campaign setup got 3 Â½ marks.
Inside the Program
Jahnelle : The first impression was “oooo”. You get in there and the SEOGadget tool immediately begins pulling Google data.
On a single web page, in an uncomplicated graph, you get your search volume (blue lines), number of visits (red) and ranking (green dot). I’m not going to lie; I was excited. In my opinion, there are some definite pluses here.
For SEOs, this cuts down on a lot of data digging. Without this tool, the steps might be something like:
- Pull up Google Analytics (or other analytics program) for a site’s current keyword data
- If you don’t have a user-defined value set in your analytics program, pull current keyword ranking using a different tool or hand search
- Visit Google Adwords Keyword Tool (or use other tool) for search volume
- Add into Excel or other spreadsheet
With the tool, the steps might be:
- Pull up SEOGadget
- Download .csv file
You can put current keywords into categories, which gives you basic keyword “bundles”. Using filters, you can filter all keywords or keyword categories by ranges of ranking, number of visits and/or search volume. So, the SEOGadget tool does give you the ability to make sense of large amounts of data; if you’re data driven, it can save you oodles of time.
Gabriella: I liked the graph, but it isn’t as intuitive as you make it sound. If you have a key term with a very high search volume and the rest of the terms have low search volume, you end up with one blue line for the high search and then nothing for the low search.
Take “Google Instant“ for example. The search volume is almost 50k. Cool, it’s a high search term. “Real-time search“ has a search volume of 2500, though, and it’s just this little blip on the screen ““ and snagging up even 25% of 2500 searches is nothing to sneeze at. You get four or five of those lower searches and it equals out to tons of targeted traffic.
The point is a brand new user may not notice the details. They might look at the little blip on the screen, shrug and go to a different term ““ because it just doesn’t look like much.
The graph is also a bit off. When you get a long keyphrase ““ sometimes people copy/paste a URL in, and Google Analytics picks it up as a keyword. When you get to the SEOGadget tool and reach that keyword, it screws the graph and pushing everything up. No more little blue and red lines or green dots.
The image below: o. m. g., what is this? Is this real? Gasp, horror ““ this totally threw me off when I saw it. Beta indicates that it’s a second time around in testing. Somebody should have caught this error and fixed it.
Jahnelle : There are bound to be some bugs. Besides, it has this big “Remove” button to get rid of key terms you don’t want to track. Get rid of it and the graph looks like it’s supposed to look.
Gabriella: I’m looking at this from a business owner perspective. See, the SEO person (in this case you) is the one who’s going to use the program. I’m the owner; I’m the one who’s going to pay for the program but I still want to understand it. The same could be said from the perspective of any small business owner, and especially from those who may want to use it for their own campaign.
If I’m paying for a program, I want to know what it does. I want to know how it can help me. I’m spending money – I don’t care if it’s $5 or $50 -, so I expect to see a difference in how much time it takes to do the keyword research.
When I open the SEOGadget tool, I see a bunch of lines. If you don’t land your mouse directly on the line, you won’t see any data. It’s easy if it’s a tall line; not so easy if it’s a barely existing line. If you have a high search term and a lot of low search times, you may miss some potential low hanging fruit.
I go to the creation areas for filters and categories and don’t see what I want to see ““ the little question mark box with an explanation. Okay, so it’s in Beta ““ but even testers might want to know how to use the program instead of having to guess.
I want to go deeper. There’s not enough data, in my mind. I want to be able to delve down into keywords and find out what page is being hit for those terms without hand searching in the actual SERPs.
It’s cool that you can click on the ranking number and have it take you to the actual SERPs page your link is on. Yeah, that’s great ““ but is it cool enough to pay for it? Nyeh. Not for me.
Maybe I’m missing the big picture, but it seems like I could get the same info from free Google products. I haven’t completely given up on SEOGadgets; it’s neat little tool. I’d like to see what the final version looks like, but for now, there’s no “wow”. It didn’t wow me.
Jahnelle : I have to admit there are a few usability issues. It took me a few minutes to understand how to use the filters. For example, filtering by ranking: “higher than or equal to” 20 actually filters the key terms down to those with a ranking of 1-20, so it seems a bit backwards. “Lower than or equal to” is 20+.
For SEO tools, SEOGadget seems to be hitting in between markets. A layperson might not have enough technical experience to make full use of the program and perform comprehensive keyword research. They could end up missing some sweet key terms because they miss some details.
For the optimizer market, SEOGadget doesn’t quite meet the needs as a single keyword research tool in my opinion. Yes, it simplifies data aggregation, but I think it actually simplifies it too much. As well, the data is a little off.
In SE ranking, it’s off by maybe +/- 3. Not a big deal when doing research; a big deal if you’re planning to send client reports. When you compare the search volume data between SEOGadget and Google Adwords, it’s off by quite a bit. SEOGadget reports a search volume of 49,500, and Adwords reports 90,500. That’s quite a bit of difference.
Personally, I like what Baxter’s doing. I think the SEOGadget research tool has a lot of potential, but it hasn’t quite made the grade. I think it’s a great tool to start keyword research with, but only as a starter. I’d use it in conjunction with other programs and old-fashioned hand research for realistic results.
We held up the scorecards again. There was a fight, Gabriella smacked Jahnelle with a “2”, and we finally settled on 2.5.
Final Grade: C+
As an overall grade, Gabriella and I had to a give the SEOGadget research tool a C, with a “+” for effort. What Baxter created is a hardy little data aggregator with a lot of promise. Unfortunately, it still has plenty of kinks to iron out.
We can’t see basing our keyword research on the SEOGadget. Then again, at 9.99, 19.99 and 29.99 (British Pounds) a month, it’s inexpensive, you just might try it out for yourself. Depending on your level of knowledge and what you need the research for, you may find yourself adding the SEOGadget keyword research tool to your SEO tool box.
I don’t agree with many of the negative aspects mentioned in this review. Gabrielle seems to have issues with the tool because she doesn’t understand it, while admitting a seasoned SEO pro would probably get it. That imho is not a sufficient reason to slag off a tool, only a reason to give it a lower mark for lack of documentation. And since the tool is in beta (which is still a development phase where bugs and omissions will always pop up) this too is not a valid criticism.
“I’m the owner; I’m the one who’s going to pay for the program but I still want to understand it.” – Very few business owners will feel that way about SEO tools – unless those business owners are SEOs themselves, in which case they will get the tool just fine. A business owner doesn’t need to understand all the tools that the accountants use, or the project managers, or the sales executives. All the business owner needs is to trust his/her employees to make the right judgements when it comes to selecting their preferred tools for their job.
I think Janelle understood the tool and its potential more and thus I’d say her view of it is more representative than Gabrielle’s. (No offense intended, Gabs.)
Barry, none taken… While I agree with you that you don’t need to understand a tool in order to buy it, I’m the first one to give the reigns to someone who knows what they’re doing.
With all due respect, however, there are other tools I get just fine. I don’t have to guess what they mean or go searching on how to use them. Yes, it’s in “beta”, but this (IMO), is even more reason to add documentation; maybe it’s just me. If I invite people to test something, I’d give them a video, how to page or FAQ to make sure they understand how to use the program. In conclusion, as the owner of an SEO and copywriting company, I want to know EVERYTHING we use inside and out. 😛
Hey, Barry… “all God’s chitlins have opinions lol.
We’ve been told on several occasions that we don’t look at business in the “normal” way, and that’s just fine with us. lol Trust me when I say that Gabriella really does want to understand the tools we use. If she’s buying them, she wants to know what it’s going to do for us and what the big deal is.
In regards to the tool review, the great thing about them is that it’s all based on the opinion(s) of the reviewer(s). For Gabriella, it wasn’t enough to say “yes I’d buy it”. For me, I have to reserve judgement, think on it, see what he does with it. By no means are either of us attacking the tool… but, you know by now that we both shoot from the hip. 😉
I like the way the two of you presented this review. I think even Richard will agree it was fair and impartial.
Like Barry said, as a beta, bugs are to be expected. I’ve done a number of beta tests myself, and almost always find that documentation is severely lacking. Usually, they’re just waiting on feedback from their testers to start building their documentation. It probably isn’t realistic to expect much in the way of product guidance at this stage.
Part of a beta test is to find out what it’ll do, and try to break it. I think you did a pretty good job of analyzing this one. That’ll go a long way in helping Richard’s team put together a good documentation package.
This is by far the best bit of feedback I’ve received so far, and I’m truly thankful for the effort you’ve put into the write up.
Right now, our tool takes a little time to come to terms with. As (rightly) pointed out, that’s a usability issue for us to resolve. If our users get stuck we’re really happy to help out, with account setup queries, step by step guides or whatever. The supporting documentation needs work, something pointed out as often lacking at beta stage. With all of this said, some perseverance, removal of keywords and some savvy categorisation can lead to good data relatively quickly. I’m not sure if you mentioned that you can manually add keywords, then again i’m on a mobile phone in sri lanka! While we wait for the next release (2 weeks from now) I’m grateful for your perseverance and feedback.
RE the search volume issue we found the adwords API to be a more convincing source data vs the Google external keyword tool.
Keep the feedback coming. I am listening to all of the feedback I hear and prioritising development items appropriately.
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Too bad this one has gone away 😥
I never received a response when I asked Richard what happened, but then later found that they had problems with the AdWords API and thus decided to shut it down. Too bad, used it for a long time on several projects.
We had to bin this version of the tool (the external one) owing largely to the terms of service on the adwords API. To keep our api key we had to make some tough decisions and it made sense to get rid of this service (it was never close to the levels of revenue generation of our core SEO and CRO business). I’m sorry we didn’t catch your questions 😐
As a side note, we have a free Excel extension that you can use to grab adwords data here:
Hope that helps!
Thanks Richard, it’s very understandable that under the circumstances continuing didn’t make sense. I’ll have a look at your Excel extension.
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