Yep, it’s that time again and according to my calculations *counts fingers to be sure* this is the 7th instalment of “The SEO’s Toolbox” hope you’re all having fun?
Today I’m delighted to be joined by Jeremy from the mighty Raven Tools. It’s probably easier to list all the things you can’t do with Raven the toolset is so comprehensive, everything from SEO and Social to PPC and competitor analysis. I was recently hooked into an email conversation between a few SEO’s regarding the best tools available and Raven was one of the first out of the hat.
Thanks to Jeremy for taking part!
First of all welcome and thank you for agreeing to do this interview. To kick off I’d like to know a little more about you and how you first became involved with Raven Tools?
Thanks for having me. I have really enjoyed the series so far and I am happy to contribute. I was working as a customer support representative for a small real estate website hosting company when I first heard about Raven Tools. I won a competition on Twitter for a free T-shirt which I still own, and thought, “Hey, the T-shirt is nice, but these tools are awesome!” I eventually adopted Raven Tools for all our reporting and most of our SEO and social tool needs.
Fast forward four years and I got the opportunity to join Raven, so I packed my pregnant wife, surly cat and derpy dog and drove cross country from California to Nashville.
Tell us more about Raven Tools itself?
It may seem trite to say that there are so many aspects to Raven that it’s hard to choose where to start, but it’s true. Raven Tools grew out of a digital agency called Sitening, which developed in-house tools to do, manage and report on SEO campaigns. They shared those tools with others, and the tools became so popular that the company stopped offering agency services to focus on Raven Tools. That was in 2007. Since then, the toolset has grown to more than 20 marketing tools ranging from SEO to social media to PPC. They include valuable data from companies like MailChimp, Copyblogger and Facebook. All of the tools are designed to contribute quickly and easily to automated and scheduled reports that can be white-labeled and customized for every kind of client or boss.
One of the most recent additions to Raven is a site crawl tool that takes the desktop utility of Screaming Frog SEO Spider and folds it into a web app experience. You can quickly use the Site Auditor to pick up those glaring technical SEO errors that should be on a short list for a fix. You can run the Site Auditor over time to see what you have fixed and what still needs work. Everything is reportable, of course.
Raven Tools also has released new tools and reporting to help measure SEO metrics that clients care about most. We also integrated new, authorized data from Google Webmaster Tools. For any search query (a.k.a. keyword), that data includes the number of clicks, its average position in the SERPs and the number of impressions. It comes straight from Google.
Is there anything exciting coming up in the next few months? What does the future have in store for Raven Tools? Do you have a vision of where you see Raven Tools heading in the short to medium term?
Our SEO Metrics To Sell and Report To Clients whitepaper resonated with our customers. We’re planning something similar for social media metrics, along with other client-friendly content. As far as the application goes, around the office “make it better, easier and faster — but especially better” has become something of a motto.
I’ll let Jon Henshaw, one of the founders of Raven Tools, speak for himself in this quote from a recent interview:
“For the next few months we’re going to revamp and improve our campaign metrics and reporting across the board. We are going to launch a completely new dashboard system (which is going to be amazing) and a new alerts feature that will monitor important metrics and notify you when they change. We’re also planning some big improvements and surprises with our reporting system.”
The way I tend to find out about the best tools (both new or old) is via blogs or presentations from other SEOs who’ve often been using them for a while. Is there any post or slide decks featuring your tool you’d recommend?
Sure, here are three reviews that should give a wide picture of Raven’s capabilities. Here’s a very recent review by Lee Hughes on WP Reviews that includes our recent additions of Site Auditor and Google Webmaster tools data, one by Art of Blog covering the range of tools included and one by Sugarrae on using Raven Tools specifically for link development.
How about some headlines, give me a couple of interesting facts about Raven Tools?
Last year we moved our offices from Music Row to an area of downtown Nashville called “The Gulch.” That name comes from a gully in the landscape where hundreds of trains pass through every week — and have since the late 1800s — so we get to watch the choo-choos go by all day.
Let’s see… we have almost 6,000 lucky Raven Facebook fans. I say lucky because our Community Manager Courtney Seiter shares comics, images, polls and articles on Facebook that you won’t find anywhere else at Raven. It’s a really fun way to peek behind the scenes at our offices, like when T-Rex was our receptionist for the day.
What about pricing models?
Raven’s pricing is pretty straightforward. We have two types of accounts.
First is a Pro account for $99 a month that gives full access to all tools to 4 users. Pro accounts also can manage 50,000 links, monitor 20 social media terms and run 20 Scribe by Copyblogger analyses before running into any extra costs.
The second is an Agency account for $249 a month with an unlimited number of users. Agency accounts can manage 150,000 links, monitor 50 social media terms and run 50 Scribe by Copyblogger analyses before running into any extra costs. And those extra costs are cheap — we’re talking about fractions of pennies for the link management, for example. In the past two years, Raven has added more than 15 tools and made dozens of improvements (many documented in the Raven Timeline), without getting a penny more expensive. We want to provide the online marketing industry a high-quality, comprehensive set of tools at a price that freelancers, in-house employees and small- to medium-sized agencies can afford.