This is a review of two of the best SEO Tool packages I have found. They are going to fight it out – Raventools vs Linkdex

Linkdex vs Raventools Update – 29th July 2011

I have moved back to Raventools. Interestingly Raventools hadn’t deleted my data for the websites i add in the trial period so I have an empty gap of a month as I strayed away but my SERP positions are still around from before then.

I found Raventools much better for multiple clients and although I lvoed the simplicity of Linkdex and the auto-everything of Linkdex, I’m afraid I kept on asking questions which I knew Raventools could answer and Linkdex couldn’t.

I also think the packages of Raventools are much better priced. Below are the final Linkdex vs Raventools gripes – thinks I think Raventools NEEDS big time…

 

Auto finding new keywords

If I create a new page and start ranking for it, I would expect that to be flaggde to Raven as a recomended keyword to track. If I start getting clicks then this would appear in Google Analytics which could trigger Raventools to recomend it or even if it appearered in the SERPs it would be ideal to have it highlighted. That way I could optimise and link build specifically for the new ranking and try and improve it. Currently I have to manually check over and then add manually. Not ideal and not effective.

Auto finding new links built

When my link builders create links and upload the work within raventools they can tag the links to be checked on a monthly basis. However ideally I would have an automatic link finder. Just like the Majestic or SEOMoz Site Explorer tool or er… the Linkdex tool. This would automatically catalgoue the links found. I particulary like that Linkdex sorts the new links found by category and also timelines when they were found.

There is one flaw with Linkdex. If a link is found and then lost (someone removed it) then you can see with the timeline that a link was lost but not which link. Linkdex says this feature is only available for an extra (huge) cost.

Raventools has the linkchecker, which is exactly this – but without the link finding ability its limited.

Graphing multiple SERP rankings

Want to checkout how your top 5 keywords for a particular site are doing over time. Then you’ll have no problem in lindex (even if it is clunky with the auto-refresh everytime you add a link) – however with Raventools you can see the timeline on a per link basis. What a shame – it seems that they have everything needed to display the serp positions for multiple keywords on a timeline. Everyone loves graphs raventools – add this feature!

 

Original Review

In SEO land there are many hardened SEOs who live and die by Excel. It’s an amazing tool – it is so flexible and lets you build anything you can imagine. Well maybe that goes a bit far – but I don’t know where I’d be without Excel! However you can’t automate everything with Excel and in the SEO world the more organized and automated your procedure the better your results. The adage goes that you can always get to number 1 all it takes is time and elbow grease. So I love tools that help me do more in less time.

There are many tools and straight out I feel bad not including SEOMoz , Ginzametrics and many more, but I didn’t feel they had the whole caboodle available. Raventools and Linkdex are really made with teams in mind and seo procedure. I’ll write another post about other SEO tools soon .

In fact while we’re here I should also mention that Raventools is a LOT more than just SEO – it’s an internet marketing toolkit… but that’s not what this is about so let’s concentrate on the main SEO fight of Raventools vs Linkdex and look at the tools aimed at the in-house SEO professional and SEO consultants / seo companies. I’ve split the review into the core functionality that the web apps offer.

Keyword Research

Most comparisons leave the juicy bits right till the end. I’m going to break the rules say straight out that I love the Linkdex research tool more than Raventools. Now many of you will say that’s because I’m lazy – I’ll have to agree! With Linkdex you can add any number of suspected keywords and it will spit out a load of relevant results.  Simple.

So for example, I enter in 5 keywords and get around 50 keyword suggestions. I can then reorder by number of average monthly searches (from adwords data) and also look at the competitiveness and then add to my keyword list.

Done. No bother and easy. Here’s a screengrab:

linkdex-research

With Raventools the process is much clunkier. It does tap into more details with SEMRush and SEOmoz data but the process was much longer and I found I was researching keywords on a keywords by keyword basis. This breaks my cardinal rule of keeping the process quick and simple.

Perhaps I will be corrected in the comments – but I just couldn’t find a quick way on doing effective and quick keyword research in Raventools. This has to be a top priority – so this time in the Raventools vs Linkdex battle– Linkdex wins.

Rank Tracking

In both programs it is fairly simple to add your keywords to your sites portfolio straight from the research tools. There are other ways of adding keywords to your portfolio in both apps, such as crawling the site and finding the keywords, but I’m not a fan of that method. Once you’ve got your keywords you then want to see how your site fares in the SERPs.

Raventools wins hands down in the detail on offer. You can choose Google .com or .co.uk or Bing  etc… I love the detail – something which Raventools continually excels at. In fact you can even hide or reveal more fields as you like – so really customize it for your own needs.

I also loved how if you were ranked below the 30th position (yes it happens!!) then it gives you the actual position rather than just saying 30+ like it does in Linkdex. I imagine this is because Raventools have joined forces with SEOMoz while Linkdex are with Majestic SEO.

Both Linkdex and Raventools also auto assigns the ranked page next to the keyword that is being tracked. Linkdex show this field against the keyword and I really like that. With Raventools you have to hover the mouse over the keyword. Grr!… Might sound pernickety but it is much easier to view this without having to hover over the keyword. I’ve sent a request in to Raventools but think they have so much data on display that there might not be much more space to add this field in.

So I think all in all Raventools are the winners in the Linkdex vs Raventools SEO rank tracking extravaganza…

Site Comparison

Linkdex do something clever with this. When they crawl the sites links they are also categorizing the type of link. So for example you have a forum link, blog link or a directory link etc… They also do this for competitors AND timeline the results. So without any work you can see where you are building links over time and also where your competitors are building links over time. Nifty as this means you can adjust your attention accordingly – For example if your competitor is jumping above you in the SERPs, you can trace this back to bunch of forum links they created a few weeks ago, or perhaps to a few guest-blogs they did that just got indexed. Fab feature.

Again Raventools comes out on top with the amount of data they are recording. And they have a killer SERP tracker too so you can view your competitors rankings right next to yours. They also give you the mozRank, number of pages indexed and domain authority. They also automatically find your top competitors. Yay!

A close one. So in this Linkdex vs Raventools site comparison skirmish I have to say I prefer Linkdex because of its categorization of links and the timeline feature. Both really useful tools which give you actionable data to help your link building.

Link Building

Both Linkdex and Raventools have some great tools to help you build links. In fact the best tool is probably something you wouldn’t expect – a task management system. This is found in both web apps and it’s super useful when you work in a team. Again, say good bye to Excel! Now you can see who’s doing the work and delegate specific link building to different members of your team.

If you’re a 37 signals fan you’ll be happy to hear you can even plug into basecamp. I’m not a user, so not a biggie for me – but I can understand that being a massive boon for Raventools.

The Linkdex link building tools are great. You can view your competitor links and add them to your prospect list. You can also look at the suggestions that Linkdex offers you which is a nice touch – auto link prospecting. Once again it’s all categorized which is really helpful and once a link is made you can record this in the Links I Have Built section. It also has the time-line ability, so you can filter links by recency – especially useful for snooping at the link building efforts of competitor sites!

Raventools is better integrated into the task management system in my opinion. It also shares similar functionality to Linkdex in that you can assign a status to the link created. Easy to use and really practical.

But best of all is the Raventools link tracking – which means if someone adds a rel=no follow to your link you will be alerted or if someone takes your link down you will be alerted. Fantastic and automatic – Good work Raventools.

 

Site Optimisation

I like that Raventools auto syncs with a WordPress blog. So your copywriter can log into Raventools, have the content checked for keyword density and readability and then publish to the live site. I don’t think this would too ideal if you want the actual business owner to take responsibility of their SEO content but it is good for outsourced content creation.  Especially as it’s hooked up to Textbroker where you can order articles directly into Raventools.

But I think I must have missed a whole section of Raventools as I couldn’t find anything else to help with on-site optimization! It must be there somewhere hidden in the trove of tools available. I hope someone can point me in the right direction.

As for Linkdex, there optimization tools come in two places. As we are WordPress web designers we love that Linkdex teamed up with Yoast and have made a killer addition to the great Yoast SEO plugin. Here is a screengrab of some of the great data you get:

yoast-plugin
yoast-plugin

I admit, this is free. But I think some credit should be given to Linkdex.  This data is also available within Linkdex and has the added bonus of allowing you to assign any jobs to other team members using the task manager. Nifty.

I have to say Linkdex do best here in the Raventools vs Linkdex spar but I fear I may have missed the Raventools site optimization section.

 

Conclusion

There are a million more aspects to both these web apps. I have tried to cover the tools we find important. I have to admit that I don’t think that one tool is better than the other – Isn’t it annoying when that’s the conclusion!

I think Raventools has a gazillion times more functionality – especially for other internet marketing purposes. It also has more detail. I like the redesign they went live with in summer 2011 but find using the tool a little disorientating. We kept tripping up over adding keywords and preferred the automation of Linkdex.

Actually I preferred the less cluttered approach of Linkdex. What it lacks in functionality it makes up in clarity. This means we work better and more. We chose to use Linkdex because of this as we could tell our work would be more productive and as I said at the start you can get to No.1 all you need is time and hard work!

Saying that, some of us at Raison Online are still lusting over a lot of features found in Raventools. In particular we think Linkdex lacks a good link explorer. It may tap into Majestic SEO but you’ll need a purchase this separately for link research. Raventools on the other hand have a built in Backlinks explorer so you don’t have to spend twice.

Both tools are very comprehensive, so much so that I may have missed or misunderstood some of the functionality. I look forward to testing out Raventools in a few months time and seeing if I get on better next time but for the moment I’m sticking with Linkdex. Both tools are in constant development and I think the SEO community will really benefit from the great work both companies are producing.