I don’t keep it a secret how much I love the SEO Tools by SEOmoz and Raven’s Internet Marketing Tools. I couldn’t imagine not being subscribed to both of these great pieces of software as they make my job as an SEO incredibly efficient. To access both of these tools requires a paid subscription and although they have different pricing models they are essentially close in pricing for a small company like mine. I pay about $100/month for access to each.
The dirty work of most seo projects normally includes competitive link building. Finding links that your competition has that you do not have is a great way to beef up a client’s link profile and is an easy / actionable task to get the link building ball rolling. Taking a look at your competition’s links will provide you with a great to-do list of sources to go after that are very well qualified as similar websites to the one you are promoting are already listed there.
There are two tools that I use on almost every job. SEOmoz’s Competitive Link Research Tool & Raven’s Site Finder. These both handle very similar tasks in that they help you find web pages that link to your online competition. There are pros and cons to both that I will outline below.
First up: SEOmoz
Now this is not a review of SEOmoz’s pro web app. It’s only looking at their Competitive Link Research Tool that is only accessible with a pro account. Basically, this tool will allow you to enter your website address and the url’s for up to 5 of your competitors to find all of the common linking sites in their index that point to you or your competition.
- You can specify who your competition is.
- You can easily tell which links you already have via an icon in one of the columns so you don’t waste time researching a URL you are already listed on.
- Gives you a nice to-do list by researching the sites that you do not have links on but your competition does ordered by the MOZrank of the sub domain.
- Zero integration with their main tool. It would be nice if this tool and link building in general was more integrated with their web app.
- No sortable columns in the interface.
- Although they provide an export to CSV file there is no way to easily filter or manipulate the results page.
I love this tool and it is a great research tool if you know who your competitors are in general and you don’t mind a little Excel work to keep track of everything. I am sure (#crosses fingers) that the pro web app by SEOmoz will someday integrate a variant of this tool directly and the life of a link builder will get much better for mozzers everywhere 🙂
Next Up: Raven
The tool called “Site Finder” within the Raven interface allows you to type a keyword into a text field and run a report on it. It basically goes out and gathers back-link information on every website that is currently in the top 10 of the SERP for the given keyword. You will the get a long list of linking websites to any of the websites on page one for your given search term.
- Very tight integration with the rest of the web app. You can click a link that will add the url to your queue for links to get in another part of the application.
- Really good usability with sortable columns, the ability to hide records and lots of different metrics visible for each link source.
- This is a saved report so you can access it again later
- The branding! The link and tool is called “Site Finder” which I don’t think is a very descriptive name for what the tool actually does making it very easy to overlook from within the raven tools arsenal.
- No easy way to see if your website already has a link from a given source unless your website is already in the top 10 for the given SERP.
- There should be some kind of indication of when a source link is a nofollow link.
The Site Finder Tool by Raven is a very very powerful tool that I look forward to seeing them build upon in the future. It’s tight integration with the rest of the web app has greatly streamlined my work flow as well as cutting down on the number of times I need to open Excel during tasks like these. Always a bonus!
And the Winner is…
If I was forced to pick one link building tool to assist me with competitive link building and research I would have to go with Raven. Do not get me wrong I would rather go without food than give up my access to SEOmoz’s tools. But for pure improvement on the efficiency of this particular type of link building research I would have to say that the Raven tool takes the cake….for now 🙂