SEO Effect is a new suite of search engine optimization tools that’s currently under development by a team headed by Dutch search marketing expert Keesjan Deelstra. I had the opportunity to review the SEO Effect software recently, unleashing it on two of my websites.
First of all it’s important to state that SEO Effect is a work in progress. So far the tool suite has a keyword research module and a trend monitoring module. Under development are the site optimisation, link strategy, and task management modules.
Registration is very easy and straightforward. SEO Effect works with a credits system where you buy credits for $9, which you can then spend on different site projects.
There is a free trial version that uses no credits, with which you can monitor 3 keywords and research 75 keywords a month. The largest package costs 6 credits a month and allows you to monitor up to 500 keywords and research 10,000 keywords.
When you create a new project for a site, you are asked to connect the SEO Effect suite to your site’s Google Analytics account (which can take a few minutes). While not a prerequisite for using the suite, it does add tremendous value to what you can do with SEO Effect and is in my view a must-do. The rewards are well worth it, as will become evident further in the review.
The whole registration and setup process is straightforward and very easy. There are checks on every field you submit to ensure you don’t make any typos – very handy for folks like me who think faster than they type.
After you’ve set up your project you can start researching keywords for your site. Here is where SEO Effect’s value begins to shine through. First, there are two modes: basic and expert. In the basic mode SEO Effect hides a lot of options and makes the process very straightforward, but a true SEO geek will want to use the expert mode.
Then you have to select one of four different objectives for your keyword research:
1. Get more visitors
2. Get visitors to stay longer, use the site better
3. Get visitors to convert to a goal
4. Get visitors to buy more online
For the third objective SEO Effect asks you which goal as identified in your Google Analytics account you want to attach to the keyword list. This then enables SEO Effect to track the effectiveness of your researched keywords against goal conversions as measured by GA.
In the next stage SEO Effect delivers three different approaches to researching keywords:
1. a list of keywords you provide yourself
2. keywords extracted from a website (not necessarily yours)
3. keywords extracted from your Google Analytics data.
Depending on your approach SEO Effect can deliver massive lists of keywords, which you can then organise and indicate how relevant they are for your website. This is a manual process, and unfortunately SEO Effect doesn’t yet allow multiple selection here, which means that sorting through a long list of keywords can be quite time-consuming.
Once you’ve defined your keywords you can track how your site is performing with the Trends module. SEO Effect doesn’t track keyword rankings, instead it monitors Traffic Share.
Traffic Share measures the actual traffic your site receives on various keywords (through your Google Analytics account) and compares it to the maximum potential traffic, which is distilled from the Google Adwords API.
The accuracy of the data provided by Google Adwords is in some dispute, but lacking a more reliable source I suppose this is as good a KPI as you’re going to get. SERP rankings are a fluid phenomenon these days and a Traffic Share KPI is a much more solid metric for measuring SEO success.
SEO Effect presents shiny aggregate graphs for your Traffic Share over time, and you can focus on specific keywords to see how they perform.
What I miss here is an export function that allows me to export the graphs and data. I could take screenshots and present these to site owners and/or management, but ideally I’d like to take the Traffic Share data and build my own graphs with it.
It’s hard to judge a suite of tools based on only two of its five modules, but I have to say I’m fairly impressed. If the three remaining modules under development will adhere to the standards of quality and robustness as set by the keyword research and trend monitoring modules, SEO Effect might well become one of the industry’s most powerful tool suites.
The keyword research module is robust, and aside from some usability improvements there’s little to find fault with. It’s a potent tool that’ll make your keyword research more streamlined and focused. The trend monitoring module is also highly useful, and I’m a big fan of the Traffic Share KPI.
I’ve been using the tool with a number of free credits kindly provided by its owners for the purpose of this review, but I have to admit that the keyword research and trend monitoring modules make paying for SEO Effect already worthwhile. And it can only get better from this point on.