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Web site optimization and submission software

Over the last few years, I haven't had much interest in all-in-one web site submission and optimization packages. It's been my belief, that has been validated on a number of occasions, that these packages can do more harm than good. From what I have seen in the past, they have their uses, but in the hands of the unwary, they are like a complex piece of machinery liable to chew you up and spit you out the other end.

Optimization/submission software dangers

One of the problems with many software applications has been that automated means of optimization tends to go into overkill mode, crossing the lines of ethical optimization into spamming. 

Another issue has been that there's only a few search engines really worthwhile submitting to and many submission/optimization packages simply spam engines and the submissions are rejected.

Finally, and most importantly, search engine companies have been known to ban the IP's of users of these software packages for sending too many automated queries. In a couple of instances, the company selling the software has been blacklisted as well and there is some evidence to suggest that some sites that have used certain packages were also banned/penalized.

It's really been a matter, in my mind anyway, of "humans do it better"

but..

A couple of years ago, I very briefly reviewed a package called WebCEO. It wasn't much at that time, so I passed it by. A few days ago, Web CEO invited me to take another look at their optimization/submission software and boy, things have changed. Web CEO comes in a number of flavors, from a free edition to 2 very reasonably priced intermediate versions, to a full blown enterprise suite.

Free optimization software - trial WebCEO

Free site submission and optimization software. Download the free version today!


Web CEO has evolved into huge suite of useful, easy to use applications to assist in many aspects of submission, optimization, marketing and monitoring. Here's a list of the main features that I've taken a look at so far:

General 

Each time you launch Web CEO, the application checks for updates to ensure that you have the most current database. Even though I've been using it for under a week, I've received 3 live updates already - it's nice to see a company keeping their products current; especially important in the world of search engine optimization.

One of the very positive things about WebCEO is that it's not just for experienced marketers or optimizers. The help files are, well, helpful - light on the jargon and technobabble. Where there is jargon, it is explained. The interface is clean, clear and easy to use.

Project management

You can create separate projects for each of your sites, with custom settings, reporting and backups. Web CEO is a multi-tasking application that allows you to perform analysis on multiple projects simultaneously. For those providing SEO and SEM services to others, you are able to brand reports with your own company details.

Keyword analysis

Drawing from a database consisting of close to 200 million keywords and phrases, Web CEO generates the most popular results related to your query. Not only that, it will also estimate how many competitor sites are using those terms in order that you can identify niches where competition is light. Identification of these terms is made even simpler by Web CEO's Keyword Effectiveness Index, which is calculated by the popularity of terms with searchers in comparison to competition with other sites.

The keywords tools also includes a feature where you can check the bid rates at Overture.

Optimization tools

This set of tools will examine your pages and identify weaknesses and potentially nasty situations such as keyword density that's too high, hidden text etc. Web CEO will generate advice in plain English in relation to optimizing for certain engines. This is where the value of the live updates come into play as search engines are constantly changing their rules.

There is also a feature in Web CEO to compare your site to other sites and receive advice based on the comparison; e.g. "Site A has a higher X keyword density than your site." Web CEO will also tell you how many sites link to yours.

Web Page Editor 

This is a great addition; the ability to edit your pages from within the application, either using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface, or the HTML editor. The editor feature also has separate features for inserting important SEO data such as Title tags, keyword and description statements. The page editors can also perform search and replace on multiple pages, very handy for on-the-fly tweaking - you can even get keyword density statistics from within this section. Included is an FTP application for publishing files.

Search engine submission

I'm still a big believer in manual submissions to major engines, and these days, engines such as Google and Yahoo will find you if you have a link from another listed site. Even a manual submission to the big 3 only takes a few minutes. What I don't recommend is manually submitting your site to minor engines, especially if you'll only receive a few visitors a week from them. Still, traffic is traffic and Web CEO allows you to submit to over 150 smaller engines by filling in a bit of information (some of it is already completed for you based on your site) and clicking the button - very handy. WebCEO keeps it's database up to date of the guidelines for various engines to assist you in getting listed. Unlike other submission tools, there's less hit and miss - you'll get a result if your submission was successful, and if it wasn't, why.

Ranking checking

There's many rank checkers around, but none I've seen quite like this one. It performs all the usual tasks for checking engines for your rank based on key terms specified, and provides comparative analysis with other sites, but it will also do so in relative safety. Constant rank checking is an issue that has seen many webmasters have their IP blocked by search engines, and deservedly so. While Web CEO gets around this problem by using proxies, I still *strongly* advise "all things in moderation" - play it fair by the search engines, after all, they are what brings us all business. Web CEO's rank checking reports can be refined with filters, geo-targeting and the results can be archived.

Link popularity tool

A fairly standard tool in optimization packages; nothing special in Web CEO's version, but it is nicely presented. It will tell you how many and who are linking to your site. Filters help make this a very useful application.

Traffic reporting

Quite a comprehensive set of reports; including:

- Unique Visitors
- Page Views
- Repeat Visitors
- Total Downloads
- Downloads by Files 
- Entry/Exit pages
- Repeat visits
- Clickstreams
- Referring sites
- Keywords used (traffic via search engines)
- User info (browser type, monitor resolution etc.)
- Country of original

Web CEO's traffic analyis also includes some very useful reports related to eCommerce; such as the relation between countries and transactions, average order size, visits before first order.

You can even track your ad campaigns with Web CEO - discover what ads are working best for you in terms of clickthroughs, clickthroughs resulting in sales and more - very important data for calculating ROI.

Site auditing

Another very useful set of tools. Detects broken links, missing images, slow pages, orphaned files, old pages redirects . WebCEO also includes HTML validation. All these tools generate results in well laid out reports.

Free optimization software - trial WebCEO

Free site submission and optimization software. Download the free version today!

Web site monitoring

You can have the most optimized site in the world, but it's not going to do you any good if your site is down. Web CEO will monitor HTTP, POP3, SMTP, FTP, IMAP, SSH, SNPP, Telnet and HTTPS, plus 2 custom ports. You can specify to be alerted via a variety of services. Even saving a few minutes of downtime can mean an increase in profits

Summary

Phew, time to take a breath. As you can see, Web CEO is a very comprehensive package and I've only just started using it! I'm sure there's a plethora of other features I haven't yet discovered.

As I mentioned, there's a Free version of Web CEO software available - I highly recommend downloading a copy. While the free version doesn't include all the features mentioned above, it will give you a good feel of this very useful application.

.. and remember, all things in moderation; there is such a thing as over-optimization. While WebCEO is probably the best optimization/submission software I've come across to date; it is just a software application, use it with common sense and fair play close to mind.

Further learning resources

Web site optimization tutorials and guides

Michael Bloch
Taming the Beast
http://www.tamingthebeast.net 
Tutorials, web content, tools and software.
Web Marketing, Internet Development & Ecommerce Resources
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