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Digging Deeper With Raven – Raven Tools Review

Anyone who knows me is aware that I have a lot of love for Raven.

Back in December the proverbial hit the fan for some of their customers when they announced that Google ranking and the SERP tracker, would no longer be included in their tool set. I have to admit that I was a little perplexed. Sure, the rankings were an important part of what Raven do, but that was it; just a part.

Raven has always provided a lot more than most other tools and at a fraction of the price.

Recently I got into a discussion with Jeremy at Raven about the recently released Site Auditor and how it was working out for us, and I promised to write about it. Whilst I was digging around, I soon realised that there are so many hidden gems within Raven that get so little coverage that it was probably worth talking about those instead.

Surely if people were digging deeper they would have seen that Raven was far more than a way to report rankings…

Site Auditor

The Site Auditor has only been live a few months but has already become a valuable go to for the Boom team. Although you are limited to 1000 pages at the moment it gives you a great snapshot of your site and its current health. It also allows you download issues into PDF format for reporting to clients (or potential clients) as well as csv to help you work through the on-site problems in a systematic fashion.

I managed to get a few quotes from Jon Henshaw about the Site Auditor:

Me: Some info on the background would be good. I know you guys have stuff on the back burner for a while. How long did it take to get it live? What are the logistics of running it for a big client base? Why the 1000 limit (it’s my only big gripe having e-commerce sites).

Site visibility is at the core of SEO and I’ve wanted to build our own site auditor for quite some time. In preparation to building it, we created a prototype and secretly tested it with several of our customers. That helped us refine the feature set to ensure a successful launch.

We plan on increasing the number of pages we crawl for each site. We started off with a 1k limit, because we wanted to ease into it and make sure we properly scale it and fix the edge cases first.

Me: Why should people use it over other audit tools? Not saying they shouldn’t…just asking! Any clues on what might happen next with it? I know what you guys are like!

Our focus was on making a site auditor that was simple enough for a novice to understand, but complex enough for a webmaster to use. I think Raven’s Site Auditor strikes that perfect balance and also includes the ability to create reports for clients and managers.

Since the launch, we’ve been actively updating the Site Auditor with new features and fixes. One of the features we’ll be launching soon is the ability to detect and report on microdata. (note: since talking to Jon this has gone live – lazy Wayne)

site auditor with colour

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Quality Analyser

Raven Tools has a great section for analysing sites called Research Central. This is particularly useful whether you’re using it for audits or for competitor research.

A few months back Raven integrated one of their other tools, Custom Rank, into Research Central that allows you to set the scoring system for sites. Why aren’t more people talking about this?

By choosing the metrics that matter to you, you are then able to set the metrics and have a central system that allows your team to judge the quality of a site – be that for guest blogging, link resource page evaluation, website reviews or proposals.

custome score

The custom modules section lets you choose and then assign both the influence it will have of your quality score and how the scoring is segmented (you will find that you have different scoring for different verticals).

custom modules

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Site Finder

Raven has a fantastic Link Manager section that allows you to monitor your built links and keep the sites in one Website Directory across all your sites/clients. The tool that is probably underused in this section is the Site Finder.

You simply enter the keyword you wishing to research and Raven goes off and finds the domains that link to the top 10 results (via Bing). Assuming all other things are equal you can imagine a link from some of the sites that link to the top 10 for chosen phrase will be quite valuable!

site finder

Wait for the results to come back in and you have a list of highly relevant sites that are potentially helping other sites to rank for your keyword:

site finder 2

Just be careful of authority bloat!

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Contact Finder

Finding contact details for the owner of a site can sometimes be quite labour intensive and Raven goes some way to addressing this with their nifty little Contact Finder.

contact finder

Watch the magic happen:

discover contacts 2

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Backlink Explorer

Whether you are checking a client’s backlink profile or that of a competitor you need to make sure they are healthy and (relatively) spam free.

backlink finder

Raven Backlink Explorer uses Majestic data (you shouldn’t just use OSE data) and allows you to chop it up within the tool – handy of you are looking for an overuse of anchor text or figuring out what tactics the competition are using.

backlink explorer 2

It also has a handy filtering system to allow you quick access to the data that you need:

backlink expolorer 3

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Raven Tools has always been more than a rank checker, it is a full internet marketing suite of tools. In today climate you need a more holistic strategy and the tool set to match it.

Wayne Barker

Wayne Barker

Wayne has been at Boom since like forever and specialises in SEO, Content and Outreach. An accidental entry into the world of SEO has left him with little spare time. When not at work or with his family, you can find him amidst a pile of records.View Author posts

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