RankQuest Firefox Extension

I have also tried the RankQuest Firefox extension. This extension can be downloaded from https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/1471/. This extension adds a toolbar to Firefox. The toolbar contains links to many SEO-related functionalities, including the information on query terms and specific sites.

Below is a screenshot of what the extension looks like:

rankquest

Below is the score for each category:

Ease of installation: 5
Ease of use: 2
Amount of time for the information to appear: 5
Usefulness of information presented: 4
Amount of real estate taken up: 3
Documentation: 3
Total: 22

Ease of installation: Installation was quick and problem free.

Ease of use: Clicking on the toolbar takes you to a new tab. After checking several sites / query terms, the number of tabs can become unmanageable.

Amount of time for the information to appear: Data loads quickly.

Usefulness of information presented: Good information on the specific sites / query terms requested. There are also links to general SEO help. I don’t believe this is a useful feature for any SEO serious enough to install a toolbar.

Amount of real estate taken up: An additional toolbar is shown.

Documentation: Adequate documentation is available at http://www.rankquest.com/toolbarhelp.html.

Wish List

Ability to provide the option within the tool to specify whether to open a new tab or use the current tab.

Name for Danny Sullivan’s Next Conference

Writing about the possibility that Danny Sullivan might start his own conference got me thinking… what would be a good name for that conference? Below are some of my ideas:

Search Engine Look
Search Engine Monitor
Search Engine Series

But I think he should use the name of…

Search Engine World

This would be most fitting, as participation of SES from outside of the US is definitely growing, and even though the most dominant search engines are still US based, there are a number of local search engines that are doing well as the local level. This name would most represent the global nature of this conference.

Danny, what do you think?

Danny Sullivan leaving Search Engine Watch

Danny Sullivan announced in his blog that he is leaving Search Engine Watch, and almost certainly the Search Engine Strategies conference as well, after unable to come to a new contract with the current corporate owner of Search Engine Watch, Incisive Media.

This is a bummer as Danny has basically become the face of the SES conference, and his contribution to the SEO and SEM industry is well known. It remains to see how this will affect the popularity of SES conferences. I wonder how this will affect the SES turnout going forward. My guess is that short term (say within the next 6-12 months), there will only be a small effect at most. The true impact will be long term, as the SES conference needs to have tracks that are both up-to-date and interesting, not to mention good-quality speakers!

I hope someone other than Danny will read my feedback to SES San Jose 2006…

Firefox Extension from SEO Quake

The second Firefox extension I tried was SEO Quake’s tool. This tool can be installed from Firefox’s extensions page at https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/3036/. By the way, previously I had been using the term “plugin”, but it appears that “extension” is the proper term, so I’ll use “extension” from now on.

The highlights for this extension include:

1. Works on Yahoo, Google, MSN, and Russian search engines Rambler and Yandex by supplementing search results with key SEO statistics for each result.

2. For other web sites, a SEO Quake toolbar appears just above the page to indicate key SEO statistics for that page.

Below is the screenshot of how the extension looks on a Google search results page:

seoquake

1: Extra space taken up by SEO Quake, quite possibly for its own sponsored search results later.
2: Information related to each term.
3: The SQ symbol on the status bar means the SEOQuake extension tool has been installed.

Below is the screenshot of how the extension looks on a non-search results page:

seoquake

4: A toolbar showing SEO statistics for the site you are viewing.

Below is the score for each category:

Ease of installation: 5
Ease of use: 4
Amount of time for the information to appear: 5
Usefulness of information presented: 4
Amount of real estate taken up: 4
Documentation: 3
Total: 25

Ease of installation: Installation was quick and problem free.

Ease of use: It’s about at the same level as the SEO Book extension.

Amount of time for the information to appear: Data loads quickly.

Usefulness of information presented: The only thing missing is query-level information for web searches.

Amount of real estate taken up: On search results pages, only the metrics user specified show up. This avoided wasting valuable space. The toolbar showing site-specific SEO data took up a bit more space than I’d like to see.

Documentation: Adequate documentation is available at http://www.seoquake.com/index-en.php.

Wish List

1. I did not like the fact that the SEO Quake message appears in the sponsored search listings area.

2. Better documentation. It took me a bit of time to find out Yandex and Rambler are both Russian search engines.

Firefox SEO Plugin from SEO Book

Over the next several days, I will review the Firefox plugins available for the SEO community. The first is the SEO plugin produced by Aaron Wall of SEO Book. The plugin is not available at the Firefox extensions section, but can be accessed at the SEO Book site.

The highlights for this plugin are:

1. Requires no additional real estate on the toolbar. The presence of the plugin is indicated on the right side of the status bar.

2. Works on Google and Yahoo search results pages (not on other pages); displays information related to the query term and sites on the web page itself.Below is a screenshot of how the tool looks like when I search on Google:

seobook

1: Information related to the query term.
2: Information related to each site.
3: The SEO symbol on the status bar means the SEO plugin tool has been installed.

Below is the score for each category:

Ease of installation: 5
Ease of use: 4
Amount of time for the information to appear: 3
Usefulness of information presented: 5
Amount of real estate taken up: 3
Documentation: 5
Total: 25

Ease of installation: Go to the site, click on the link to start the install, and restart Firefox. Very easy and straightforward.

Ease of use: I was slightly confused at the very beginning as to how best to leverage the tool. However, everything became clear after a little reading and playing with the tool.

Amount of time for the information to appear: It does take a bit of time for all relevant data to show up for each link.

Usefulness of information presented: Information shown is very useful, covering both the site and the query term.

Amount of real estate taken up: Due to amount of information shown, this tool does take up a fair amount of real estate on the web page.

Documentation: A good documentation is available at the download site.

Wish List

1. I hope the extension only lists the information the users wish to see. For example, as the figure shows, I only want to see 3 data points for each link, yet all data points were listed, occupying valuable real estate unnecessarily.

2. Right now, the way the information is updated for links is that one set of data points is populated first, and then the next set. For example, PR info for all sites are updated before Age info. It would be great if information can be updated by link — i.e., all data points for the first result are shown before any data point for the second result is shown, and so on. I tend to want to see all information for a single site at once, and naturally I’ll be looking at the results for the top-ranked sites first. Currently I have to wait a while before I can see the complete result for any site.

3. Inclusion of additional search engines, such as MSN and Ask.com.

Web Analytics

I was at SES San Jose, and one thing that was of particular interest to me was the state of web analytics. Having a data warehousing background myself, I was interested to find out what’s the latest and greatest on the analytics side for web traffic analysis.

The most popular web analytics vendors were all there. After all, all the attendees are interested in search engine strategies, so they must all have a web site, and hence need to analyze traffic on their site. I visited several booths, and found out that there really isn’t anything new and amazing in the market out there. I had mixed feelings about this: A little disapppointed that there is no real advancement (but then, I can say the same thing about the OLAP tool market for the last 3 years), while also a little giddy because I am not behind the tide.

I was inspired by what I saw to create a simple web analytics package on my own, something that would do the basics such as getting session information, do country lookup from IP address, landing page analysis, etc. Nothing fancy on the graphics side or SEM analysis. The basically framework is now ready, and I am already using this to analyze my own web sites. With some additional modification to make this more configurable, I could make this a free downloadable resource — now this would be a nice link baiting strategy. :)