Usability-first Search Engine Optimization

Raven SEO Tools Review

Raven Tools offers a fantastic set of SEO reporting tools. The minimalist interface is clean and intuitive.
Raven SEO Tools
Unless your only job is preparing website monitoring reports, I think simplicity should be on your software shortlist (there is such thing as too much data).

What I like about Raven Tools

  • Raven does keyword tracking really well. This is 90% of what I use my account for.
  • The reports are elegant, clean, customizable, and brandable, i.e., I can use my logo instead of theirs—this is important for any business.
  • Raven pulls data from multiple sources (SEOmoz, Majestic, SEMRush, Google Adwords, etc).
  • Support is phenomenal.

Raven Tools does a good job of giving us the choice of meaningful data to track, and making it easy to populate, easy to customize, and easy to output.

How could Raven Tools improve?

I’m adding my suggestions here as to how they could easily improve certain features. (If I didn’t like their product, I wouldn’t bother). BTW, Raven, I’m hoping you don’t mind my “open letter” suggestions; I’m hoping others that use your product will comment here.

Suggestions (Only worth reading if you’re familiar with Raven Tools)

Here are a few items I think would be nice additions:

  • Numbered rows: Result rows such as in the ranking report (and in the dashboard as well), would be more user-friendly with numbered rows. When discussing the report with a client, I had to describe where the row was, instead of just telling him the row number. Not the end of the world, but a bit distracting.
  • Left-aligned column text: Personally, I wouldn’t have chosen to center the text in the keyword column of keywords reports; the general consensus from a usability perspective is that centered text in tables is harder to scan than aligned. Again, not a huge deal.
  • Multiple “side-by-side” competitor comparisons: Allowing more than one competitor to be compared “side by side” in ranking reports would be a big improvement. As it is, if I want to provide side by side competitor comparisons in reports, I need to add additional SERP trackers for each competitor which creates a lot of redundancy (identical ranking reports with only the side by side competitor being different). This is confusing and impractical for both my clients and myself. Here are some possible solutions to the side-by-side competitor display issue:
    • Since space is an issue, maybe allow a certain number of columns in a ranking report. If I decide to remove global Adwords KW total searches from my report for example, I could add an additional competitor. A notification could let me know how many column selections I have left for my output combination.
    • Substitute competitor names with numbers that correspond to a legend.
    • Display competitor websites vertically in their columns.
    • Allow reports for the campaign website and side by side competitor rankings only. All the detailed columns could be reserved for the main ranking report; a separate one for competition comparison only would be really nice.

    With all this being said about solutions to the side-by-side competition comparison, in the reports I’ve generated so far, there’s actually been enough room for another couple of competitors, the option just isn’t available unfortunately. I’ve been tempted to export my .csv’s from my Raven Tools’ dashboard and make my own reports, but I’ll wait until the option (hopefully) becomes available.

    Until then, I’ll continue with Raven tools, great product.

About matt

Matthew Edward is the founder of Springboard SEO, a usability-first search engine optimization company in Montreal.