This is the first time we have done a software review on our blog. We have been experimenting with a variety of software systems and thought we would give this a try. You can download a free trial of both Advanced Web Ranking (software used for search engine ranking and website ranking) and Advanced Link Manager (a keyword research tool) on the Caphyon website.
The first thing I did when I opened the software was click the button to get the tour. I was a bit uninspired by the dull nature of the information it pulled up. The tour, although thorough, didn’t seem to give me what I hoped in terms of direction to get started and make the most out of the software in as little time as possible. But let’s be realistic, learning takes time. If I were the product manager in charge of product developments for this software I would make a serious effort to make the initial introduction to the software a bit more user friendly. Maybe a video tour (à la Apple’s iWork suite introduction videos that play when you first open the software).
After diving into the software, I began to see things that I’ve deemed as hugely helpful. First, creating a new project is very simple. There’s a wizard that you go through to setup your websites, but it’s more than the simple wizards you often see on other software. During the keyword setup for example, you can do things like add keywords and check for keyword suggestions at the same time. This is very helpful if you have not already identified the keywords you want to go after. You can even import keywords from a website, a file, or even copy and paste them in if you have them already organized somewhere else. That’s awesome—this part of he project setup was very well thought out and will save me a lot of time. I also like that I can set the priority of the keywords. I have an idea about what this might do, but I’m not sure exactly what it’s going to mean once I start running reports. Maybe an additional explanatory paragraph on the right side of the software in the “context help” would make it so I don’t have to think about that. I’m a fan of the Steve Krug mantra “Don’t Make Me Think.”
Moving along. I’m now in the websites tab in the project setup wizard. I’m supposed to enter a URL for the website associated with this project. Again, here it would be nice to have a bit more information before moving along. Does Advanced Web Ranking consider www.industryforge.com and industryforge.com as the same site, or does it consider them as two separate sites like many search engines would? An explanation here would be good, even if it’s off to the right, or in an intro video.
Under SMTP settings, there is a box that lets me inherit SMTP settings from the global preferences. I’m sure I can change this later, but it would be nice to be able to setup the global preferences right now too. Either that, or have the software detect that I have no global preferences, and add a checkbox that says “use these settings as global preferences.” Then I could enter it once here and never do it again. As it is, I have to just check the box and then go to the global preferences once I’m done with the wizard. That’s no big deal, but would have been simpler if I could enter them here and apply to global preferences as I go.
The next step is entering client’s emails. This is very straight forward. I like that I have the option to add as many emails as I want and it does not restrict me to emails within the domain I’m setting up a project for. Many times my clients don’t even have email addresses with their domain.
I like a lot of features on the software. There are many things that make life very simple, like compare to dates, the ability to take notes, pdf report exporting and a few other things. The fact that I can customize reports to export in a variety of formats and according to schedules is huge. I’ll be able to develop a system that exports data to CSV format that is automatically added to my clients’ portal for them to review the report data on our monthly status call. Fantastic!
Now on to Advanced Link Manager.
The first thing I noticed was that there is no way to import settings from one software to the other. At least it’s not very apparent. I wish I could pull the settings from Advanced Web Ranking over to the Link Manager. Even if it’s just to setup SMTP. That would be really nice — again, it’s probably available, but is not apparent from the get go. And I’ll probably never need it after I’m past the get go, so it’s probably best to make it apparent at that point.
I think there is a bug in the SMTP testing. I know for a fact that I’ve entered the correct information for my gmail account, yet I’m not getting any email from AWR or ALM. Not sure what’s up.
The wizard for setting up a new project is also very simple in ALM. I like that they give an example of the domain here (either with www or without). The search engine setup is simple but could really use a select all button for the checkboxes. Maybe they left that off on purpose to discourage people from selecting them all so the data gathering doesn’t take so long.
Overall, I really like the Advanced Web Ranking and Advanced Link Manager softwares. They are both pretty easy to setup and are extremely powerful in helping you with your link popularity. I’m excited to see how these tools will simplify my efforts going forward. As it is now I cobble together a bunch of disparate tools and a few homegrown resources. I’ll update this post once I have a few months of trial done on these softwares to let you know how it’s gone.