SheerSEO Now Supports City/Zip Code SERPs Tracking in US

We now started supporting localization per zip code in the US.

Since Google now localizes the results not only per country, but also per specific city, or even regions within the city in bigger cities, some businesses need to see how they are doing in the SERPs for those localizations. This is mostly relevant to businesses that target their local people. For example, a coffee shop in Denver needs to know their rank in Google’s results for “coffee shop” when someone searches in Denver, but it is irrelevant for people outside Denver. Same goes for a plumber. He needs to rank only in his local town, and doesn’t expect to be invited from people in other states in the US.
As mentioned, Google can figure out your location (based mostly on your IP), and then serve the results that fit you most.

Now SheerSEO enables you to find how you rank for a specific location based on US zip code (5 digits number). You can either set that from the search terms screen, effecting only specific keywords you need, or can set the default localization for the website and have all added keywords affected by that default.

Let’s start with adding one keyword that is localized per zip code. We go to settings>domain settings>search terms screen, and add the keyword in the format “keyword**us**zip code” (note this only works in the US), for example “seo software**US**01040″. 01040 is the zip code for Holyoke, MA. Then just press submit.
local serps zip code

Now, we can see the keyword added with the zip code in the rankings screen:
local serps zip code view
Note how this result is different from the country level localization rank next to it.

If you know that all of your keywords need to be set to this localization, you can set this as default in the settings>domain settings>account details screen.
See here:
local serps zip code default
Once you set this, you will no longer need to write the “**us**zip code” part when you add new keywords. The localization set in the account details screen will automatically be applied to them.
Note that the default doesn’t effect the keywords you already added before. Only the ones you’ll add after setting the default localization for the website.
Note: if you have a default zip code set, but still want to add keywords that are localized by the country level, you can do that by writing “keyword**US”.

Hope all of these explanations make sense and you’ll like the new feature.

Page Optimization

I’m happy to announce on our newest feature, called “page optimization”. One of our most common tasks in SEO is to optimize a page for a certain keyword. Usually this involves altering the page to have the keyword in the title & H1 tag, improve keyword density of the keyword in the page. Maybe add it as an alt text to one of the images. Having it in the keywords meta tag and description tag, etc.
So, a typical scenario could be someone who uses SheerSEO and sees that he has a page ranking pretty well for a certain keyword. Next logical step is to make sure the page is well optimized for that keyword.

So, here is one example, taken from our online demo (where we track our own site, sheerseo.com):
page optimization
We want to optimize in this example the optimization of our main page, http://www.sheerseo.com for the keyword “online SEO software”.
For start, we see an optimization grade on the top that says we get 52/100 for the optimization, so there is some work to be done. Next we look at the table of optimization factors and we can see that while we are doing well for some factors, like accessibility to search engines, we are not doing well for other optimization factors, like having the keyword in the title tag. This is up to us if we like to improve those issues or not. We might want to leave the page as it is since it is currently optimized for more important keywords. If we do want to improve something, we can see the required action on the right most column of the table, and act accordingly. once we have finished the work, we can use the button on the top right to refresh the data. It will go and check our optimization once again. Hopefully, the new check gives a better grade, and we got one less issue to worry about.

Restrictions
This feature, as many others, will only be shown to clients that own the account. Or, in other words, will not be exposed to accounts that are part of an agency account. This way, only the owner of the agency account can use this feature, and his clients will only see the reports like rankings, etc.
As for the limits for each package. Basic packages, light, standard and agencies with basic features, can only perform one test a month per domain. Advanced package accounts (and agencies with advanced features) are allowed 50 tests a month per domain. And finally, professional thin and professional packages (and agencies with pro features) are allowed 100 tests a month per domain.

Compare Past Rankings

We’ve launched a new feature this week that allows to compare the rankings of your website between 2 past dates.
This can be useful to see the progress achieved during a work done in the past or simply see the progress over a given time period in the past.

Here is an example:
Compare Past Rankings
Note this is done in the rankings>history>all keywords screen. There is a “compare” button on the top right cornet which uses to do this comparison.

By using the export buttons on the bottom of the screen, you can get PDF/CSV exports of this comparison.

Integrating Data From Google Webmaster Tools

The Motivation
Not sure if you are aware of that or not, but recently Google started hiding information regarding the keywords that initiated searches from the sites that the users are going to. Google claims this is for privacy reasons.
Some people think it is an issue with Google Analytics, but it isn’t. No matter which tracking software you use, the same thing happens. You can’t tell which keywords were used to drive people to your site. You only see a fraction of the data, but not everything.
The only way to solve this is to see this information in Google Webmaster Tools.
This is why we decided to integrate Google Webmaster Tools data into SheerSEO!

The Result
Before we start explaining how to activate this feature, let’s start by showing what it does.
Webmaster Tools Result
As you can see, there are 2 new columns in the rankings screen. “impressions” and “visits”.
“Impressions” shows the number of times your site appeared in Google searches for that keyword within the last 30 days. Note that this is different from the “search volume” column figure, since the “search volume” shows the number of times this search was made, regardless if your site appeared in the results.
“Visits” shows the number of times people clicked your site from the Google results for that keyword.

This feature only exists for users with advanced or professional licenses. If integrated, this data replaces the data coming from Google Analytics, which is shown in the “real clicks” column. This is because the “visits” is the same information as the “real clicks”, just more reliable.

How to Activate
To activate this feature you first need to allow us to “view” this information in Google Webmaster Tools. Then, just finish the activation by pressing a button in our system, so we can try to integrate the data.
First, let’s show how to share this data in Google Webmaster Tools. If you don’t use Google Webmaster Tools, you can start to by going here: Google Webaster Tools.
Now, once you have an account at Google Webmaster Tools, login to it and go to the home screen. On the right of each Domain there’s a “Manage site” button; click on it and select “Add or Remove Users”. See here:
wmt integration 1
Next you should be in the “Users & Site Owners” screen. Click on the top-right button called “ADD A NEW USER”, a new block will opened:
wmt integration
Now, enter our e-mail “sheerseo@gmail.com”, keep the permissions “Restricted” and click “Add”:
wmt integration 3
That’s it for allowing us to view your data in Webmaster Tools. Now all is left to do is to activate this feature in our settings screen and see if it works.
Login to your SheerSEO account, and go to settings > domains settings > account details screen. At the bottom of the screen you’ll find the activation button. Press it and if all goes well, you’ll see a message that says the integration worked. Now you can see the new columns, “impressions” and “visits” in the rankings screen as shown above.

SheerExplorer.com Launched – a Brand New Site Explorer

I’m happy to announce that we are launching a brand new service – Backlinks Checker (Site Explorer). It is on a different domain, SheerExplorer.com.
This project started after Yahoo decommissioned their site explorer about 2 years ago. What it does, if you don’t know what site explorer means, is show your website’s backlinks. Initially, this was supposed to be a 3 months project, but then we realized how hard it is to collect all pages over the internet and store their backlinks data. So only now, after about 2 years, we got the work done.

The Motivation for This Project
For those of you, who already use our services, you know that we are showing much of the backlinks data in the “Main Referrers” screen. But the “Main Referrers” data is only partial, which is why we called it main Referrers.
There used to be a free option, with Yahoo Site explorer. But Yahoo decided to stop supporting it, and the SEO community was left only with paid services. You can still see your website’s backlinks if you have access to Google Webmaster Tools, but you’ll need to be the owner (or have cooperation with the owner) of the site to get that kind of access. You can’t get that data for other sites if you like, for example to learn about your competitors’ backlinks. Even paid tools that do this are rare, since getting this data is very hard. I believe, that except Google and Bing, there are only about 3-4 companies that have this type of information in a decent level.
So, I decided we will develop such a service. Which is now offered for free. The only thing you need is to register for the service and confirm your email address.

About SheerExplorer
The interface of Sheer Site Explorer is very simple. There are 2 tabs. One for backlinks and one for top pages. Once you type the URL of the website and press the “explore” button, you get all the data that we collected for the website.
Inbound Links Tab:
inbound links sheerExplorer
Top Pages Tab:
top pages sheerExplorer
I think the screen pretty much speak for themselves. No need to go over every column and explain how it works. At least not here.

How Does This Tool Compare to Other Site Explorers?
The service is new, so the data and features are basic. But, as more time will pass, more data will be gathered (we are collecting millions of pages as you read this post (: ). I’m sure it will soon have as much information as you can find in the top tools, like MajesticSEO.

Access for SheerSEO Users
As I mentioned above, the tool is now free to all users. SheerSEO users, can use their SheerSEO login to access SheerExplorer.

I hope you give SheerExplorer.com a try. Feel free to give any feedback regarding it.

Raven Are Shutting Down Their Rankings

So, as many of your heard. Raven tools, which are one of the favorite solutions for rank tracking by SEO agencies, are stopping their rankings feature early next month. This is due to Google actions against them.
I just want to make it clear that we are going to keep this feature live and there is no problem using our rankings.
It will also be possible to import the rankings you had at Raven to our system.

If you are a Raven client and trying to find new solutions, feel free to contact us using the contact form.

New User Interface!!!

It has been a while since we launched something and users start asking why we didn’t load any new features. The reason was that we were working on a few bigger improvements and those take long time to develop. One of those new improvements is a new UI (user interface).

Here is how it looks like:

Let me walk through the major changes done in this new UI:

1. Simply looks better and cleaner!  - The old interface was designed before the site actually launched and many things were added as we grew, but there wasn’t any graphic designer involved, so things got a little messy as code developers do stuff.

2. The navigation changed from screens>tabs to dynamic tree. The advantages are that you can now open the branches in the tree that you are focusing on without seeing so many screens open in the menu. Also, with the tabs you had to first open the initial tab set for that screen, wait for it to come, and only then go to the tab you actually interested in. This is now avoided. You just open the branch, for example settings, and from there choose the actual screen you want to open, say “groups” page.

3. We open (at least in most cases), only the part of the screen that changes, instead of refreshing the entire screen. This makes navigation faster, and cooler.

Still working on some fixes/improvements for the UI, but hopefully, you already find it useful. Feel free to express your feelings about it, even if you are one of those who simply hate changes.

Using MajesticSEO

As many of you heard, Yahoo Site Explorer is no longer working as of today. We used to rely on it for collecting the number of back links.

So, today we started to gather this information from MajesticSEO. So, don’t be surprised to see a major increase in the number of backlinks. Yahoo Site Explorer wasn’t very reliable lately.
Here is one example of how this looks like on one of the sites we track:
Majestic number of backlinks

We will work to even improve this data in the future by collecting some of this data internally, so stay tuned.

We also plan to break this information further, so we can show the number of sites linking to you domain and to break this information to follow/no follow links.

Content Benchmarking – Next Step in On Page SEO

I want to introduce a new feature, which is aimed to help in our on page SEO efforts. It is an advanced way to analyze how well our page is optimized for a certain keyword.
So first, let’s explain the logic behind this. We want to optimize the content of a page for a certain keyword. First thing we would do is make sure that our keyword is present in the page. If we want to be more precise about that, we would analyze the keyword density, or even better, make sure the relative weight of that keyword within the page makes sense, which means that the keyword has enough volume, taking into consideration the html tags the keyword is present in. For more info about that, see here: http://www.sheerseo.com/blog/improved-keyword-density/152/

Now, that is a nice start, but Google are probably more advanced than just counting the keywords as part of their content analysis. We should expect them to look for more keywords within the page that are related to that target keyword. As an example, think about “seo software” as a keyword. Google (and the other search engines) would probably want your page to cover not just “seo software”, but also have related keywords like “download”, “free seo software”, “seo tools”, “rank tracking”, etc. It really makes a lot of sense to do that. Otherwise, a page that has content about adult sex and “seo software” at 6% density would be counted as related to “seo software”.

OK, so what we need is to make sure that our page covers most of the relevant keywords. But, we don’t really know what those keywords are, right?!
So, our approach would be to compare your page to the leading results in Google for that keyword. They must be doing something right to get to the first page. The comparison highlights keywords we are not using enough in our page.

Here is one example of what we can show:
content benchmarking

So, you see that we don’t have “search engine optimization” in our page, but 6 out of 10 of the leading results have that. The average keyword density for it is 0.37%, while ours is 0. On the leading results that have this keyword, it is used in the HTML tags: title, H2, H3-H6, meta keywords (in the head section), description, …

If we want to dive in and see exactly how this keyword is used in those pages, we can press the “more info” link, and see this:
content benchmarking Details

Here we see exactly how it is used in each page and what the rank of that page is within these results.

This new feature is available in all packages, but has different limitations. In the basic accounts (not advanced or professional) it is only there so you can taste it…
For agency packages, only the agency user can see this screen.

Please let me know what you think of it.

Facebook Tracking

With Facebook getting so much attention in the marketing area, we can no longer leave that behind. Also, there are claims that Facebook shares effect your Google rankings. So we need to pay some attention to how our websites are mentioned on Google.

We started collecting Facebook data last week, and today the data is available on a new screen called “Facebook”, just below the Twitter one. Here is how we show the data:
facebook tracking

On the upper part, we show a graph that sums up the different mentions of your website on Facebook. That includes shares, likes and comments. Simply put, anywhere any of your website’s pages is mentioned as a link, we count that. This allows to see the development over time for your Facebook presence.

The lower part of the screen shows the breakdown of the different Facebook mentions(shares, likes and comments) of your website’s pages. This data only shows the current status.

For sites with many URLs mentioned on Facebook, it will take a few data collections to gather all the mentions. This is because of technical reasons.