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July 18, 2006

Review: Page Strength Tool by SEOMoz.org

By Li Evans

Last week SEOMoz.org released a new tool to the Search Marketing world called “Page Strength”. The tool takes an in-depth review of several different factors of a website’s “strength” within the search engine world. The nicest thing I found about this tool is that it does not rely on just one source to pull all of its information from.

The tool pulls information from Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Alexa, de.licio.us, as well as the Wayback Machine and more. This  tool can really help to broaden the total understanding a website's scope, reach and visibility in the search marketing arena as a whole (natural, social marketing, linking strategies, etc.).

Not being a fan of Google’s pagerank tool, I happily surfed over to Rand Fishkin’s site after reading a Page Strength Tool Review on SearchEngine Roundtable by Barry Schwartz. Barry actually took the time to create a nice visual summary of the tool’s use, so it’s worth checking out. Beyond Barry’s review, the tool also got the attention of Search Engine Watch and Threadwatch last week – which ended up driving a boat load of traffic to SEOMoz.org, so much so that they had to pull down the tool for a while.

First, let me say that I like this tool – it’s a great “quick glance” at where a website can stand in different elements of the search optimization. However, I don’t believe SEO marketers should rely on this soley. There are certain aspects I have questions with, which I did ask Rand about, and to his and Matt’s credit (smart thinking guys!) that information is being kept close to their vests as it differentiates them from anyone else.

This tool is nice because its gives a more well rounded view of the website’s existence in the search landscape. And this is Organic Search or Natural Search I’m speaking to here, the tool doesn’t focus on the paid search realm.

I’ve always have had questions about Google’s “Page Rank”, mostly my questions focus around “Page Rank for What?” and “What does Page Rank Really Mean?”. This tool takes the Page Rank from Google and uses it as a piece of the total picture, putting it along side of counts of links in Wikipedia, DMOZ, and de.licio.us. Taking these pieces along with counts of how many links are coming into a domain (also segmenting .edu and .gov links coming in and weighting their values), allows the webmaster/SEO marketer to have a better handle on where the website stands on a whole, not just in one search engine.

As I stated, I don’t believe this is a tool to solely base where a website stands on, there are other factors here that should be looked at, and until there’s a tool built, SEO professionals will still have to go about manually securing that information. The tool does look at the first 4 keywords in a title tag and how the site ranks for those in Google, however, when you are just taking over a site to do SEO for it, its not likely those first four words mean a thing to what the company’s bottom line is.

Where I’ve found the best use for this tool is in comparative analysis. Being able to put competitor websites on the same playing field and comparing the same data. The ability to say “look your competitor’s website is stronger than your website because they have all their bases covered, where your current site only is strong in one area” is a powerful visual tool when you are trying to prove a point or close the sale on your SEO services.

Rand & Matt have put together a really nice tool with Page Strength, one that I recommend adding to your “tool chest”, especially since they are offering it for free. Here’s hoping they might beef it up a bit and possibly offer a more complete version for a price – my bet is that they’re already working on it! A lot of us would pay money for such a tool.



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