SUmmary: Raven Tools is an impressive SEO tools and analytics set. If you're looking to fill the missing parts of your current tool set or if you don't have similar functionality in-house, take Raven Tools for a test drive: it delivers incredible value.
A standard dashboard view. The view is fully configurable.
The site tab lets you add your site's keyword, webmaster tools, etc.
I particularly liked and enjoyed the competitor tab A brilliant idea and implementation to keep your enemies close.
This is where a lot of the money is. Compared to the hotchpot of tools you need to get together to get a thorough research process in place, this section definitely delivers.
You can go about the research two ways: analyze the domain or analyze a page.
The domain report is thorough.
A lot of data is pulled from SEMrush. That's a given with Raven Tools; you pay once and get so many value from so many services back.
Organic keywords are reported with their position, traffic %, etc. The target URL is shown. You can then one-click add the keyword to your manager or to the SERP tracker. Handy!
I like the competitors in organic search view. Again, standard SEMrush data but the Raven value is in being a centralized tool set, not in being unique or in reinventing the wheel.
The URL level analysis gives a nice, detailed keyword view of a page.
Of course the reporting is backwards: from search engine view to the page, instead of analyzing the page and stating what it is relevant for. Difference is that the first is possible and doable while the latter is useless. Analyzing a page for keyword meaning with tools and filters other than Google's makes no sense.
I experienced the quality analysis as a bit of filler.
It shows the standard feedback for this type of report but to me it's not that useful. I don't spend a lot of time with this kind of data.
Likewise the semantic view amounts to either a feel-good moment, analysis paralysis, or worse " working on stuff that doesn't matter that much. Don't get me wrong; this is not a Raven issue " this is how I feel about these kind of reports in general.
The idea of the content manager reminds me a bit of Market Samurai from which you can also directly add content to your site. I prefer tailor made tools in that regard and am particularly fond of Windows Live Writer. The tool-set functionality and ease of use of such software is hard to compete with in an "we also do" kind of way.
Obviously the demand for such a tool was there, however, and who a I to deny others their joys?
As-is the content manager does what it needs to do and does it very well.
The blog manager lets you add all your sites.
Very interesting and desirable is the integration with Textbroker to order and get specific content.
Pick the category of the content you need. Give your desired article a title. Add your target keywords and an article description. Minimum and maximum word count. Raven reports the estimated cost for the article and off you go.
Smart. Very smart. Active verb: cranking.
The SEO section is essentially a link manager. All the tabs relate to link building.
The link manager is one of the best I've seen and contains all the data points you need to make sense of this stuff a year down the line. Beats an Excel spreadsheet? For a company, definitely. As soon as you're working with more than one person on stuff like this, collaborative tools make sense.
I love the site finder but some of the results were very very high level. Here I do a search to find sites where I can work with my keyword evernote and I get feedburner, sites.google.com, twitter.com and posterous.com. Obviously user content in user accounts or on subdomains of those domains can be applicable but the top view? Not so sure there.
The backlink explorer is cool. Here's a report for my own domain.
Now this is something. If you're in the market for a social tool, consider going this route and get social and so much more.
Obviously one of the best features here is Raven's Persona Manager.
There are tabs for Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
The social monitor provides a really nice way to stay on top things.
Likewise the forum search provides not only another excellent monitoring tool but content angle too. Both tools could just as easily have been added to the content manager and in fact should be cross linked, I think.
Very cool is the integration with KnowEm :
KnowEm let's you see, easily, from one place, if your user name is available across pretty much every, every, social network on the planet.
Besides the metrics already in place across the tool you can go wider here.
Add your Google Analytics account.
The SERP tracker can be found here too.
The email tab is for email lists, not your own email. Here you can find Campaign Monitor and MailChimp integration.
The agency/company aspect of Raven Tools shines through here.
Options include which brand template to include. Smart.
Setting up the report with the different sections and options is very easy and intuitive.
Finally (cherry on top?) Raven Tools easily integrates with Basecamp. Doing so would round off a killer collaborative, project driven setup.
Starting at $99/month Raven Tools clearly isn't for those dabbling in making money online. You have to be serious about making money and already make money to warrant investing $1200/year in a tool set.
Then again, Raven Tools isn't aimed a priori at the affiliate marketer or the single site owner. The primary market are SEO service companies. For those companies, Raven Tools is a perfect match.
Can you do everything it does in another way? Yes. Can you do it cheaper? Sort of
Once you start to bill for your time, having clear, streamlined processes in place is key. Using a bunch of random tools, switching from context to context, importing and exporting until things match " all that costs time and drives up your price. Raven Tools has done all the work and offer a full platform.
If you're not doing these things in-house, Raven Tools is a good place to start looking.
My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.