The Tools That We Use

    February 9, 2003

The Tools That We Use
We’ve received many emails asking us what specific tools and technologies we use in our internet marketing initiatives. This article will highlight some of the most important software that we have at our disposal. It should be noted that, in most cases, there are many similar products that compete with the ones listed (and many of them are also excellent). However, we have found that the following products work best for our specific needs.

1. TopDogPro- Ranking Software

There are two versions of the TopDog ranking software available (the two former partners of the company each have competing versions), but we find the TopDogPro version to be the superior product (in both ease of use and technical support). This software allows you to easily find out where your site ranks for your targeted keyphrases on almost 400 search engines (including the most popular).

To check your site, you simply add your URL and keyphrases, select the engines you want to check, and start your search. When the search is over, you can view your results sorted by individual keyphrase, sorted by engine, or export them into a spreadsheet.

Since search engines often change, TopDogPro is updated frequently (and automatically) to ensure that reports are accurate (although there is always a chance that one or two engines may not be working at the time you run your report).

TopDogPro also includes a submission program, but we never use it (these programs have fallen out of favor with most engines, due to the constant flood of automated submissions). We submit all of our sites to the important search engines by hand, and recommend that you do so as well. It’s also important to note that certain engines, such as Google, do not want you to use automated software to check your rankings (they won’t penalize a site that is being checked, but may ban the ip address of the machine running the software). On such engines you may want to take the time to check manually.

For more information, visit

2. WebTrends Reporting Service – Visitor Statistics

If you are only responsible for one site and already have a traffic statistics package in place, you probably won’t need to look into WebTrends Reporting Service. However, if you work on multiple sites from multiple companies, it may be a good fit for your needs. Since you are able to monitor traffic remotely, you don’t need to go through the individual IT departments to get access to each report. And since server-based reporting platforms can differ widely, you only have to learn one product.

When you use WebTrends Reporting Service, you place a tiny piece of code on each page of the site. This code “reports” back to a central server, which stores your statistics. To access in depth reports, you simply login to your account and select the site you are interested in from your list of sites. The reporting is robust and comprehensive, including most of the data you would find on a server-based product.

For more information, visit WebTrends Reporting Service

To learn more about analyzing web traffic, please see our past newsletter “Your Web Traffic and Your Bottom Line”.

3. StatLynx- Visitor and Keyphrase Analysis

For search engine marketing, the StatLynx product by TraceWorks is a great tool. Although it is often (wrongly) lumped in with products such as WebTrendsLive, it really helps to gauge the effectiveness of your keyphrases and the value of your traffic from individual engines.

With a standard traffic statistics package, you can see how many people are coming to your site from individual engines, and how many people are coming to your site from individual keyphrases. This is interesting information, but unfortunately not enough to help you refine your search engine marketing campaign. StatLynx takes this analysis one step further- it allows you to see what keyphrases, from which engines, are bringing you the most valuable traffic (the people that buy your products, fill out a form, request more information, etc).

For instance, you may look at a standard traffic report and see that you are getting a great deal of traffic from people searching for keyphrase A, and a much smaller amount from people searching for keyphrase B. You instinctively conclude that keyword phrase A is more valuable, since it is bringing more traffic. Using StatLynx, however, you might see that only a tiny fraction of the traffic coming from keyphrase A ever takes an action on your site that might lead to a sale- and that a much higher percentage of people that find your site using keyphrase B are taking that action. You then know that keyphrase B brings you higher quality visitors, and may decide to shift some of your optimization focus to this phrase.

This is only a simple example, as StatLynx allows you to take your analysis much further. In any case, if you’ve invested a great deal of time and effort in your search engine optimization campaigns, this tool can help assure that you are targeting the right terms and getting the right kind of traffic.

For more information, visit

4. BlueHornet – Newsletter Delivery and List Management

Every month, we create and send out our monthly newsletter to our growing subscriber base. And the larger that list grows, the harder it would be to manage internally- so we don’t. BlueHornet adds all of our newsletter subscribers directly from our website (and allows people to unsubscribe from the website or from each newsletter that we send). The subscribe/unsubscribe mechanism is all handled behind the scenes, and we can view details about our current number of subscribers and evaluate subscription trends by simply logging in to our account.

Newsletter creation and delivery is also fairly easy, whether you are sending them in html or plain text. The software also tracks all of the newsletters that bounce back and will remove an address that constantly fails, keeping the list clean and accurate. Advanced features also enable us to see how each individual newsletter connects with our subscribers by telling us how often people are clicking on individual links within the newsletter and what percentage have gone unopened.

For more information, visit

We constantly strive to find tools such as these to make our jobs easier, but we realize their limitations. Any of the above products can help facilitate an internet marketing campaign, but they can’t take the place of one. It is vitally important that they are used in conjunction with a solid internet marketing strategy that is based upon proven methodology.

Scott Buresh is the CEO of Medium Blue, a search engine optimization company. Scott has contributed content to many publications including Building Your Business with Google For Dummies (Wiley, 2004), MarketingProfs, ZDNet, WebProNews, Lockergnome, DarwinMag, SiteProNews,, and Search Engine Guide. Medium Blue, which was recently named the number one search engine optimization company in the world by PromotionWorld, serves local and national clients, including Boston Scientific, Cirronet, and DS Waters. Visit to request a custom SEO guarantee based on your goals and your data.