Internet Business Promoter: Search Engine Optimization in a Suite

By Forrest Stroud | Posted February 08, 2007
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Search engine optimization has long been a frustrating conundrum to many small business owners who painstakingly create and launch their company's Web site only to find that it ranks poorly, if at all, on the major search engines. Wouldn't it be great if someone came up with a tool or service to help get Web sites at the top of the search engine rankings?

Of course, there's no limit of services and apps available claiming to do exactly that these days; the only problem is that many of them fail to improve their client's rankings and some even use illegal tactics that can send a Web site's rankings into a free-fall or get the site completely banned from the rankings.

The challenge then is to find a service or tool that lives up to its claims without costing a fortune in up-front or ongoing maintenance fees. Enter Internet Business Promoter (IBP).

There's a lot under IBP's hood, and the tool's undergone significant changes recently, including integrating two separate apps into one (more on that later). Fortunately, the developers of IBP, Axandra, have done a nice job of integrating the various features into a design that's both attractive and easy to use.

Stepping Into the World of SEO
The first tool in IBP that new customers will likely use (and for good reason) is the Top 10 Web Page Optimizer. This handy tool compares the home page of your Web site with the ten top-ranking Web sites according to the search engine of your choice. The optimizer analyzes the front pages of these Web sites for specific keywords and then returns a report that compares factors such as keyword density in the title, meta description, meta keywords, body content, image alternate text, and even the site's URL.

Results displayed in a report provide statistics on how your site compares to the competition. These stats are complemented by helpful advice for modifying your content to better fit the profile of what search engines typically look for.

The tool's recommendations are certainly useful in many cases, but you're likely to find that several (or even all) of the top ranking Web sites lack many of the recommended content factors. In other words, while the tool is obviously useful for tweaking your site's content for better search engine placement, you'll quickly discover from the results of the top 10 Web sites that there's a lot more to search engine-ranking placement than just the content of your Web pages.

The Push for (Link) Popularity
Once you feel you've optimized the content of your site for maximum search engine benefit, it's time to turn your attention to the one of the most important external factors that affects your ranking — namely inbound links. IBP has two useful tools for this purpose, both originally part of the original ARELIS program that has been integrated Internet Business Promoter as of the release of version 9.0.

The Top 10 Inbound Link Optimizer and Link Popularity Improver & Link Management tools may carry excessively wordy titles, but their value in helping a site improve its ranking is considerable. While content once reigned as king in the realm of search engine optimization, these days popularity is a far more important factor in garnering top search engine positions.

It may sound a bit like a return to high school, but the push for popularity in this case boils down to gaining links to your site from high quality sites with content related to your own — i.e., in the case of a premium pet food site (like one of our test sites, for example), your inbound links need to be from other reputable pet-related sites.

It's not easy to get sites to link to yours free of charge, but the tall task is made much easier by IBP's ARELIS tools. The link popularity and management tool in particular will help automate, track and manage your link request efforts. And while you shouldn't expect overnight success when seeking links to your site, the ARELIS tools' at-a-glance status reports ensure you don't lose track of the big picture over time.

Additional Features and Tools in IBP

IBP rounds out its arsenal of search promotion tools with a Web site submission tool, search engine rankings checker, a marketing ROI Optimizer tool, and a scheduler for automating tasks like rank checking and search engine submission.

The Web site search engine submission tool claims to automate the process of submitting your site(s) to various search engines without being considered an automated search engine spammer, a fate suffered by many of the automatic submission tools on the market. In our testing, we found the tool lived up to its claims, automating the majority of the process and leaving only the validation codes for us to manually enter.

The search engine rankings checker will automatically and efficiently check a variety of search engines for all your keywords at once and then provide a report that provides you with an up-to-the-minute analysis of where your Web site ranks and how effective your SEO efforts have been to date.

The Axandra Marketing ROI Optimizer (AxROI) helps you track the effectiveness of all your online ads, including pay-per-click ads, banner ads, text link ads and non-paid search engine rankings. The AxROI tool was not tested as part of this review.

All of these features are shared by the two editions of IBP currently available (standard and business), with the more expensive business edition adding support for an unlimited number of projects/clients/domains, the ability to create special reports that can be personalized for clients, and reports available in Microsoft Word format. This edition is designed for Web agencies and businesses that need to manage more than five domains at a time, according to Axandra.

The Bottom Line
Overall, while Internet Business Promoter doesn't come cheap — $249 for the standard edition and $449 for the business edition, which is suitable for small business owners and independent Web contractors — don't be surprised to see the SEO and Web site promotion suite easily pay for itself in a short period of time.

In our testing IBP considerably improved our test sites' rankings, with patience a definite virtue in this case. Search engine success doesn't happen overnight, and in many cases we didn't see significant improvements from our efforts until several months into the SEO campaigns.

We should also mention that IBP isn't the only SEO solution we used in our testing, and it's unlikely to be the only tool you'll need in your search engine optimization efforts. As with investments, the most efficient means to ensure success is to diversify your efforts.

There are literally thousands of SEO resources out there; take advantage of them, but do so with a cautious eye, since quite a few promote borderline to heavily frowned upon optimization tactics that can penalize your site's rankings. We recommend consulting with a reputable resource like Search Engine Watch when getting started with SEO before really branching out into the mysterious and often treacherous world of search engine optimization.

Pros: Extensive feature-set for helping you find search engine optimization success; well designed interface that's easy to understand and use; comprehensive solution for SEO efforts, Web site promotion, and search engine results tracking

Cons: Hefty price tag (starts at $249.95) may be a bit too steep for smaller businesses and individuals.

Adapted from winplanet.com.

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