If you’re like me, you read a lot about search engine optimization. You go to bed with terms like keyword density, backlinks, h1 tags, etc., dancing in your head. And you’re always wondering if you did it right, if you did enough, or if there’s some magic formula everyone else knows and you’re forever going to be scratching your head and trying to figure out what the heck all this analytical stuff means.
That’s where this really cool new SEO plug-in for WordPress comes in, brought to you by Brian Clark (Copyblogger). Provided you are running Thesis, Headway, Hybrid, or the free All-in-One SEO plug-in on some inferior theme (sic), Scribe SEO can analyze your body copy, titles and meta description and tell you how well you’re doing and what you can do better.
You can use it on old content or new stuff you’re writing right now, and Scribe SEO will tell you what the search engines will think you’re writing about. Which is what really matters. Sure, you know what you think is important, but since you can’t sit down across an itsy-bitsy table with the Googlebot and buy it a cappuccino and bore it silly with your elevator pitch – this gives us a peek into how the search engines will read our vaunted prose, guesses what we’re trying to say, and then suggests different ways to say it that might work better. Don’t you wish you had one of those for dating?
I decided to take Scribe for a spin, and since I had my portfolio page open when I clicked over to WordPress, decided, “What the heck?” and ran an analysis on that page.
First, before I could even get a glimpse of the happy blue Analyze button in the Scribe panel, which resides in the upper right corner of the WordPress screen, I saw something that looked like this:
I admit it – the first time I tried this I thought the plug-in was broken. Where was my Analyze button? I posted a ticket on the Scribe SEO support forum and found out that you have to first satisfy the requirements above before you’re allowed to run an Analysis. Oops.
So I copied and pasted my title from the page title field down into the Thesis Custom Title Tag field below the input window, and scored another green checkmark. I had already filled out the Meta Description field on that page, so as soon as I did that, the Analyze button magically appeared to reward me for good behavior.
Then I…clicked it. It went away and cogitated for about, oh, 10 seconds and then I saw this:
I scored a measly 52% for this page. I don’t think I’ve seen a grade that low since Chemistry 102 at the North Avenue Trade School. Now I admit, I have spent a lot more time thinking about keyword optimization for my “sales copy” pages rather than my portfolio page – I mean, aren’t people there to look at the pretty pictures? But here’s the beauty of Scribe SEO – it got me to thinking…am I missing out on business by not carefully optimizing every single page of my website? It’s not like I’m in the Yellow Pages. The website is it, baby.
This page told me that I don’t even have any primary keywords that it could find on this page. I got points for word length and hyperlinks, though, so that’s something. Intrigued, I clicked the Keyword Analysis tab:
It told me that it found the phrase “law firm” to be significant, with six appearances, whereas “website designs” appeared only once and was “not emphasized.” Oops. What is it we do here again? Clearly I need to go back and look at the on-page copy wrapped around all the pretty pictures and make an actual effort. This is extremely eye-opening about how we can easily neglect key portions of our real estate – this page is, after all, the second-most viewed page on our site.
Checking out the Change Keywords tab revealed these suggestions:
Decent SEO copywriting is not rocket science, people, and there has been at least one blog post suggesting that Scribe SEO is not “worth it” if you just “follow these eight steps over and over,” but who DOES that on a regular basis when it’s not your primary job? I certainly feel my hind end getting kicked all over the place by the seemingly harmless Analyze button. I won’t be able to sit down for a week! Small business owners and professionals, what IS free is the lasting effects of actually getting this right.
The Tags tab recommends a list of what it found to be “semantically relevant” terms in the content, and suggests adding them to the tags in your post. Of course, some of these are good and some are completely unintentional. I don’t really care so much about ranking for rowboats, believe it or not:
The SERP will show you how your search results will look in Google:
This got me to thinking, too – even though my description is concise, I do have a few more characters I can use – so I could use the opportunity to say more here to help get that click.
The last tab provides a list of SEO best practices, and also a glossary for those who don’t go to bed thinking SEO (lucky you), so you can learn what all these gnarly terms mean.
How much does it cost?
Scribe SEO is a monthly service, based on the number of times you hit the “Analyze” button. I’d plan on hitting the button an average of 3 times for each piece of content I produced – first to see where I need to make changes, and twice to see the effect of my edits, to judge the best package to purchase. You can get anywhere from 30 evaluations (button hits) per month for $27 to 300 for $97, with the Advanced package. The recommended package is the middle one – 120 evaluations (good for 40-50 pages) for $47.
It’s month-to-month – you can cancel any time if you find you’re not using it enough or getting the value – but if it helps your website draw one more prospect who becomes a client per month? Even if you offer housecleaning services, you just made a profit. Also, if you find you’re using it more than you thought – say, if you got the 30-hit package – you can always upgrade.
Money-saving tip – you don’t have to hit the analyze button just to see the results again – after you have run it once, there’s a “Review” button. If you haven’t made any changes, use that.
Scribe SEO makes on-page search engine optimization and SEO copywriting a whole lot easier – you still have to engage your brain, but at least it speaks a language you can understand.
Next, I’ll annoy you about off-site search engine optimization – backlink creation – and how to get a better handle on that.
As with all my product reviews, the unofficial official Affiliate Disclaimer applies.