This is Part 1 in a 4-part review of WordPress SEO plugin Scribe 4.0. All four sections will be published over the course of one week.
It’s taken me forever to get around to writing a Scribe 4.0 review, partly because I wanted to listen to a webinar conducted by the Copyblogger crew first. Which was 90 minutes long. Which is against my religion. But I digress.
I’m really glad I did, because the new Scribe is so ridiculously powerful, I would never have quite grasped it if I had tried to just plug and play. Due to all the features, I decided to break my review into four parts so that you, dear reader, wouldn’t have to devote the same amount of time to reading it that I did to listening to the webinar.
While I reviewed and used Scribe shortly after it came out a couple of years ago, I sort of fell away from it as the studio got busier and I grew more lackadaisical about publishing content. What a difference two years makes!
Scribe has matured from a plugin that analyzes the content on a single page for keyword usage to a fully-featured content marketing powerhouse, which analyzes any given page you create against the backdrop of the site it’s on.
Why is this important?
Google Panda goes after random collections of content
Anybody who pays attention to SEO heard about Google’s Panda update in 2011, the shot heard round the world which severely impacted content aggregators like Mahalo and EZineArticles.
However, sites like Copyblogger (the makers of Scribe) did not see their rankings affected at all, because they were already doing content marketing correctly.
Google now evaluates your content in the context of your entire website, to see how relevant it is to the rest of the site’s content. Therefore, a page on one site may be ranked differently than the same page on another site, simply based on how topical it is.
I know I’m going through this REALLY fast, but it’s key to Scribe’s new features.
The end result of this is that the aggregator sites – which previously had authority due to their sheer size, regardless of how low quality or random the content – are no longer ranking as well as they used to. (Example: Mahalo ended up laying off a huge percentage of staff after the Panda update). Google is looking for an overall content focus on a site per site basis.
Because of this, Scribe now generates something called a Site Score, to go along with your Page Score. I’ll get to that in the Content Analysis section in Part 2.
Scribe 4.0, appropriately, now has four major areas of functionality, which I’ll cover in order:
- Keyword research
- Content optimizer
- Link builder
- Site connections
Scribe 4.0 – Keyword Research
The first thing you need to do is decide what keyword or keyword phrase you want to optimize for. After installing Scribe and visiting your edit window, you’ll find a Scribe Keyword Research box on the right-hand side near the top. I decided to use my Simple SEO for YouTube Videos blog post to test-drive.
As you type, the keywords will autocomplete just like Google Search does, so you can see suggestions of phrases you may not have thought of. You can keep with your original idea or pick one of those. I decided to roll with “YouTube SEO.”
Then click the Research button.
You’ll see a list of keyword suggestions, with two columns – a popularity column and a competitiveness column. In an ideal world, you can choose a phrase that has a high enough level of popularity – (color-coded red, yellow, green, with green being best) and a relatively low level of competition. I didn’t really like the stats for my chosen keyword, but I decided to stay with it based on other info provided by Scribe. I clicked the radio button next to it and saved it as the target keyword.
Also, you can click your chosen keyword and drill down into the details – Scribe has found a way to compare your site to other sites already ranking for the term. The score runs from 0 to 100 – the lower your score, the less difficult it will be for you to rank for the term, compared to those who are already ranking. You can even see demographic search data, PPC cost, and search volume. Groovy!
You can then check what’s trending in social media for that keyphrase, for Twitter and Google+, by looking at the appropriate tabs.
While I saw a lot of self-promotion in the first few links, it did show an article by Boxcar Marketing that looked like it was on the same subject – so I could observe how they did their title and metadata.
Finally, you can see how searches for that keyword are trending over time – there may even be seasonal patterns you want to be aware of.
This helped make my decision to stay with the keyphrase, despite the popularity to competitiveness ratio, as you can see the strong upward climb in searches over time. I felt that it was a valuable topic, and, since YouTube SEO is not really the main focus of the Rowboat Media website, I was fine with it.