Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Page Generator Enhancements
1) Enhanced Meta Tag Control
2) Improved Help
3) Anti-Spam Features
4) Smarter Page Generation
5) Easier Engine Management
6) Auto-Import Keywords
I don’t use WPG’s Page Generator tool, so I don’t really have a yardstick to use to compare versions and I’m not comfortable reviewing a tool that I don’t use and don’t approve of. But above I’ve listed all the new features offered within WPG v2.0’s Page Generator tool for reference. Personally, I don’t think there is a need to auto-generate pages designed for specific search engines. These days with the emphasis on relevancy and link popularity, it is my experience that a well designed search engine friendly site with lots of relevant content and a logical directory structure will rank well across most search engines, without the need to generate extra 'optimized' pages.
Page Critic Enhancements
1) Expanded Advice
Advice provided in Page Critic now covers 85 search engines and directories worldwide. WPG claim theirs is the only product in the world that offers ranking improvement advice for so many engines - I don’t doubt it! Not having used Page Critic for some months, I was surprised to see the depth of advice offered in v2.0 BETA. The addition of a link popularity check was a pleasant surprise, however I had to scroll through pages and pages of general suggestions to get to my page analysis scores. While providing so much advice is admirable, it makes you wonder if new users of the software or persons with little experience of search engines would be able to understand all the information provided. I also found some of the advice to be a bit misleading. For example, when running a Page Critic check for a particular keyword ranking on Google, the software came up with this suggestion:
'Purchasing and setting up multiple domains can be a great way to increase your visibility on the Web and if you cross-link your domains, you can improve your link popularity for each site. However, it's best if you host the cross linked domains at separate Web hosts so that the first 3 blocks of the site's IP address (xxx.xxx.xxx) are different. Some engines may ignore link popularity if the IP addresses of the sites are too close together numerically.'
You see, I just don’t agree with the assumption that purchasing multiple domains is a good way to boost search engine rankings. In fact, if you set up multiple domains containing the same content and search engines discover this, many will at best, ignore the duplicate domains and at worst, remove your site/s from their index. 'Hiding' the other domain at a different IP address is not going to protect you from this. Besides, unless you are providing substantially unique content on different domains, you are doing nothing more than filling the search engines with irrelevant spam and not adding value for the searcher. This particular advice was provided together with a link to FirstPlace Software’s domain store, so the attempt to boost domain sales via WPG was not lost on me. I guess the moral here is - take the Page Critic advice with a good pinch of salt and try not to do anything that subverts the search engines.
2) Enhanced Link Popularity Support
As mentioned above, Page Critic in WPG v2.0 BETA now includes the ability to check your link popularity on any of the search engines you are analysing for. It also provides average link popularity scores for top ranking pages on the same engines. Detailed advice is then given on how you can improve your link popularity score.
3) Smoother Interface
The Page Critic interface has also been changed to make missions easier to set up. There are fewer pop-up prompts - these have been merged with the main interface. You now also have the option to save the mission automatically and suppress the partial matching prompt.
4) Improved Accuracy
An interesting enhancement to Page Critic in v2.0 BETA is the ability to determine if top ranking pages have changed since being indexed by the search engine. A new feature in Page Critic will try to detect page changes between the cached version of a top ranking page and the current actual page. If it finds a page has changed, it will be excluded from the analysis to prevent statistical inaccuracies. I have yet to see this feature in action, but I imagine it would greatly increase the accuracy of Page Critic advice.
Upload Manager Enhancements
1) Built-in FTP Support
WPG v2.0 BETA includes its own (optional) FTP program, removing the need to load 3rd party FTP programs when uploading files. When you create your missions, you can now select to have reports uploaded automatically, once generated. This is a very convenient feature that helps save time and streamline campaigns. I envisage this feature alone will save me hours per month.
2) New Report Processing Options (Pro Version Only)
As discussed above, the Upload Manager in WPG v2.0 BETA (Pro Version) now allows you to remove non-ranking keywords from Concise Reports. This is a feature I don’t really like, for reasons stated above.
1) More Engines
2) Better Multi-Domain Support
3) Easy URL Importing
4) Built-in Spider for Quickly Gathering URL’s
5) Customize Submission Limits
6) Full Submission Verification
7) Complete Submission History
8) Easier Directory Submissions
9) Auto-Import Keywords
10) Expanded Submission Interface
11) Add Custom Engines to the Submitter Assistant
12) Advanced Browser Emulation
Another feature of WPG that I don’t use is the Submitter, so I won’t be reviewing enhancements to this tool. But above I’ve listed all the new features offered within the WPG v2.0 version of Submitter for reference. It’s going to take a lot to convince me that submitting sites to search engines using software is better than submitting by hand. I’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary.
Traffic Analyzer Enhancements
1) Expanded Engine Support
The traffic analyzer in WPG now separately tracks traffic arriving from all the new search engines supported by WPG v2.0. This is useful in that you can now distinguish traffic originating at regional versions of the most popular engines (e.g. Yahoo.com.au traffic vs Yahoo.com traffic). However technically, this is a standard feature of 3rd Party Statistics provider Hit Links, rather than a new feature of WPG.
2) Continued Support for 1.60 Features
This one’s pretty redundant if you ask me.
1) Easier Interface
Well - here’s the thing. WPG claim that the Scheduler interface in WPG v2.0 is easier to use. But I don’t think so. Sure the tabbed layout is consistent with other WPG features, but I don’t find the interface any more intuitive. In fact, Scheduler v2.0 kept trying to run using an older version of WPG. After I worked out what the problem was, I had to keep changing the execute file in the 'Program to Run' field to WPG v2.0 BETA. There doesn’t appear to be a way to choose a default program to run, unless you remove older WPG versions from your system or move them to a new folder.
2) System Tray Support
A nice enhancement to Scheduler in v2.0 is the addition of an icon in your system tray, meaning you can right click the icon at any time to run Scheduler. Previously, unless you had Scheduler as a desktop shortcut, you had to open WPG and select Scheduler when you wanted to run it.
3) New Report Log
In WPG v2.0, a log file now records details of all scheduled events so you can open it and see which missions completed and which did not. A 'View Log' button has been added to Scheduler so you can see this file at any time.
4) Scheduled Uploads Supported
WPG v2.0 now supports scheduling of Upload Manager missions in addition to Reporter and Submitter missions. So now you can schedule what time and what day you want your report files uploaded to the Internet.
5) More Flexibility
In v2.0, Scheduler includes a lot more flexibility when running missions. Now you can choose specific dates, times and/or recurring dates via a drop down list, such as every second Friday or quarterly. This is useful for my clients, because some of them like to present ranking reports at specific management meetings and often those meetings will be held at regular intervals such as the third Wednesday of the month. This new feature gives me the ability to run and upload their reports to coincide with such meetings.
6) Easier Submission Handling
A feature of Scheduler I’m not likely to use is submission handling. WPG v2.0 allows the submission of URL’s at more defined intervals, supposedly keeping within search engine recommended per-day submission limits. However, one check box option I noticed and that caused me some concern was 'Allow Repetitive Submissions'. The explanation states:
'Once all URL’s are submitted, highlight them so that they can be re-submitted on the next scheduled run'.
I’ve got to ask - why on earth would you want to regularly resubmit a URL to any search engine? If your site is linked to from other sites, most search engines will find your site on their own when they crawl the web. Once you’re listed, most search engines will regularly return and spider your site for new content without any help from you. Other search engines can take months to add your URL to their index, but submitting once is enough. Depending on your site content, some search engines won’t add you at all.
Regardless, submitting on a regular basis is only going to annoy search engines and possibly get your URL banned. The only reason to resubmit is if you WERE listed and later find your listing has disappeared. Resubmitting a URL in the hope of improving your ranking is just silly. If your page doesn’t get ranked well the first time it gets listed in a search engine, resubmitting the same page is not going to make it suddenly rank high! This submission 'enhancement' to WPG raises concern because it is open to abuse by giving people the ability to resubmit their URL’s daily. This is an irresponsible and unnecessary addition to the software if you ask me.
7) Handy Pop Up Calendar
The WPG v2.0 Scheduler now includes a pop-up calendar to assist the selection of scheduled dates on which to run missions. This is particularly useful for those of us running multiple missions per month.
8) Quickly Test Your Scheduled Events
If you wanted to schedule a mission to run immediately in the old version of WPG, you still had to select a future time for the mission to commence. WPG v2.0 of Scheduler includes a 'Run Now' button that allows you to run any scheduled missions immediately.
Well, that completes my review of WebPosition Gold v2.0 BETA. Keep in mind that the program is still in BETA release, so items discussed above may change before the full version is released. All in all, I’ve found the new version to be very impressive, with plenty of worthwhile features justifying the cost of an upgrade (USD 74 for the Standard version and USD 174 for the Pro) or a new purchase (USD 149 for the Standard version and USD 349 for the Pro). However, some of the features provided are quite powerful and open to abuse.
If you choose to use WebPosition Gold or similar software, try to use it responsibly by scheduling your Reporter missions sporadically, not over-submitting your URL’s, avoiding the creation of hundreds of content-challenged doorway pages and not running Reporter on engines known for taking an anti-querying software stand (such as Google). Because despite the hype, bombarding search engines is NOT going to help you achieve high rankings.
President of FirstPlace Software, Brent Winters, responded to my review with comments addressing some of the concerns I raise above. You can read Brent's comments via this link: (http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com/Response_to_WPG_v2.0_Review.htm)
If you have additional questions about WebPosition Gold as a result of reading this review, please visit the links below, or email WebPosition support staff via firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to trial the Beta version of WPG v2.0 please download it from the link below.
More: (http://www.webposition.com/d2.pl?r=GCU-55EC) (our affiliate link)
(http://www.webposition.com/wpg2upgrade.htm) (outline of features in v2.0)
About the Author
Article by Kalena Jordan, CEO of Web Rank. Kalena was one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia and is well known and respected in the industry worldwide. For more of her articles on search engine ranking and online marketing, please visit (http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com)