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May 23, 2011

iPhone SEO Applications

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Doing SEO on your mobile phone? We decided to analyse every SEO iPhone App we could get our hands on from the App Store and this is what we found.

The native SEO iPhone applications currently available definitely don’t provide the full capability of desktop or hosted SEO tool solutions; however that is not necessarily the point.

SEO related iPhone apps should provide the data you need whilst away from your office and although the current offerings might not meet all of the typical SEO needs, the future looks promising. The most significant surprise was the sophistication of the analytical apps available from Omniture SiteCatalyst and Thomas Blackburn’s Analytics Pro.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, we feel that native SEO apps on any type of mobile device may be short lived, as hosted SEO tools providers (like the Bruce Clay ToolSet and Raven Tools) begin to provide suitable applications for mobile devices, allowing you to access the fully hosted feature set, including historical data and reports on any platform, as long as you have a browser and a secure connection to the Internet.

Introduction:

Let’s face it SEOs love tools that make their life easier, enabling them to skip the data gathering and churn, and start to provide analysis and insight.

A native SEO application for a mobile device will never compete with a fully-fledged desktop application, which likewise, cannot compete with a hosted solution that automatically gathers and analyses on-site and off-site data. Nevertheless, everything has its place, so we decided to see if the SEO apps available in fact had a practical place for the busy SEO practitioner and were of any use, to us anyway.

We found just over forty free and paid SEO Apps for the iPhone and iPad, paid our $60 to buy them, claimed that as an expense and downloaded them.

We then got input from the team as to what key features they believed a mobile SEO app should have and extracted the key features from the various desktop SEO toolsets we are familiar with. We then ranked each one across each of the eight categories.

The eight key categories we identified included:

  1. Price: We recorded the price but did not factor this into the overall average ranking analysis.
  2. Useability of App: We compared the interface speed, ease of reading, intuitiveness of the application, if the app allowed multiple domains, if the app could save reports for later retrieval and if the app enabled a user to compare different domains.
  3. Accuracy & Reliability of App: Points were lost if the app could not retrieve data, data was inconsistent or the app crashed during the test.
  4. External Ranking Factor Analysis: Features included external link reporting, link and anchor text analysis, PageRank and analysis of links from key websites or domains.
  5. SERP Ranking Reports: Features included the ability to check rankings from more than one Search Engine and from more than one geographic location.
  6. Content Analysis: Features included the ability to check titles, meta data, headings, alt attributes and body content and analyse these at any level.
  7. Code Analysis: Features included the ability to check page load times, code size, robots Meta tags, W3C validation, source code and the identification of Google Analytics tracking code.
  8. Domain & Server Analysis: Features included the ability to check the indexation of the domain, robot.txt, XML Sitemaps, WhoIs lookups, domain age and server location

On the first cut, we found our expectations may have been set a tad high and that none of the apps reviewed actually rated in any of the key categories. Clearly, we had the wrong factors or our expectations were wrong. An app should not be compared against a desktop tool; it is for use at a different time and place and thus needs different criteria.

The second attempt at reviewing these apps resulted in us starting from the app up, as opposed to a bunch of features down. We listed each feature of each app in a list. We found around 50 features across all apps, and used that as our baseline for comparison, which then gave a better picture of each apps functionality, capability and gaps against the other apps on offer.

SEO App Results

Although we analysed over 40 SEO apps we only included the most useful apps in the final comparison table. Many of the excluded applications provided only one feature, for example: XML Sitemap checking, URL submission or PageRank checking and it would not be fair to compare these against the other tools with multiple features.

The Full SEO IPhone App Comparison Chart

The best performing apps are summarised below, however you can download the full SEO iPhone app comparison here.

SEO iPhone Application Comparison Chart

The SEO iPhone Application Comparison Chart

Staff Pick – Best Overall

 

Staff Pick – Easy to Use

We had a tie between the two top ranking apps in the useability category. Both SEM Tab SEO Pro and SEO Pro provided a great and intuitive user experience.

 

In addition to a number of SEO applications reviewed, we also downloaded and tested some related applications. If analytics applications were included in this SEO app comparison, Analytics Pro by Thomas Blackburn would be a strong contender for the most usable interface.

Staff Pick – Best for External Ranking Factor Analysis

Staff Pick – Best for Ranking Analysis

Staff Pick – Best for Content Analysis

Staff Pick – Best for Code Analysis

Staff Pick – Best for Domain & Server Analysis

Dishonourable Mention

The dishonourable mention goes to SEO Submit Pro by Ned Kubica for charging $9.99 for a tool that submits your URL to Google (among others, however, let’s face it, Google is usually the first port of call). Google provide this service freely.

 





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