Posted to Volacci's blog on August 16th, 2011

Market Samurai Review: From an SEO’s Perspective


As a full time SEO you often come across SEO tools that promise to make your life easier, like Market Samurai. It comes standard with tools for keyword research tool, ranking, and competitive analysis: the professional SEO’s toolbox of sorts. As soon as you open Market Samurai you’ll be asked to either Create A New Project or Open a Recent Project. A project consists of your keywords, research, competitive analysis and domain information.

market samurai's projects After creating a project, you’re introduced to Market Samurai’s tools: Rank Tracker, Keyword Research, SEO Competition, Domains, Find Content and Promotion. market samurai's keyword dashboardRank Tracker Rank Tracker allows you to track your website and your competitor’s across the big 3 search engines: Google, Yahoo! and Bing. (Sorry Rank Tracker depends on Majestic and Yahoo! Site Explorer for backlink data. With Majestic SEO, you can look at both historical data, which covers the entire history of the domain, and fresh data, which covers the past 30 days while Yahoo! Site Explorer only let’s you look at the former. The best part about Rank Tracker is that you can look up the top 1,000 positions while most other tools only allow you to track the first 100. market samurai's rank tracker toolBonus Tip: If you click on the line graph (right of the primary domain column), you’re presented with a graphical representation of the same data. Keyword Research With the Keyword Research tool, you can create a keyword list by analyzing standard data like traffic, competition and buying intentions. It’s similar to Google’s Keyword Tool in that you can only research up to 800 keywords at a time (if you have a Google AdWords account) and can select match types and filter for both positive and negative keywords. However, there are unique features like phrase length and permutations (a fancy word for rearranging your keywords). There’s also a Period filter that allows you to select display data daily, weekly or monthly. Then there's Golden Rules, a filter that uses competitiveness and relevancy to determine worthwhile keywords. The Keyword Research tool breaks data into four chunks: Organic, Adwords, Competition, and Commerciality. market samurai's keyword research tool bar Under Organic, you have total searches, SEO Traffic (the amount of clicks a number one position might get you), Phrase-to-Broad, and Trends (which uses Google’s Trend product). There’s a lot of value in SEO Traffic if you’re trying to determine how much traffic a top position can garner. Trends is a cool feature because it allows you to see monthly trends in search volume for a specific keyword. Under Adwords, there’s the standard Adwords Traffic but there’s also Adwords CTR (click through rate for those ads in the #1 position) and Adwords CPC (the price you can expect to pay for the #1 position). Both Adwords CTR and Adwords CPC are helpful because they can both help you figure out if a particular keyword is profitable. In Competition. there’s SEO Comp (amount of webpages that include a phrase matched keyword), Title Comp (amount of webpages that include the keyword phrase in the title), URL Comp (amount of webpages that include a phrase matched keyword in the URL), Title/Comp (percent of pages that include the phrase matched keyword in the Title and are indexed in Google) and Adwords Comp (percent of competition bidding on a specific keyword). My two favorite Competition features are Title and URL Comp as these two are both good indicators as to why a site might be ranking. Commerciality let’s you see things like Adwords Value, the daily value a #1 position in Adwords might bring, and SEO Value, the daily value a #1 ranking might give you. These two features allow you to see if your product is commercially viable. I wish they allowed you to import your Adwords data so that you could see if the keywords you’re currently targeting are worth the money. market samurai's keyword research tableSEO Competition As the great Jay-Z once said, “Y’all must try harder. Competition is nada.” The SEO Competition tool allows you to make your competition almost non-existent. Similar to the Keyword Research Tool, SEO Competition features are broken down into separate chunks. You can look at off-page elements like domain age, number of referring domains, backlinks, and whether or not your competitors have DMOZ and Yahoo! Directory submissions. The on-page elements consists of Google cache page and if the keyword you’re researching is in the title, url, description or header tags. SEO Again, Competition uses Majestic SEO and Yahoo! Site Explorer for its backlink data. As soon as the results are retrieved, you’re presented with the first page results (in Google) that’s color coded based on how competitive it is. Red is really competitive, orange is somewhat competitive and green means it’s not so competitive. Highlighting in color makes it really easy to browse the data. market samurai seo competition tool Another great aspect of the SEO Competition tool is that it allows you to append custom URLs to the top ten list. This way you can see how your site stacks against the competition. One of the coolest features can be accessed if you click on the down error by one of the domains. By doing this you’re given links to additional information including Google Trends, Whois, Quantcast and Alexa. However, the most important information is in the PageRank and Anchor Text Analysis. Because pulling anchor text for a specific URL can be a costly and time consuming, this feature alone is worth the price of Market Samurai. One complaint I have is that I’m unable to sort the data within the interface. I’d like to be able to sort everything before I decide to export it. market samurai's seo competition analysis featureDomains 
Domains uses a third party service called Domainface to retrieve domains. While you have to sign up for an account before using this feature, it’s worth it. I’d stick with the free account since all you really get with the paid account is additional information like PR, Alexa Rank and back link data--all of which you can find by using Marketing Samurai. (then whey is Domainface worth it?) Domains is a great time saver for finding new, un-claimed domains or aged domains, bought but now up for sale. One of the tool’s best feature is the ability to add custom filters for domain variations and domain TLDs (top level domains). These filter for strong top level domains like .coms as well as append prefixes and suffixes to your query. While a search by Domainface returned hundreds of results Market Samurai only returned 10! market samurai's domains toolFind Content As you become familiar with Market Samurai, you’ll notice a lot of its tools are self explanatory. For instance, Find Content fetches articles, blogs, rich media (pictures and videos), and news articles. This tool keeps you informed on the industry and is great for seeing the kinds of content your competitors are playing with. Are they uploading videos to Youtube? Are they posting photos on Flickr? Are they writing and submitting articles to directories? If you’re a content writer, this tool helps get creative juices flowing if you have writers block and if you need to analyze content. market samurai's find content toolPromotion Finding backlinks can be a big hassle. You have to know where to look and then you have to go through the process of weeding out the bad ones. Promotion makes it easy to quickly view, mark, and analyze potential link building opportunities. Some of the sites you can search using Promotion are Squidoo, Yahoo! Answers, Hubpages, Google Blog Search, Wordpress, phpBB, and vBulletin. Although you’re able to open a link by clicking on its description, I wish you could export the sites so that you can save them as bookmarks in Firefox. market samurai's promotion toolWrap-Up Though I have a few complaints, Market Samurai is a must-have for SEOs. It allows you to research keywords and the competition while providing the necessary data needed to make an informed decision. While it’s classified as Beta, Market Samurai has some kick and the software is constantly updated with bug fixes and features making it immortal. Whether you’re a one-person shop, agency, or in-house SEO, this tool should be on your radar.