Jon Henshaw will be speaking at the “SEO Tools Shoutout” session at SearchFest 2013 which will be taking place on February 22, 2013 at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click the following link.
1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.
I’m the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Raven Internet Marketing Tools, a web-based application for managing SEO, Social and PPC online marketing campaigns. Basically, I get to make awesome tools for a living that I actually want to use.
While I’ve been involved in website development and Internet strategy since 1995, my education would tell you otherwise. I have a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. Several years ago I had a part-time private practice. I pulled it off by doing my normal day job and then doing counseling in the evenings. I distinctively remember not getting much sleep!
Ultimately though, I found that I enjoyed being a geek, doing SEO and creating tools for the Internet the most, and I haven’t looked back since.
2) What is the future of “Rank Checking” in SEO Toolsets?
The question to ask before that is, “What is the future of ranking results?” For me the answer is easy. They will become increasingly disparate as search engines (Google in particular) continue to diversify and redefine how search results are returned. I think the most accurate, useful and reliable ranking result is going to end up being average position, especially if the search engine provides that data.
As for the future:
I think that Google probably has had enough of their networks being scraped. I think they’ll step up their efforts to block scrapers, something they’ve always done to some degree.
I have no idea if Google will decide to take legal action this year (or ever), but I do believe that they’ll start to use API access to their other data sources, such as Google Analytics, as leverage for compliance from toolmakers.
I don’t think it will be the scraping of Google SERPs that ultimately gets them in a fighting mood, it will be the scraping of Google AdWords data. That’s data that Google sells. When AdWords data is scraped and resold, Google loses money. What company likes data they make money on to be scraped and resold—especially as legitimate data? It would fire me up, that’s for sure. That’s why I believe any tool provider selling scraped Google AdWords data is on risky ground.
Raven stopped using any scraped Google data on Jan. 2, 2013—a purposeful step off that risky ground for our company and our customers.
3) How can a Search Marketing Toolset differentiate themselves in a very dynamic marketplace?
When you say dynamic I assume you really mean crowded.
A toolset can differentiate itself with competitive pricing, a better user experience, unique tools and diversified offerings. It can also act quickly to adjust to new market demands and then be first to market with tools that address those changes.