An Open Letter To Raven Customers
Dear Raven customer,
A little more than a year ago, I wrote that I was astonished by how quickly Raven had been adopted by Internet marketers. Since its inception, Raven has transformed from an SEO-only toolset to a full-fledged Internet marketing platform.
What astonishes me today is the continuous dedication of the Raven team. The speed at which we’ve been able to grow in 2011 has been directly influenced by our smartypants development team, our customer care team and our marketing team—and the clear focus of all of us on our product and our customers.
We’re passionate about Raven. We have fun working on it. We enjoy talking about it. And we love our customers. If you need proof or want to get an idea of who or what Raven is, watch this video I made with my videographer friend, Mike Murphy!
In case you missed any of Raven’s great new tools, updates and improvements in 2011, I’m going to recap them. Then I’ll give you a glimpse into what 2012 holds.
Raven in 2011
As I mentioned, 2010 was a good year for Raven, but in 2011 we saw an explosion of new features and major updates. In fact, we released new features almost every month in 2011, some of which were huge additions to the platform. Here’s a recap of the year:
SEO research, management and monitoring
- Research Central launch: Raven’s most significant SEO tool launch came in November with Research Central. Research Central is a next-generation SEO research tool that mashes up Majestic SEO, SEOmoz and SEMRush data. You can view the data from all three sources in one location, and export it.
- Rank Tracking changes: Early in 2011, we made the transition to third-party AuthorityLabs for our ranking results retrieval. That allowed our development team to focus on other parts of the Raven platform and helped pave the way for new SERP Tracker functionality.
- Find Contacts launch: In January we made it possible for you to find contacts for any website with just one click. Raven gets contact data from several sources, and Find Contacts is powered by a sophisticated contact retrieval and analysis system.
- Link monitoring upgrade: In February we released a major link monitoring update that included the ability to specify the check frequency, choose which link statuses to monitor, keep track of the link count on a page, and the ability to specify custom thresholds for alerts.
- Google Webmaster Tools integration: In June we added Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). You can now authenticate with GWT from within Raven, and then add and verify sites; view messages and crawling issues; view related keywords and add them to the Keyword Manager; and update your preferred domain settings with Google.
- Insights launch: In June we launched a major new section called Insights. The Insights section helps you find keyword and content opportunities for your site (and now includes insights for AdWords campaigns).
- Link Manager upgrade: In June we released a major update to the Link Manager. The update included improved data filtering, enhanced management of custom Status, Link and Website types, new custom Paid Link types and many enhancements for paid link management.
- Link Clips launch: In September we released Link Clips. When our link monitoring system records any Active link, it takes a screenshot of the Web page with that link and creates a “link clip.” The link clip has two parts: an above-the-fold thumbnail of the web page and a detail view that calls out your link on that page.
Social media management and monitoring
- Social Stream and Social Monitor launch: In November we released a real-time Social Stream and revamped Social Monitor tool. Powered by a new third-party data source, uberVU, the improved Social Monitor simplifies brand, competitor and keyword social monitoring. In turn, the new Social Stream brings real-time social management for the two biggest social networks, Facebook and Twitter—plus elements of the Social Monitor—into one central location, for teams.
- KnowEm integration: In March we added KnowEm username searches and registrations. It’s fully integrated into our Persona Manager, which enables you to easily create a persona from a new KnowEm registration, and then have all of the profile registration data automatically copied into your new persona record. In May we added support for importing existing KnowEm profiles into the Persona Manager.
PPC management and reporting
- Google AdWords management launch: In August we released a new Ads section with a Google AdWords campaign management tool. The tool make it easy to create new AdWords campaigns and also manage existing campaigns. You can also view and report on campaign metrics.
- Insights for Google AdWords launch In September we added a new Insights tool for Google AdWords. The tool help you instantly find problems with your keywords and landing pages.
General Raven improvements
- Unity User Interface launch: We dramatically updated and cleaned up the Raven UI in April with an update we called Unity. Unity brings all of our tools and settings together into a common and predictable interface. Since then, we have continued to make UI improvements to simplify Raven, with five recent significant changes, for example.
- Advanced Search and Auto-Complete updates: In February we added advanced search and auto-complete functions to the Link Manager, SERP Tracker, Keyword Manager, Competitor Manager and Event Manager tools.
- Report filtering: In May we added support for boolean operators for Google Analytics in the Report Wizard.
- Basecamp Time Tracking integrated In September we added support for Basecamp time tracking. Basecamp accounts that support time tracking (Plus accounts and higher) can now track their time inside of Raven. Track time for an entire To-Do List or an individual To-Do.
Raven in 2012
We have some huge features that we’ll be releasing throughout 2012, but I’m not going to tell you what they are right now. (“Boooo!!!” you say. “They’ll be worth the wait,” I say.)
Luckily, there are plenty of things I can share with you now:
- Chrome Toolbar: You have asked. And asked. And asked. And so…we will launch the much anticipated Raven toolbar for Chrome! It’s being developed from the ground up and will take advantage of features that only Chrome provides.
- Social Stream and Social Monitor updates: We are working on several updates and tweaks to the new Social Stream and Social Monitor. The updates will include support for adding custom sources (RSS) to Social Monitor searches, displaying conversation threads for Twitter and Facebook in the Social Stream and more.
- Facebook management improvements: The Facebook management tool will adopt the new UI that’s currently used on the Social Stream and Social Monitor. It will also get support for individual Facebook user accounts—not just Pages—and will be updated with Facebook’s newer Insights data.
- Twitter management improvements: The Twitter management tool will adopt the new UI that’s currently used on the Social Stream and Social Monitor. It will also get new functionality for viewing and managing saved searches, mentions and lists.
- Google AdWords management updates: We will be improving and enhancing our AdWords management tool.
- Google+ management support: As soon as Google releases an API that allows Raven customers to post to Google+, we will begin development on a Google+ management tool in Raven.
- LinkedIn management: We are planning to add LinkedIn to our list of social management tools.
- Rank Result importing: We are finishing up changes to the SERP Tracker that will allow you to import your own ranking results.
- More third-party support: We will be incorporating more third party tools and data onto our platform. Expect to see more choices in areas like Email metrics and reporting.
- Speed: We continue to have a strong focus on speeding up the system. There were major speed improvements in several areas of the system this year, and we continue to look for ways to make it even faster.
We realize that features aren’t the only that’s important to our users. Education and training is something that many of our customers have been requesting, and it’s something that we’ll be focusing heavily on in 2012. We will also be working on providing more contextual help through our new Help Boxes, and will continue to make UI tweaks that we hope will simplify everyone’s experience. As always, I welcome all of your comments, suggestions and ideas.
2011 was incredible. I know 2012 will be even better, thanks to your feedback and our team. Stay tuned!
Chief Product Officer