Looking forward: The Raven roadmap for 2013

Website Auditor Crawl Summary

There’s really never been a dull year at Raven, but this year has been particularly…let’s say, interesting.

By now, you probably know that we ended the year with a bang (or a thud, argh! or [expletive], depending on your point of view) with the decision to remove all scraped data from the platform on Jan. 3. We’ve done our best to explain why we made the decision and answer your questions. And now I want to tell you about Raven’s future: where we’ve been and where we’re going.

It’s been a busy and productive year at Raven HQ. Some of the product highlights of 2012 include Facebook Insights integration, a new AdWords insights featureunlimited users for Agency accounts, a new CRM for SEO and social media, a major update to the Link Manager and link reports, a new Chrome Toolbar and a refresh of Task Manager and Messages).

And we have big plans for 2013.

What’s coming in January

Let’s start with SEO. The rumors of Raven abandoning SEO have been greatly exaggerated.

With the SERP Tracker retiring soon, we will shift our attention to site performance from organic traffic and helping customers show its impact on business results.

SEO performance reports

We are currently working on several SEO reports we plan to make available before the Jan. 2 changeover.

The new reports will focus on site engagement, conversions and landing pages, with a focus on organic-only traffic. They will be easy to implement for all the campaigns you manage in Raven.

We are also working on a Site Referral report that uses data from the Link Manager to highlight traffic sent from your active link records. These reports are specifically designed to show the value your SEO work brings to your client.

Website Auditor

A tool that I have dreamed of having in Raven for quite some time is now becoming a reality. In January we will be launching an automated site crawler named Website Auditor.

Website Auditor will automatically crawl each campaign site and report on problems related to visibility, META data, pages, internal and external links, images and semantic data. It will even create a sitemap.xml file for you!

All of the data from the Website Auditor will be exportable, and you’ll be able to run reports from any of the sections.

My favorite part is the Summary page. It includes an overview and score of the site’s problems, links that will take you to a detailed view of the problems and a summary PDF report that can be given to clients or prospective clients.

Improved Research Central

Instead of having multiple places to go in the Research section, there will now be one single tool called Research Central.

Research Central enables you to research a domain, URL or keyword using the same input field. In addition to simplified research, all of the results can be exported and/or made into a PDF report.

The new Research Central will be launching in January.

Customizable Quality Analyzer

Research Central has a big surprise that’s also an old favorite. The new Quality Analyzer allows you to customize your own scores with your own algorithm.

You choose the metrics that matter most to you, customize their influence and then name it. After you create your custom quality scores, you can see and use the scores to evaluate and report on websites.

Improved social tools

Raven’s social tools are getting a major refresh at the beginning of January. We have completely redesigned every tool, including Social Stream, Social Monitor, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Persona Manager.

The redesign makes Quick Views on the Social Stream easier to create and use, and the new layout for posts, tweets and mentions is easier to digest and manage. The Social Monitor search results were also updated with layout and management improvements.

The social update also includes some new features. The Twitter management tool now supports native Twitter lists and searches (including saved and advanced searches).

What’s coming in the next six months

For the first time ever, we’re going to tell you what we’re building for the next six months.

Is this schedule ambitious? Yes. Is it doable? Absolutely!

Here’s what’s on deck.

Campaign Alerts

Our current alerts for Link Monitor and Social Monitor were made exclusively for those tools and aren’t very customizable. We wanted to create an alert system that would work throughout the platform and could be customized to your needs.

The new Campaign Alerts – planned for Q1 – will support multiple tools on the platform. The alerts will provide an option to receive daily, weekly or monthly summary reports and/or instantaneous trigger alerts sent the moment a custom threshold is met.

New alerts will be created with a simplified Alert Wizard, and notifications can be sent directly to the system and/or via email.

New dashboards

We are completely redoing our dashboard system. It’s going to be more flexible, have more KPIs, and it’s going to be beautiful! You are going to really like this update. :)

Better analytics

The metrics sections will be gaining new social analytics and more goodies from the Google Analytics API. We are also working on making campaign analytics more insightful and actionable.

Reporting refresh

One of our most used and loved tools, the Report Wizard, is getting a major overhaul. Reports will be easier to make and will get a much needed facelift.

Social Activity

The Social Stream lets you see and reply to tweets, posts and monitor results in real-time, and the other social tools help you manage your social accounts. The only thing missing is the ability to tag, track, follow and report on your social activity. The new Social Activity tool will fix that.

Content and author management

Content has become one of the most crucial elements of a successful Internet marketing campaign. We are building a tool to help you create and manage your content, and also monitor the effectiveness of both your content and your authors.

Proposal builder

One of the biggest requests we get from agencies is the desire to create a report that can be used as a proposal for getting new business. We are working on reporting options that will make that possible.

Admin views and reports

Another frequent request we get is the ability to have high-level views of all campaigns and team activity. We are working on a tool that will allow account owners and admins the ability to view and report on all account activity.

LinkedIn

We plan to add management and reporting tools for LinkedIn. We will also be adding support for Google+ as soon their write API is made available to us.

Faster development and improved UX

One of the most important things we worked on this year happened behind the scenes. Our development team spent several months rewriting our core system. While I won’t go into the gory details, what I can tell you is the purpose of the rewrite.

It was designed to eliminate bugs when new features launch and to also dramatically speed up our development process. The update will enable us to build out new tools (and make significant updates to existing ones) faster than ever before.

And while it’s not specific to the next six months – it applies to the platform from here on out – we will focus a lot more of our time on improving the overall user experience.

That includes improving how you navigate and perform key processes and tasks, creating better cross-tool integration and providing more in-app assistance.

There’s so much more, but I don’t want to give everything away. 2013 is going to be a very exciting year for our customers and the platform.

Jon Henshaw
Co-Founder and President

Jon is the Co-founder and President of Raven Internet Marketing Tools.

Jon is the Co-founder and President of Raven Internet Marketing Tools.

  • http://www.mikewilton.com/ Mike Wilton

    Love how you guys have been transparent with all of this moving forward and I’m excited to see all the improvements in the coming year!

    • RavenCourtney

      We can’t wait for you to see the new stuff, Mike! It’s pretty cool :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/netmeg Meg Geddes

    GET BUSY NORCROSS!!!

    • RavenArienne

      We stole Norcross for marketing 😉

    • http://andrewnorcross.com/ Norcross

      trust me, I’m plenty busy :)

  • http://www.poweredbysearch.com/ Dev Basu

    Dang all of this is pretty cool Jon. We’re not being hit as hard by the remover of the rank tracker data because we use other tool sets like Advanced Web Ranking for that. That said, I am super excited to see all the new improvements you guys are bringing out in January. Kudos!

    • RavenCourtney

      Thanks, Dev! I’d love to hear more about your daily process when it comes to using Raven plus another tool for rankings. Since this might be a move more than a few of our customers are considering, I’d love to get some tips to make workflow easier. If you want to talk, you can email me at courtney@raventools.com.

  • ANON-TK

    Not as excited as the other commenters. I mean, there’s not anything here that screams value when compared to what’s been taken away. Granted, I have decided to stick with Raven for one reason and one reason only and that’s the Chrome toolbar. I will do rank data elsewhere and try to copy and paste it into my reports each month.

  • RavenCourtney

    We’re glad you’re staying with us but sorry you’re not feeling the new stuff. There’s always the second half of 2013! Meanwhile, if you think we’re missing something (other than rankings or other scraped data, of course) that would make Raven more valuable and useful, you can tell us about it here: http://raventools.com/feature-requests/

  • John

    Looking forward to these updates– especially the audit and Quality Aanalyzer (should help clients have a better visual understanding of their sites’ weaknesses). But what about email campaigns – we need Constant Contact integration. And increased social – Google+, Pinterest, Vimeo for starters. And please fix the glitch in Link Manager that resets links to “inactive”.

    • RavenCourtney

      John, can you tell us more about the glitch you’re seeing in Link Manager? Please email our support team at support@raventools.com. As Jon mentions above, we are planning to add support for Google+ as soon their write API is made available to us.

    • http://raventools.com Jon Henshaw

      Constant Contact will be supported in early January.

  • Chris Handy

    I would really like to see something in the way of Inbound lead tracking. With all the campaign specific reporting, It would be very cool to know what content each lead has been looking at.

  • http://www.seoautomatic.com shendison

    I think these are all great, but the elephant in the room is those damn ranking reports being gone.

    A simple (although admittedly inelegant) solution might just be to allow us to program our own menu link for “Rankigs Report” for each client domain. Personally, I’d be fine with that, and in fact have long wished there were custom menu items we could add for users anyway.

    We (Raven Users) that choose to find an alrternative for rankings are all going to have to give some sort of link to our clients for “Ranking Reports” that goes wherever we choose as an alternative.

    Rather than just give them a link to have to remember, it would be helpful to set our own menu item somehow, allowing clients to access their alternative ranking reports from the Raven dashboard.

    Whether we choose to use Serps.com, Authority Labs, Bright Local, or even a link to the clients own Webmaster Tools “Average Ranking” page that’s better than nothing, and gets Raven off the hook for integrating anything scraped.

    It can either load in an Iframe, or open in a new tab – I don’t care – Might be an easy band-aid?

    • http://raventools.com Jon Henshaw

      We’re not allowed to incorporate any scraped data, even if it’s imported by the user themselves or appears within an iframe. Believe me, we have considered ALL possibilities. However, we are still exploring average position from GWT/GA. The hard part is importing it in an automated and scalable fashion (at least until they make it available via their API).

      • http://www.seoautomatic.com shendison

        Nothing would be incorporated though… Hmm – okay, how about a feature that lets us add our own external link to wherever we want for our users, calling it whatever we want?

        I admit I don’t really want ranking reports – uhh… I want to sell my clients “Concert Tickets” and use my Stubhub affiliate URL 😉 Surely its not Ravens responsibility to police where I link to!

        Actually I would love to have menu items in Raven that let me link clients to their hosting CP, their WP login, my archive of their various training / reporting videos we’ve created, or ANY misc URLs i want.

        It’s my account and my clients, so where i want to send them is nobodys business. I can’t see how G could possibly claim there’s any sort of scraping, or API abuse, or stupid hypocritical rule violations, etc.

  • Kevin Getch

    Looking forward to the website auditor as well as the customizable quality analyzer. Very cool!

    • RavenArienne

      The customizable quality analyzer is badass. Great for proposals and benchmark reports based on your priorities.

  • Webarts

    Website Auditor is really great addition. Sorry for not be patient and asking. Will we get full analysis for every page of the website or a general website report. Also will be any limitations on the number of pages being crawled? Thanks

    • http://raventools.com Jon Henshaw

      It will analyze every page, the Summary view is just the starting place for the tool. For example, you’ll be able to click on a particular error on the summary page, and it will take you to a table view with filtered results of the error(s) and the pages related to them. As for the limitation on the number of pages that can be crawled, we’re still determining what that will be.

  • ANON-TK

    I think you can put HTML in the footer.

  • George Bounacos

    Nice work, John. Certainly ambitious, but I like your website auditor tool concept very much. Taken in conjunction with Moz’s, we have a nice overview of a site.

    Super impressed (golly gee, what superlatives) with the transparency Raven is showing.

    Silver Beacon isn’t going anywhere.

  • http://www.geekpoweredstudios.com Guillermo Ortiz

    Website auditor – I knew I was on Santa’s nice list this year.

  • a_hego

    Great work I wish you good success

  • frontpor

    Any plans to provide Pinterest reporting?

    • RavenCourtney

      Pinterest doesn’t yet have an API we can use, but we are definitely keeping an eye on it.

  • http://www.yardstickservices.com/blog Kevin McLeod

    Good stuff guys. Take a look at what WooRank.com is doing if you want to create a leading website auditor.