By Kalena Jordan
FirstPlace Software™, creators of the popular web site marketing
software WebPosition Gold ™, recently announced the forthcoming release of the
long-awaited version 2 of their product. WPG v2.0 is already available in Beta
format (see link below) and boasts an impressive number of new features to help web masters ensure their web sites are spider friendly, ranking highly
and submitted to the most appropriate search engines and directories worldwide.
I decided to review the BETA version of the new
software and share my findings via this article. I have limited my review to the new features and enhancements provided for the options I use, rather than concentrate on all
features of the product. For ease of reference, I’ve also listed my analysis
of the new features under the same headings used by WPG here: http://www.webposition.com/wpg2upgrade.htm.
1) More Engines
for an additional 60 search engines and directories is probably the most newsworthy feature of WebPosition Gold 2.0 and a major convincing
factor influencing existing users to upgrade to version 2.0 and non-users to become customers. The added support for regional search engines in Canada,
United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Spain, Mexico, Latin America, Russia, Italy, China, Japan, Scandinavia and the Netherlands
is a major selling point because it allows users to check their rankings on
and design their web pages for search engines and directories in these countries.
time, WPG has probably lost significant market share to TopDog, reporting
software that offers support for over 200 regional search engines. But this
WPG enhancement, combined with existing features, makes WPG more attractive
than ever before.
few observations: the BETA version of WPG v2.0 does not yet offer support for
New Zealand or Mexican engines, despite the listing above. I’m hoping these
will be added in time for the full release. Also the claim that the search
engines of Spain and Latin America are covered is a bit misleading because the
BETA version only covers three Spanish language engines under Spain/Latin
America rather than country specific engines. Also there appears to be a
Scandinavian engine “Passagen” lumped in with the Spain/Latin American
engines – obviously a temporary glitch. Also, some countries are represented
more fully than others, for example, 10 engines are listed for Germany, but
only two for China and Russia. Hopefully these numbers will increase with
2) Easier Engine Management
you can quickly choose search engines based on location, importance or
personal preference, thanks to new drop down lists. Search engines have been
divided into global and regional sections, then categorized by country and
importance – primary or secondary. You can also set up your own
“preferred” list, selecting only those engines you consider important.
This preferred list can then be quickly selected for multiple mission files.
For someone like me, needing to run between 10 and 15 missions per week, this
feature is very convenient.
3) Vital Statistics
when selecting which engines to include in your Reporter missions, a box
appears listing important statistics about that engine, such as the URL, link
popularity and a brief description.
4) Better Help
haven’t had to use it lately, but FirstPlace Software claim their WPG
has been greatly improved and expanded. Certainly the index seems at least
twice as large in v2.0.
5) Better File Management
can now define a default mission directory to make file management easier –
a logical improvement.
6) Faster Downloads
now tend to download extremely fast, meaning your mission is not interrupted
and you get access to the latest WPG version almost immediately. While updates
to the program may download faster, I did not notice any difference in time
for report completion in the new version. I tested this twice by setting up
identical Reporter missions and timing how long each took using WPG 1.60.5 and
WPG v2.0 BETA. Each time I ran the test, the mission running on WPG v2.0
finished in 5 minutes, while the mission running on the older version finished
in 4 minutes.
7) Powerful Multi-tasking
big feature of v2.0 is the ability to run more than one instance of WPG at a
time. This means multiple reporter missions can run concurrently – a huge
advantage for persons needing to run ranking reports for multiple clients. I
haven’t used this feature very much in the BETA version, worried that
running more than one mission at a time would overload my flimsy dialup
connection. But the few times I’ve tried it (running two small missions
together), it worked just fine, with both missions finishing within seconds of
other nice thing about this feature is the ability to set up new missions
while running others. You can also work with other parts of WPG, for example
using PageRank in one WPG window while running one or more reporter missions
in another. Perfect for those of us who are born multi-taskers.
1) Reduced Disk Space
long awaited option in V2.0 BETA is the ability to conserve hard disk space by
selecting the box marked “delete actual results files after reports are
generated to save disk space”. Selecting this box ensures detailed
search pages downloaded by the program are automatically deleted once
information from them has been extracted for your reports. This particular
feature has already saved me countless hours spent deleting detailed search
engine results that tended to eat up my free disk space via the old version. A
very sensible (and much appreciated!) enhancement.
2) Advanced Browser Emulation
response to a growing lack of support for automated querying software by some
search engines, the new version of WPG includes an option to slow searches
down. It is claimed that this makes it more difficult for engines to detect
you are using automated software.
I can’t verify if the search engines are less likely to detect you if you
use this option, I can tell you it results in fewer time-outs and dial up
disconnections, something that would plague my use of previous WPG versions. I
now use this option by default because of its ability to stabilize missions.
given Google’s extremely strong stance against automated software, I
strongly recommend you do not include Google in any ranking missions you
perform. In the past, Google has banned the IP addresses of heavy users of
such software. Instead, do what I do and select Yahoo Pages instead. This will
reveal your positions in the Web Page Matches of Yahoo, fed by Google, which
is a fairly accurate representation how you rank on Google anyway.
3) Auto-Email Reports
handy function of WPG v2.0 (Pro Version) is the ability to automatically email
generated reports. When setting up your Reporter missions, you can choose to
have the Concise Report (with or without Visibility Statistics) sent to one or
more email addresses as soon as the report is complete. The site URL is
automatically included in the email body and you can even set up your own
email template – a very nice feature if you are emailing clients their
reports on a regular basis. Even if you prefer to publish the reports to a web
site, now you can optionally auto email them to your clients as well. This,
combined with the Scheduling tool, means once you set up your Reporter
missions you can simply press a button and let the program do the rest.
4) Auto-Upload Reports
new feature of the Pro Version gives you the ability to upload your ranking
reports to a specific web site via FTP. The Upload Manager can either use
WPG’s built-in FTP program or your own preferred FTP tool to upload the
files. WPG recommends FrontPage users should use FrontPage to upload files
instead, to avoid the common occurrence of FTP programs corrupting FrontPage
server extensions. Yet another time-saving enhancement, this particular
feature is ideal for SEO’s servicing multiple clients or people monitoring
various web sites. It took me about 10 minutes to upload the latest WPG
reports to five of my client’s sites; something that would normally take me
about 15 minutes per client. Consequently, I would have to say this is one of
my favourite features of WPG v2.0 BETA.
5) Filter Non-Ranking Keywords
feature I understand the demand for but wouldn’t use very often is the
ability to filter out non-ranking keywords from Reporter Missions. This
enables you to email or publish ranking reports that only contain positive
results (i.e. keywords that did not rank within your position search range can
I think this “enhancement” opens up the program to abuse because it
encourages the circulation of misleading reports and distorts the true
performance of a search ranking campaign. If some search terms did not perform
as well as others, in my opinion, clients should be aware of this so they can
make decisions about which keywords to target in the future and about the
success of the campaign in general. Keep in mind that if you remove
non-ranking keywords from a report, your visibility percentage will always be
100%. This figure is therefore no longer meaningful and will be automatically
removed from the report.
6) Auto-Import Keywords
of cutting and pasting your keywords from your web site’s META keyword tag
into Reporter? Well soon you won’t have to. The full release of WPG v2.0
will include a button that does this for you automatically. WPG v2.0 BETA does
not yet include this function, just a note that “this feature is currently
in development” and will be available in a future update.
7) New Visibility Report
“how did we ever do without it” feature is the new Visibility Statistics
table which appears above each ranking report in the WPG v2.0 BETA. Now you
can see, at a glance, how many top 30, top 20, top 10, top 5 and position 1
ranks you achieved, instead of having to manually count them.
8) Better Rank Tracking
Visibility Report also tells you (or your client) how many positions you moved
up or down since you last ran the report, your overall ranking gain or loss
and it even provides an approximate visibility score for your campaign based
on your existing search positions. For SEO’s or persons managing campaigns
for multiple clients, this enhancement is a real gem, turning a seemingly
complex report into an easy to read search performance indicator.
9) Greater Report Customization (Pro Version Only)
users of older WPG versions could customize their reports by adding a logo and
URL, WPG v2.0 allows you to customize the layout and colours of your reports
as well. Using a drop down list of colour choices for each report area, you
can change the look of your reports to match your company stationery, your
client’s logo or your mood. The
only annoying part of this feature is that there are no previews available of
your colour choices. You need to run a report in order to see how it’s going
to look. In future releases, it would be nice to see a thumbnail preview of
how your chosen colours will look in a report layout, or even better, to have
a range of colour templates available for selection.
well as changing the colour scheme, you can change the layout by creating your
own custom template. You do this by altering the header and footer to include
logos, URL’s, text and email addresses. This is another handy feature for
persons preparing reports on behalf of multiple clients.
1) Enhanced Meta Tag Control
2) Improved Help
3) Anti-Spam Features
4) Smarter Page Generation
5) Easier Engine Management
6) Auto-Import Keywords
don’t use WPG’s Page Generator tool, so I don’t really have a yardstick
to use to compare versions and I’m not comfortable reviewing a tool that I
don’t use and don’t approve of. But above I’ve listed all the new
features offered within WPG v2.0’s Page Generator tool for reference.
I don’t think there is a need to auto-generate pages designed for specific
search engines. These days with the emphasis on relevancy and link popularity,
it is my experience that a well designed search engine friendly site with lots
of relevant content and a logical directory structure will rank well across
most search engines, without the need to generate extra “optimized” pages.
1) Expanded Advice
provided in Page Critic now covers 85 search engines and directories
worldwide. WPG claim theirs is the only product in the world that offers
ranking improvement advice for so many engines – I don’t doubt it! Not
having used Page Critic for some months, I was surprised to see the depth of
advice offered in v2.0 BETA.
addition of a link popularity check was a pleasant surprise, however I had to
scroll through pages and pages of general suggestions to get to my page
analysis scores. While providing so much advice is admirable, it makes you
wonder if new users of the software or persons with little experience of
search engines would be able to understand all the information provided. I
also found some of the advice to be a bit misleading. For example, when
running a Page Critic check for a particular keyword ranking on Google, the
software came up with this suggestion:
and setting up multiple domains can be a great way to increase your visibility
on the Web and if you cross-link your domains, you can improve your link
popularity for each site. However, it's best if you host the cross linked
domains at separate Web hosts so that the first 3 blocks of the site's IP
address (xxx.xxx.xxx) are different. Some engines may ignore link popularity
if the IP addresses of the sites are too close together numerically.”
You see, I just don’t
agree with the assumption that purchasing multiple domains is a good way to
boost search engine rankings. In fact, if you set up multiple domains
containing the same content and search engines discover this, many will at
best, ignore the duplicate domains and at worst, remove your site/s from their
index. “Hiding” the other domain at a different IP address is not going to
protect you from this. Besides, unless you are providing substantially unique
content on different domains, you are doing nothing more than filling the
search engines with irrelevant spam and not adding value for the searcher.
This particular advice
was provided together with a link to FirstPlace Software’s domain store, so
the attempt to boost domain sales via WPG was not lost on me. I guess the
moral here is – take the Page Critic advice with a good pinch of salt and
try not to do anything that subverts the search engines.
2) Enhanced Link Popularity Support
mentioned above, Page Critic in WPG v2.0 BETA now includes the ability to
check your link popularity on any of the search engines you are analysing for.
It also provides average link popularity scores for top ranking pages on the
same engines. Detailed advice is then given on how you can improve your link
3) Smoother Interface
Page Critic interface has also been changed to make missions easier to set up.
There are fewer pop-up prompts – these have been merged with the main
interface. You now also have the option to save the mission automatically and
suppress the partial matching prompt.
4) Improved Accuracy
interesting enhancement to Page Critic in v2.0 BETA is the ability to
determine if top ranking pages have changed since being indexed by the search
engine. A new feature in Page Critic will try to detect page changes between
the cached version of a top ranking page and the current actual page. If it
finds a page has changed, it will be excluded from the analysis to prevent
statistical inaccuracies. I have yet to see this feature in action, but I
imagine it would greatly increase the accuracy of Page Critic advice.
1) Built-in FTP Support
v2.0 BETA includes its own (optional) FTP program, removing the need to load 3rd
party FTP programs when uploading files. When you create your missions, you
can now select to have reports uploaded automatically, once generated. This is
a very convenient feature that helps save time and streamline campaigns. I
envisage this feature alone will save me hours per month.
2) New Report Processing Options
discussed above, the Upload Manager in WPG v2.0 BETA (Pro Version) now allows
you to remove non-ranking keywords from Concise Reports. This is a feature I
don’t really like, for reasons stated above.
1) More Engines
2) Better Multi-Domain Support
3) Easy URL Importing
4) Built-in Spider for Quickly Gathering URL’s
5) Customize Submission Limits
6) Full Submission Verification
7) Complete Submission History
8) Easier Directory Submissions
9) Auto-Import Keywords
10) Expanded Submission Interface
11) Add Custom Engines to the Submitter Assistant
12) Advanced Browser Emulation
feature of WPG that I don’t use is the Submitter, so I won’t be reviewing
enhancements to this tool. But above I’ve listed all the new features
offered within the WPG v2.0 version of Submitter for reference.
going to take a lot to convince me that submitting sites to search engines
using software is better than submitting by hand. I’ve seen too much
evidence to the contrary.
1) Expanded Engine Support
traffic analyzer in WPG now separately tracks traffic arriving from all the
new search engines supported by WPG v2.0. This is useful in that you can now
distinguish traffic originating at regional versions of the most popular
engines (e.g. Yahoo.com.au traffic vs Yahoo.com traffic). However technically,
this is a standard feature of 3rd Party Statistics provider Hit
Links, rather than a new feature of WPG.
2) Continued Support for 1.60 Features
one’s pretty redundant if you ask me.
1) Easier Interface
– here’s the thing. WPG claim that the Scheduler interface in WPG v2.0 is
easier to use. But I don’t think so. Sure the tabbed layout is consistent
with other WPG features, but I don’t find the interface any more intuitive.
In fact, Scheduler v2.0 kept trying to run using an older version of WPG.
After I worked out what the problem was, I had to keep changing the execute
file in the “Program to Run” field to WPG v2.0 BETA. There doesn’t
appear to be a way to choose a default program to run, unless you remove older
WPG versions from your system or move them to a new folder.
2) System Tray Support
nice enhancement to Scheduler in v2.0 is the addition of an icon in your
system tray, meaning you can right click the icon at any time to run
Scheduler. Previously, unless you had Scheduler as a desktop shortcut, you had
to open WPG and select Scheduler when you wanted to run it.
3) New Report Log
WPG v2.0, a log file now records details of all scheduled events so you can
open it and see which missions completed and which did not. A “View Log”
button has been added to Scheduler so you can see this file at any time.
4) Scheduled Uploads Supported
v2.0 now supports scheduling of Upload Manager missions in addition to
Reporter and Submitter missions. So now you can schedule what time and what
day you want your report files uploaded to the Internet.
5) More Flexibility
v2.0, Scheduler includes a lot more flexibility when running missions. Now you
can choose specific dates, times and/or recurring dates via a drop down list,
such as every second Friday or quarterly. This is useful for my clients,
because some of them like to present ranking reports at specific management
meetings and often those meetings will be held at regular intervals such as
the third Wednesday of the month. This new feature gives me the ability to run
and upload their reports to coincide with such meetings.
6) Easier Submission Handling
feature of Scheduler I’m not likely to use is submission handling. WPG v2.0
allows the submission of URL’s at more defined intervals, supposedly keeping
within search engine recommended per-day submission limits. However, one check
box option I noticed and that caused me some concern was “Allow
Repetitive Submissions”. The explanation states:
“Once all URL’s are submitted, highlight them so
that they can be re-submitted on the next scheduled run”.
got to ask – why on earth would you want to regularly resubmit a URL to any
search engine? If your site is linked to from other sites, most search engines
will find your site on their own when they crawl the web. Once you’re
listed, most search engines will regularly return and spider your site for new
content without any help from you. Other search engines can take months to add
your URL to their index, but submitting once is enough. Depending on your site
content, some search engines won’t add you at all.
submitting on a regular basis is only going to annoy search engines and
possibly get your URL banned. The only reason to resubmit is if you WERE
listed and later find your listing has disappeared. Resubmitting a URL in the
hope of improving your ranking is just silly. If your page doesn’t get
ranked well the first time it gets listed in a search engine, resubmitting the
same page is not going to make it suddenly rank high!
submission “enhancement” to WPG raises concern because it is open to abuse
by giving people the ability to resubmit their URL’s daily. This is an
irresponsible and unnecessary addition to the software if you ask me.
7) Handy Pop Up Calendar
WPG v2.0 Scheduler now includes a pop-up calendar to assist the selection of
scheduled dates on which to run missions. This is particularly useful for
those of us running multiple missions per month.
8) Quickly Test Your Scheduled Events
you wanted to schedule a mission to run immediately in the old version of WPG,
you still had to select a future time for the mission to commence. WPG v2.0 of
Scheduler includes a “Run Now” button that allows you to run any scheduled
Well, that completes my review of WebPosition Gold v2.0 BETA.
Keep in mind that the program is still in BETA release, so items discussed
above may change before the full version is released. All
in all, I’ve found the new version to be
very impressive, with plenty of
worthwhile features justifying the cost of an upgrade (USD 74 for the Standard
version and USD 174 for the Pro) or a new purchase (USD 149 for the Standard
version and USD 349 for the Pro).
However, some of the features provided are quite powerful and open
to abuse. If you choose to use WebPosition Gold or similar software, try to
use it responsibly by scheduling your Reporter missions sporadically, not
over-submitting your URL’s, avoiding the creation of hundreds of
content-challenged doorway pages and not running Reporter on engines known for
taking an anti-querying software stand (such as Google). In fact, using any
type of software that runs automatic queries on Google is against their Terms
of Service and so you run the risk of your IP address and/or site being
banned from Google. Always remember that, despite the
hype, bombarding search engines is NOT going to help you achieve high
President of FirstPlace Software, Brent Winters, responded to my review with comments addressing some of the concerns I raise above. You can read Brent's comments via
If you have additional questions about WebPosition
Gold™ as a result of reading this review, please visit the links below, or email WebPosition
support staff via firstname.lastname@example.org. If
to trial the Beta version of WPG v2.0 please download it from the link below.
(our affiliate link)
(outline of features in v2.0)
The above article may be
re-published as long as the content remains unchanged and the following
paragraph is included at the end of the article, including the URL links:
Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia and New Zealand, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running her own SEO business Web Rank, Kalena manages Search Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects.
Send Page To a Friend