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Response to WebPosition Gold v2.0 BETA Review

By Kalena Jordan   8th July 2002


President of FirstPlace Software™, Brent Winters, responded to my Review of WebPosition Gold v2.0 BETA with comments addressing some of the concerns I raised. His responses are outlined below, together with extracts from my review, where appropriate:

(WR) = Web Rank, (BW) = Brent Winters 

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(BW) 

Hi Kalena,

Thanks for your review of WPG2! We really appreciate the feedback. I'd like to address some of the items in your review to clarify some things:

 

(WR) - GENERAL ENHANCEMENTS - 1) More Engines - A few observations -  the BETA version of WPG v2.0 does not yet offer support for New Zealand 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 future updates.

(BW) Actually, I think we support the New Zealand variation of Answers.com. [WR Note - Brent is referring to the Australian search engine Anzwers.com.au which has a New Zealand mirror at Anzwers.co.nz. The latest BETA Build of WPG v2.0 includes a filter to specifically target New Zealand results from Anzwers.]. We'll add more engines for New Zealand, as well as countries like Russia, China, etc. as we become aware of ones that are important in those countries. One issue we've ran into is that some countries do not have many "significant" regional engines. We did not see any reason to support engines so minor as to not warrant someone's attention just to fill out our engine list better. If you learn of a major regional engine we've overlooked, don't hesitate to let me know. We expect to add some more engines as more people start using the product after it's official release and providing feedback.
 

(WR) - REPORTER ENHANCEMENTS 5) Filter Non-Ranking Keywords - Personally, 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.

(BW) I understand your concern here, however, I think most clients are savvy enough to realize if they contracted to improve their positions on x, y, and z keywords and only x & y show up on the report, that they will know they don't rank well on "z" or will ask where that keyword is at.

 




 

 




 
 
 
 

Some people at times like to cast a wide net and then see just an "executive summary" of what keywords they are showing up on without a big list of keywords they don't rank on. In any case, we had a lot of requests to add this feature. So, we felt like we had an obligation to give our customers what they wanted.

 

(WR) - REPORTER ENHANCEMENTS- 9) Greater Report Customisation - it would be nice to see a thumbnail preview of how your chosen colours will look in a report layout.

(BW) Good idea! I'll add it to the list.

 

(WR) PAGE GENERATOR ENHANCEMENTS -  I 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.

(BW) We don't encourage the creation of a zillion doorway pages, or to spam an engine with near duplicate content. Instead, we provide articles on how to write high quality, unique content. That's why we offer no capability to create more than one page at a time with the Generator, just as you can't create more than one page at a time normally with MS FrontPage.

The primary purpose of the Page Generator is a teaching tool for beginners to introduce them to different elements of a page (title, meta tags, link text, body, keywords, etc.). It walks them through each element and provides an array of help buttons giving tips on how to create effective titles, headings, etc. If we removed the module, we'd be doing many people a disservice who are trying to learn SEO from scratch. If someone wants to abuse an engine by creating a bunch of duplicate pages, they can do that just as easily with any Web page builder by doing a Save As. They would not require our Page Generator to spam in that way.

 

(WR) - TRAFFIC ANALYZER ENHANCEMENTS - 2) Continued Support for 1.60 Features - This one’s pretty redundant if you ask me.

(BW) It might seem redundant, but people live in fear that the next upgrade may remove some of their favorite features. Other software companies have done this enough that many people worry about it if they are not re-assured.

 

(WR) - PAGE CRITIC ENHANCEMENTS - 1) Expanded Advice - 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.

(BW) We strongly recommend against creating duplicate content in the Critic, Generator, help files, and newsletters. The above advice is meant to suggest users divide their content into logical categories across multiple domains, but to keep everything unique. This can improve themes and link popularity without spamming. We'll revise the above advice to clarify this though since taken alone it could apply the wrong thing.

 

(WR) - SUBMITTER ENHANCEMENTS - It’s 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.

(BW) I completely understand your reservations about using an automated tool to do submissions. There are people who are concerned about being red-flagged by an engine, and for good reason. There are others who worry about the accuracy of automated submissions. Still others (including ourselves) feel that some submissions, such as to directories, are better done by hand so that the proper category can be chosen and so that a person does not hastily rush in and submit, making things harder to fix later.

However, I believe all such concerns have been put to rest with WebPosition Gold 2. WebPosition Gold 2 emulates a submission in your browser by first reading the actual content of the engine's submission page. It parses this page as a browser does, and then inserts the appropriate data such as your name, e-mail address, URL, or whatever is required by the engine. It also emulates all the other details of a browser based submission.

Most auto-submission products suffer from a fundamental flaw though. They submit too quickly which can be a red-flag to a search engine that might want to discriminate against submissions that are too fast, or that are automated. WPG2's unique slow submit features overcomes this. Version 1.60 allowed you to check a box and only submit one URL per day per engine to avoid the possibility of being red-flagged. In addition to the one URL per day feature that still remains, WPG2 allows you to schedule submissions to occur randomly in a user specified time interval. 

You can then submit multiple URLs throughout the day or week so that you never have URLs being submitted quickly in succession to the same engine (the primary give-away of an automated submission program). Unlike many submission products, if a submission fails for any reason, the failure is noted on the report and a link is provided to the actual failure page for further information. A link to submit it manually is also provided although in most cases, if WebPosition failed, then a manual submission will also fail until their server problems are corrected. However, the convenience is there to just jump over and try the submission again yourself to see if it succeeds.

In WPG2, the pages reported as successfully submitted are also downloaded and archived so you can click on them and see the engine's confirmation page yourself. We don't ask you to just "trust us" as many products do. We know the submitter works since we have many consultants who submit clients routinely with great success.

Those submissions we recommend you do by hand, such as more complex directory submissions where you should spend time navigating their site first to choose the best category, we provide a new submission assistant tool. This allows you to prepare and plan your submissions by inputting the title, description, and other elements you plan to submit. When you go to make your submission, you

just do a copy and paste from the assistant. It also counts and displays how many keywords you managed to use in your title and description, along with providing detailed submission advice on how to prepare a submission to each engine. If there are engines that WPG2 submits to automatically that you prefer or choose to submit to by hand, WPG2's submission assistant feature is still valuable. It allows you to add that engine to your guided or "manual" submission list and then input things like the initial submission date and the last submission date. This can be flagged to appear on a consolidated submission report that shows any manual and automated submissions you've done in one report.

Some benefits of WPG2's automated submissions over manual submissions are:

a) Saves time by not having to go to each engine and submit by hand.

b) Reduces or eliminates the chance of entering a typo in the URL when you submit since WPG2 verifies that the page exists before submitting it.

c) WPG2 reduces the chance of accidental spamming by warning you if you try to submit the same URL twice on the same day. (If you do this manually, the engine is not going to be nice enough to tell you that you broke the rules or at risk of being flagged as a spammer).

d) WPG2 warns you if you exceed recommended daily limits on the number of URLs per day per engine. Our knowledge base is updated monthly with these limits. However, you can also customize them to your own preferences or level of conservatism as desired.

e) A complete log is kept of when you submitted what to where, whether it be manual or automated. WPG2 makes this easier than keeping these notes in NotePad or elsewhere. If you do work for clients, these reports can lend more validation to your work.

f) You still have the flexibility to manually submit where you wish, and to track that. The Assistant provides handy features to make this process easier.

I hope this gives a better overview of how WebPosition Gold 2 compares to manual submission, and some of the many benefits it provides. With this latest version, there is very little if any valid argument to not take advantage of WebPosition's submitter versus doing it by hand. Many concerns regarding automated submission are based on problems in other products or on older technology.

 

(WR) SCHEDULER ENHANCEMENTS - 1) Easier Interface - Well – 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.

(BW) A This sounds like a bug since any references to WPG1 should have changed to WPG2 automatically. We'll get if fixed asap!

 

(WR) SCHEDULER ENHANCEMENTS - 6) Easier Submission Handling - This 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.

(BW) We don't recommend people submit the same URL each day. However, some people, and consultants, like to submit once a quarter or once a month. I tend to agree that if you focus on your link popularity, then resubmitting is not necessary unless you have a problem of the engine dropping your site by accident. Some people believe that submitting periodically helps keep them in the index more consistently. WebPosition warns people if they try to break known submission rules like submitting the same URL more than once in the same day, or submitting more than 1, 5, 10, or however many URLs per day that an engine suggests that you not exceed. I do understand where you're coming from, however, if we did not let people submit intelligently on a given interval, then we would be criticized for not supporting that option. I don't believe that if they will get in trouble for spamming if they keep things conservative.

 

(WR) - 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 challenged doorway pages and not running Reporter on engines known for taking an anti-querying software stand (such as Google). 

(BW) I agree. We try to put in warnings against all the above to educate the user and encourage the proper use of the tool. Ultimately, WebPosition is a tool just like Microsoft FrontPage. You can create something great with it, or you can mis-use it and create a junky Web site. All we can do is try to encourage the positive use of the product while giving people the flexibility to optimize sites as they see fit since SEO is not an exact science.

Kalena, I again thank you for the review you did and the valuable feedback you've provided. We'll be going to work on the bugs and shortcomings you mentioned.

 

If you have additional questions about WebPosition Gold™ as a result of reading this these comments, please visit the links below, or email WebPosition support staff via help@webposition.com. If you’d like to trial the Beta version of WPG v2.0, you can download it from the link below. 

More: http://www.webposition.com/d2.pl?r=GCU-55EC  (our affiliate link)
        
http://www.webposition.com/wpg2upgrade.htm  (outline of features in v2.0)


 

 

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