I remember when I was first getting started in SEO one of things I looked for was tools to make getting data easier. Back in those days things were played a lot closer to the vest, a friend either gave you something or you had to shell out top dollar to get a program developed for you. Two things have happened since them, hiring your own programmer has gotten a lot cheaper/easier (getting a good programmer is still hit or miss though) and people are selling their tools at prices that are well within the new/budget conscious SEO’s price range.
SEO Spyglass is basically a backlink analyzer with lots of bells and whistles that let you analyze your competitors site. There is a 5 minute video tutorial that is actually pretty good, if you are seriously evaluating it it’s worth watching and can help you get up to speed quicker.
I ran the program on my site which has a pretty large amount of backlink data, and was on a slower connection so it did take a little while to complete. I elected to use the backlink data from Yahoo which generally speaking is the most accurate (Google intentionally obscures backlink data and MSN is really on another planet sometimes).
The first thing noticed is something a real lot of backlink analyzers have a problem with, Yahoo reports “no followed” links. I haven’t seen a commercial program that accounts for that, but as an SEO it’s something you need to be aware of and factor into your analysis.
You can click on the columns and sort any by any of common factors such as PR, anchor text, alexa ranks and so on. You can also filter with several common factors like “blogs”, “home page”, “domain rank” or create your own. One thing that does appear to be missing is the ability to export the data into a CSV or other spreadsheet friendly format.
IMHO the data you get out of the analysis tab is more useful, for example here the anchor text tab
Other analysis tabs include things like “keywords”, “anchor url”, “webpage PR”, “domain PR”, “domain”, “IP address” , “DMOZ listed sites”, Yahoo directory sites” and recip links. Looking at some of the data I did see some things that looked a little off, for example looking at the anchor URL tab I know there are deep pages that have more links than the report is showing. I think the problem lies more with how Yahoo is giving the data and not how the program is analyzing it
Again the ability to export this data and create a matrix is a feature I would think would be really helpful. Another feature which would be helpful the ability to compare two domains and show the differences. For example knowing domain A has 42% of it’s anchor text as “blue widgets” where domain B has 87% of it’s anchor text as “blue widgets” would be helpful. Another feature I’d like to see would be the ability to use a proxy server. I looked at the SEO blueprint report and it looked like an attempt to create a site audit using the data from the link scan. I’m not sure I agree with or recommend some of the tips listed there. In fact I’d probably recommend ignoring it and dropping it as a feature, IMHO it’s not something that can/should be automated. If you want to add value a 10-15 page SEO basics manual would be more helpful.
This program is really best suited for begining or intermediate SEO’s who are learning the ropes and don’t have the budget to hire a programmer to develop a custom program. SEO Spyglass is free to try but the ability to save data is restricted unless you upgrade to the pro version. At $87 it’s a reasonable enough price. Adding the export feature IMHO would really make this program/data a lot more useable and something I seriously hope they consider adding.