Suite Success: Internet Business Promoter

A review of Internet Business Promoter, a suite that integrates effective SEO tools.
Search engine optimization has long been a frustrating conundrum to many small business owners that painstakingly create and launch their company's Web site only to find that it ranks poorly if at all on the major search engines. Wouldn't it be great if someone came up with a tool or service to help get Web sites at the top of the search engine rankings?

Of course, there's no limit of such services available claiming to do exactly that these days; the only problem is that many of them fail to improve their client's rankings and some even use illegal tactics that can send a Web site's rankings into a freefall or get the site completely banned from the rankings.

The challenge, then, is to find a service or tool that lives up to its claims without costing a fortune in up-front or ongoing maintenance fees. Enter Internet Business Promoter (IBP).

IBP effectively combines a number of search engine optimization (SEO), Website promotion and SEO results tracking tools into an interface that is both easy to understand and use. And while its capabilities don't exactly come cheap ($249 or $449, depending on the edition desired), the Web site promotion suite can easily pay for itself in a very short period of time with better search engine results for your Web site.

There's a lot under IBP's hood, and the tool's undergone some significant changes recently, including integrating two separate apps into one (more on that later). Fortunately, the developers of IBP, Axandra, have done a nice job of integrating the various features into a streamlined and attractive design.

Stepping into the World of SEO
The first tool in IBP that new users will likely find themselves gravitating to (and for good reason) is the Top 10 Web Page Optimizer. This handy feature compares the home page of your Web site with the 10 top-ranking Web sites according to the search engine of your choice. The optimizer analyzes the front pages of these Web sites for specific keywords and then returns a report that compares factors such as keyword density in the title, meta description, meta keywords, body content, image alternate text and even the site's URL.

The results are displayed in a report that provides statistics on how your site compares to the competition. These stats are complemented by helpful advice for modifying your content to better fit the profile of what search engines are typically target.

The tool's recommendations are certainly useful in many cases, but you're likely to find that several (or even all) of the top ranking Web sites lack many of the recommended content factors. In other words, while the tool is obviously useful for tweaking your site's content for better search engine placement, you'll quickly discover from the results of the Top 10 Web sites that there's a lot more to search engine ranking placement than just the content of your Web pages.

The Push for (Link) Popularity
Once you feel you've optimized the content of your site, it's time to turn your attention to one of the most important external factors that affect your ranking — namely inbound links. IBP has two useful tools for this purpose, both originally part of the original ARELIS program that has been integrated into Internet Business Promoter as of the release of version 9.0.

The Top 10 Inbound Link Optimizer and Link Popularity Improver & Link Management tools may carry excessively wordy titles, but their value in helping a site improve its ranking is considerable. While content once reigned king in the realm of search engine optimization, these days popularity is a far more important factor in garnering top search engine positions.

It may sound a bit like a return to high school, but the push for popularity in this case boils down to gaining links to your site from high-quality sites with content related to your own. For instance, in the case of a premium pet food site, like one of our test sites, for example, your inbound links need to be from other reputable pet-related sites.

It's not easy to get sites to link to yours free of charge, but the tall task is made much easier by IBP's ARELIS tools. The link popularity and management tool in particular will help automate, track and manage your link request efforts. And while you shouldn't expect overnight success when seeking links to your site, the ARELIS tools' at-a-glance status reports ensure you don't lose track of the big picture over time.

IBP rounds out its arsenal of search promotion tools with a Web site submission tool, search engine rankings checker, a marketing ROI Optimizer tool and a scheduler for automating tasks like rank checking and search engine submission.

The Web site search engine submission tool claims to automate the process of submitting your site to various search engines without being considered an automated search engine spammer, a fate suffered by many of the automatic submission tools on the market. In our testing, we found the tool to live up to its claims, automating the majority of the process and leaving only the validation codes for us to manually enter.

The search engine rankings checker will automatically and efficiently check a variety of search engines for all your keywords at once and then provide a report that provides you with an up-to-the-minute analysis of where your Web site ranks and how effective your SEO efforts have been to date.

The Axandra Marketing ROI Optimizer (AxROI) helps you track the effectiveness of all your online ads, including pay-per-click ads, banner ads, text link ads, and non-paid search engine rankings. The AxROI tool was not tested as part of this review.

All of these features are shared by the two editions of IBP currently available (standard and business), with the more expensive business edition adding support for an unlimited number of projects/clients/domains, the ability to create special reports that can be personalized for clients, and reports available in Microsoft Word format. This edition is designed for Web agencies and businesses that need to manage more than five domains at a time, according to Axandra.

The Bottom Line
Overall, while Internet Business Promoter doesn't come cheap — $249 for the standard edition and $449 for the business edition — for small Web shop owners, don't be surprised to see the SEO and Webs ite promotion suite easily pay for itself in a short period of time.

Our testing found IBP to considerably improve our test sites' rankings, with patience a definite virtue in this case. Search engine success doesn't happen overnight, and in many cases we didn't see significant improvements from our efforts until several months into the SEO campaigns.

We should also mention that IBP isn't the only SEO solution we used in our testing, and it's unlikely to be the only tool you'll need in your search engine optimization efforts. As with investments, the most efficient means to ensure success is to diversify your efforts.

There are literally thousands of SEO resources out there; take advantage of them, but do so with a cautious eye, since quite a few promote borderline to heavily-frowned upon optimization tactics that can penalize your site's rankings. We recommend consulting with a reputable resource like Search Engine Watch when getting started with SEO.

One last note: Competition in the SEO sector is fierce, and therefore, IBP isn't the only Web promotion suite out there. The comparably priced SEO Toolkit v2 from Trellian and the slightly less expensive Web CEO Suite are two of the more popular competitors to Internet Business Promoter.

Pros: Extensive feature-set for helping you find search engine optimization success; well designed interface that's easy to understand and use; comprehensive solution for SEO efforts, Web site promotion and search engine results tracking.

Cons: Hefty price tag (starts at $249.95) may be a bit too steep for smaller businesses and individual users.

This article by Forrest Stroud, managing editor of WinPlanet.com, originally appeared on February 1, 2007 on WinPlanet.com.

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