Earlier this month, (September 6th), Raven Tools came out with a brand new toolbar for Google Chrome. This was pretty exciting for us at Evolve, seeing as we are already pretty huge fans of this brand. We rely on their tools daily and always welcome additions to the toolset. So hats off to you, Raven Tools a the Chrome toolbar is pretty sweet. With that being said, let’s look in more depth at each of the toolbar’s features. Specifically: what is cool about them, how we use them, and what could use improvements. As much as we love Raven Tools, this wouldn’t be a review without a little criticism too.
Features we love:
1. Discover Contacts: This feature automatically scrapes contact information from a website. This includes the contact’s name, company, and email. From here, you select the contacts that you want and can choose to “convert into contacts” so they will show up in your CRM next time you log into your Raven Tools account. The value this provides from a link building perspective is huge to say the least. This saves so many manual hours and frustration caused by searching through “contact us” pages, if a site even has one. 2. Share This allows you to post on Facebook or Twitter about the site you are visiting. It automatically populates the site name and URL and allows you to fill in your post. (Don’t worry we didn’t really post that.) Some really cool features in this tool include: Shorten URLs: Allows you to shorten a URL so that it will more easily fit into a Tweet or Facebook post. Input Campaign Variables: Allows you to set campaign variables such as source, medium, and name in order to easily categorize traffic resulting from the link. This is great for monitoring links in Google Analytics. Schedule posts for later: Like HootSuite, this allows you to schedule a time for when you post goes live. By doing so, you can postpone a Tweet or Facebook post until after content is posted, or until after your initial link building outreach. Again, this tool provides a huge benefit from a link building perspective. What better way to open up contact with a website than to mention them via your brand’s social media account? 3. Website Notes The Website Notes tool is brand new and pretty handy. It enables you to add a note about the website, which will show up as a little red icon next time you visit, and it will also be available in your Website Directory tool to view. This tool is great for someone like me, who always dedicates a column to “notes” in excel spreadsheets. When gathering potential sites for link building, I can leave myself a note about the Website so that I will see it when I return for outreach. 4. Personas Personas lets you to log into any one of your social media accounts that have been set up through the given profile in Raven Tools. This is nice if you would like to use more non-traditional social media platforms to connect with the website a such as Digg or StumbleUpon. Although it won’t take you directly to the social media handle owned by the website/corporation, it will get you halfway there. It navigates you to the social media site of your choice and auto-populates all of the login information for the profile you are using in Raven Tools. From there, you are free to explore. This is especially useful if you handle more than one social media account. It takes time to look up login credentials for multiple websites and account combinations. This skips that step for you. 5. Switch profiles and accounts The toolbar allows you to quickly switch between profiles and Raven Tools accounts. Profiles can be selected from the dropdown menu next to “Profile” and the account can be changed from the Settings Icon dropdown. This may not seem exciting, but it is helpful if you have more than one account or more than one client for which you do link building.
Every new tool is going to have glitches. Here a couple that we noticed: 1. No Save Draft Option Currently, there is not an option to save your progress in the form of a draft when filling out information. If you exit or click away from the pop-up window, all of your progress will be deleted unless you have already clicked Submit. An example of when this is inconvenient is adding a contact manually. The pop-up window blocks the content on the site so you can’t see what is on the page. If you want to navigate back to the page to find contact information, you need to exit the window. But when you do that, you lose your progress and have to start over. That means you need to have all of the information written down or in another tab/window in order to access it. 2. Glitchy Scrolling Feature If you expand options, the pop up sometimes disappears beneath the bottom of the browser. However, there is not a scroll bar on the pop-up window that allows you to navigate to the bottom of the window. If you try using the scroll bar on the browser, the pop up just slides down with the page, so you are still not able to see the bottom. What if? So, this toolbar is pretty fantastic, but we also have one radical idea for making it even better: Discover Social Media Accounts. What if Raven Tools took the social media aspect a step further and had the ability to search for social media accounts, just like the “Discover Contacts” feature searches for contact information? This tool would automatically find the website’s corresponding social media accounts. Then, ideally, it would auto-populate social media handles into the “Share” feature. This would allow us to Tweet directly at the website or tag them in our Facebook post.
Overall, we love this tool for its link building and competitive analysis capabilities. Just like any new tool, it has a few glitches and imperfections. But overall, it’s a must-have for SEOs. We give it an A.