It’s not that often that one gets the opportunity to chat with a leading figure behind some of the most powerful SEO tools in use today. Well, it’s one of those special days for me because I was able to get inside the mind of Gleb Suvorov of SeoDigger.com, SeoQuake and AdsSpy.com. Like many of us, he has a passion for SEO that you will see in the answers to these questions about the tools. Okay, folks, let’s take it away…
Thanks for taking the time to do an interview at Clickfire. I am always fascinated to learn about the people behind successful software tools and what makes them tick. Can you start off by telling us about yourself and your role and your company?
I have been in the Internet business for about five years. I started in Internet advertising, and then became interested in SEO. In the SEO Quake Team my role is best described as product manager. I coordinate the team, do research, talk to our users and bloggers, and come up with new ideas for our products. Most popular ones are SeoDigger.com (reverse Google index), SeoQuake (SEO extension for FireFox) and AdsSpy.com.
I’ve used your tools both at home and professionally. Who are the typical users of your software?
Well, I would say there are 3 groups:
- Professional SEO employees and freelancers who use our products regularly. We appreciate the feedback that we get from these people and we use it as a main source of ideas for improving our products.
- Small group of advanced webmasters people who know how to set parameters for SeoQuake, use SeoDigger API, and other ultra-advanced functions.
- Beginners – bloggers and webmasters who use our products from time to time to check their stats.
SeoDigger is my favorite tool of all. I’ve always wondered how you are able to have so much search data at your fingertips for so many sites. Can you say anything about how you obtain it? Do you collect it yourself or use third party data? Or is that top secret?
No top secret at all. A while ago we invested some time into building a database of 60 million keywords (partly acquired from third parties, partly gathered ourselves). Every 3 or 4 weeks we make 60 million requests to USA version of Google.com. In this way we SERP for first 20 positions for every keyword in our database, which is then used to build a reverse index. After that it’s simple, you type in a URL and get your report.
My complaints about most online tools are that either they don’t work or they simply don’t do anything useful. How do you overcome these two challenges?
Our rule of a thumb here is that we develop tools that we can use ourselves. We also do a lot of preliminary testing–we talk to people and see if they find our tools useful. If end users don’t like it, we keep it for private use.
Can you tell us about the new AdsSpy tool? How is it different from other “spy” tools that we see tauted around the Internet?
I have to admit, I felt a little violated when I input one of my sites into AdsSpy and immediately saw a bunch of other sites in my AdSense network show up. Do you get any complaints from webmasters about sharing this type of information? If so, how do you deal with it? Can webmasters prevent their data from being accessed via robots.txt, for example? Of course, I want to be able to see my competitors but I don’t want them to see me
We had a lot of negative feedback at the beginning, but not any more. We believe that Ids is public information, and the only thing we do is aggregate them. We do not use read robot.txt. To my knowledge, there is no legal way to prevent crawling if your site is listed in Google and you are using AdSense or other system (except code modification which is forbidden by Google policy). But things change, and who knows, we might delete your sites from our system
AdsSpy is a break from being a pure SEO tool like SeoDigger and SeoQuake. Everyone seems to have a social media tool or widget or plugin these days. I can’t keep up with all the Twitter tools out there. Do you foresee your team developing any other types of tools or do you plan to stick with SEO tools in the future?
All our activities are concentrated around SEO, web research and statistics. AdsSpy.com is in a way another facet of SEO knowing what exactly your competitors do and who they are. We have also experimented with social media. We worked on an analogue of Digg for SEO news, but we did not get much positive feedback from users and closed the project. This year we plan to make some major enhancements to SeoDigger, add a couple of new functions to AdsSpy.com and open one or two new services for competitive intelligence and SEO. Now we are gathering feedback from our users and SEO professionals to find out their needs. We welcome any suggestions.
I always like to ask the people I interview to reveal something fun or interesting about themselves. What do you do when you’re not working?
Surprisingly, SEO Digging is not the only kind of digging in my life. I do some amateur archeology / treasure hunting like searching for old coins and things like that. Offline digging has much in common with SEO research–you browse through tons of maps, use special equipment and your brain to find interesting dependencies. Sometimes all your effort is only to see that somebody else did it better. But when you succeed at last it is so much fun!