SE Cockpit is the new “cloud-based” Keyword & Market Research tool released by Shane Melaugh & his partner Sam Haenni, of Swiss Made Marketing.
I am sure you are thinking the same as I did when I subscribed to SE Cockpit (several months ago) – why do I need another keyword research tool. I felt that the best way to review this product is to go through the main features of SE Cockpit, and then maybe take you through an example using the software itself.
If I had to define why SE Cockpit is better than Market Samurai, and in fact any other keyword research (and market research tool) out there, it would be down to its speed & the quality of results, together with the amount of information that is organised so beautifully within the interface.
SE Cockpit can give you a huge set of date very quickly. For example, with a tool like Market Samurai, in order to check out the competition on a keyword phrase, you would need to open up the SEO Competition tab, click a button and wait for a minute or so while the table populates. With SE Cockpit, all of this is done while the keywords are being collected. There is no second step involved. I’ll show this in the video later, but essentially you just double click a phrase in your list, and the top 10 sites, with all their relevant data are waiting for you. If I wanted to check out the detailed competition using Market Samurai of 10 phrases, it would take 10 visits to the SEO Competition tab, and roughly 10 minutes of me sitting at my keyboard. Imagine if I wanted to do that for 400 keywords? Well, SE Cockpit does it all in a couple of minutes. For 400 phrases in your list, it will already have analyzed 4000 pages to its detailed competition data.
Here is a bullet list of what I see to be the main strengths of SE Cockpit.
- Complete Tutorials on all aspects of the software. There are also tutorials on setting up a WordPress site and getting it ranked, though I haven’t seen these tutorials myself.
- Speed – Processing the full data on 300 – 400 words a minute, making it probably the fastest keyword research tool around. If you assume it takes 1 minute in Market Samurai to complete the same analysis on ONE keyword phrase, that makes SE Cockpit at least 300 times faster.
- Deeper Digging: You can easily grow your lists of keywords with the Expand button. That means you can select and phrase in your list (or type on in) and get SE Cockpit to do another research session on that phrase and add the results to your data. In tools like Market Samurai, this type of deep digging is very cumbersome at best, and slow…
- Filtering & Sorting: The simple filtering system in SE Cockpit allows you to sort and filter your keyword data by all sorts of metrics, easily. Since the competition values in SE Cockpit are based on the top 10 pages in Google, and their relative strengths, you can actually sort by competition and get a truer estimate of competition than other tools that rely on the number of competing pages.
- Here is an image showing how the filtering works (clicking any images should open them up to full size):Every column in the table has a drop down menu that allows you to filter that column by entering minimum, maximum or exact values for that column. Filtering is cumulative, so you can add these filters to several columns and get the combined result of all active filters. Using this system it is easy to find the gems in our data.Keyword Sources: While most keyword tools rely on Google keyword tool, SE Cockpit mines not only the Google Keyword tool (for up to 800 phrases), but also Google Suggest and Google related synonyms. They had originally included Google’s Wonderwheel, but that has been retired by Google for some strange reason.
- Data Sources: A lot of keyword tools use number of competing pages, number of pages with the keyword in the page title or page URL, backlink counts provided by the Yahoo Site Explorer, etc. SE Cockpit is different and gets most of its data from SEOMoz, who carry out their own indexing of the web and have masses of data. Incidentally, you can get this data yourself directly from SEOMoz, but it costs around $99 per month for the privilege. That’s $99 you save when you subscribe to SE Cockpit.
- Traffic Estimates: Most keyword tools provide traffic estimates based on broad match numbers though in some tools you can change this to exact match. SE Cockpit uses exact match numbers for its traffic estimates, but in addition to this, they provide estimates on how many visitors you can expect based on where you are ranking in the top, middle and bottom positions of page 1 in Google. I have done some of my own testing on these numbers and found them to be quite accurate.
- Project Management: SE Cockpit has a Project Manager module that allows you to keep tabs on all of the tasks you want to carry out on your site. I think this area of the program will develop as more users request features to be added, but it is certainly nice having this within easy reach.
- Tasks: SE Cockpit has some ready made tasks that you can follow as you work on getting your pages ranked. SE Cockpit also offers custom tasks for people who want to use various link building tools and services.
In the screenshot above, you can see a demo project I have setup, and SE Cockpit tells me the tasks I need to complete for that project. I won’t go into all the details of tasks and projects here, but I do think it will evolve into a very cool feature, especially for those just starting out. You can see a bit more on this in the videos below.
- Domain Searches: When SE Cockpit returns your data, you will see at a glance whether exact match domains are available for those keywords. This is a great time saver for those who like building sites on exact match domains.
- What’s in the Top Ten: SE Cockpit will tell you if there are ezine articles, hubpages, squidoo lenses, youtube videos, ebay, Amazon, blogspot etc in the top 10 of the Google search results for each keyword. I can think of many uses for this type of information ;)Below is a screenshot showing you all the information you can have in your table of data.Only those selected will show up in the table.
- Local/Specific Searches: SE Cockpit gives you the ability to include or exclude words or phrases from your searches. This can be very useful for local search and geo-targeting.OK, so let’s take a quick peek at a screenshot of SE Cockpit so I can show you the main keyword screen.
Just a quick run down of what is in the screenshot.
The Green Niche Bar is a calculation based on the traffic volume and the strength of competition. The longer the green bar, the better the niche.
The orange bars on the right hand side are indicators of competition strength. The longer the orange bar, the more the competition. Note that you get these bars for Google positions 1-3, 4-7 & 8-10. The length of the bars in each of these positions is determined by looking at the pages ranked in positions 1-3, 4-7 and 8-10 respectively. You can then determine whether it would be too hard to get into the top 3, but maybe you could get into the 4-7 slot? I think it is a great feature having the data broken down this way, and gives us a new way of determining top 10 competition in a way that is genuinely useful.
The available domains column will show domain in the form:
The first two show that the hyphenated version of the domain is available, while the last two show that the domain without hyphens is available.
OK, let’s take a quick peek at the competition data that is collected for each and every phrase in our keyword database. Double clicking a phrase opens up a screen like this:
This table gives you the titles of the top 10 pages as well as the URLs. You can click the URLs to open the sites in a new window. The last 5 columns show the meat of the competition data (collected from SEOMoz).
You get the mozRank, Page Authority, Domain Authority, Juice Links and total Links data.
mozRank is kind of equivalent to Google’s Pagerank, but using SEOMoz’s own formula. One there website they describe it as “a link popularity score. It reflects the importance of any given web page on the Internet. Pages earn MozRank by the number and quality of other pages that link to them. The higher the quality of the incoming links, the higher the MozRank. We calculate this score on a logarithmic scale between 1 and 10. Thus, it’s much easier to improve from a MozRank of 3 to 4 than it is to improve from 8 to 9. An “average” MozRank of what most people think of a normal page on the Internet is around 3.”
Page authority and domain authority are values out of 100, with 100 being the highest authority. Lower numbers mean less authority.
Juice links are the total number of links to the page that pass “link juice”, whereas the total links are the total number of links to a page, e.g. including those that don’t pass link juice like nofollow links.
Also, underneath the table of data, we also get a trends graph showing how the search volume has varied over time for the given keyword.
Videos Showing how to use SE Cockpit
SE Cockpit Video 1 – Building your Keyword List
SE Cockpit Video 2 – SECockpit Data Columns
SE Cockpit Video 3 – Filtering Phrases in SE Cockpit
SE Cockpit Video 4 – Finding Good Niches in SECockpit
SE Cockpit Video 5 – FInding Domain Names with SE Cockpit
SE Cockpit is a really cool keyword and market research tool that I will be using from now on. I think many people may find it difficult to justify a monthly expense on keyword research (though I used to subscribe religiously to Wordtracker), but for those whose budgets can afford this type of investment, I would highly recommend you check it out.
The SE Cockpit sales page has a video by Shane showing off SE Cockpit. It is well worth watching.