A recent post on Quora provides a good open discussion about the best SEO tools available on the web. 


Whilst the content of the post itself is extremely useful for SEO, that was not actually what got me excited.  What I loved about this post was the way that someone was able to ask a random question about products from three different companies, and within just 1 day have it answered by the founders of each of those companies!

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I also very much respected Rand’s first answer which provided incredibly open customer feedback information (good and bad) about his own products. 

Rand and SEOMOZ create a great set of products, show open respect for their ‘competitors’ and are seemingly completely open and constructively critical about their own work on a regular basis.  In a word of Quora, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogs with open comment boxes, etc… this type of relationship with the online community makes a lot of sense to me. 

Whilst I have a lot of respect for the skills sales people have, I can’t say that I respect the tendency many have for avoiding discussions about negative customer feedback, or worst the habit of criticizing competitor products just purely because they are competition.  I think that Rand and many other successful people in the evolving world of online communities would agree with me. 

  • Rand knows his company makes great products
  • Rand knows that his respectful and honest reply in the Quora post would result in equally respectful and honest replies
  • Rand knows that deliberately avoiding a mention of negative product feedback would simply result in someone else mentioning it in the replies
  • Rand knows that criticizing a competitor (even in a politically correct way) will simple result in retaliation from the competitor, their affiliates or just someone who didn’t like the tone of Rand’s message

Gone are the days when the only ‘customer testimonials’ are those which a company has chosen to publish on it’s site.  Gone are the days when the only way of getting your complaint heard was to threaten with some kind of publicity stunt. 

Oh and by the way, the only was I discovered this post was because Quora knows I am interested in SEO, so it made me aware of the discussion in my news feed.  So GONE are the days where someone who wants to start a discussion has to proactively go out and find people who are interested in participating!

Quora is just on example of how online communication and reputation has changed/is changing.  If you haven’t already, get on top of it now.  I will be paying a lot more attention to the site after this experience.

Just in case you are still wondering whether the SEO post is worth your attention, here are the tools it mentions and compares…

  • SEOMOZ
  • Raven SEO
  • Hubspot
  • In less detail…
    • SEO Book
    • Buzzstream
    • Ontolo

Check it out Smile