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Scribe SEO – My Review of Brian Clark’s Scribe Service

You may of missed it – but a couple of week’s ago Brian Clark – of Third Tribe Marketing fame – launched his latest money-making venture- Scribe SEO.

What Does Scribe Claim To Do:

From their own site they make the following claims – enrolling in Scribe SEO will have the following benefits to you the would be SEO copywriter, blogger or affiliate marketer:

  • hit the keywords you are after
  • employ SEO best practice
  • it the keywords you are after
  • produce optimized traffic faster
  • increase search and social traffic
  • remove SEO guesswork
  • retain maximum readability
  • optimize faster
  • balance keyword usage

Sounds good right? And frankly I understand the appeal – I spent quite a long time considering myself  incompetent at SEO – I thought it was really, really hard and technical and even though I thought I was technical I didn’t GET SEO. So I see where there market is at. I thought writing SEO Titles was a Dark Art. I didn’t know what a keyword was – I may have been very likely to jump at this tool.

What is Scribe SEO?

At the time of writing Scribe SEO is using WordPress plugin technology. Later releases will extend the functionality to work within Drupal, on any website and integrated with Microsoft Word.  The Scribe technology basically analyses your WordPress post (or page) and returns the following information:

  • whether title is the right length and contains your keywords;
  • whether your metadescription is the right length and contains your keywords;
  • whether your content is the right lenght and had the correct keyword density
  • determines what your keywords are and makes suggestions about changing your titles and tags to better reflect this.

The product walk thru is here – note the promised search volumn appears AWOL in the current release.

I am testing Scribe using Thesis with the standard Thesis options installed. Scribe also claims to work for the common and free All-In-One SEO plugin and the Headway framework.

Scribe SEO is a only about 20% of Search Engine Optimisation

Reading Scribe SEO’s copy you would think that Scribe SEO was all you had to run to get you to the top of the search rankings. But its only part of the story – and a I small part of that:  particularly if you are a new blo0gger which is their target market.Scribe SEO only addressing on-page SEO, the far larger part of SEO is off-page SEO otherwise known as backlinks. I could write about Backlinks but I will just send you over to Allyn’s How to Get Backlinks. If your site is new and lacks authorities you need lots of backlinks!

What Scribe Claims to Do

You install the Scribe plugin in the normal manner. Write your post – fill in the custom title and description fields.

Once you click the analyse tab you will get a big SCORE and a list of rules. For the purposes of illustration I have run this analysis over my post comparing Third Tribe Marketing and The Keyword Academy Now that was a deliberately optimised post so I was curious to see how SEO Scribe would do – oops major fail!

  • to run the analysis you have to copy your title down into the custom title box and also fill in the meta description. I rarely do either – my post title is usually my custom  title and the meta description I stopped worrying about ages ago because Google ignores it and makes its own anyways; UPDATE I think I was a bit wrong on this – Google seems determined to use the meta description I wrote for this post – I have just changed the description slightly to see if Google will recongise that and added a video at the end of this post which describes Google’s current position.
  • I got a 73% score – I was failing on not having my keywords at the start of the title – odd because there were 2 main keywords in the post according to me “Keyword Academy” and “Third Tribe Marketing” and they were both in the title – they are both in the title because that tells Google what the post is about. Oh they are also in the tags which helps Google out too. Unfortunately it didn’t help out Scribe because when I checked out the keywords that Scribe thought I was writing about it came out with this:
Scribe’s analysis of
  • (If you can’t read the screen shot the main keywords in order are: keyword, marketing, academy, month, paypal, internet marketing, business)
  • Now those are not the keywords I optimised for – most of my keywords are at least 3 words long – and what’ more importantly – they are not the keywords Google understood my post was about and for which it sent me the following traffic to that post, over the past month:
Google Analyticss Data for the same post for the last month
  • (If you can’t read that the main keywords which brought traffic to this page are: third tribe marketing, the keyword academy ,lis sowerbutts, third tribe, the keyword academy scam, third tribe marketing review, third tribe, inurl: income “this site uses keywordluv”, the third tribe book review, third tribe review)
  • In fact even SEO quake (which is free) did a better job for analysing my keywords – but its not really that difficult – read the title!
  • SEO Quake also points how many outgoing links I have on the page by distinguishing between internal and external links and my counting the whole page including  related posts, comments, sidebars and footers. Scribe SEO only counts the links in the actual post without distingushing between internal and external. Check it your self you’d be surprised at how many links that page has – far more than the 5 that Scribe found.

Scribe SEO will do a worse job of telling you what your keywords are than the many free tools out there.  Or look at where you search traffic is coming from and write more on those keywords. Keywords aren’t a science – they are an art. Google is very,very good and doing a very sophisticated analysis – it knows that two terms “scribe” and “seo” together describe a different keyword “scirbe seo” – but  that same-titled product doesn’t itself recognise that this post is about it! Instead it said my keywords for this post were “SEO” and “Scribe” – which of  course they are not.

Keywords aren’t hard. They are you “USP” or “elevator pitch”. If you are writing about “house buying in New Zealand” than its likely that a good keyword would be “house buying in Wellington” (one of our cities). If you are writing about house buying than home buying may come up as well as will “how to purchase a house” and even “should I purchase a house or flat”  Ask a customer what they think you do.  Brainstorm some more ideas – throw these into the free Google Adwords tool – voila more keyword phrases than you have time to write blog posts about.  Captitalisation doesn’t matter ACDC is the same as AcDc. Punctuation doesn’t matter “lissie’s passive income” is the same as “lissies passive income”. Plurals do matter “dance” is  different from “dancing” and “dances” – closely related however  – once you rank for one it will b e easier to rank for the next one- but different none the less.

Scribe Review Price Point

Brian Clark is not afraid to charge a lot for his products and services – Teaching Sells is a good example of that. However his pricing for his latest offering staggers belief.  All of this information is available for free – there are some fantastic free sites and  browser plugins which will give it all to you.  You only need to learn how to do this stuff once – after that it becomes easy to do. I know you may be not at  that point yet – but I will start a short list of useful resources at the bottom of this post and I am sure my readers will chime in with more. Before someone  screams – but its all in one -place – yes it is but the keyword analysis doesn’t work – so 80% of the results which are dependent on that are flawed too.

The pricing for Scribe SEO is at the time of writing:

$27/month for 30 evaluations in the month – that’s 30 presses of the “analyse” button not thirty posts or pages;

$47/month for 120 evaluations in the month

$97/month for 300 evaluations in the month

There are no refunds – you can cancel during the month to stop your credit card being debited. There is a however a free 5 evaluation trial – which is what I used for this review.

Lissie’s Scam Call

Is Scribe SEO a scam? – NO it appears to be trying to do what it claims.

Is Scribe a good product? NO – it appears to be very light on features for the price offered. The core of the product’s functionality is the keyword analysis and this appears deeply flawed 2/10

Is Scribe SEO worth the money? – NO its extremely overpriced for what its offering. 0/10

On-Page Optimization For Free

I am planning a more detailed post on on-page optimisation (for free) but if you have your favourite free tools drop me a note in the comments. I like

Google Adwords for search volumns and giving you related keywords guidelines for Article Titles

SEOQuake for keyword density, keyword analysis, whois easy link and estimate of keywords you are ranking for (not all sites)

Update on MetaDescriptions

There was some discussion in the comments re the usefulness or otherwise of metadescriptions – below is Matt Cutts on the subject. For those who don’t know Matt – he is commonly considered Google’s unoffiical, official spokesman on all things search.