Trying Out Web Text Tool

WebTextTool is a text editing tool designed to help you optimize your content for the web, a sort of automated SEO tool for website content. Let’s acknowledge that machines aren’t as good with human languages as humans are, and that you can write complete drivel into the editing box of this tool and still get a top score, or write lyrical graceful prose that people would love to share and get a low score. Having acknowledged that, we want to know whether WebTextTools is helpful for people who know how to write for humans but want to improve their text for machines.

The tool starts with a tour which includes tooltips and even videos explaining why it makes the suggestions it does.

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Next it will ask for the keyword you want to use for the page you’re going to write, and it will grade your keyword and offer you additional suggestions if you want them.

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I’m working on Richter Solar Energy’s website today, so I asked WebTextTool its opinion of “solar energy.” It assured me that this term is too competitive and recommended that I try something else.

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While I can see why “disadvantages of solar energy” is not as competitive as “solar energy,” it also isn’t a top choice for a solar energy company sales page. All the same, the keyword suggestion tool here is better than most of the tools we’ve tried, and it’s certainly easy to understand. It gave us reasonable suggestions and we might not have thought of all of them, and it is very handy to be able to check estimates of search volume and competitiveness.

My favorite suggestion was “benefits of solar energy,” a key word I haven’t yet used for the Richter website. For simplicity’s sake for the tryout, though, I stuck with “solar energy” and started writing.

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The editing tool will be familiar if you have used Microsoft Word, WordPress, or any other standard word processing program. As you type, however, the sidebar gives you suggestions and encouragement, and a nice little widget at the top shows how close you’ve gotten to the 100% perfect optimized page you’re after.

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Unfortunately, the tool is basically just telling you to use headers and text decoration and to include your keyword in the page title and page description. These are such a small part of optimizing your web content that — while we certainly have seen pages that never used the keyword they should have been optimizing for– these suggestions are of limited value.

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Here, though, you can see that when I added a bolded phrase to the page, I went from 46% perfect to 49% perfect, but WebTextTools reminded me to use my keyword in the bolded phrase.

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Doing so propelled me to 97% perfect. Adding an italicized phrase was all I had to do to reach the coveted 100%. WebTextTools was not concerned that I had a title which was largely irrelevant to the content of the page, or that I had an H1 header that duplicated the title. It wasn’t bothered by my having a mini paragraph, a single bolded phrase, and then an italicized line at the bottom, even though this is not a good way to organize a page for human readers.

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But WebTextTool is not a human reader, so we can’t really hold that against them.

You can, at this point, check the HTML code for your page, export it as a Word document or email it to yourself. You can also duplicate the page, check for accessibility issues, and my personal favorite, analyse the sentiment.

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Are you wondering whether this tool can actually identify irony? I sure did. So I pulled in an ironic post Gideon wrote for our website and sure enough, WebTextTool identified the post as ironic.

Its lack of italics or bold face naturally kept it from getting a high score for SEO from WebTextTool, but it was impressive that the tool was able to identify irony. I am not sure of the value of this, unless you own a business that should not trade in irony and you want to make sure that you catch any inadvertent irony before you hit “Publish.”

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You can also begin with a template, either for a blog post or for a product, and I can imagine this being a timesaver under some circumstances. There is even a sort of thesaurus which provides a drop-down list of, if not synonyms, at least related terms.

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The basic plan costs five pounds per month, or $7.24 as of this writing, and it does not include import, export, and version control functions, which makes it far less useful, it seems to me. It allows you 30 keyword suggestions and a mere 10 pages, which isn’t enough for regular blog posting. So a business would probably need to spring for the Silver option at roughly $15.00 per month. That gives you all the features, 100 pages, and 200 keyword suggestions.

That’s a lot less than the cost of a writer. On the other hand, WebTextTool doesn’t do much more than the free Yoast SEO plugin, and I assume that watching it identify irony gets less amusing over time.

The truth is, adding your chosen keyword to a page in bold letters doesn’t actually double the value of your page from the point of view of SEO. We like some of the bells and whistles on this tool — again, if you use WordPress you can get most of them from the Yoast SEO plugin — but it’s not going to optimize your website for you.


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