Keyword Strategy just committed voluntary suicide ;-(

Keyword Strategy Suicide

Keyword Strategy just committed Internet Marketing Suicide!

Update May 2012: Competition data is back, I am happy again and re-joined KST, you can read the full story here: Why I re-joined Keyword Strategy.

Coming back from a nice dinner in town with my husband, I noticed the following email from Fraser, from Keyword Strategy, in my inbox (filler words removed and ‘bolding‘ by me):

“… we’ve decided to retire our Auto-Update browser extension. This is the extension that gathers ranking and competition data from your browser and uploads them into your Keyword Strategy account. This method has been a technical support nightmare for us, trying to maintain it on multiple browser platforms; furthermore, it’s not a sustainable method for determining competition because it’s not compliant with Google’s Terms of Service.

That I completely understand, in fact I have questioning this practice previously on the KST forums. This will affect how I can track rankings on content that I have on third party websites like Wizzley – but I do understand this decision and, to a certain degree, applaud it, as it could get newbies, that are not aware of the risks involved, out of trouble. What I don’t understand is the following:

“However, this change means we’ll be retiring the Competition and KEI columns of the tool. You’ll still be able to access your data for the next 30 days, and then we’ll be removing those columns from the database because they’ll be out of date. If you need them for your marketing purposes, you should export them from your project.”

Which renders KST basically useless! If that becomes true, the tool will be nothing else than a highly overpriced internal linking plugin!

“If you no longer wish to be a Keyword Strategy customer, we totally understand. Please click the refund button within your Account tab and we’ll be happy close your account and refund your past month.”

Yes, I will! Plan for tomorrow is to download all my keywords and cancel my subscription. Plan for next day is to write a blog post how to make a, bit time consuming, work around for this with the help of Market Samurai and a free internal linking plugin.

“We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Seriously Fraser, if this tool has become too expensive for you to maintain, you should have increased the price! Stripping its functionality down to a point that can be reached with free plugins and basically any keyword tool is just committing suicide in the internet marketing world. I was always a big supporter of the tool and of the concept behind it. Whilst it is your tool and you can do whatever you want with it you just have betrayed a lot of trust people put into you.

  • If the real reason for this was that the tool was too expensive to run – you should say so!
  • If you are tired of internet marketers and want to concentrate on your own sites – you should say so!
  • If you want to spend more time with your family, instead of helping unknown-to-you people to make a living online – you should say so!

Stripping down the tool to a functionality that can be achieved by any paid keyword research tool plus a free internal linking tool and hoping that some of us stay subscribed to it is just – online suicide!

I never thought I would say that, I always thought of you as one of the good guys out there – not anymore. If you don’t want to do this anymore, your choice, but don’t pretend it is of benefit to anybody of us.

Now, is there a programmer out there that will take on that task? I have a few great ideas on how to make this tool even better and more user friendly 😉 I am not a programmer myself, but any takers and I do my utmost to help you to get this of the ground …

If you like this blog post and found it helpful, why not share it with your preferred social network? Handy links and bookmarklets above ^^^ 😉

19 comments to Keyword Strategy just committed voluntary suicide ;-(

  • Bizz

    What can I say here that I haven’t already complained about elsewhere? I’m glad that somebody else is as upset about this as I am, ‘cuz I thought I was going nuts for perhaps no reason.

    If you’re spearheading a movement to find a programmer to fill this new void, I applaud it, and I’ll be the first to sign up for the tool and kick KST to the curb, and Fraser along with it…

    Thanks Sy, for the heads-up on where to find my merged thread, it was a big help…

    • hospitalera

      Bizz, let’s get out the fishing nets and find a programmer! The underlying concept is good and a tool like this is needed, if anybody wants to take on that task – there will be a lot support for it!

  • lurcher

    I’m looking forward to your next blog about this. What free internal linking plugin do you recommend using?

    • hospitalera

      I am just test driving a few of them to see which one will be the easiest to set up with the data exported from KST. If I have settled on a good one, I will blog about it 😉

  • Wow, that’s too bad. KS was a good tool.

  • […] Keyword Strategy just committed voluntary suicide ;-( […]

  • Keyword Strategy was always too expensive for my liking. Besides which I don’t care for checking rankings especially if you’re following the Fraser method. Additionally Google’s own Webmaster Tools will now give you the ranking for your keyword phrases.

    I also don’t think developing a tool that does this, like you plan to, is a good idea. If you’re relying on a third party i.e. Google and it is against their TOS then they’ll soon do away with the ability to grab it from the referring URL I’m sure. It’s just a matter of time. Look what’s happened to the clamping down in Analytics of getting the keyword information that has sent you traffic.

    Same is happening now with Code Garage which has become outrageously expensive. Seems it’s easy to gouge us in the IM world.

    • hospitalera

      For me it was worth the price as long as they provided the competition data, but now I agree. I also agree with you that rankings are remotely interesting, but nothing else. I normally concentrate far more on traffic to determine success and what works and what don’. Not sure where you got from that I plan to develop a similar tool, my programming skills never got beyond Basic, Comal and Fortral (showing my age here;-)) so developing a similar tool would be completely out of my range!
      But if I would work together with a programmer on a tool like this I certainly would concentrate on the competition analysis aspect, which is what I use most when building a website, and expand on that. Since I wrote this, rather hasty scribbled, post I have looked further into the ranking issue and I agree, there is no good way to get this kind of data legally from Google.
      You can either rely on the referrer url (like KST does), but that gives you only realistic results if you have already a lot of traffic or you would need to do what Market Samurai did, going through a cloud of proxy servers – which is against Google TOS.
      But as I said, I am not interested in rankings, I am interested in getting traffic from the search engines and for that I know I have to target, especially with newer sites, first low competition keywords and phrases and build it up from there …
      As for Codegarage, yes, I heard about the price increase, but I think it has more to do with the fact that Peter, the guy behind it, simply underestimated the amount of work involved. A lot of people put products / services out there without doing the maths first and then are surprised if they find themselves working for cents per hour …

    • Bizz

      Funny you mention the Codegarage situation. One of the reasons I was so upset with Fraser on this one, is because I had gotten an email from the good people at Codegarage a week or two ago letting me know that for the same functionality I was already receiving I would be charged double the price!

      Now, I’m getting less functionality with KST and paying the same price, all because the metrics that I relied on don’t fit in with Fraser’s ‘philosophy’ of site building. So, why include it in the first place, and then suck a bunch of TKA’ers into a Beta test and then have us become totally reliant on the tool? It’s like passing out controlled substances to school children and then wondering why they get upset when the supply runs out…

      Right now, I can’t do without either Codegarage or KST, but I’m taking steps to at least get rid of the latter…! Hell, does anybody know if Postrunner is available without a TKA membership, so I can cut them out of the loop also? I know there were plans to go that direction, but I never looked into it further…

      • hospitalera

        Bizz, with the Build My Rank network just having been axed (de-indexed completely) by Google I would be very careful to invest any time, money and effort in any link building network – and Postrunner is nothing else than that … And no, Postrunner is still exclusive for TKA members and that might mean also the odd undercover Google investigator. SY

        PS I agree with your analogy 😉 I am suffering KST withdraw symptoms at the moment … but I do have my first 100 draft posts already imported into one of my site, need only to get up the energy up to write them!

  • I got rid of Code Garage. We don’t really need it.

    EZPZ plugin will do a backup for you and email it to you. Then add it to a folder and have it backed up for free by iDrive (5GB free). Or you can use a paid plugin for a one time charge ($20) called Smart Backup plugin. You can have it upload directly to Amazon S3.

    As for the hack scanning offered by Code Garage, that has been shown so far to be useless. Folks have been hacked who have been hooked up into CG and CG never caught it.

    The best thing to do to keep yourself hack proof is to use strong passwords, don’t use Admin as a username and keep everything i.e WordPress and plugins up to date. Also try and keep plugins limited to around 6 to 8 or less.

    As for PR that is a link network and like any link network susceptible. Yeah it is editorially controlled but a lot of the posts and sites are junk. It could easily get infiltrated and slapped.

    Best approach is no backlinking like what Fraser suggests and George Marshall. At least that’s what I’m doing and it is very mentally freeing.

    • hospitalera

      Agree Jason with all what you said! BTW, do you fancy writing a guest blog post here on how to back up your wordpress blog? Seems you know a lot about that …

  • Bizz

    Very good stuff, Jason. I’m testing out the EZPZ plugin on one of my sites right now, and iDrive looks pretty sweet.

    I guess I’ll be able to get rid of Code garage in a few weeks. Might as well let the month I’m paying for run itself out…

    As for Postrunner, I use it sparingly these days, but it’s still the best blog network out there. It was such a solid idea, that was implemented so poorly in the beginning, that I think it still hasn’t recovered from the GIGO mentality they overlooked initially. You’re right, so many crap blogs to choose from and the respectable ones really take themselves way too seriously (understandably, BTW). Many people don’t know how to properly choose categories for their blog listings, and nobody seems to be policing the community. I’m pretty much done with TKA as well.

    But, how do we promote our sites? Does it come down to social networking, awesome content and adding CommentLuv premium to our sites, and hope the database listing drives more decent commenters our way than spammers? It’s impossible to make it in this game without some sort of promotion (read: backlinks), so where do I begin these days?

    I don’t think ‘mentally freeing’ is gonna help with next month’s rent payment… 🙂

    • I’m in the middle of writing up a tutorial for backing up your WP blog and making it as secure as possible. I hope to get it Sybil soon.

      I like iDrive a lot, I pay yearly for it to backup my whole laptop which would obviously include backups of my WP blogs. $50 a year is a small investment for peace of mind. I’ve never had a hard drive crash, but I have had a WP blog hacked and thank God for backups.

      I’m exiting PR as we speak. I have a lot of issues with the system there, and some of it stems from lack of support in dealing with obviously spun junk that makes its way in. Probably on a monthly basis I’m contacting support about spun junk coming in to my PR sites.

      I’m nervous about PR. I’m not sure sites in it would become deindexed as they are all individually owned and some folks have their main earners in there, but the links provided could quite easily become devalued.

      As for site promotion, my approach is get back to KISS principles. I’m taking Fraser’s approach further. By that I mean that I am only posting content on my site. I’m not bothering with any backlinks or guest posting. I think the benefit of guest posting is more for the traffic and community you’ll develop not so much for the backlinks. As such you want to approach only the highest traffic authoritative sites in your niche. Having just a few guest posts out there like that can drive more traffic to your site than Google will send you.

      However, it takes time to find these sites, read their content send an email that is unique and shows your genuine interest and find one or more than will accept a guest post from you.

      My time at the moment is just better spent creating content on my own sites. I feel your pain about making next month’s payment. I’ve been in this game almost 3 years now and I’m still not making a full time income at it. I’ve been slapped and deindexed by Google I’m still spinning dizzily. This is why I am now going only with what I can control, and the only thing I can control is content on my own sites.

      If you have the stones for it, this is the best long term approach in my opinion, but it’ll take a while to get there. I’m seeing only small gains the last few months I’ve been doing this. Think 3% to 5% income gains per month. Small when you aren’t making a full time income but it’ll be great when you are.

      I’m not a fan of social networking other than a Twitter account for a couple of my websites. Facebook’s and Google’s privacy policies are Darwinian and Orwellian and they both make me nervous. So I won’t use Facebook or G+.

      If you want to feel like you’re doing something I would suggest that commenting like this and making friends in forums is the best approach. It depends on your niche of course.

      But if you can wait it out then just providing great content on your own site that is written for what searchers are actually looking for is a great way to do it. I’m getting page one rankings for long tail terms just by writing content that people are looking for.

      If you are still a member of TKA then I’d use NR and make use of their Google Suggest search feature. This is where the gold is in my opinion. But again, you’ll have small, slow wins. You’ll be looking a year or few down the road. This is now my time horizon not next month or next 6 months, and I recognize that is hard when you’ve got bills to pay. A job might be in order.

      I believe it is very possible to make it in this game without backlinking. Fraser is one example. Yeah, everyone likes to say he has millions of backlinks and so will you if you have a site that you write great content for for over 12 years. The thing is, it took him 4 or 5 years to get to even a small full time income, but he wasn’t targeting actual kws. When he did start targeting actual kws his income jumped within 2 to 3 years. But you’ve gotta look 2 to 3 years down the road.

      Another guy you might want to look at who makes 6 figures a year and who doesn’t do backlinking is George Marshall. You can buy his Kindle ebook “Get Out While You Can” for $4.99. Nothing earth shattering, but he doesn’t backlink and he’s making a living at it. Worth a read if you really think you can’t get anywhere without backlinking.

      In fact, I’d suggest that the best approach and the most stable approach in the coming years is going to be good, original content on your own site with a total disregard for backlinking other than what might come naturally.

  • Vi

    Interesting. It was no any messages for trial users…

  • Hospitality equipment

    Which keyword strategy should I choose for optimizing my website? Should I choose the keywords suggested by Google adwords or should I pay someone who has experience in marketing online, designing websites and doing search engine optimization?

    • hospitalera

      The keywords are determinate by what your visitors, or better said potential visitors are looking for on your website. Both methods will work fine, or you can use one of the keyword tools available like Market Samurai.

  • […] time ago I throw a major tantrum (see this blog post entitled >>>Keyword Strategy Just Committed Voluntarily Suicide<<,) and left Keyword Strategy (KST for short) fuming like the proverbial angry dragon on the […]