Interview with Andy Forsberg (SpyderMate)
SpyderMate is a SEO analysis tool that gives a numerical and visual representation of a website’s online marketing effort by using a variety of graphs and statistics.
I interviewed Andy Forsberg, SpyderMate General Manager to find out more. This interview is the eighty forth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Andy!
How would you describe SpyderMate in under 50 words?
A suite of unique and powerful SEO tools structured to make managing any number of SEO campaigns easy.
What does your role as General Manager at SpyderMate involve?
I’m essentially the founder of SpyderMate through an intrapreneurship at MentorMate. The role involves managing and guiding all aspects of the product: budgeting, planning, designing, developing, marketing and supporting.
Where did the idea for SpyderMate originate?
It began as a linkbaiting tactic for MentorMate to increase our overall domain authority and visibility. It was originally a free seo analysis tool that was limited to crawling a web site and reporting on it in one massively detailed single report. We had so much success generating our own web leads that we thought we could benefit the community by giving away a tool to help anyone with their web site’s organically-driven web traffic, while helping our own efforts.
Who came up with the name?
It was a team effort from our marketing team at the time. We name our internal products MentorPRODUCT and our external ones PRODUCTMate. The Spyder comes from it being a web spider and the y was placed there instead because we are focused on the concept of being able to spy on competitor’s web sites in addition to your own web properties.
Could you outline some of the features of SpyderMate. What would you say is your USP?
The Scorecard tells you where you and your competitors are. The Auditor tells you what you need to fix and what your competitors could fix. The Low Hanging Fruit report helps you find keywords that you could easily rank higher for. The SERP Tracker keeps track of your keyword rankings and your competitor’s keyword rankings over time. SEMRush tells you what keywords any domain ranks for in Google and how valuable those keywords are.
What technologies have you used to build SpyderMate?
PHP, jQuery, Git, and many third-party APIs and services such as SEMRush, Google Analytics API, Majestic SEO, SEOMOz, ZenDesk, MailChimp, KISSmetrics, etc.
What was technically the most challenging part of developing SpyderMate?
Dealing with many third-party APIs of varying reliability and quality as well as crawling any web site with myriads of unique circumstances to account for.
How long did it take to put together SpyderMate?
Well we started it in 2008 and we’re still working at it constantly. So an indefinite amount of time =)
How different is the current version of SpyderMate compared to your initial launch?
The first version was basically just an incredibly weak and limited version of the current Scorecard.
You have a new pricing plan coming soon. Do you have any new features in the pipeline?
Additional features we’re working on include:
- Two Additional Pricing Tiers – We’ll soon be adding a $19 and $149 pricing tier to better suit small businesses and agencies respectively.
- Multi-user Support – Create and manage multiple users with various access levels.
- 1,000 Page Crawls – The Auditor will support crawling up to 1,000 pages deep into a website.
- Additional Audit Checks – We have a plethora of additional issues we plan to check for.
- Audit Your Spelling – We’re in the process of adding site-wide spell checking to the Auditor.
- Permanent Ignores – We’re designing a way to handle ignored issues and keywords so that they are applied to future reports on the same web site, rather than being unique to each individual report. This way you’ll only have to ignore issues once.
- Multi-threaded Crawls – We’re working on allowing several crawls to be performed simultaneously.
- Advanced Crawler Options – We’re working on ways to tell our crawler how you’d prefer it to navigate your web site. This will make it possible to intelligently audit any site, no matter the size; though It may take several crawls instead of just one for massive web properties
You predict that SpyderMate SEO Tools will take off as one of the leaders in the internet marketing software industry. Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
SEOMoz and Raven Tools are the market leaders, SEOMoz is one of our data providers, so I guess I’d have to say Raven Tools is. Their approach is drastically different than ours though, so that’s arguable. They are focused more on integration and reporting at least more so than building their own unique tool sets.
What do you wish you’d have known 5 years ago that you know now?
That SpyderMate was going to become a paid product, instead of just a free one. The direction would have been very different from the beginning.
How many users convert from the free trial?
Less than I would like, but enough to keep us going. The rate keeps getting better as we improve the product so we’re definitely headed in the right direction.
Has SpyderMate got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
Without a doubt.
What’s your background? How did your interest in SEO and web development begin?
I began making money online when I was 12 and have been hooked ever since. I learned SEO initially because it generated more revenue for my various web properties.
What is the biggest hurdle you, personally, have faced or are still facing?
Learning to be more patient.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
KISSmetrics in general and the impact it will have on SpyderMate’s future success.
Can you convince the reader to start using SpyderMate in under 50 words?
We have a 30 day free trial with no credit card required. If you have a web site it’s worth your time to check it out. You’ll get all the data you need to make the right decisions when it comes to increasing your organic traffic and ultimately conversions.
Finished reading? Check out SpyderMate!