Today, we released 360iTIGER, a powerful cloud-based technology that automatically gathers website data, such as titles, meta tags, tweets, Facebook likes and more, directly into a cloud-based document with the click of a button. You can download a free limited version of 360i’s enterprise technology offering at tiger.360i.com.
360iTIGER addresses a core pain point that arises when conducting website audits as part of a brand’s search engine optimization or social analytics efforts. Marketers have traditionally gathered this data manually, by deploying heavyweight analytics platforms or by purchasing software of limited functionality. 360iTIGER automates the audit by instantaneously organizing data within a web-based spreadsheet, expediting a previously laborious process into something that can be completed in seconds with the click of a mouse. View a demo below.
360iTIGER was concepted and developed by a team of SEO strategists and technologists at 360i, led by Mike Levin, Director of SEO Strategy. In the Q&A below, Mike explains how the idea was born and how it evolved to where it is today.
What excites you most about working at 360i, and within the search industry in general?
Mike Levin: I joined 360i as a full-time SEO Director focused on client service. Previously I was creator of HitTail,a keyword suggestion tool for SEO. One of the first things I started to do at 360i was program, given the necessity to do so in solving technical puzzles in this field. The fact that I was allowed to experiment and build things as part of my job speaks volumes about both 360i and the natural search industry. Pursuing alternative approaches to common problems is critical to driving innovation. 360i gets that.
At what point did you discover the need for a tool like 360iTIGER?
ML: There is a constant need in SEO and other fields to quickly gather data and start to work with it, but so many products are usually necessary to gather data across different realms. I went looking for a better solution to expedite a process we use in SEO. People like to organize their data in spreadsheets and this insight, combined with the fact that spreadsheets today are web-based, collaborative, real-time, and programmable through web-APIs. Sprinkle in the power of bookmarklet tools and a whole series of dots suddenly connected in my head. I started wondering why spreadsheets didn’t readily auto-populate themselves with data. It just seemed so wrong that they didn’t, and so natural that they should. In the spirit of the Cloud, this shifts so much power from IT folks to average users.
Tell us a little bit about how you built the tool.
ML: At the beginning, I was a Microsoft ASP guy, so I took this as an opportunity to re-platform myself onto free and open source software (FOSS), which admittedly added quite a bit of time overall, but it was well worth it. In choosing the language for the project, I was persuaded to consider Python for Google API-programming reasons, and proceeded to fall in love with a programming language for the first time in my life. That helped a lot.
What’s the most powerful thing about 360iTIGER? How is it powering client service within your team?
ML: The real power of 360iTIGER comes when we start to expose how extendable this system is through basic programming. 2012 is shaping up to be the year to learn programming, but not everyone can be a game or web developer. 360iTIGER lets us do some great things with very little coding or prior programming experience, so programming can be a casual, part-time thing. 360i’s internal team is already doing this, which in a way adds personal “super-powers” to our SEO Managers and Technologists. I’m excited this tool is now available to the public.
Why are tools like 360iTIGER so critical as the SEO landscape continues to shift?
ML: There are some very fine products out there with features like automated schedules and reports, but they are very tied to the particular way things work today. The industry runs on disruption with each competitor trying to change the game on the other, so you need a way to conduct ad hoc investigations quickly without having to rethink your product every time. By leaning on spreadsheets, we can forget about the enormous time-sink of user interface work, and focus right on the tiny but critical bit of code that does all the work. Of course, having an automated tool for aggregating data also reclaims valuable time that can be re-focused to broader, more strategic client initiatives.
Download 360iTIGER at tiger.360i.com.