SEO Catalyst

Today Im doing a review of a new search engine software called SEO Catalyst

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So what is SEO Catalyst? Its a new search engine optimization software by Mo Miah and John Gibb.  Mo originally contacted me a week or two ago and told me about his upcoming launch. This was only the second or third time I had ever spoken to Mo and he had never promoted for me. I believe he was prompted to reach out to me because he had seen my name in the top 5 of a different high profile SEO software. Now Ill be honest, I told him I would take a look at it, but I really did not have much interest in it. However he contacted me several more times about his launch so I decided to take a look at it and give it a review.

Before I get into the review to much I do want to make a few disclaimers. First off though I dont really know Mo or John I have spoken to both of them personally (well actually I chatted with them) and both of them seem to be like decent people. I want to make clear that I’m reviewing SEO Catalyst in this article. I’m not reviewing them personally. In fact that’s something I always want people to keep in mind. I review products, not vendors (or at least that is my goal).

Second I want to make it clear that while I know a bit more than the average web master about SEO and probably a lot more than the average web user I am by no means a SEO expert.  Also I do believe that John is a very experienced with SEO. This actually leads me to the final thing I want to talk about before really diving into the software.

SEO Catalyst is actually a PBN software. PBN stands for private blog network. In short the idea behind a PBN is that you have a network of niche sites that all link back to the ‘money site’, sending it link juice and helping it rank high in the search engine results.  Now if you do a simple Google search for “PBN Google” or “PBN SEO” your going to be flooded with a ton of articles saying that  PBN’s are no good anymore and can actually do more harm than good. John insists they are not ‘dead’, I personally dont know, however for the sake of argument I’m going to give SEO Catalyst the benefit of the doubt and assume that John knows what he is talking about and that private blog networks are still a viable way to get search rankings.

But honestly that does not matter anyway, because there are some real ‘deal’ breakers in the software for me.

First of all the sales page. Its so full of hype its unreal. Now I understand that hype is a part of marketing and a part of selling. I mean honestly its kind of hard to sell something without trying to get the potential customer all worked up and excited about the product your selling. This is true for just about any product, not just IM products or software products. However the sales page for SEO Catalyst lays it on so thick! Just look at some of these excerpts from the sales page preview I was shown.

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So they have this amazing new technology (software) that is going to magically get you tens of thousands of free targeted visitors by making you rank high for huge search terms. So the key is the software right? But that’s not all because they also claim:

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So yes it must be the software because all you have to do is push a few buttons. Sounds sweet right? Push, push, click. BOOM your pulling it thousands of free visitors to your site. Nice!! (if you believe it). But how can this work? Well they give the answer.

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Ahh so there it is. Google left a massive loophole from their last update and with this software you can exploit this loophole, press a few buttons and without any other effort from you this software is going to use this Google oversight to get you amazing rankings in the search engines. Here is the thing: I dont believe this for 1 second. Now I’m not saying that I dont belive PBN’s are a bad thing, because as I said, I dont know if they are (though a lot of people do say they are no good now). What I dont belive is that A: this software exploits some massive loophole in Google (PBN’s have been around for a long time) and frankly I know 100% for sure that this SEO Catalyst is not going to let you ‘push a few buttons’ and suddenly get amazing rankings. Specifically the ‘push a few buttons’ part.In fact SEO Catalyst cant do a thing if you dont add other things to it. That is its not even a complete product. Let me explain:

1st of all: The first step in raking a website is of course going to be to select your niche and keywords that you want to target. That is the first step is going to be research. SEO Catalyst does not help with that in any way. So really you cant just get the software and get started. You need to do niche and keyword research before you even open up this software. They could have included some kind of research functionality to help you find good keywords or profitable niches. But they did not.

2nd of all: You of course need a website. SEO Catalyst is software that comes in two parts. It has a web based members ‘control’ area and a WordPress plugin that you put on your sites (on any sites in your PBN). So before you get going with this software you are going to have to get your domains, set up hosting, install WordPress on your domain and install the plugin on WordPress. Now to be fair they are including access to some of their PBN’s that you can use. But assuming you want to set up your own (and you should want your own I think) you will have to do all of this work as well before you get started.

I actually mentioned this to John in one of our Skype chats and he said that they intend to do an update that will automate installing WordPress etc.

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But he also made it clear that this will not be included at launch time. I dont know John and I have no reason to believe he wont do the update however I dont review promises I review the product as it is at the time of review.

3rd of all: Everyone, even those totally new to SEO should be aware that content is king when it comes to Google. Google wants to see some decent well written content. but this software does not help with content in any way. You have to either write your own articles (does not sound like pushing a few buttons) or you have to use one of two paid article writing services that SEO Catalyst supports to get your articles written for you. Of course there is no mention in the sales page that in order for this to be automated you will need use a paid third party service.

Besides these three things there are a couple of other things I want to mention. First of all is the images. You see your going to want to have relevant images on your PBN sites. If for no other reason than that sites without images look like a throwback from 1995. But what if you dont have any images? What do you do then? Well SEO Catalyst has the answer for you. It will let you type in a search term and it will find tons of images for you on Flickr. Here is the first image result when I had SEO Catalyst search for the word ‘food’. I simply clicked it then and it was added to the software / server.

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Sounds great right? All the images you could possibly want at the tip of your fingers. Well that’s what I thought, at first, until I looked into it a bit more. I went over to Flickr and typed in the exact same search ‘food’ and sure enough this exact same images was the first result. But when I looked at the image on Flickr there was a big problem.

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According to Flickr’s site policy and TOS (which I researched before writing this blog post) the people who upload the images retain all intellectual property rights to their image and they can set their own rules for use. The user who uploaded this image elected to ‘reserve all rights’. Basically you are not legally permitted to use this image without his permission.Actually asked John about this here was his response:

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Ok sounds reasonable just dont use ones that are not free to use. But here is the kicker, SEO Catalyst not only does not filter out images you cant use when searching, but it also does not tell you if the image is free to use or not. It does not know. So basically the image search integration is useless because you never know if your stealing someones image and putting your site (and the software as well since it actually saves a copy on its server) at risk.

The only thing you can do is find an image in the software, then do the exact same search in Flickr, find the same image, and see if its free to use. Not really viable if you ask me. So you need your own images and this is just another way that its not a complete product.

Whats really bad is that this could have been easily avoided: they could have just included a library of royalty free images in the software. But they didn’t. Instead they give you the option of either having your own images, or of risking problems by using their inadequate Flickr integration.

The final annoyance I had with this software kind of comes back to the over hype I was talking about earlier. In the sales page they say that one of the big three things you need to rank well, and that this helps you with is:

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This actually got me a bit excited. This software will push your articles to sites in your PBN and when I noticed they said it will help you with ‘social signals’ I started looking for the social media site integration. I had expected to see some kind of cool API integration, like it uses the FB API or the Twitter API to automatically do a post on Facebook or a Tweet whenever this pushes a new article to one of your sites. But that was not the case. Their big social integration is simply to put a widget with a like button, a G+ one button, a Twitter button etc on it. Basically as far as social media goes it does little more than what a hundred free plugins do. How disappointing.

Ok so what do I think of SEO Catalyst? Now as I said I want to make it clear that in this article I’m pushing aside the debate of if PBN’s are still a good SEO tactic or not and am instead focusing on the software itself. Also though I’m not judging the vendors personally in any way, one thing that seems very clear to me by the sales page is that they want you to think that your going to buy this, press a few buttons, and magically rank for all kinds of great keywords without doing any other kind of work. Well I just dont see that happening.

Im not going to argue if John is an expert in his field or not. He sure seems to be. However when it comes to this software I think that people who buy this are going to find two things: 1) this is not a complete solution in itself, and 2) more work is required than they where led to expect. Personally I believe that a lot of people are going to be disappointed by it. The sales page is to hype, is not clear on the SEO Catalysts additional requirements to function and is going to give them unreasonable expectations

 

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A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review. However I make no promises to them regarding the results of my tests or what I will write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.
Want to learn the REAL way to start a profitable online 100% for free? Watch the video below!

  1. Gunarsah, 16 February, 2015

    Hei Brett,

    Thanks a lot for your reviews. It’s hard to find such honest reviews because everywhere on the internet says good things about IM product including SEO Catalyst. I thought this software will save me a lot of time and money because I’ve been frustating from buying many SEO softwares that looks promising to rank fast and safe without much work, while in fact they need some work for initial setup which actually takes sometime and also need more money.

    Again, many thanks for your reviews, you have saved me from loosing my money again 🙂

  2. Kermit, 16 February, 2015

    Brett,
    That’s very useful review you did. Thanks a lot.

  3. Tan, 16 February, 2015

    Hi Brett,
    I love reading yr reviews. I depend on your review to decide whether to buy a product or not. Keep up the honest good work you are doing. Really appreciate it. Thanks.

  4. Louis, 16 February, 2015

    Hi Brett,

    this is really something “refreshing”…

    really appreciate your honest review.

    Louis

  5. Michael Rytter, 16 February, 2015

    I looked and sooo agree with you Brett!
    Michael Rytter

    Hey, Does our course start today? 🙂

  6. Brett Rutecky, 16 February, 2015

    Do you mean by bonus training for Alexs DMM product? Yes the first training video for that will be out tonight. Ill be sending everyone an email with a link.

  7. Tim, 16 February, 2015

    Thats awesome Brett. Can’t wait! 🙂

  8. TDogger, 16 February, 2015

    I am a very experienced SEO expert who has worked with SEO since 1997. I would not touch any PBN. When Google decided to go after PBNs a few years ago, they not only removed each PBN from their index (as in banned), they also penalized the sites they linked to under the Penguin algorithm.

    Using any PBN is the same as playing with fire. You might not get burned right away, but you wil get burned eventually.

  9. Art, 16 February, 2015

    Well if that’s the case “TDogger” then I will do that for all the competitors in my industries and they will be dead. right? the links might be not taken in consideration the google algo but not penalized otherwise it would be so easy to destroy competition. Or I could “senuke or GSA” blast my competitors and get the same result. That’s not how it works.
    Now the “PBN domain names” might be deindexed.

  10. Leon, 16 February, 2015

    Thanks again for an honest review that pushes through all the hype. I’m so sick of purchasing products that don’t do what their sales pages say they will. In fact, after purchasing so much worthless products over the past couple of years, I may just wait until I see reviews from you before purchasing. By the way, what determines which products you review, and do you take requests?

  11. Brett Rutecky, 16 February, 2015

    Yes I take review requests. But I need to have the request before the launch. Im actually working on a page that will list all the launches so people can see whats coming out and request reviews / comment on them etc.

  12. Leon, 16 February, 2015

    That will be great Brett. Looking forward to it.

  13. Jeff B., 16 February, 2015

    A big thank you for letting go of “money on the table”, staying off the bandwagon and giving us a candid review. The Hype is nothing new, I didn’t like the body language of the video presenter. That may not be a valid reason, but he struck me as insincere.

    Keep up the good work. –Jeff B.

  14. Ken, 16 February, 2015

    Agree! Reeks of insincerity. Unintentional or not…

  15. Michael, 16 February, 2015

    Thank you Brett – it’s this kind of review that keeps your own credibility high – and why I prefer to buy through your affiliate links.

  16. graham, 16 February, 2015

    Thanks for the review. I have received a number of emails that are trying to get me to buy SEO-Catalyst. I have been internet marketing for some time and it is hard going. The idea of being able to automate a lot of the tasks is very appealing. Like a lot of other people I have bought a number of products over the last few years that have promised to make the task of getting to the top of the Google Rankings easier. Virtually all of them disappoint.
    SEO-Catalyst sounds as though it falls into the same category. The hyped sales pitch sounds as though it promises far more than the product is able to deliver.
    At the end of the day the only real way of getting a good ranking in Google is to put in the work required. There are no real short cuts!

  17. Mark M., 16 February, 2015

    Hi Brett:

    Wonderful review. I was looking at all the emails that came out about SEO Catalyst and thought about buying it. After reading your excellent review, I have decided not to buy. You are right on with your review, especially with the ridiculous hype in the sales page.

    Thank you so much for such an excellent review.

  18. Sergio, 16 February, 2015

    WALL OF SHAME TO GURUS
    It’s a shame that other well known internet marketers (the ones people would call gurus) are promoting this product with no reservations, just to make a quick buck, with not a SINGLE mention of its potential drawbacks, only positive, positive, like if they were living the Beatle’s song “Imagine” where everything is rosy.

    And I know for a fact they’re are well versed with SEO’s PBN problems and such, yet, they don’t take the time to explain to their list the prons and cons, as you do, so as to take an educated decision on our side.

    Shame on them.

    I appreciate your reviews and honest comments, Brett!

  19. Fred, 16 February, 2015

    Hi Brett,

    Thanks for the honest review. The Flickr image search problem is typical of this product creator and is one of the reasons I have them on my “Do not buy from” list. I have fallen for their hype a couple of times and have been disappointed by the product. I have given up using the products I paid for simply because they didn’t work or were so erratic they were useless.

    Yes I did reach out to their support but after months of no either no response, “we have passed you details on to the creator” responses or pointlessly repeated, already answered questions from them, I simply gave up.

  20. Steve H, 16 February, 2015

    The only place where success comes before work, is in the dictionary. Although SEO Catalyst requires “some work”, it’s minimal compared to most methods. Have you tried using most of the other SEO software solutions out there? I won’t mention names but, SEO Catalyst is child’s play in comparison.

    As far as PBNs being dead… P L E A S E, give me a break! That’s the battle cry of the wanna-be SEOs that can’t rank or were stupid enough to leave a footprint for Google to follow and deindexed. PBNs have always worked and will always work unless Google re-writes their entire algorithm.

    I challenge you to find a better and more complete SEO ranking product out there and that’s anywhere near SEO Catalysts price point.

  21. Morris, 16 February, 2015

    Brett;

    You are a real BULL DOG; you may have a little Hound Dog in you too. You really know how to go down into these things and bring out the best of what should have been up front. You were just a tide too late with your review; I had just hit the BUY button when your review came in. Hope they take your advice; if not I will put in for a refund.

    Keep the GOOD work up!

  22. Brett Rutecky, 16 February, 2015

    I was told they have some planned updates. I hope they make them. I asked them to let me know if they do so I can update this article.

  23. Mark Watkins, 16 February, 2015

    Really appreciate your reviews and your integrity!

  24. Gregory, 16 February, 2015

    Brett,

    I is truly appreciated that you have the skill set, and connections to be able to do the reviews. I respect your honesty. Thanks for sharing your results. I always look forward to your reviews!!

  25. The PROOF-reader, 16 February, 2015

    Really thankful for your honest review. I learned a good number of things from you each time I read your articles.

    Appreciative,
    The PROOF-reader

  26. Sergio, 16 February, 2015

    This is from Brad Callen, a highly respected guru by the way:

    – email sent to his 1000’s of loyal subscribers:

    “I will give a caveat, though. Like any quality tool. (SEO Catalyst) It’s not “press a button
    and get instant riches”. But what it IS, is a legitimate way to quickly and
    easily build SEO’d sites and links to your sites in a VERY short amount of
    time and with very little effort.”

    (With potential Flickr copyright infringements, legitimate really?)

    mmm, looks like he didn’t do his homework, like you did Brett.

    Even when I like Brad Callen a lot, he needs to go to the wall of shame today.

  27. Brett Rutecky, 16 February, 2015

    Honestly I will leave it to the SEO experts to debate if PBN’s are still good or not. John seems to have a lot of experience and I have no problems accepting his word when he says PBN’s are still good. However I do know for sure, A) This is not ‘push a few buttons’ like the sales page says, B)You need to use a 3rd party article writing service that is not free (or write your own articles). C) The Flicker integration is not very good. These three reasons are what prompted me to reject this product.

  28. Larry, 18 February, 2015

    B)You need to use a 3rd party article writing service that is not free

    You mean a service like Brad Callens’ iwriter.com?

    😉

  29. Brett Rutecky, 18 February, 2015

    Yes iWriter is one of the ones supported.

  30. James, 16 February, 2015

    I love this line…Sorry Mo & John nothing personal but your crappy software has been “REJECTED” LOL!!!!!!!!

  31. Brett Rutecky, 16 February, 2015

    Well thats not an exact quote 🙂

  32. Dean, 16 February, 2015

    Thank’s Brett !!! AGAIN, your reviews are outstanding ! Thanks much!

  33. Ken, 16 February, 2015

    I watched (in part, couldn’t take it and had to bail) a video by John last night – not impressed.

    Combine the fuzzy resolution of the screencaps of his “results”, the fact he was logged in to his own Google account, and had the smarmy personality of a used car salesman* on steroids and… you get the BS meter pinned into the red zone. 😉

    *Sorry used car salesmen.

    Another Great Review – keep up the good work!

  34. Austin, 16 February, 2015

    Great review Brett.
    Thanks

  35. tony, 16 February, 2015

    Thank you again for this honest review, filled with detail and examples!!!!

  36. Colin Jeffrey, 16 February, 2015

    I was itching to go and get this: Thank you young man, your review has proved to be very important to me.

    Colin Jeffrey

  37. Greg, 16 February, 2015

    You just saved me from spending my cash!
    Not many honest reviewers like yourself exist.

  38. Morgan Madej, 16 February, 2015

    Thanks Brett for your great review, especially the issue of copyright of photographs. I was on the verge of buying, but as usual I continued browsing through my emails to looking for your email and review, first!

    I too, was put off by the arm waving in the video (Body language-I liked that, Jeff B) for me this not typical of British car salesman in England, not in Oxford anyway!

    I can save my money for another day now!

  39. Jim Pollard, 17 February, 2015

    Perhaps $20,000 overcomes marketers integrity. Just go for the dollars.
    I recently purchased a product recommended by a well known identity.
    Just blast out these reviews and if they don’t work just wipe them and
    go on to next one. Time and moneywasted.
    In the tuition the maker had his wife say ‘just put down what you like and don’t like’
    ‘How do you do that?’ I queried. No answer.

    Thanks Brett

    Jim

    Jim

  40. Brett Rutecky, 17 February, 2015

    Honestly the prize money in IM launches is a big reason why affiliates promote, but for many that’s not the biggest reason.

  41. richard, 17 February, 2015

    Brett, Thanks for this review as this really saved me time and money.

    Will call you now -the “Consumer Reports” of Internet Marketing.

    Cheers.

  42. Brett Rutecky, 17 February, 2015

    Well we will have to see how long that lasts. Lately a few vendors have made it clear that they wont be allowing me to review their products in the future. It seems that they dont like someone being totally honest. Im considering making a public list these people but Im not sure if I will.

  43. Wei, 17 February, 2015

    Wow…if they don’t let you review or someone do a totally honest review, this would heighten up the beware alert….

  44. Sam, 17 February, 2015

    The IM Community can use more “Salty Droids”. There’s low competition in the “honesty” and “candor” niches. Attack & Exploit!!!

  45. Archie, 17 February, 2015

    Wow Brett, Thanks for a refreshing review. So thoughtful and complete.
    I was going to buy but decided to check google for reviews where most are usually positive.
    I am glad I chose yours. I will come back again looking for your reviews.
    Too bad that these software products come out every few months and are incomplete.
    Many promises.
    Archie…a newbie

  46. Steve, 17 February, 2015

    Thanks for another straight-up review. It pretty much matches my original thoughts on hype – plus if it could do a small fraction of what it claimed they’d be selling for a whole lot more.

    I do think that following the players in the industry is good though – many have track records where old hands wouldn’t buy from them under any circumstance. If you ever got to expand this site beyond a review blog – a place to look up a marketer, see all his/her previous products and their track record would be an excellent resource for IMers. Another possibility would be to do milestone reviews – at say 1 year after launch. Has it been updated, does it still work, is it still supported, etc.

    Thanks again.

  47. john, 17 February, 2015

    A great review Brett, I did not like the sales page John Gibb really should not be on video promoting! it looked so fake! All the hand gestures really did not work for me you either have it or you don’t and John should stick to what he knows and maybe pay someone to do a video for him next time.

  48. Rob, 17 February, 2015

    Brett – Thanks for your reviews. I always try to find your review before I purchase a product. In the case of SEO Catalyst, I am being bombarded by every IM out there. Thankfully I have your reviews to steer me in the right direction.

  49. Andrey, 17 February, 2015

    Hey Brett,

    Thank you so much for all your honest reviews and words of wisdom, they are truly appreciated!

  50. James, 18 February, 2015

    Brett,

    I really appreciate the review. i’m glad you actually tried it out and wrote about your experience without glamorizing it. I was on the fence about buying this but wanted to do a little more research. I actually hesitate to purchase anything from Mo since I purchased once from his affiliate link and he changed the terms on his bonus after i sent him an email about. He didn’t honor it. From my experience blog networks do work although you really have to diversify your link profile with web 2’s first.

  51. melviana, 19 February, 2015

    Thanks for your review Brett. Next time, I will hear from you before any else products review.

  52. Fred, 02 March, 2015

    Hi, I came to this review site from a link in P1 RankMe on Google’s + and I must say some interesting reads as I read through some of the reviews here.

    I have this observation: Since lots of the programs are sold through JVZoo and stats can be seen>>> SEO Catalyst Pro Recurring payments Has Sales Funnel

    by: John Gibb And Mo Miah Unread Message

    02/16/2015 (sales = 2,000+ ) 9.54% $3.83 $40.17 50% (Refund =3.25%)
    Sales Funnel 3,500+ 14.12% $6.53 $46.21 N/A 3.64%

    Is there a reason so little a percentage of refund from a large amount of sales if the program terrible? I am just trying to understand things because all of these sales pages are very over sold.

    Thanks

    Fred

  53. Brett Rutecky, 02 March, 2015

    Well for this one, they fixed the problems with it 🙂

  54. Nigel, 20 May, 2015

    I have been using SEO Catalyst for 3 months now, and I can tell you it’s flaky to say the least!

    1. In principle you can pre-load the articles and schedule articles to post on future. BUT the scheduling function does not work – so articles don’t post!

    2. So you can post the articles manually BUT you can’t manually post the articles one at a time. If you have pre-loaded 10 articles they all post at the same time!

    3. Also – I see that many articles have been posted more than once (spam under Google) with the post name post-1, post-2, post-3 etc etc. I noticed this with a few of my posts as well as with several posts submitted by other punters.

    In summary, a good idea poorly executed. It’s SEO Garbage (unfortunately).

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