Interview with ContentKing Steven Van Vessum

If you are in SEO, you’ll know the tool space is very competitive. It takes a brave man to bring a new tool into the market. Steven van Vessum did just this. We met up with him at the January TakeItOffline event and evaluated ContenKing.

The two main things that sets ContentKing apart from other tools is:

1) ContentKing does near real-time SEO auditing. You never have to wait for your crawl data to come in again, and the crawl data is continuously updating, search engines are continuously crawling your website, so it makes sense that your tools are, I am surprised that no other tools are taking this approach.

2) ContentKing keeps track of the changes in your website. You can quickly pull up an overview of newly added pages, pages that were removed and changed. Examples of changes they record are changes to the title, meta description, headings, meta robots directives, rel canonical URL, hreflang, rel alternate mobile tag.

We mentioned ContentKing in our blog post on the SEO tools after Steven got in contact we felt it could do with its own post, this is a Q & A with Steven, so not a review…

Steven, firstly congrats on becoming a father again, this is number two isn’t it?

Thanks! Yes, two weeks ago my second son was born. We’re over the moon 🙂

So after you spotted our post on tools, you wanted to get in touch to tell us what is different about ContentKing

Yes, I feel it’s important to point out how we’re different from existing SEO tools. Our approach is radically different. We’re auditing in real-time and keeping track of changes in websites. If there’s an issue in your site you’ll know about it instantly with ContentKing. If changes were made to your money pages you can quickly see that.

This enables you to work much more efficient, while increasing the quality of your work. In particular agencies and in-house folks at eCommerce websites love this about ContentKing, they can now better manage dozens of clients. They quickly see what clients demand their attention because something went wrong. They save time, while their quality of service goes up. It’s a win-win.
So how did you guys get started with ContentKing?

For 8 years we were an SEO agency. We were getting frustrated with the fact that there were all kinds of changes being made to the sites we were responsible for without our knowledge. Think customers updating WordPress, or its plugins. Or developers pushing updates without telling us and customers removing pages that play an essential role in your SEO strategy.

So many things happened without our knowledge, and we had to get a grip on that. We wanted to provide our customers with a high end SEO service so we had to up our game. We decided to build an internal tool which crawled our customer’s websites in real-time and kept track of changes. It was an eye opener for me. It was worse than I expected, I had been missing out on some many important changes.

Other SEOs I talked to loved the idea, so we decided to build it into a product of its own: ContentKing. Things are going well, so 2 years ago we decided to quite the agency and focus on ContentKing.

One thing that impressed us was the UX of the product, it felt like unlike some other competitors, time and investment was prioritised here.

We feel it should be a joy to use ContentKing, so a lot of effort was put into UX. To be honest, most of the SEO tools out there don’t focus on this. They keep adding new features and screens without a proper framework. And they end up with an application without focus, with a steep learning curve.

The fact that we invested a lot in UX at ContentKing enables our customers to work much more efficient. After our customers started working they became 20-40% more productive. Especially for agencies that’s a huge time- and money saver.

So who is the target market of ContentKing?

We focus on agencies and eCommerce website owners. Making sure their websites are in great shape is essential for both target audiences. They understand the continuous aspect of SEO, and that your tooling needs to support this. They also love Change Tracking, this helps them to investigate issues to prevent them from happening again.

How does pricing work at the moment, and do you offer a free trial?

Yes, we offer a 14-day free trial. After that you can choose for our regular pricing where the amount of websites and pages are primary cost drivers. It’s a very flexible model.

We have a different pricing model for agencies. They need flexibility. Clients come and go, and your tooling needs to support this. We understand this, so as an agency you basically buy an amount of pages that you’d like to monitor which you can then distribute across as many websites as you’d like. We don’t force you into choosing more expensive plans than you really need. You pay for what you use.

You can adjust the amount of pages you monitor at any point. The amount of websites monitored doesn’t play a role in agency pricing. You may monitor 250,000 pages across 5 websites with 50,000 pages each, or 250 sites with 1,000 pages each. Agencies plans support co-branding, inviting clients to websites and API access.

Other than SEO folks, is there anyone else who should be using it?

Our primary users are SEO specialists, digital marketers and digital marketing managers. The SEO specialists and digital marketers are using ContentKing to analyse websites and to find and fix issues. The digital marketing managers often use ContentKing to keep an eye on their websites using ContentKing.

What new features do you have coming up?

Some of the major features we’ve got coming up in the near future are:

  • Email reports: we’ll send you a summary of the changes and issues in your websites
  • Alerts: when we detect a big change or issue, we’ll notify you right away. No other tool out there does this at scale, this is one of our USPs. Some examples of when you’d get a message: the meta robots noindex tag piggybacks from staging to production, the title and meta descriptions of your money pages is changed, all of your pages are suddenly canonicalized to the homepage or your rel alternate hreflang tags are removed. If it has a big impact on your site and it changes, we’ll notify you.
  • Segments: with this feature you can slice and bundle your website content into logical segments, and then use these to further tailor the auditing and reporting features of ContentKing.
  • Real-time crawling: an API that let’s you ping our crawlers and a WordPress plugin that automatically pings our service to (re)crawl new pages that were added, or existing ones that were adjusted. This is just the beginning, plugins for other leading CMS systems will follow.
  • Integrations with Google Search Console and Google Analytics

Our customer’s feedback is an important driver of our development roadmap. So if you have any suggestions let me know 🙂

And more importantly, are we going to see you at any more TakeItOffline events?

For sure, later on this year I’ll be sure to pop over to discuss SEO and digital marketing in general with like minded folks 🙂

To see the tool – 

Want to hear more? Omi caught up with Steven as well video on YouTube – 


If you are behind an SEO tool and want to talk to us about it get in touch – this is completely free, but all links will be nofollowed. 

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