by Margery Spears on January 28, 2013
Recently a whole bunch of digital marketers freaked out when they got news that some of their favorite search engine rank tracking tools were losing their rank tracking capabilities. Here at Confluence Digital, we had been using Raven Tools and SEOMoz for rank tracking, two tools that were going to lose those capabilities, so we found ourselves freaking out with everyone else and looking for a new program.
Luckily for us we have a SEO-sensei of sorts Margery Spears, who took some time to try out a few other tools to see if there were any other viable choices currently available. The following blog post is a summary of her discoveries:
First you need to figure out what capabilities you are looking for in the tool. For this analysis I limited my search to search software used primarily for keyword position tracking. I also limited the candidates to web-based software for easy sharing.
1. GA Integration – this makes adding keywords directly from GA easy. However, correlating traffic from a keyword to its rank isn’t very useful anymore since so much is hidden by the (not provided) bucket. Useful, but not essential.
2. Adding historical Raven data – important for continuity
3. White label reports – Most trackers have replaced exporting white label reports with secure, limited client access with less emphasis on exporting consumable paper reports. This requires that the client is technical enough to find their way through the reports and/or that you need to do screen captures for paper reports.
4. Adding notes – helps to correlate ranking fluctuations with website or algorithm changes.
There is no perfect solution. I eliminated Web CEO online, Link-Assistant Rank Tracker, and Sheer SEO due to cost and focused on comparing Positionly, Authority Labs, and WebPosition. Deciding between Positionly and Webposition was very difficult. I really want to like Positionly, but it’s not there yet. And while Webposition has some serious strikes against it, it is the only tracker of the three reviewed that will replace both Raven Tools and SEOmoz. In the end, it boils down to what you can’t do without. If you are not comfortable sacrificing the continuity afforded by importing historical data from Raven, I’d support going with Positionly.
Main Takeaway: Cheaper, cool-looking graphs, professional SEO evaluation and performance tools
Pros: This tracker has been around a long time. It offers the most professional-looking and easily readable graphs of the bunch. It was very easy to set up and use. Each project opens to a comprehensive and easily scanned dashboard. Other good things:
The pricing plans are flexible, with a $69 Premium plan that will cover all your needs for now. This includes:
Cons: In spite of the goodness, this package has some serious flaws:
Main Takeaway: Basic, plain Jane graphing, collaborative, easy to use
Pros: This Angel-funded startup is set up for online collaboration ala Basecamp style. For $99/month, you can track 1,000 keywords in an unlimited number of websites. It includes:
Cons: As the new kid on the block, Positionly has some growing to do.
Main Takeaway: Adequate but not intuitive
The cost is the same as Positionly’s cost. For $99/month you can track 1,000 keywords but in only 100 domains, which would still be useful for our purposes.
Pros: Authority Labs provides everything you need for keyword position tracking and reporting sharing, but only that.
Once you figure out what capabilities are most valuable to you in a rank tracking tool, then you will be able to decide which search engine rank tracking tool will benefit your SEO efforts best. And hopefully our analysis of these three tools will help in that decision as well.
Have you tried any of these rank tracking tools? What Pros & Cons did you notice while using them? Are there programs/tools out there you would recommend instead?