Over the space of the two years I’ve been using Advanced Web Ranking it has become an essential part of my digital marketing toolset.
Do rankings really matter?
In this ‘new reality’ of Google Search Plus Your World, personalised and localised results, you’d think that tracking rankings for your keyword phrases wasn’t all that important. To some extent, yes, your search engine position for any particular phrase isn’t static like it used to be – there are lots of variables that come into play. On the other hand there’s been backlash recently about personalised search results and this is something that the engines can’t really ignore.
Yes they do
The reason rankings still matter and why tracking them is important is that:
- Not every query is personalised
- Not every user is logged in when they search
- Tracking rankings can help early diagnosis of other problems
Why use software to do it?
There are a variety of ways to track your rankings – online (subscription based web services, through to the new Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools sharing features) as well as desktop software like Advanced Web Ranking, so why go this route?
Cloud based services – pros and cons
Web based subscription services (cloud based) sound great in principle – no need to remember to run software on your computer (AWR has a scheduler, so that’s not such a big deal) and no large up-front cost. However you’re then tied into paying a monthly fee to access your reports and data. Stop paying? No more access.
Google Analytics new Webmaster Tools ranking data integration
Aside from the obvious fact that this only shows you how you rank on Google (and not any local search engines that are important to you), the data is widely held to be unreliable and doesn’t necessarily track your choice of keywords. There’s also no way to group keywords in order to focus more on how you rank for your most important terms. Google effectively decides what they are for you. You also have to use Google Analytics to get this information.
Advanced Web Ranking’s strengths
By running software on your own computer you get several advantages:
Control over when ranking checks are performed
You get to decide when the checks are done, manually or to a schedule you define.
The data is yours to keep forever
With Google data it’s never certain how long it will be kept for. With a web-based subscription service, you stop paying and you lose access.
Single up-front cost to buy for 1 year, reasonably priced maintenance plan
You have a one-off cost up-front with a year’s search engine updates included (new search engines added and updates to search engine profiles to ensure that the rank checking software gathers results correctly) and extensions to the maintenance plan are inexpensive compared to monthly subscription services. If you’re out of the maintenance plan the software carries on working (so you can look at your data) and will still run ranking checks, but should search engine specs change, you’ll need to buy a renewal. Renewals are more expensive than extensions but at least you’re not left needing to buy a whole new full license.
Track results on many more search engines
With 2,000 search engines already included, and requests taken to add others, you can see how your site is doing on many more search engines offered by web-based options.
This is a huge deal if you have more than a couple of websites you’re responsible for tracking. Whereas subscription based services often give you tracking for up to 3 sites, there’s usually a heftier price to be paid when you go beyond that.
Be in more than one place at once
With customisable location settings for your Google queries, you can see how you’re doing from different locations very easily. There’s also built-in proxy support so you can both increase the throughput of your rank-checking queries as well as ensure that the results you’re getting are valid for the audience a site is targeting, not just your location.
Go get it
Advanced Web Ranking starts from just $99 for the standard version – enough for a small business to track their own sites and the top-end Server version, which comes with an company-wide license to run the software and connect to a shared database, great for SEO and marketing agencies, is just $599.