Rank Tracker is another fantastic tool that we use every day! It is part of the SEO PowerSuite set of SEO tools and offers a great look at the keywords you rank for as well as why and how your competitors are outranking you in a really pretty package.
This post is a full review/beginner’s guide to help you better understand what the Rank Tracker is and does and why it is a tool ever business owner should invest in.
This tool is for EVERYONE – not just SEO or web agencies.
We should all be doing keyword research.
We should all be tracking those keywords to see how we are doing.
We should understand the competition that is ranking for those keywords.
What is Rank Tracker?
What is the one question just about every website owner has at any given time?
Where do I rank for “xyz” keyword?
Now, with Rank Tracker – you can find out where you rank every minute of ever day if you are kinda obsessed!
Not only that – but you can find new keyword ideas, use it for generating content inspiration and so much more. Let’s take a peak at all the goodies that come with this powerhouse of a keyword rank tracker.
Our History With Rank Tracker
We have been using the whole SEO PowerSuite program for many years – I would guess about 5 or 6. We have seen them grow and improve over the years – these guys really put their heart and souls into this project. I have to admit when I first started using it- it was a love hate relationship because the software was bulky and slow – I wanted to love it, but never really fell head over heels because of the slowness issue.
But about 2 years ago – I noticed a big improvement in speed and delivery of the data and that was it – we now use Rank Tracker and Website Auditor just about daily to monitor client websites as well as our own!
Can One Rank Tracker Do It All?
Sadly, not really! Every rank tracker may show different results – usually I find these results to be minimally different though. Every software that does keyword rank tracking has a different process – some will only run checks every few days or weeks, others may show difference because of the search location. There are a lot of variables in keyword search data that can affect what the software shows.
Our results show Rank Tracker as one of the more accurate tools we have used.
Installing Rank Tracker
Installing Rank Tracker is as easy as downloading it from the SEO PowerSuite website and installing the program on your desktop. It is available for both PC and MAC – and there is a free version you can use that will crawl up to 500 URL’s. If you have a small website then having the free version might be all you need if you are looking for a 1 time check of your website.
At this time you cannot just download 1 tool – it gives you all 4. But it may be worth it to try them all – each tool has its own benefits!
Once you have it installed on your desktop you just click the Rank Tracker icon and the tool will open.
Now, because this is a review and not really a how to article – we won’t delve too much into the settings at this time, but if you need help the website has a great tutorial section and even a forum for clients.
The Problem With Rank Tracker
As with everything in life, there is a downside to this tool – it is a major downside too.
It offers too many options.
OK – so it is a GOOD problem – but still a problem for most basic users of the tool.
Once you install it you will need to review the Preferences it has so you can set it to do what you want it to. This is a FANTASTIC thing for developers and coders, but for business owners or nonprofit organizations it may be quite overwhelming.
We are going to try and run through some of these with you so you do not waste time with things you may not really need.
Below is a screenshot of the Preferences dialog box (with the Global Preferences section closed) – you access this through the Preferences link you see at the top of the page. We also are showing a dropdown from that menu item so you can see all of the different options you have available to you.
We are only going to cover what we think most customers will need to get a good overall picture of their website with the tool. A lot of the preference options are a bit advanced and may be more than you need! But it may be good to learn more about this tool as you go forward with it – the more you learn the better your website will be.
So let’s get this review started so you can see how Rank Tracker is an amazing and affordable option!
Rank Tracker Preference Settings
As noted above – the preferences can be overwhelming so we are going to see if we can simplify them for you. We will give you an overview of each of the areas as well as note the settings you SHOULD use as a beginner Rank Tracker user.
This is for agencies that will be sending reports to clients so if you are not an agency, then you do not need to worry about this.
If you have sub-domains or related websites that you are focusing on optimizing the same keywords for you can add those here to track those as well.
At the bottom of the page you can also decide if you want to include rank positions for subdomains and whether you want to treat www and non-www versions as the same site. If your site is set up properly you should not need to worry about that though. For sake of this outline – make sure that second box is checked.
Enter competitor websites that you want to also track for your keywords. NOTE: this will increase time to complete keyword checks, but is a valuable tool to see your competitor overview.
Allows an easy way for you to manage your data. You can add tags and then filter content by specific criteria.
This is a great way to keep track of work you have done on your website. Enter the date and the changes you made so you can compare your changes with your rank adjustments in the search engines.
Preferred Search Engines
Select the search engines you want the data to pull from – we typically only use Google but will run Bing and Yahoo on occasion. If it is a local website like a doctor or attorney we will also use the Google Maps option. The more you choose the slower the data will pull which is why we limit our options.
Search Engine AP Keys
If you want to use Bing or Yandex you can enter your API keys here to get the data to ensure you do not violate policies.
Number of Searches
Find out the search volume of your keywords. If you are using Google Adwords Planner – you will only get a range for the search volume and not actual keyword volume.
Keyword Discovery is an option that you can use, but you need subscription with them to be able to get the data into Rank Tracker.
Choose your preferred country and Language then for network preference we recommend Google & Search Partners as the preferred option.
It is part of what calculates the KEI value – we recommend get competition from Search Engines, select Google for the country you are in.
For the advanced operators you can choose the different options. We mix these up a bit to ensure we get a full overview of the competitiveness of keywords. By default we would recommend “keyword” as your option until you understand the other options.
Rank Checking Mode
Maximum number of results to check – you can set this to whatever you want, but keep in mind the more results you check – the longer it will take for your program to run.
Do you want to see where you rank in the top 20 positions? Top 50 positions? Top 100 positions?
You can choose! We typically keep ours at 20 so we can get the reports done as fast as possible. If we are doing a first time analysis for a client we may do the top 100 positions so we can get a good starting base for where they are.
Track Organic Results only – we recommend leaving this unchecked if you want to see where you are in local packs, images etc. This increases the time it takes to run your reports.
Track multiple results for a keyword rank – if you have multiple pages ranking for a keyword, by checking this box you will see where specifically you rank for each page.
Record SERP history – make sure this is checked so you can always see the top pages that rank for the keyword.
Method of searching for rankings – we typically leave this to successive search and then leave the next 2 boxes unchecked.
Google Analytics Account
We do recommend hooking up your Google Analytics account with Rank Tracker so you can get more detailed information right in the dashboard regarding visits and sessions for your pages and content. All you need to do is sign in through the software to your Analytics account and your data will be retrieved for you.
Google Keyword Planner
You will need to have an active Google Keyword Planner account hooked up to Rank Tracker to get the keyword data you need for search volume.
Google Search Console Setting
By connecting Google Search Console you will be able to bring in more keywords that your website is currently ranking for to better analyze the data.
This is your company information – it not necessary to fill it out as it is only needed if you are running reports and want your information on it. Usually only SEO agencies would use this to include their client information on the reports they provide.
SEO PowerSuite Cloud
When you keep your algorithm subscription updated you will be able to store your audits on the cloud for easy access. This is not required as you can also save them to your own hard drive. We do use it since we have multiple projects at one time and it saves on our drive memory!
You can save your reports to your Dropbox account.
You probably do not need this, it is mostly for agencies.
Not a required feature but if you do have a Moz subscription you can pull in additional data from their API.
Search Engine API Keys
You probably do not need to worry about these either if you are focusing on Google. If you do decide to use Bing or Yandex you will need to add in API keys to pull the data.
Search Safety Settings
This section is focused on helping you be able to run multiple searches without the search engines blocking you. What it does is the tool tries its best to emulate a “human” searching – which allows the data to be pulled.
The checkbox on the default Search Safety Settings page should be checked to allow Rank Tracker to do what it needs to.
Human Emulation settings – we recommend Visit Search Engine’s Homepage be checked and that Enable Human Emulation Delays is checked with the values of 7 to 15 seconds. (You may need to adjust this based on your own results – but this works well for us). Everything else can remain unchecked.
User Agents, Proxy Rotations and CAPTCHA Settings are advanced features that we typically do not need or use. But if you have trouble collecting your data, these are options that may help you.
Most won’t need this – it just allows you to connect to the internet via a proxy server instead of your standard internet connection. This comes in handy if you are getting blocked too often due to Google checks.
This is a feature we use to schedule reporting. We set a bi-weekly keyword check for every client so it can run at night while we are sleeping – then in the morning everything is ready to review.
We actually do not use this but it is a tool that allows you export content from the tool in a variety of formats like SQL, HTML or CSV.
Allows you to control the language you want to see the data in as well as the size of the data in case 100% is too small for you visually.
Misc. Global Settings
We just left this as default settings. It is not really a necessary area for most.
Rank Tracker Overview Video
Because not everyone likes reading – we created an overview video to help you get a real live view of the Rank Tracker software and the many options and features it has. We will do a quick review of the different areas and the data you can expect to receive in keyword tracking software to help you make your website rocket to the top of the search results.
We will release a few more videos about the Rank Tracker as well to help you learn more about how to use it and see the customizable options that are available in each of the sections!
Rank Tracker Final Thoughts!
This rank tracking tool is a must have! For the cost – you get a jam-packed software filled with tools, tips and recommendations for making your website better. SEO PowerSuite also does a great job of providing articles on their blog showing how you can use their tools to improve your website with their toolset.
- Easy interface for understanding where you need to make changes
- Tips for helping you understand different parts of the audit
- See what your top competitors are doing well so you can kick your content up a notch
- In-depth technical audit
- In-depth content audit
- One-time fee for lifetime access and updates
- Free trial and 30-day money back gurantee
- If you have a lot of pages and content it can be a bit slow
- Definitely a learning curve – especially for advanced usage
- Monthly fee for algorithm updates
There are 2 levels, Professional and Enterprise – for most Professional will be more than enough – this package as of this writing is $124.75 for just the Rank Tranker software. Your initial purchase does include 6 months of algorithm updates.
Lots of people complain about the algorithm fee – but the company DOES have to pay fees to keep the API and code open to pull the data from the various search engines to keep your projects updates.
To keep the algorithm updated on a monthly basis is $12.95 per month, but you can save a lot of money by purchasing a year long subscription for $79.95 – then it is just $6.66 per month. Longer subscriptions are also available.
Keep in mind tools like Ahref and SEMrush are charging $100 and or more a month for similar functionalities.
The Nitty Gritty
So – hopefully this has given you enough information to determine whether Rank Tracker may be a good fit for your business.
You can download it for free to test it out – then if you decide to purchase the software there are 2 levels you can choose from based on your specific needs. For most – the Professional version is more than enough!