There are hundreds (thousands?) of rank tracking platforms that you can use, so I’m certain I haven’t tried them all, but of those I have used I wanted to provide my top 5 rank tracking platforms. These aren’t in any order because all have pros and cons. There are also no affiliate links here; I don’t make any money off this site. I’ve used some rank tracking platforms that have now been shuttered such as RavenTools, so hopefully this list is current to late 2014.
These Are My Top 5 Rank Tracking Platforms
- SEO Book Rank Checker. This is a fantastic browser add on for checking rankings. I can’t think of another more simplistic, FREE solution as a rank tracking platform. Just install it on Firefox, load the Rank Checker window and it’s self explanatory. Make sure not to have a trailing “/” after your TLD or it’ll upset you. The cons of this are that it runs through your IP, so if you don’t use a VPS/VPN you might get captchas from search engines blocking function. It also pulls local to your IP results.
- Market Samurai. This is a software application, groan. However, it’s a great one and works with Mac and PC. Beyond rank checking it offers many great features, but my favorite aspect of the rank checking abilities of this platform is that you can pull rankings on the fly and in an aesthetically pleasing format. Exporting isn’t great and it’s a paid platform, but the fact it identifies backlinks to the ranking page simultaneously and the instantaneous nature of results is great.
- BrightLocal Rank Tracking. BrightLocal also does citation building and they can help clean up messy citations in local directories. That aspect is very difficult to get right and they don’t have it completely nailed, but the rank tracking platform is very easy on the eyes and intuitive. You can choose whatever location you want as your hub. Most importantly, if you want, you can track your citation listings along with your website listings for improvement. Pretty cook, huh? Now, the negatives are that there is no good free trial and you have to add clients then add tracking for the client. Meaning, the two above options are quicker, but for agencies, BrightLocal may be better.
- SEO Powersuite Rank Tracker. Much like Market Samurai this is downloadable software. Yuck. On top of that, they spam the hell out of the email you provide. However, there’s a generous free platform that will run instantaneous ranks of large quantities, it just won’t save and show your trending over time. One of the biggest benefits is that you can specify YouTube as a search engine. Now that’s an awesome feature for a rank tracking platform.
- Moz rank tracking. Moz makes it on this list because you basically need it for OSE and by default you’ll use their rank tracking platform. Then, you realize it’s not so bad. The free trial is garbage at 30 days. Once you bother setting up a rank tracker you don’t want to deal with finding a new solution. You bet they know that. Much like BrightLocal, this suffers from setup whereas you need to add your clients then add the keywords etc. It’s not a plug and go for audits, unfortunately. Also, the spontaneous rank tracking is garbage as you need to input one keyword at a time and you get 200 per day with a membership. WTF is that? However, Moz has some of the best export white-label features in the game and certainly belong in the top five if you’re able to pay for a solution.
Let me know what your top 5 rank tracking platforms would be.
Edit: Dawid provided a comment on this article soon after launch suggesting that I analyze another platform. I was impressed that he must be monitoring Google Alerts for the phrase “Rank Tracking,” so I had to honor his request.
If you’re looking for a dedicated rank tracking platform then I encourage you to check this out. Setup is a breeze and the interface is far more appealing than the majority of competitor rank tracking platforms. I like the fact that it’s not bundled with a bunch of unnecessary addons as many do not need, nor want to pay for those. This has accurate rank tracking at a competitive price with a few key benefits such as frequent updates for more granular legacy analyses and great competitor, though limited quantity, comparisons. CSV and PDF export options are all there. There are also tools for AdWords users such as a planning report, which syncs with AdWords API for pulling in a daily update on an infinitely customizable scale.
There are some drawbacks. They don’t offer an API currently. The shared URL does not allow for toggling of date ranges, so you couldn’t provide one shared URL for a client and call it a day. The website stats were great, especially because you can monitor trends over time, but my Page Rank was never accurate. Search volume, CPC and competition never pulled in from AdWords’ API for me. This platform hit my key pet peeve, which is that you must input billing information for the trial. The obvious goal here is that you forget to cancel and get billed even if you don’t want to adopt. The software platforms in my top 5 are one-time costs (volume caps) and the ones with recurring fees do more in my opinion, so, unfortunately, this does not make my list, but YMMV.
Edit 2: SEO Rank Monitor has incredibly responsive and knowledgeable support. This is incredibly important when choosing a rank tracking platform. Dawid reached out to me and due to my limited experience and ignorance with the tool I misrepresented some key points. Quickly, API access IS allowed for all, but the entry-level packages. Page Rank is accurate in most cases. My Alexa rank etc. was accurate during testing. Google does not open up AdWords API to platforms that crawl their servers. SEO Rank Monitor has a workaround for this that is more than acceptable. I overstepped in my assumptions of needing billing for the trial. The case for this is that they don’t want you to have a lapse in data due to not responding and adding billing after trial exhaustion.
I recommend trying all of these platforms BEFORE moving forward with one. Once your in bed with a rank tracking platform it’s difficult to switch. No, not contractually, but migrating information can be time consuming and your legacy data will not be available in the new platform’s UI 99% of the time. SEOBook’s rank tracking extension and SEOMoz are in my top five, but can’t replace the frequent crawling and volume of a BrightLocal, SEO Rank Monitor or Advanced Web Ranking, so in most cases you may use more than one solution.