Over the years at Mannix Marketing, we’ve used quite a few keyword ranking tools with varying degrees of success. In chronological order, here’s our quick take on each and what we’ve experienced with their keyword ranking tools:
|WebPosition Gold: This was the very first keyword ranking tool that we used at Mannix Marketing. It was fairly usefull back in the day and relatively accurate, but a bit slow. Since then, it just sounds humorous when mentioned (like Atari 2600 funny). We should mention though that Google has specifically named (and banned) this automated keyword querying software, and would simply avoid it.|
|IBP: Next came the IBP reports, or Internet Business Promoter. This keyword ranking software was much better than WebPosition Gold… much more accurate, and we actually still use this software for some clients. The biggest issue with IBP was that it is pretty slow. If you have a lengthy list of keywords, it could take up to an hour to complete. If you have numerous clients with numerous lists… the end of the month reporting becomes dreaded. Along with being slow, you also need to space your reports out over days so as not to get your IP banned for the day (you’ll start to see CAPTCHAs in your normal Google searches). Again, we still use this tool, but it is finicky and time consuming for an agency.|
|Rank Checker: I really liked this tool and thought it had the most potential. It was perfectly simple and extremely fast… not to mention free. The same keyword lists that took over an hour to run on IBP would be done and formatted in a fraction of the time. The downside, and unfortunately a deal-breaker – it’s just not accurate. I kept waiting for an update to manage the accuracy problem, and couldn’t believe that SEOBook had let it just perform like this, but in the end I was eventually hand checking each of the placements… which defeated the entire purpose. I would keep this keyword ranking tool in mind to test it out once in a while for accuracy, but I would not rely on it at this point.|
|Raven Tools: This software was the first hosted keyword ranking checker we tested. It went through a number of growing changes in the first couple of years that really made it a top choice for us to use. The included keyword ranking tool was fairly accurate. The thing that we loved about this software was that we didn’t have to sit by the computer (or even leave it on) or waste time waiting for keyword reports… it was a huge time savings for the team. We also loved the social media integration, but the Google Analytics integration was… “Ehhh” (good for a general overview, but you would be better off logging into Google). What we didn’t like was the pricing plan for keywords… it was not unlimited and it could add up fast for an agency. Out of the blue though, Raven Tools stopped supporting the keyword ranking section and at that point the software seemed more fluff than stuff. So we dropped it.|
|SEOToolSet: We tested this tool from Bruce Clay. It seemed like this would be the answer to our prayers… hosted online, came from a reputable brand, it had a lot of additional tools that sounded promising, etc… But it just didn’t work out for us. Overall, the keyword ranking results were relatively accurate (some on our team did have accuracy issues). When we focus on the accuracy… keyword rankings are not the only thing we focus on in a report, but it’s one of the measures of a successful program and we need to be able to rely on getting good results (all of the time) so we can show the improvements along with the other improvements in traffic and conversions. Bottom line, Bruce could not produce.|
|gShift Labs: This was another tool that we tested after learning about it from an SEO conference. It was short lived. Well, long story short… gShift was accurate enough in terms of keyword rankings, but not very intuitive for agencies to use on a daily basis. We wanted something less cumbersome… more user friendly, less gShiftLabs.|
|SEOmoz PRO: We’re currently trying this one out now and so far it’s looking really promising. In a few months, we’ll have to do another review 🙂|
The Bottom Line
Hey, we’re always on the lookout for a better tool to help us work more efficiently for our clients. For now we’re satisfied with the capabilities of SEOmoz PRO, we do still use IBP reports… but for quick keyword ranking checks, nothing really beats hand checking them yourself – at least in terms of accuracy.
What ranking tools do you use? Make a recommendation or share your woes below in our comments!