Sometimes, SEO is about the long haul. It’s a marathon that never ends, where each step is a blog post, status update or follower gained. The finish line is the always-moving number one spot in Google for as many queries as possible. It’s never enough.
Other times, SEO is a mad dash from one day to the next. It’s scrambling to analyze keywords to find the best niche. It’s a systematic evisceration of the techniques used by your competitors, searching for the gems inside. It’s a constant and vigilant eye towards your search rank, necessary to fuel every decision you make.
For these latter times, you need tools. You need tools that check your Google rank, and you need as few limitations on their performance as possible. You need these six tools.
1. SEOBook’s Free Rank Checker
This particular rank checker is excellent for a number of reasons, one of which is its price. This particular bit of software is a Firefox extension and it’s completely free. It’s simply to install, and works perfectly as long as you have an active SEOBook account. Despite needing an account, however, you have complete privacy. Unlike some SEO tools, SEOBook’s checker does not store or report any of your data. You’re not being spied on and your data is secure.
This tool is entirely on-demand. When you want to check your rank, click on the button and fill in a few variables. The report it generates checks more than just Google, as well. You can export the data into a spreadsheet for further convenience. If necessary, you can also schedule a daily scan.
The tool can be found at http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/rank-checker/ and works with some minor configuration. It also grants you access to two other tools created by SEOBook, also completely free.
2. Moz Pro
Moz, formerly known as SEOMoz, is one of the biggest names in the industry. It stands to reason that their tools have a deep insight and utility not found in other software creations. This holds true for Moz Pro, which provides more services than you can dream of.
Visualizations! Analysis! Insights! You gain everything from Moz. You’ll be able to check your Google search ranks every day for as many as 1,000 different keywords. The caveat? For a price. Moz pro is not a free tool. It very much provides the value it offers, but you must pay for the service you receive. How much is it? Prices range from the standard $99 edition to the high-powered enterprise $599 edition, per month. Discounts offered for paying annually.
Moz Pro can be found at http://moz.com/products/pro and, for anyone serious about their SEO campaign, can be an invaluable tool. Despite the expense, the sheer value is incalculable, as long as you have the ability to make use of all the tools it provides. If all you want is a simple rank checker, however, it’s probably more than you need.
3. Authority Labs
Found at http://authoritylabs.com/, the Authority Labs tool is robust and limited in scope. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do; searches for your Google ranking for a given set of keywords and gives you the report. It includes local data in order to provide you local results. It tells you when your ranking has changed for a given keyword over a given period.
Authority Labs is limited in that your campaign will track as many domains as your account allows, as long as those domains are based in the same location. To pull local data from more locations, you may need an upgraded tool or another account.
Authority Labs is great for monitoring multiple similar domains, particularly all in the same niche. If you run multiple sites with a similar niche, you can keep track of them all in one place. You can also keep track of your competitors, to see what they’re up to. They won’t know unless you tell them.
Pricing ranges from the basic $59 monthly to the enterprise-level $450 per month, with increasing features to compensate for the price. Investigate and communicate, to see if they do what you need. The biggest advantage of Authority Labs is the API, allowing you to export data into your own formats as easily as possible; no need to deal with raw CSVs.
4. Microsite Masters
Microsite Masters provides some of the fastest, most reliable keyword tracking and rank monitoring data available. It updates daily and works for multiple countries, particularly useful for multinational companies. It includes advanced automation features that help you monitor many different campaigns at the same time, with a minimum of raw data handling.
One excellent perk of Microsite Masters is the ROI tracking and prediction. You are able to see the exact SERP impact of any given move you make in your campaign, to determine which are most effective in terms of flat revenue.
Microsite Masters can be found at http://www.micrositemasters.com/and offers a range of price levels, each with different benefits. The free version – yes, there’s a free version – is limited to 10 keywords tracked for unlimited domains, under a single user account. It offers ROI tracking, but little else. For PDF reports, rank change notifications, API access and scheduled reports, you will have to invest in one of the higher tiers, from $20 to $300 per month.
5. SISTRIX Toolbox
Aggressively marketed with a capitalized name, SISTRIX Toolbox is a great tool with a two-week trial available at any time. Of course, that trial cancels itself; no shady autorenew here. SISTRIX is simply so convinced of its own utility that it assumes you will renew on your own, no tricks necessary.
What does SISTRIX Toolbox offer? First, it offers data from sources proven trustworthy time and again. The data offered by the system is carefully validated and proven to be useful. You won’t have to deal with messy raw data; instead, detailed and comprehensive reports are presented to you.
One draw, for some SEO professionals, is the SISTRIX time machine. You will be able to find ranking data from as far back as 2010, to see how things have changed since even before your adoption of the tool.
SISTRIX has one primary potential drawback; it’s based in Europe. With prices in Euros, you’ll be paying from 100 to 400 per month, depending on the service you desire. To find out more, visit them at http://www.sistrix.com/
Brightedge provides a daily ranking tool that offers a number of great features. Notifications alert you immediately if any change is made in a keyword, whether it’s from seasonal shifts or algorithm changes, so you can respond immediately. You can track changes in your site, enabling powerful split testing. Your data is refreshed more than once per day, giving you unparalleled responsiveness.
Brightedge can be found at http://www.brightedge.com/search-engine-analytics/daily-rank-tracking and the pricing is highly variable. The company offers a number of other services you can mix and match with the keyword ranking checker, at will. There’s something for everyone on the menu.