This post is intended to answer some of the common questions people are asking about the Rank Tracker module which was rebuilt in 2012.
Can you keep the old Rank Tracker going alongside the new one, so we can use it via our own connection/proxies?
Sorry, but the existing Rank Tracker system requires frequent maintenance to keep up with changes on Google’s side. For this reason it may stop working at any time. We are incorporating the expected savings of developer hours from not having to maintain Rank Tracker ourselves into the price structure for the new system, so it will save everyone money. What’s more, this will free up a great deal of time for our developers to fix bugs faster and implement new features. To maintain both systems in parallel would not make sense for anyone.
What if I need to update my rankings more often than every week?
Unfortunately the only option at the moment is weekly updates. We are investigating adding daily updates, but this could be 7 times as expensive for you! The cost is per keyword, per week, so to check the same keyword every day will be much more expensive. The majority of rank services provide weekly updates, and our own usage data shows most of our customers follow this pattern as well. It’s important to note though that rankings don’t change that often for most people, ignoring minor temporary fluctuations which are meaningless in the long term. We have always recommended checking no more often than weekly, as this prevents wasting time on gathering superfluous data which adds little to your knowledge.
What is the source of this data - is it genuine Google ranking data?
Authority Labs provides genuine Google ranking data to major corporations and other big SEO players and consultancies. The actual ranking result page is archived and will be available to you for confirmation.
Will the new Rank Tracker service provide data to a search depth of 1,000 like the old one?
Unfortunately very few of the data providers that we spoke to were able to deliver results to 1,000 positions. The few that were were substantially more expensive (10 times more results means 10 times more rank checks, and a corresponding increase in price). In addition, the providers that did offer 1,000 results were not necessarily the best options in terms of quality, scalability and in dealing with localization issues. To keep the pricing as affordable as possible, and to build the most stable and reliable service, we are able to offer only 100 results at this time. We have found that fewer than 5% of our customers are tracking results to a depth of over 100 in any case.
What about "personalized" or localized Google results - is the new Rank Tracker subject to these effects?
The provider we use goes to great lengths to remove any personalization and localization effects. They’ve even allowed us to show the actual page from Google that they retrieved so you can see what they saw, to verify the correctness of the results. You can view them using the little blue "click-thru" arrows next to the ranking result. It’s easy enough to remove most personalization in Google (you can add "&pws=0" to the end of your query string), but the localization issue is actually a very tricky problem to solve since it's also based on your IP address, and it’s fair to say that many services out there don’t do a great job in this regard. We can’t reveal how they’re doing it - it’s proprietary knowledge - but it's worth noting that over half the data providers we spoke to didn’t handle personalisation as well as we required.