I do quite a lot of search engine optimization for selected clients on the side. Pretty much every client wants a progress report of their rankings. While sales and/or traffic is a much more effective and important indicator of the success of a search engine optimization campaign, most clients simply don’t want to hear that. They want to see themselves #1 for whatever oddball phrase that they think is important. Nevermind what you tell them. Hence, the important of giving your clients a weekly or monthly report of their search engine positions for their targeted keyword phrases. So, what to do, what to do…
I’ve tried, bought and used many different pieces of software over my 10 years of doing SEO. It’s much more difficult to find a reliable program that generates easy to read and understand reports, that you can send to clients than you might think. Here are my experiences:
WebPosition – I used this program way back last century and dropped it around 2000 or so. You know it’s bad when Google talks about it in their webmaster guidelines. The reports were ok, but it’s expensive for what it does and you have to keep paying for updates. Haven’t used it in a while, so perhaps it has gotten better. Still wouldn’t use it again though.
AgentWebRanking – This used to be a freeware program that generated reports that were ok. It stopped getting results from each search engine after a while. Then the company introduced very expensive paid versions. While the new program and reports are excellent, I can’t justify spending so much for the relatively small amount of reports I need to generate each month. Not only that, but you have to factor in the updates you have to keep buying. (the cost is in Euros as well, so for US customers, the price is quite high)
Search Engine Commando – This one I liked a lot. The reports were nice and customizable and you have lots of search engines available to check. However, I ran into problems using this software after about a year or so. I found that the reports weren’t very accurate. So, back to searching for another program!
Ranking Manager – This is a nice program as well. I love that it’s dedicated to ranking reports ONLY. No “submission” tools or analysis or anything else. Just good, solid reports with lots of options! I purchased this one in early 2007, and it came with 1 year of updates. Unfortunately, it stopped getting results from Yahoo after about 6 months. I used the support contact form again and again, with no response. Is there an update? Is it a bug? What’s the problem? No answer! Ever! So, I’m stuck generating reports and then having to check Yahoo manually, which added a couple hours of extra work each month. The update period has passed and I haven’t bought an update… and won’t… not without support.
So, my search begins again…
Then I found this thing called Traffic Travis:
Now, I usually don’t go for the kind of software that seems to be everything in one, but this one seems different. I’ve only tried the free version but the ranking check is very fast, faster than the other programs I have tried, not sure why. If you upgrade to the professional version, which is not exorbitantly priced at $99, you can generate reports for clients. I’m really liking the program so far, and I haven’t even tried the other tools included like the keyword research tool (which I can certainly make use of) and PPC tools. One thing I don’t like so far is that every time I open up the program they have a new update to download. I opened the program earlier today and then this afternoon and they are already prompting me for another update. Perhaps that’s a good sign though, but it’s annoying to me. I’m going to sign up for the professional version and will update this post with any additional thoughts on the product. Hopefully I’ve found the solution!