Paid Tools Tools

Market Samurai – Rank Tracker Alternative

Sometimes you don’t know how much you like a tool until its gone. Although I’ve never been an affiliate for Market Samurai – I’ve used the tool on basically a weekly basis for years – I may have had it for about 3 years actually! 

I used it to track my rankings – and now changes to Google mean that they are going to probably start charging for ranking data, at the moment its only working it a limited format. 

If this is all news to you – then check out James’s post on Rank Tracking Software Other Than Market Samurai and Pat Flynn’s Interview with Market Samurai’s CEO

Bugger, as they say, in software development, what do I do? (Oh I could rant on about the changes in costs for Market Samurai- but frankly, even if I never use them again – I’ve had enormous value from them for a $97 payment some years ago – I have no problem with them – I understand the problem is Google not them, and I can’t fix Google!) 

But my issue is that I feel like I’m flying blind with no quick and easy way to check rankings – and worse –  I want a solution that I can use with a third-party website that I don’t control i.e. Wizzley. And double worse I’m aggressively testing new keywords at the moment! 

Sunset at Phuket


Eliminate the Expensive 

There are actually quite a few options out there – most of which are monthly payments, and some of which are VERY expensive. Monthly payments are the fastest way to financial misery that I know of – I am very, very loath to pay monthly unless there is absolutely no alternative.  

Eliminate the Very Cheap

Rank tracking is fundamental to my business. Its a pain to have to change software, I don’t want to be doing this every few months – the opportunity cost of swapping over is too high for me to be bothered with software I’ve never heard of, from developers I don’t know. 

Alternatives that I’ve Tried: 

I tried SEO Power Suite’s Rank Tracker – I’ve tried the software before and I know some sing its praises, its never done it for me. It took me several goes to download the software – the site seems quite often down which doesn’t fill me with confidence. Invariably their site freezes on my when clicking around when trying to find answers! 

Also I don’t like their rather less than transparent pricing – its not a one-off price -the first price only gives you “updates” for 6 months – after that you have to pay for a subscription. 

And I particularly don’t like how, when checking a few hundred keywords it got my IP banned from Google search, and wasn’t smart enough to wait and try again later automatically. 

I got the distinct impression that this software has a large user base, and hasn’t really been investing back into its tools to make them as good as they should be for the price. $99.75 plus after 6 months about another $48 to keep it going for another six months. 

[No affiliate link as I don’t really like it, and I hate Plimus as an affiliate manager – use James’s link if you are keen] 

Keyword Strategy as A Rank Checking Tool 

I already have an account with Keyword Strategy – so I decided to give it a long hard look. I dumped some of my Wizzley pages in, linked up Google Analytics and it did quite a lot of stuff very, very well. 

Keyword Strategy – What It Does Well 

  • it did NOT get me banned from Google search and it ran pretty fast; 
  • works well with any site that you use your own Google Analytics account with. I have several accounts on Wizzley and all of them combined and came across to my Keyword Strategy project very easily; UPDATE: Keyword Strategy will no longer work with Wizzley – see here for details
  • it was almost automated – because I already had some traffic to my wizzley pages – KS used the analytics data to pull over far more keywords than the ones I originally aimed to rank for; 
  • adding new pages and keywords is easy using the “import” feature; 
  • KS ads backlinks to your project based on visitors who have clicked through on your link – very useful, and a better option for identifying strong backlinks than the usual method of SEOMoz rankings or similar; 
  • its particularly suited for larger sites where you are into promoting a single page to rank for  keywords, 

What I Don’t Like About Keyword Strategy

  • you can’t use the same keywords on more than one page;
  • with a new page I like to closely monitor rankings for the first few days – however Keyword Strategy seems to have no mechanism for me to force an update on the rankings;
  • the pricing model is by website as I am regularly monitoring 20 odd websites – it wasn’t really a cost effective option, though I’m border line that if I had more control over the ranking checks that I may pay for the $100/month package. 
Keyword Strategy does a LOT more than just tracking rankings this isn’t a complete review – I’m just trying to sort out my current problem! 
Keyword Strategy is free for the first 30 days – pricing starts at $25/month for two sites – 10% off on-going if you click the <<EVIL AFFILIATE LINK HERE>> 

Traffic Travis as A Rank Checking Tool 

 This one’s been around for a long  time, its just I didn’t need another tool when Market Samurai was working.  Its a one off cost, and the free version runs forever (with limitations). One-off cost got my attention – so I downloaded it and started playing .

 What I Like About Traffic Travis 
  • Very good video instruction – its worth watching the videos first – it makes the tool easy to use first off; 
  • Quick – well it was until SEO Power Suite blocked my IP address – then it was smart enough to stop checking and say it would try again in a couple of hours (Power Suite just kept on trying). 
  • It was excellent for my niche sites – I added the url – told the tool to find all the pages on the site (which it did) – uploaded a list of exported keywords from Market Samurai and a few minutes later I had rankings. 
What I Don’t Like About Traffic Travis 
  • It couldn’t handle Wizzley – it just automatically tried to upload all of the site’s pages! Even when I told it to not do so and let me upload a limited sub-set of pages – it didn’t seem to be able to do that. 
  • It doesn’t allow me to monitor a mixture of sites in the same project – which is annoying – I like to manage my web2.0 sites in the same project as the main money site they are supporting. 
Traffic Travis is a one-time cost of $97,  the free version will work forever, but you are limited to 5 projects and 100 keywords per a project. 
<< EVIL AFFILIATE LINK HERE >>Note there is a heavy up-sell to Affiliorma membership site – I know little about this product and am not recommending it. 

 So at the moment I have a mixted solution – Traffic Travis for all my sites except web 2.0 sites. Keyword Strategy for web 2.0. Its not perfect though and I’m still missing functionality I got from Market Samurai. 

Anyone else got a better solution?