Authority Labs Review – SEO Rank Checking Tool
At the end of 2012, Raven Tools was the service that I used to track keyword rankings, but they stopped offering the ranking service due to a conflict with Google’s Terms Of Service. Raven Tools quickly disclosed that they did not have their own tool for checking rankings and they used Authority Labs API for ranking data. This led me to test out Authority Labs directly which revealed that there was more detail provided about my rankings when I used Authority Labs directly than was provided when I went through Ravens Tools. After using Authority Labs for over 7 months, I am totally confident in recommending this service as it by far the best and most consistent ranking tool available.
Here is more detail about why I think they are an excellent tool to use for tracking search engine rankings:
- Local Listings – Depending on the search query, many of the top organic search engine results are local listings. Local listings can be identified because they are indented with a red balloon to the left of the listing. The listing will also include a link to a Google Plus for Business page if it is available. Authority Labs does a good job of including the local listings in their rankings which is important. Research shows that consumers search before visiting local merchants. Very few tools handle local rankings well which leads to an inaccurate assessment of the search engine performance of your site. If you have a site that ranks highly in the local listings, it will help you to redirect resources to other lower ranking keywords instead of trying to improve rank on an already high ranking keyword. When most other tools fail to accurately track local listings, it can lead to wasted resources on keywords that rank better than reported.
- Updated Daily – Without any effort on the part of the user, Authority Labs updates rankings on a daily basis. This is important because you can closely track changes in rankings to determine the impact of optimization efforts. This will allow you to measure if changes take one day, one week, or one month to take effect. I do not recommend checking rankings changes daily or even weekly because there can be fluctuations, both positive and negative, that could lead to action being taken prematurely. But the data is available to use any way that you choose.
- Cross Domain Keyword Syncing – When you setup your account in Authority Labs, you will need to add each domain individually, but with recent upgrades it will only require the importing of your keywords once and then sharing across domains. Authority Labs added a really cool (and needed) sync function that duplicates keywords across domains. This saves a tremendous amount of time and ensures that you are tracking the rankings of the same keywords across domains. This is helpful when tracking competitors or multiple sites that you own.
- Number of Keywords – What I really like about Authority Labs is the way they calculate keywords in your account. They count keywords, not domains & keywords, like most other rank checking tools which is a huge cost savings. What this means is that if you have the same 100 keywords that you want to track across 20 domains, then it is still only 100 keywords that are being used in your account. Most other tools would count this as 2,000 keywords(100 Keywords X 20 Domains). By calculating keywords in your account this way, it leaves you flexible to track other keywords that you may not be as interested in, but want the historical data just in case you become more interested in the future without incurring a lot of additional cost. Their philosophy is once the results are pulled for a keyword it is minimal additional effort to see where each domain ranks for that keyword. This is a huge benefit!
- 30-Day Free Trial – Authority Labs is not free, but it is very competitively priced and they offer a 30-Day free trial which will allow you to test Authority Labs at no cost. If you find value after the 30 days, then you will have to enter credit card information to upgrade to one of the paid plans. The 30-Day Free trial gives you the opportunity to figure out what is best for you.
- Pricing – In my experience, if you are serious about SEO, you need to be using a paid tool. There are free tools like rank checker Firefox plugin that work very well, but it has tons of limitations that make it painful to use for a lot of keywords. Authority Labs is the best priced solution that you are going to find for a search ranking tool when there are hundreds of keywords being tracked. Most organizations should be able to use the $49 plans with 250 keywords. If you are tracking more than 250 keywords, then it should be expected to pay a little more. For the price, Authority Labs is the best value for tracking search engine rankings performance.
- Customer Support – Maybe I saved the best for last, but the best aspect of Authority Labs has been my experience with customer support. I am not sure how big the company is or how many people they have handling trouble requests, but a response has always been provided to my questions in less than 4 hours. If the request is sent in the middle of the night as I will occasionally do and I am happy to report even those requests receive a prompt response first thing in the morning. Some of my questions have been about functionality and other questions have been about results and in every case there was a quality follow-up and a good solution provided.
Negatives about Authority Labs
- Delayed Exporting – The positives of Authority Labs definitely outweigh the one negative that I have found, but this is a problem that should be understood if this data is being used for reporting. The amount of time that it takes to receive the export of your file after your submission can vary to a couple of minutes to several hours in some cases. This is a challenge because as you are creating your reports that need to be distributed to a boss or a client, waiting until the last minute to prepare your reports and hoping for an immediate export is a bad decision. In their documentation, Authority Labs has said they are improving this process to work more quickly, but as of this writing (August 2013) it is still rather slow. Is has improved in the last month, but is still not immediate. This is not a deterrent from using the platform, more of a heads up so that you can plan accordingly.
Overall, Authority Labs is an excellent rank tracking tool and currently the best software available that I am aware of. If there is a better tool that I should be considering, please let me know in the comments. What has your experience been with Authority Labs or any of the other rank checking tools available?