The future of rank checking with Raven
Before the Raven Internet Marketing Tools platform even existed, our agency had an automated rank checking tool called SERP Tracker. It’s been an interesting ride ever since.
When we first started automated rank checking, Google provided an API for it. The expectation was that they were going to eventually release a commercial version and also continue to improve the API. Instead, they quietly stopped working on it and allowed it to decay (without telling anyone). Then they introduced the Google Web Search API, stating that the old API was deprecated and that this API was replacing it. Unfortunately, they made the API so limiting that it was practically useless from day one. That API also is now deprecated.
More recently, Google made a concession and added rankings data to their Google Webmaster Tools. To the dismay of marketers, it only displays keywords that their system chooses to display — there’s isn’t a way to add your own keywords.
Why ranking results?
At the recent Q&A On Website Ranking panel at SXSW, someone asked when and if Google was ever going to provide a commercial API for rank checking. The panel consisted of Duane Forrester of Bing, Matt Cutts from Google and Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land. Other than the answer of no, both Matt, and especially Danny, tried to stress the unimportance of ranking results. Danny went so far as to imply that if you wanted ranking results, you were doing it wrong — that it was a thing of the past.
The funny thing is, I have yet to meet one person from an agency or in-house marketing department (who actually does Internet marketing for a living) completely agree with that statement. There’s certainly consensus among most professionals that a micro-focus on just rankings is poor practice, and maybe that’s what Danny meant. However, rankings still play an important part in a holistic campaign. Examples include:
- Creating and tracking campaign goals for low ranking keywords
- Monitoring the effectiveness of link building campaigns
- Determining and targeting keywords that drive the highest conversion rate
A resource crossroads
With the absence of a reliable commercial API, we’ve had to figure out new ways to retrieve rankings data. Coupled with our exponential growth, this task has become more and more challenging.
In the past several weeks, we reached a point where maintaining the retrieval of weekly ranking results was absorbing the majority of our available resources, and it was starting to affect the quality of the results. It brought us to a crossroads: we could either focus much of our energy on the continuous scaling of our rank checker, or we could continue to build out our vision of the Raven platform.
We chose to continue building the Raven platform.
Migrating to AuthorityLabs
We keep a close eye on our customer usage and growth curve, and we knew this day might eventually come. That’s why we have been researching and talking with potential partners for several months now. We felt that the best ranking results partner was AuthorityLabs. Retrieving ranking results is their sole business, and they’ve proven to us that they can provide scalable and accurate results.
We are excited to be the first company to use their new Partner API. We’re currently in the process of migrating our entire system to using the AuthorityLabs Partner API for all automated ranking results.
Choice and control
Once we fully complete the data retrieval migration to AuthorityLabs, we’ll be working on several related enhancements to the rank tracker.
We plan to support the ability to import your own ranking data from popular desktop applications. For example, if you use Advanced Web Ranking to get your ranking results, you’ll be able to import them directly into Raven. We also plan to allow existing AuthorityLabs users to OAuth from Raven and automatically import their ranking results.
Manual rank editing
Sometimes ranking results can be slightly off. To give our customers a way to fix that, especially for running client reports, we’re going to provide the ability to manually change any ranking result.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the AuthorityLabs ranking results be different from previous Raven results?
We have worked closely with AuthorityLabs to ensure that their results are comparable to the quality of results we’ve delivered in the past.
Is the interface or pricing going to change when you switch over to AuthorityLabs?
No, the migration should be seamless and will happen in the background. Also, the pricing will not be changing.
When will I be able to import ranking results or manually edit a rank?
We plan to release those features within the next month or two.