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5:39 pm on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We were using third party software that allowed us to run rank reports for all our SEO clients, the client then logged on through our website to see their ranking reports.

The software we were using is no longer supported so we really need to find an alternative, can anyone point us in the right direction?

Many thanks in advance, much appreciated.



5:43 pm on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Due to the WebmasterWorld TOS, specific product recommendations won't be forthcoming. ;)

But, I have to ask, are the clients benefitting from those ranking reports? What exactly do they get from those? What ROI is associated with those ranking reports? Can you undeniably confirm that the data they are seeing is accurate? As time goes by, ranking reports are becoming a dinosaur. They are too volatile and they are not the same for everyone due to various targeting measures in place by the SEs.

Bear with me here, I really want to understand where the benefit of this type of report comes in for the client. Are the associated risks and incomplete/inaccurate data worth it?


6:44 pm on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Iíve seen this problem with a handful of SEO companies. The search engines update so often that these software companies canít update their programs fast enough. You will have to use a few to see which one really works

Ranking reports are beneficial to SEO clients. It allows the clients to see a benchmark report when they sign up with an SEO and it allows them to track their results through time. I personally see Ranking Reports as a useful tool. Not useful enough to charge a client for as they can find the software themselves and run their own reports. You can even download a few of these ranking report programs and test them out for free.

Free doesnít sound bad.


7:32 pm on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks guys, we obviously report other key data & statistics to our clients as well as ranking reports, we just use them as a way to measure visibility success over time. And of course we do not charge extra for the reports, all part of the friendly service!

I disagree that ranking reports are in no way useful, if you climb from #324 to #1 for the KW 'mortgage lenders' then surely this is an absolute measure of success.

Love to debate!


7:09 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

There is really no debate about this issue. If you do not provide a benchmark report for the client upon sign up, then there is no way to measure the clients campaign success.

Its like drag racing. if you do not dino your car and begin modifying it, how do you know how much horsepower you've gained and how much faster your time trials are? There is no way to measure its power gains.

Receptional Andy

7:23 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

There is really no debate about this issue. If you do not provide a benchmark report for the client upon sign up, then there is no way to measure the clients campaign success.

IMO you are too forthright in this opinion, primal5. Clients should benefit from measurement, but that is not necessarily a list of search engine rankings.

surely this is an absolute measure of success

An 'absolute' measure? Again, this strikes me as a bold statement. The underlying reason a client wants to attract visitors for that phrase is surely the 'absolute' measure? That has to be sales or signups for mortgages, right?

Generally speaking, I've found that clients lack the background knowledge to realise why rankings are a poor measure of success. I end up cringing that in 2008 I'm still forced to send lists of rankings and, almost as a footnote, also provide information about increased visitor numbers and sales. Improved ROI, lower cost per acquisition. Ack, sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself ;)

On a Friday-night-note, I'll add that the lyrics of the song I'm listening to at the moment are eerily prescient:

If you believe in things that you don't understand then you suffer

Who'd have thought Stevie Wonder would have something to say about ranking reports? ;)


8:06 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am not saying that a ranking report is the only form of measurement of a clients success. of course their ROI, traffic, link and other reports are important to fully measure the success of a clients campaign. A ranking report is useful however its not an absolute measure of success.

Receptional Andy

8:30 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

I understand why you say that, primal5, but I'm in a mischievous mood, so I'll play devils advocate (sorry mods!):

Ranking reports provide clients with false measures of success

A site can rank well for keyphrases that fail to provide relevant visitors or impact a client's genuine needs. Worse still, rankings are inconsistent, and can even vary from one second to another for the same keyphrase, at the same search engine, from the same location.

Ranking reports encourage SEOs to ignore their client's needs

Rankings may impress clients, especially those far removed from the day to day workings of a website. Taking into account the problems with rankings mentioned above, a good SEO will discourage their clients from using ranking as a metric, in favour of reliable statistics, from visitor numbers to profit, from ROI to CPA. Otherwise, they run the risk of chasing rankings at the expense of reliable measures of success, or deliberately doing so to mislead clients.

Ranking report fans, what say you?


[edited by: Receptional_Andy at 8:31 pm (utc) on Feb. 29, 2008]


9:28 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

granted Receptional Andy what you say does hold water, the only problem i have with ranking reports is that its never 100% accurate. But clients seem to like them and look forward to seeing their new reports on a monthly bases. Gatta give the crowed what they want right?

Receptional Andy

9:43 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

primal5, have you considered the possibility that such reports can have a negative effect?

Let's assume a hypothetical situation:

Your client watches rankings, probably a few 'important' keywords. Google updates, and they no longer see themselves on the first page of results they were observing before.

They phone to complain that their performance has worsened. You log into their statistics to see that sales as a result of your work have actually improved considerably. The long tail keywords you targeted while performing your craft are really starting to pay dividends. What do you tell them?

Isn't it better for everyone if appropriate measures are established before you undertake any work?



10:36 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Andy... May I call you Andy?
You are a tough one. I like it.

I have considered the possibility of ranking reports having negative effects on their search status. I pondered this question for a moment as I know how much the search engines HATE third party software pinging their system a 1000 times an hour. After some R&D upon my own experiments my system doesn't affect my clients search status. There is a method to this madness. To correctly deal with search engines you must follow their rules and be ethical and considerate of all other users.

So far everything runs smooth, we haven't had any problems with being banned or flagged. As I said my only problem with RR's are they are not 100% accurate. It all depends on what data center you hit.

Receptional Andy

11:00 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

primal5, call me what you like, and Andy is fine.

You misunderstood my last post. I don't think that checking rankings affects rankings. I've never seen any evidence that it does, even if extreme cases.

I suppose my overall point was, would you prefer to be judged against rankings, or some other metric? Which metric would allow your clients to best judge their performance?


11:51 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I apologize I did miss understand your post.

I absolutely agree with you. Ranking Reports should not be the only means of rating seo performance. And in some cases ranking reports don't even matter. There is no reason to run ranking reports for a PPC client as they have no natural rankings. Of course there is always the exception to the rule however most "SEO" campaigns require ranking reports as a means of tracking their improvements.


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