We always mention that SERP trackers are a far more accurate, reliable and efficient way to track your ranks than doing **manual rank checking, and that is true, but why are some SERP trackers more reliable than others? Today, we will go further into the inner mechanisms of how SERP trackers operate and reveal the MAIN technical reason some rank-tracking tools can give you a false reading while others stay on point. This issue is so challenging, you will see why you must have a reliable rank-tracking tool that is able to handle it technically and show your real Google ranks, and not an outright bogus reading. To clarify, what we mean by precision here is your rank as it is positioned directly in Google’s search index.
The unstoppable, ever-changing tech behemoth with countless heads
Most SERP trackers operate about the same way in how they obtain your ranks from Google and other search engines. Some have better and more efficient rank-tracking algorithms than others, but the gist of it remains the same. Rank tracking is done by going over Google’s search index (which contains more pages than the number of stars in our galaxy and the number of cents in Larry Page’s and Sergei Brin’s bank accounts combined) and reading the SERPs’ code and markup language following a user’s command. For example, if you requested that your rank tracker check an iPhone rank geo-targeted from Brooklyn NY for a specific keyword+website combo, the rank tracker would have to check all the relevant SERPs for that request and get you that result.
But, this is where the plot thickens into a fine broth – unlike what some believe, Google isn’t changing its code and markups one major update at a time (for which there is always an official announcement in their blog). In reality, Google updates and changes ALL THE TIME! Usually, these are the small and unannounced changes in the markup and code that throw a wrench into rank-tracking tools and separates the SERP trackers from the sham trackers.
Even the major changes that come via official updates are usually carried out in several smaller waves instead of one simultaneous change. This is simply a result of Google being so huge it can’t be updated in one major swing with its current technology (this is also true for YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and any other tech behemoth).
So, how do we get around this problem?
Instant response mechanisms
A SERP tracker’s system is defined to read Google’s data a certain way, so any small change will require quick adaptation — otherwise, an inaccurate reading will occur. Pro Rank Tracker (PRT) employs various mechanisms that check for these small changes constantly, and we adapt our algorithms as soon as these changes occur, keeping us accurate virtually all the time. A rank tracker’s final accuracy average will depend on these inner ‘response mechanisms’ and how efficient and fast they are. For example: if your website is ranked 15th in Google’s search index for a certain keyword, a reading with about 80% accuracy could be returning a result that says it’s ranked 12th or 18th (making the reading utterly unreliable for most SEO use cases).
Add to the mix the need to track with several personalization bypassing filters that can differentiate between such factors as: the user’s platform type, OS, geo-targeted locations, and UI language, and the challenge at hand begins to take shape.
Keeping tabs on changes for all those different factors and having widespread geo-targeted rank tracking takes power and resources — and unless the SERP tracker has a reliable system that constantly monitors those changes so it can react as they occur, it will always lag behind, giving you a mostly inaccurate rank.
Adapting to the major changes fast
A major Google update will unavoidably cause some issues with your rank-tracking tools, as Google isn’t exactly prone to giving a heads-up to the tools that track their search index when a major update is about to fall on everyone’s websites (and bomb their ranks to oblivion). So, the question is not only how well a rank-tracking tool acclimatizes to the change, but also, how quickly does it find a solution to the new reality and adapt to give its users their real ranks again.
Adjusting to major changes often requires a considerable update to the tool’s rank-tracking algorithms, and developmental changes like that might take time, leading to a period of inaccurate rank tracking. PRT is known as a very fast adapter to major Google updates. Here are just some of the Google changes that needed a fast and adequate adaptation (which we promptly delivered to our users):
The search volume scandal – You can now see Google keyword search volume with PRT!
Google Localizing its algorithms further – Why Google’s latest change is another nail in the coffin for manual rank checking
|While this was about Google, other search engines are also prone to the same issues of constantly evolving (although at a less rapid pace). Search engines such as Amazon and YouTube have their own search index and their own small changes and big updates that need to be monitored. Not all SERP trackers have the resources or technology to track those search engines, let alone be aware of their changes (otherwise every SERP tracker on the market would do it). Luckily, PRT specializes in tracking BOTH YouTube and Amazon with full accuracy as well, as part of our SERP-tracking platform|
So, now you know one of the four major pieces of what makes a SERP tracker a reliable tool. Let’s summarize the four main factors that determine a real rank (as covered by our previous blog posts):
- Accuracy – How fast does the rank tracker react to the various Google changes and continue returning the actual rank?
- Rank Tracking Resolution (RTR) – How many different geo-targeted locations can the rank tracker get the ranks from? Everything is geo-targeted, which is why you must have the highest RTR possible:
Rank Tracking Resolution (RTR): one of the most important SEO topics to know about
- Rank Update Frequency – How often does the rank tracker check Google and update ranking data? This is a very important subject to know about:
SEO’s life monitor: Why you absolutely must know about your SERP tracker’s rank update frequency
- Rank tracking type diversity – This post focused on the technical process of getting ranks and there are dozens of different rank types to get. How many different rank tracking types can the rank tracker handle? If you are still unfamiliar with all the different rank-tracking types you need, here is the full breakdown:
All the rank tracking types you will need for SEO in 2018
These are the four industry standards for SEO in 2018. If you examine your rank-tracking tools by those standards, you will be able to gauge their quality and monitor your SEO progress successfully.
Pro Rank Tracker abides by the four main SEO industry standards that are required for 2018. We always provide our users with the cleanest, freshest and highest-quality results, as proven by our record of always staying on point with the smallest Google changes and reacting faster than everyone else to the major changes. And best of all, you can enjoy all those benefits starting with our free plan!
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**To do a ‘semi-clean’ manual check and see if your current rank tracker at least somewhat hits the mark, do the following:
Find a VPN/proxy with a relevant location (for example, a VPN with an IP address from New York City), make sure your rank tracker is defined to track from that location as well, and compare the two. A caveat: this is still unreliable and will only work for city-level manual desktop rank checking. For highly personalized ranks, such as mobile ranks, snack pack and neighborhood level locations, you simply need a reliable rank tracker!