Do rank checking tool results differ from manual checks?

Ash Nallawalla

6 June 2010

SEO

A discussion in the Webmasterworld Supporters forum (you need to be a paid Supporter to get there) entitled Rank checking for agencies led to a comment suggesting that using tools to make ranking checks is not a good idea for search agencies. Apparently, a manual check results in different results.

I had just made a check of some UK banks rankings while testing Axandra IBP.

Manual check of ranking tool results
Manual check of ranking tool results


The results are interesting. I had about 600 checks in my IBP ranking test for about 40 keywords across several UK banks. I checked 101 of those results manually and only five of them had different ranks (typically one place higher) in the manual check. In addition, the manual check found about three of the banks in the top 10 that hadn’t been picked up by the IBP check.

What do I make of this? If I were an agency and using this tool, then the discrepancy is acceptable to me. I have found that two people sitting next to each other can get a different data centre for a large search engine and the SERP positions can be different. Agencies are used to clients seeing different results from them, typically because they didn’t turn off customisation in their web history.

You can download my Excel 2010 file and do some more manual checks if you wish. I have left the SERP URLs in the file so you just need to click them to compare the results at your location.

You can decide for yourself if you should use a rank checking tool. If you are managing hundreds of clients and have to give them monthly reports, you do need one. Please comment if your tool does the job well and name it. Thanks.

Ash Nallawalla

Search strategist experienced in large, complex websites. SEO consultant.

Related Posts

Double Your Internet Speed?

Ash Nallawalla

5 September 2020

SEO

No Comment

Feel free to share...FacebookTwitterRedditStumbleUponLinkedinemailHave you seen the ads that tempt you to “double” your internet speed? I don’t know what they sell, but there are free options to try first. I remembered Steve Gibson from the early days for his SpinWrite program, so I didn’t hesitate to try out his free program DNS Benchmark – […]

Read More

Automated Facebook “Community Standards” decisions are getting ridiculous.

Ash Nallawalla

18 March 2020

SEO

Feel free to share...FacebookTwitterRedditStumbleUponLinkedinemail I shared an article from the Sydney Morning Herald that I saw on Facebook, with my comment ” Interesting analysis of the UK approach” – that is all I said. I think there were some interactions on that post. Today I received a notification (screenshots follow). I had no option to […]

Read More

2 Comments

Comments are closed

Older Posts