capsule review

Improve Search Engine Rank With Advanced Web Ranking

At a Glance
  • Caphyon Advanced Web Ranking

    PCWorld Rating

    Advanced Web Ranking is a tool that will help you check your website's position on all major search engines.

Advanced Web Ranking ($99) is a cross-platform application with a beautiful interface and one major purpose in life: To help you get great search engine rankings. It does this using an array of different tools letting you inspect your website and search engine performance from various angles.

Advanced Web Ranking screenshot
Advanced Web Ranking's Keyword Difficulty module is supposed to help you understand how difficult it would be to rank for a given keyword, but it is not simple to use.
Much like Rank Tracker and Market Samurai, Advanced Web Ranking has a complex interface subdivided into several distinct modules (Rankings, Analytics, Links, Social, and more). Its interface feels remarkably slick and polished. Advanced Web Ranking is Java-based, and the controls used are not standard Windows controls, but they're large, clear, and elegant. Like Market Samurai, Advanced Web Ranking lines up the various modules on the left edge of the window, as a large vertical toolbar. But unlike Market Samurai, Advanced Web Ranking does not assume any specific workflow, or provide much in the way of search engine optimization tips and tricks. Online documentation exists, but it's mainly in the form of text, not videos.

Advanced Web Ranking screenshot #2
The built-in Website Auditor shows broken pages, but doesn't help you find the broken links that lead to them.
The Rankings tool lets you see how you or your competitors are doing on search engine rankings over time. Advanced Web Ranking lets you set up a scheduled search to run periodically and update your rankings. Unlike Rank Tracker, the search does not pop up a visible window on the screen--you won't even know it's running. Search runs from your own computer, which can affect the results (Google shows different results according to the location of the computer you're searching from). You can view results as rankings over time for specific keywords, but also as an aggregate called "Visibility Score," which is a single number meant to show your overall status. The formula used for computing the Visibility Score is explained in detail in the documentation.

Advanced Web Ranking Captcha screenshot
CAPTCHA prompts are commonplace among SEO application, and Advanced Web Ranking has its own share of them.
The Analytics module lets you plug into Google Analytics and provides comprehensive offline reporting. Once you plug into Analytics, you can display Analytics data alongside search engine ranking data, to try and find correlations.

Advanced Web Ranking's Links module lets you examine backlinks leading to your own website, as well as competing websites. It offers several reports, including one for anchor text distribution -- an important thing to keep in mind when you're trying to maintain a natural link profile. In other words, Google gets suspicious if 10,000 links with the exact keyword you're trying to target pop up overnight -- and this tool lets you keep tabs on that.

The Standard version of of Advanced Web Ranking doesn't include all features--for example, the Reports tab cannot be used. Annoyingly, those features which can't be used are still shown in the interface, and are not even grayed out or otherwise visually indicated. So you end up clicking buttons and constantly getting "Feature not available" alerts trying to upsell you the next level, a somewhat annoying software model we like to call "teaserware."

Advanced Web Ranking teaserware screenshot
When you try to use a feature not available for your version, Advanced Web Ranking promotes more powerful versions.
Advanced Web Ranking is expanding to cover other important areas of online marketing. Version 8.8 added Twitter and Facebook integration, allowing you to produce graphs showing your mentions and retweets over time; the new version 8.9 works social media metrics into some charts and reports.

If you are well versed in the sometimes-arcane art of SEO, you may like Advanced Web Ranking: The slick interface and minimal amount of handholding can help you get actionable answers faster. Then again, if you're just starting out with SEO, you may want to look at a tool that takes more time to cover the basics, such as Market Samurai.

Note: The Download button downloads the Windows version only. Linux and Mac versions are available from the vendor.

--Erez Zukerman

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Advanced Web Ranking is a tool that will help you check your website's position on all major search engines.

    Pros

    • Beautiful interface
    • Powerful Analytics integration
    • Twitter and Facebook monitoring

    Cons

    • Assumes previous SEO experience
    • Tries to upsell you within the app
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