I have been using Advanced Web Rankings (AWR) within an agency environment for more than four years now. It has always worked very well to generate data for monthly reports and to perform keyword research and in-depth competitor analysis.
With the recent release of version 9.0, many new features have been added, including the benefit of link building aids that have never before been seen in the suite. It is now known as a complete SEO software solution because it contains elements for link building as well Google Analytics integration, ranking, and social metrics.
If you have not yet acquired the new version, feel free to download the latest software so you can try out some of the features mentioned in this post. If you are new to AWR, you can try it free for 30 days.
When selecting keywords to target within a campaign or choosing new keywords to include, keyword difficultly is always an important consideration. The more information you can collect from competitors’ websites, the better you can understand where your own site can go. By discovering new long tail opportunities that are relevant to your niche, you can end up securing a steady flow of targeted traffic to your site from multiple keyword variations, instead of just from one head term that everyone in your niche goes after.
AWR 9.0 features a new keyword difficulty tool that will give you a breakdown per keyword, search engine, and website so you can see where a specific keyword is tracked within the SERPs, and, more importantly, it will give you quality metrics that can indicate why a particular website may be seen as an authority source for that given keyword.
Metrics include: Domain Authority (DA), Page Authority (PA), Linking Root Domains (LRDs) to Page, and Linking Root Domains to Domain (SEOmoz link quality indicators):
Click to Expand
The main advantage of the above is you can quickly see the top 10 search results for any given keyword within your project. This allows a quick snapshot view of all the metrics in one table, plus you can generate nice looking charts to understand more about why your site (or a competitor’s site) may be ranking higher or lower than other websites for any given search query. You can also use the keyword discovery tool to research new terms and add them to your existing project.
Link Profile Visualization
It’s often handy to see how a link profile looks visually. This can help you answer questions such as:
- How many incoming links to my site contain brand/non-brand terms?
- How many links to my site are from authoritative sources?
- Are there any correlations between each site featured on page 1 for my search term?
While some people may think copying activities on a competitor’s site is an actual link building strategy, it’s certainly far from what they should actually be doing. Competitor research should be carried out as part of an overall strategy. It’s more of an excercise to discover what is good and what is bad about a link profile, than it is about applying your findings to your own link building strategy. Take a look at the graph below:
Click to Expand
A commercial search query term has been selected, and it shows the current ranking for those sites on the first page of the SERPs (positions 1-10). You are able to choose from a number of quality metrics; in this case, I selected Page Authority (PA) and Total Links. You can continuously compare different metrics to gain valuable insights into your campaign.
Another example is the Link Distribution report. The image below shows how you can compare two metrics side-by-side for any given keyword. To find this report, go to the [Links] menu and select [Links Distribution] and [Overview] on the toolbar at the top. This shows the DA/PA values from incoming links to a competitor’s website:
Click to Expand
Speed of Results
The only drawback I have ever experienced with AWR is the speed at which it obtains rankings results. When it performs its core rank-checking tasks, it can take a long time to successfully gather data from the SERPs. This is primarily due to the fact that each query it sends to the search engine must have a delay time in between requests to avoid the search engine temporarily blocking the source of the request (your IP address).
If we look at the default settings of AWR in the [Settings] menu > [Performance] > [General Performance], you will notice the default values are as follows:
You can tweak these settings and the Browser Emulation settings to make the data collection process a bit quicker, but as previously mentioned, this will usually result in the search engine blocking the requests at some stage of the cycle.
So how long does a typical project take to run? As an example, a small project with the default settings would take approximately 2.5 hours to run at 12 requests per minute with 373 searches in total.
How to Successfully Increase the Speed
Use proxy servers! AWR has built-in support for adding proxy servers to your project. This is useful both for geo-targeted, international rankings and for speeding up your existing rankings in your home country. By distributing the search engine requests across multiple proxy servers, you can reduce the overall time it takes to receive the data.
To add proxy servers to your project go to the [Settings] Menu > [Performance] > [Proxy Settings].
Click to Expand
One proxy service that is specifically recommended for use with AWR is Trust Proxies. It also offers a free trial if you wish to test it out for yourself. A basic package with 25 U.K. or U.S. IP proxies can make the data collection process up to 25 times faster! If you compare the default project (mentioned above) against the same project with the added proxies, the difference is a significant increase in speed:
There is so much more to discover in the new version of AWR, and I would strongly suggest you check it out to see how it could work for you. Advanced Web Ranking is certainly one of the best rank-checking software solutions currently available, and I have used it for almost four years now. If you have any other tips or experiences with AWR, please leave your comments below and feel free to share your thoughts with everyone else.