Advanced Web Rankings (AWR for short) is a pretty well-known tool for rank checking websites against your chosen keywords and search engines. There are four licence levels – from $99 to $599. This looks great at first glance because unlike a lot of licences in the SEO world (SEOMoz for one), this is a one-time fee instead of a monthly or yearly renewal. There is a sort-of hidden cost however that we’ll look at later.
So AWR seems reasonably priced, but what do you get for your money? Well, the Standard Licence (the cheapest one) lets you rank check as many sites as you like and you get access to all the data you’d expect like ranking changes over time. The next level up (Professional) lets you create nice reports to print and email – great if you have clients or people to share the data with.
The Enterprise and Server levels give you access to keyword research tools (Wordtracker, Google Keyword tool and and there’s an API for others like SEMRuch and Google Webmaster Tools) – to be honest I use separate tools anyway so that isn’t why AWR is important for me. What I like is being able to rank check sites from any search engine – the Server licence which is the most expensive, actually gives you a proxy so you get accurate results from other countries.
Setting Up A Project
The AWR Project Manager is a tool that lets you set up and manage your rank-checking project. This could be something like “My Website Rankings” or “New Keyword Set”. You start by choosing which search engines you’d like to use – Google UK and US for example – and then you add your keywords. This is as simple as typing them in, although you can export from a file or URL. You then add as many websites as you like to be checked and choose what crawl depth you’d like AWR to go to.
Realistically, it doesn’t really matter where your site is after the first few pages, but setting a crawl depth of a few hundred results let you see if you’re popping in for any of your target terms.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the bigger the crawl, the longer it takes. AWR actually rests in between querying the search engines so that it reduces the risk of being blocked.
Once you click OK that’s it – the project starts running! You can manually pause or delete it at any time, and re-checking is as simple as forcing a new crawl or scheduling one. You can even set it to email you the results.
One neat little feature is the “Top Sites” tab which is part of your main project dashboard. This shows you up to 200 sites that rank above you for the selected keyword. It’s a great way to keep an eye on the competition and even find sites that are worth partnering with.
The only annoying thing about AWR is that you have to purchase a Maintenance Plan after the first 12 months in order to keep getting updates and support. This costs from $29 to $119 and as we mentioned above, it’s not totally clear at first that you have to pay this (AWR talks about a “One-Time Fee”). I’m not entirely sure what would happen if you didn’t bother to buy a maintenance licence after 12 months – presumably it would continue to work!
AWR is an easy to use, solid rank-checking program. It’s got all the features you could want to check your own site, your client sites or your competitor sites, and the reporting is great for a quick overview. You can customise the reports and dig a lot deeper into various data, but from my point of view it’s the data at a glance that’s the most useful. AWR is the best rank checking tool out there at the moment so it’s well worth using for your clients or just for your own sites.
Reply from AWR on 26th August 2011.
The application license does have a one time fee. Upon purchase, AWR comes with a 1 year maintenance plan, which provides free application version and search engines definitions updates. When the initial maintenance plan expires, you can continue to use the application at the version level we released before the maintenance plan has expired. Purchasing a new maintenance plan, which will bring new version and search engines definitions updates, is optional, as each user may consider is best for himself.
– AD, Advanced Web Ranking Support Team