Search Rank ToolsSearch Reporting ServicesSEO Tools

Why SEO Rank Checking Tools Are Useless

(or why they want you to think so)

I’ve been writing about this topic for years on my company blog HARTENSTINEand continue to challenge the reason for these posts. (the reasons are usually not obvious of course)

Why SEO Rank Checking Tools Are Useless

It does not seem to discourage the authors who write these blog posts, that their comment sections are full of good reasons why a normal business WOULD CARE how their website ranks in search engines and that there is a place for a tool in your kit for that purpose. (I won’t give a direct link to that post for obvious reasons, but I do recommend reading it – and especially the comments.)

I have nothing against the folks at Wordstream. They provide a service I have used. It has its place in the SEO toolkit. Having said that, I could now write about why “Keyword Research is Useless” for the same reason they write that “Search Rank Checking Tools are Useless”. But I don’t think I need to bash another tool in order to make the case for my product.

The Ranking Myth: There’s No Such Thing as Ranking

I say bashing because that is exactly what this article does – evidenced by that heading. The correct title/headings of a solid article might say “How To Use Search Rank Checking Tools Properly“. That is because the only accurate part of that post is the concept that as Google results becomes more complex because of browser history, location, social graph and devices, its not so simple as it once was. It requires some expertise. What else is new in the world? Only a Luddite thinks that the world should not change. What is an oxymoron? A Luddite blogging about SEO. But there is more…

Getting too preoccupied with a few single keywords can have the blinder affect.

That statement is true, but its a common human frailty. We could also say:

Getting too preoccupied with alcohol can make you an alcoholic.

So is this article just an exercise in getting a ranking in the category of “Search Rank Tools” for a keyword service? (oh the hypocrisy!) Maybe. But how is that conversion working out for ya?

Now an obscure and interesting thing I find about many of these articles is “The Close”. They usually close with a recommendation to just use Google Search Console. Have you noticed that?

I wonder why that is? What motive is there in recommending the fox should guard the chicken coup? Aren’t we all doing SEO because we know that Google is not providing accurate telemetry and sometimes purposely obfuscates the very data an SEO needs most to do their job well? I believe these articles are sycophantic appeals to securing a job at Google or similarly motivated – you know, don’t upset the 900 pound gorilla in the room.

Sorry, but I don’t play that game. Truth and rational thought are important to intelligent people and necessary to maintaining a healthy business. Sycophants should not find their misleading advice goes unchallenged!

The Bottom Line

As I mentioned, many blogs have been written over the years claiming that measuring search rank is a waste of time, because every individual will see biased (personalized) search results. Stop. Think! Statistically this logic fails. Statistically measuring the entire population would actually produce a generic SERP (result) regardless of the individual personalized results each person would experience. This argument is naive or meant to mislead – you choose.

We only attempting to remove personalization in order to understand relative strength and relative weaknesses of your website’s performance. In doing so, we are achieving a “generic” result that is statistically sound.

I’ll leave you with this salt of the earth wisdom; “You don’t have to be faster than the lion, you must only be faster than the other guy.” This saying is appropriate in local search rank reporting because there is no perfect websitethere is only a better website (than ours) – that is what we worry about.