RavenTools just made the tough decision to remove one of their core SEO features from their digital marketing platform, they will no longer will offer Google SERP rankings and keyword data for their customers. They have announced existing Raven Tools users will have until 5pm on the 2nd January 2013 to create final reports and export any current SERP data from their SERP Tracker before it is removed. Beyond January a number of tools such as RavenTools SERP Tracker that rely on scrapped Google data will vanish from the RavenTools SEO features leaving many users in the dark.
Raven Tools current on page content and unique selling position almost appear to need a complete rethink as the removal of some of their core SEO functions will leave a giant whole in their product set and competitive advantage. This is a great move for Google as they have always hated SERP monitoring software and is a sign that Google is serious about making SEO less transparent following the increase number of keywords masked by (not provided).
What can RavenTools customers do?
They have created a specific page to help their users with details on how to progress beyond the 2nd of January 2013 along with a countdown to export your ranking data, but it looks bleak for many of their users that depend on their platform. While Authority Labs is the current provider of SERP data to RavenTools they are still working out a seamless way for customers to move SERP tracking from RavenTools to their platform. It will be a hard few weeks for any agencies, consultants and clients who have depended on RavenTools SERP Tracking and Ranking Reports and a chance for their API partners to rethink long term partnerships.
Why did they remove SERP Tracking features?
The “unauthorised” Google data scraped by Authority Labs and SEMRush had upset the Google AdWords API team and apparently violated the AdWords API Terms of Service. By removing the external data they will no again gain access to authorised Google data and move their platform away from SEO and towards social, ppc, web analytics and content marketing. This move is a tough one for their customers that depend on their SEO features so it is likely they will lose a lot of customers over the decision to give up SERP tracking functionality. It seems that they found more value in AdWords data than SERP data which has certainly upset more than a few of their existing customers based on public customer feedback. It’s unclear how Google may shift the goal posts going forward and Raven Tools maybe left in no-man’s land with no keyword data if Google denies them access at some point in the future.
What about Authority Labs?
While the core technology and data is the same, many customers may discover some major differences in the Authority Labs compared to the current version of RavenTools. There will need to be an aggressive hiring of developers by Authority Labs to deal with the influx of RavenTools customers over the next 3 weeks. The big issue that existing RavenTools users have concerns about is how their current historical data will match when moving to Authority Labs. It seems that out of all the platforms for SERP Tracking Authority Labs remains the logical solution considering they were providing the keyword tracking data for RavenTools customers already.
What other options are available?
- Advanced Web Ranking is the leading desktop platform for SERP tracking
- Authority Labs is the current supplier of keyword data to RavenTools
- SEMRush is one of the leading competitive intelligence platforms tracking 80 million keywords
- SEOmoz is the largest SEO communities and SEO software platforms
What about other competitors?
There is not much else being said by other SEO software platforms SEOmoz, WordStream, Authority Labs or SEMRush on if they care about being denied access to Google AdWords API, but I’m sure some heated discussions are going in right now. There are still several leading platforms such as SEMRush that have not made a public announcement about the dramatic shift by RavenTools to depend completely on Google APIs.