I’ll get the two obvious questions out of the way first. This is a piece of software I have been using for years and paid full price for. Since we’re being completely honest, I’m even using the enterprise level. The second question is, in an age of personalized and localized SERP’s, is there even a need to run and use ranking reports? IMHO the answer is yes.
You have to realize that it’s impossible to run a report that will tell exactly what position you are in at every place on the globe at any given time. Google simply doesn’t work like that any more. What you can do is get a good approximation of your rankings and monitor their movement over time. And IMHO that’s very important information to have.
Once installed (there are Windows and Mac versions) you put in the domain you want to check, then choose the keyword and engine. Depending on how many keywords and how many engines you choose, you’ll have the results in a few minutes.
Here is the results tab:
The real value, of course, comes in looking at the results over time as in the sanitized shot below.
I find the progress graph down in the lower right corner particularly helpful.
In addition to basic ranking info, it tracks movement up/down, visibility, KEI, and lot of other information. You can also set up the program to create reports. Here’s a Sample Report. If you use the enterprise version, you can completely customize the reports.
I’ve set up the program to run on a Mac-mini I’m using as a server. I’ve scheduled the reports to run once a week. IMHO having it run more than twice a week is looking for trouble. I can log in and view the reports using remote desktop from my laptop or on my iPad using LogMeInIgnition. There are also settings you can use to emulate human behavior. While this does slow the program down, it also keeps your IP from getting blocked or from hitting the captcha/malware warning.
If you’re looking for software to monitor and check rankings, Rank Tracker is software that I can recommend.I have paid for my version and have been using it for years without any problems.
Bonus! In an exclusive offering, SEO Power Suite is offering a 7 day free trial of the enterprise version of the software until November 14th 2010.