Rank Tracker Update – Free Plans & Pricing Revealed

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I’m really glad to be able to share with you some more information about the new Rank Tracker service.

This blog post contains a lot of information, but I wanted to answer as many of your questions as possible about our new service. In particular this blog post will cover:

  1. A recap on the current status of the Rank Tracker module.
  2. A status update of the progress of the new Rank Tracker service.
  3. What’s different about the new Rank Tracking service?
  4. Details of our FREE keyword tracking plan – based on our usage data I’m pleased to announce our free offering will satisfy the needs of over 92% of our users.
  5. Details of our pricing plans – and how you can get access to a 50% discount.
  6. How our new Rank Tracker service is different to other services on the market.

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

1. Rank Tracker is currently working and functional in Market Samurai

It’s important to reiterate that the current Rank Tracker module is currently working and functional.

After the Google change our first priority was to restore core functionality as quickly as possible. Rapidly, over a period of several days we released updates which restored functionality to all our core modules.

Most importantly, Rank Tracker IS currently working. The large majority of our users monitor fewer than 50 keywords and our service should be running smoothly for these users.

If you’re checking a large number of keywords (100+) you may be asked to complete a captcha to continue pulling back ranking data, but you can still fetch the full set of keyword data.

2. What progress has been made on the new Rank Tracker service, and when will it to be ready to use?

Since restoring full functionality to Market Samurai we’ve been tirelessly working to bring you the new “cloud” version of our Rank Tracking service.

Here’s a quick update on how we’re going:

  • We’ve already made significant progress building the back-end infrastructure and services to deliver the new Rank Tracking service.
  • We’ve spoken to over a dozen rank tracking data providers and negotiated a great deal on your behalf to be able to reliably handle the demands of our user-base – at over 200 million ranking checks per month, this is a significant load for many of the providers that we’ve spoken to!
  • We’ve designed an easy-to-use interface for quickly and easily migrating your existing Rank Tracker information to the cloud and for managing your online campaigns.

So when will this be ready for you to use?

While we have made significant progress so far, our current best estimate is that we’ll be in a position for a large beta test in approximately 2–3 weeks’ time, with a public launch about 2 weeks following that.  This will give our beta testers a chance to get a few weeks of ranking reports through, to flush out any problems before we make it available to everybody.

I realise that this is longer than we originally estimated, but I think you’ll agree that it’s more important to make sure that the new version is as reliable and stable as possible, and that involves a few more weeks than we originally estimated.

Please rest assured that this is our #1 priority, and every available resource at Noble Samurai is working to bring you the new Rank Tracking service as quickly as possible.

Once again, the existing Rank Tracker module is currently working and will be able to serve the majority of our users’ ranking requirements until we’re in a position to roll out our new service.

3. So what’s different about the new Rank Tracking Service?

If you’ve used Rank Tracker you’ll quickly realize its main drawback – it’s slow! It’s a problem that the current Rank Tracker module shares with all desktop rank checking software.

If you’re serious about checking your rankings, you have to fire up the software each week, click the “Update Rankings” button, and then wait up to half an hour or more before all your rankings data has updated! And the more keywords that you are tracking, the slower it becomes!

And that’s for each Rank Tracker data file that you have. Many of our users have multiple sites or clients that they need to check the rankings for, and each of these in a different project file. If you have 3 or 4 files, the whole process can take several hours to complete, which is not ideal.

The new Rank Tracking service is very different. Instead of having to check your keywords yourself, we’ll check the keywords on your behalf automatically, and send you an email each week when your keyword rankings are ready.

Here’s how it will work:

  1. First, upload your existing Rank Tracking files to the Noble Samurai “cloud” servers, where your ranking data will be stored.
     
  2. Then, choose which keywords you want to monitor on a weekly basis. You also nominate which day of the week you’d like your ranking checks updated.
     
  3. Once a week, our “cloud” servers will check your rankings on your behalf (you don’t even need your computer to be turned on! Everything happens automatically on our servers).
     
  4. When your rankings have been checked and your ranking reports complete, we’ll send you an email notification to let you know.
     
  5. You can then open Rank Tracker, and instantly view your ranking data.
     

Because we do all the heavy lifting from our “cloud” servers, you spend less time waiting for results, and can spend more time interpreting your data!

4. What are the details of the FREE Rank Tracking plan for existing Market Samurai owners?

Our big hope was that we would be able to offer a FREE rank tracking plan for existing owners of both Market Samurai and Article Samurai.

We’ve spent the past few weeks analysing the usage patterns of our current customers, and also aggressively negotiating with ranking data providers to understand:

  1. If a FREE plan is economically possible at all; and
  2. What a FREE plan would include for our existing users.

The good news is that we will be able to offer a great FREE plan for all current owners of our products.

In an analysis of our ranking usage data over the past year, we uncovered the following usage pattern for our current customer base:

92% track less than 50 keywords
7% track between 51-500 keywords
1% track over 500 keywords

Our goal was to provide a FREE plan that would ensure that as many of our customers as possible would be completely unaffected by the Rank Tracker changes.

I’m happy to announce that ALL existing customers of Market Samurai and Article Samurai will be eligible for a free 50 Keyword plan.

That means that over 92% of our customers will get the benefit of the improved Rank Tracking service (where we look up your rankings for you automatically each week), and won’t have to pay a penny for it!

There are some important things to note:

1. While the free plan will be free to you, it is NOT free to us - We will be paying thousands of dollars each month, on your behalf, to underwrite these free plans. We’ve set the freeline at a level that should satisfy the vast majority of users (over 92%), while setting the amount of cash that we need to outlay each month for our customers to a sustainable level.

Rest assured, this won’t bankrupt us, but it’s important to share that as we’ll be footing the bill for these FREE accounts, we had to draw the line somewhere, and a 50 keyword plan strikes a balance of meeting the vast majority of user’s needs, as well as managing our ongoing costs.

2. This offer will ONLY be available for existing Market Samurai (and Article Samurai) owners, or anyone who purchases Market Samurai before April 30th May 31st 2012 - As our existing customers and trial users are those who will be most affected by the changes, this offer will only be available to the existing ownership base – anyone that has a full version of Market Samurai or Article Samurai, as well as any current trial user who upgrades to the full version before April 30th May 31st 2012.

3. After the 30th of April 31st 2012 of May, the FREE plan for any NEW customers of Market Samurai will drop to 10 keywords per month - As there is a substantial ongoing cost in providing these FREE plans the 50 keyword free plan is only available to existing owners (and anyone who upgrades to the full version before April 30th May 31st 2012).

With almost 60,000 customers, you can start to understand why providing this FREE plan will cost us thousands of dollars per month.

That’s why we can only make this offer available to existing customers. Future customers will be limited to a 10 keyword / month plan.

4. This FREE 50 keyword plan is equivalent to PAID plans that cost up to $22.50 a month - We’ve done a thorough analysis of the competition in the rank tracking service space. Most rank tracking services fail to provide a FREE plan at all, and have a minimum entry price of $29 to $49 a month just to sign up. This being the case, the actual value to you for a comparable 50 keyword plan is anywhere between $5 to $22.50 per month.

Only existing customers, and those who purchase the full version of Market Samurai before April 30th May 31st 2012, will be entitled to this free 50 keyword plan – which provides up to $22.50 per month of keyword ranking checks, for FREE.

5. Details of our pricing plans

Our ranking usage data analysis shows that our 50 keyword plan will be more than adequate for over 92% of our customers.

However, if you’re one of those who are in the 8% of users who track more than 50 keywords, then we want to make sure that we look after you too.

Before I reveal what the pricing plans are, it’s important to review the competition and see what the cheapest available options are on the market to track more than 50 keywords on a weekly basis:

Competitor

A

B

C

D

Cheapest 50+ keyword plan

$49 / Month

$24 / Month

$19 / Month

$99 / Month

Keywords tracked

250

100

100

1000

Price / Keyword

$0.20

$0.24

$0.19

$0.10

So, if you need to track more than 50 keywords then the cheapest plan from competing services begins at $19 / month, and you can pay as much as $99 / month!

While this might seem like a lot, there are good reasons for the price. There are hard costs to providing an infrastructure to check large numbers of keywords.

When doing our analysis and pricing model we have two definite advantages over our competitors:

  • Most competitor pricing is targeted at SEO agencies – companies with deep pockets. Agencies often charge hundreds or thousands of dollars to their own clients every month, and can therefore afford to pay substantial amounts each month to get their keyword rankings updated for them.
     
    Agencies manage multiple clients – needing to track hundreds or thousands of keywords each month. The pricing structure of the plans currently offered in the marketplace reflects this need. Unfortunately, this puts it beyond the reach of many small online business owners, particularly if they only need to track a few hundred keywords.
     
  • Most of our competitors serve a relatively small client base of SEO Agencies - and so are unable to spread their infrastructure costs across tens of thousands of users as we are.

We know who our customers are, and they are very different from the SEO agencies! While we do have some agencies and SEO consultants using our software, most of our users are small online business owners who don’t have hundreds of dollars per month to spend on tracking their rankings.

We’ve taken this need into consideration when coming up with our own Rank Tracking plans.

To ensure that existing customers get the best deal possible, we’re offering two sets of plans:

  1. Plans for our existing customers (or new customers who purchase before April 30th May 31st 2012).
  2. Plans for new customers who purchase after April 30th May 31st 2012.

Here’s a list of what our plans will be for Noble Samurai’s Rank Tracking service:

Rank Tracker Plan

Special Existing
Customer Pricing

(Sign up Before April 30th May 31st 2012)

Retail Pricing


(Sign Up After April 30th May 31st 2012)

White Belt

Keywords: 50
Price / Month: FREE
Price / Keyword: ZERO
Keywords: 10
Price / Month: FREE
Price / Keyword: ZERO

Yellow Belt

Keywords: 100
Price / Month: $5
Price / Keyword: $0.05
Keywords: 100
Price / Month: $10
Price / Keyword: $0.10

Orange Belt

Keywords: 200
Price / Month: $10
Price / Keyword: $0.05
Keywords: 200
Price / Month: $20
Price / Keyword: $0.10

Blue Belt

Keywords: 500
Price / Month: $25
Price / Keyword: $0.05
Keywords: 500
Price / Month: $50
Price / Keyword: $0.10

Brown Belt

Keywords: 1000
Price / Month: $40
Price / Keyword: $0.04
Keywords: 1000
Price / Month: $80
Price / Keyword: $0.08

Black Belt

Keywords: 2500
Price / Month: $99
Price / Keyword: $0.04
Keywords: 2500
Price / Month: $198
Price / Keyword: $0.08

So, if you’re an existing customer with 100 keywords, you can track your rankings for only $5 per month. That’s only $0.05 per keyword - less than a quarter of most of our competitors’ offerings!

For all existing customers (and for anyone who upgrades to the full version of Market Samurai before April 30th May 31st 2012), you’ll get access to all our retail plans, but at a 50% Half-Price Discount!

If you study the plans above, you’ll see that even our future retail plans (which kick in only for new customers who purchase after April 30th May 31st 2012) have a price per keyword less than half of most of our competitor’s offering. To get the same price per keyword from competing services, you’d need to spend at least $99 per month!

We’d love to be able to offer FREE ongoing Rank Tracking to all our affected users, however, for reasons I’ve already covered, economically this is just not possible.

Our 50 keyword FREE plan, which meets the needs of over 92% of our customers, will cost us thousands of dollars each month to cover.

If you’re one of the handful who tracks over 50 keywords (and you’re an existing customer), we are able to give you special pricing – less than a quarter of the price of our competitors.

Anyone who purchases our product after April 30th May 31st 2012 will be able to choose from our retail plans, which are still great value – at less than half the price of most of our competitors.

All the Rank Tracker plans provide weekly reports. How will this work, and why aren’t we able to provide more frequent updates?

With just a few exceptions, the majority of our competitors provide only weekly ranking updates, and for good reasons:

  1. If you do regularly monitor rankings you’ll notice daily fluctuations in your results. This daily “noise” distorts the real picture of what is happening to your rankings.
     
    The vast majority of SEO professionals check their rankings on a weekly or fortnightly basis. It is generally accepted among SEO circles that checking rankings more often than this provides little value. It’s the equivalent of monitoring the stock price of your shares on a minute by minute basis. It’s too granular to provide any meaningful or actionable trends.
     
  2. There is a real, tangible hard cost to providing large volumes of keyword rankings. There is a significant infrastructure that needs to be built to look up millions of keywords per month. Providing weekly rankings means four checks per month per keyword. Providing daily rankings involves seven times as many keyword lookups, which translates directly into seven times the cost. Services that provide daily rankings are significantly more expensive per keyword to track – and rightly so!

In the interests of keeping keyword rankings as accessible and as affordable as possible to our customers, we have opted to initially provide only weekly ranking reports. If there is sufficient demand we may introduce daily rankings, but these plans will naturally be much more expensive to provide.

6. What’s unique about our Rank Tracker service? How does it compare with the competition?

If you haven’t really used the Rank Tracker module before, or haven’t checked it out for awhile, here’s a quick recap about some of its unique features beyond being just a quarter of the price of the competition.

They say that “feedback is the breakfast of champions”, and from the beginning Rank Tracker was designed to provide rapid feedback about the “effects” of your SEO link-building work and SEO strategy.

  1. Rank Tracker not only checks your ranking in the 3 major search engines, but also reports the number of links that are pointing to each of your ranking pages - Typically, as your link-building work increases, you’ll see an increase in the number of links, followed by an increase in your rankings. It’s a leading indicator to rankings, and only Noble Samurai’s Rank Tracker offers this feature. (SEO professionals love this feature – because it provides evidence of all the hard link-building work you’ve been doing)
     
  2. Rank Tracker shows you the rankings for EVERY SINGLE WEB PAGE THAT YOU CONTROL - It’s common in modern SEO to use multiple domains to rank for keywords. Most other Rank Tracking services can only track one domain, and only tells you the highest ranking you hold. We allow you to track any number of domains, as well as special URLs like YouTube videos. We show you all the rankings you hold in the top 100 results, not just the highest one.
     
  3. Rank Tracker allows you to track unlimited domains for a single keyword - Most other rank tracking solutions on the market charge their customers based on a concept called “keyword pairs”. If you wish to track your keyword rankings on a keyword for 5 different domains, you’d have to enter that keyword in 5 times, eating into your monthly quota. In Rank Tracker, that will count as only a single keyword – so your Keyword quota goes a lot further.
     
  4. Rank Tracker allows you to track the rankings on Web 2.0 sites (such as YouTube and Squidoo), that you control, but don’t own! - Many solutions on the market limit you to only tracking pages on a single domain, or force you to track each Web 2.0 site as another “keyword pair”, eating into your limited keyword quota. As you know, YouTube and Web 2.0 sites often comprise a critical part of modern SEO. Only Rank Tracker allows you to add as many Web 2.0 web pages as you like – while only using up a single keyword of your weekly quota.
     
  5. Rank Tracker supports the full range of search engine language and country combinations - Speaking to many rank tracking data providers we realized that very few support the full range of Language and Country combinations available in Google and the major search engines. Market Samurai has become very popular for non-US, non-English speaking customers because we’ve worked very hard to support right-to-left languages such as Hebrew, and “Unicode” languages such as Japanese and Chinese. The data provider we’ve chosen is one of the few who is able to provide the full range of Language / Country combinations.
     
  6. Rank Tracker manages the issues of Google “localization” and “personalization” - Google often serves up different ranking pages based on where you’re situated. Google also personalizes your search results based on the sites that you frequently visit. This “localization” and “personalization” behaviour can make it very challenging to get an objective set of general search results as a benchmark for your SEO activities.
     
    As a result, you often see very different results searching Google from your own web-browser than what a rank tracking service reports. The ranking data provider we’ve chosen does an excellent job of removing such biases from the results.
     

Summary

Phew! That’s a lot of information to digest! Here’s a quick recap if you’re short of time:

  1. If you’re an existing Market Samurai (or Article Samurai) customer you’ll get access to a FREE 50 keyword Rank Tracker plan – which our usage data shows will be suitable for over 92% of our customers.
     
  2. If you’re part of the handful of customers who need to track more than 50 keywords you’ll be able to get access to special plans which are less than a quarter of the price of most of our competition.
     
  3. We’re working really hard to get the new Rank Tracking service out to you as quickly as possible. We hope to have a version to Beta test in the next two to three weeks. We’ll send an email with the details of how to sign up to the Beta when it’s ready.
     

A big thanks once again to the incredible support and encouragement we’ve been receiving from our customers!

If you have any questions which aren’t directly answered in this post, please feel free ask them in the comments below.