I get it. Most rank tracking solutions out there are pretty expensive for small businesses.
And if you’re paying for one already, chances are you’re paying too much.
After all, most rank tracking solutions are made for two groups:
- Digital marketing agencies that have multiple clients. Which means a whole host of domains and keywords that have to be tracked
- Mid-size to large, enterprise companies that have a whole host of different business units with different web sites for each one. That means, again, a whole host of domains and keywords that have to be tracked.
But maybe you’re a small business with one web site and you’re trying to rank for a handful of keywords. And maybe you have 4 or 5 competitors that you want to track for those same keywords.
You’re tired of the “one-off” rank checkers; Chrome extensions like the ones from SEO Book don’t really cut it for you. What you want is a true reporting solution that compiles reports for you automatically. But you don’t want to pay $50 (and up) per month for web site and keyword space that you’re never going to use. You just want a less expensive solution that only tracks your rankings and maybe that of a few competitors.
Well today we’re reviewing a tool that might fit the bill for you.
Positionly is a relatively new entrant in the crowded rank reporting space. I first came across them after they were featured on Product Hunt a few years ago. At the time, I was still using Moz Pro for rank tracking (and a whole host of other things) and didn’t really have time to give it a shot. However, I’ve gotten the chance to spend some time with Positionly and I like its simplicity, from the user interface to its reporting structure.
Most of all, however, I like the fact that they have pricing models that appeal to one-man shops and small business owners, with an entry-level plan starting at only $19 month over month.
In this Positionly review, we’ll take an extensive walk through the tool and show you how you can use it to maximum effect.
To begin the onboarding process, Positionly first asks for the URL of your site, along with your preferred location by which to acquire your site’s rankings from. You can choose from Google, Bing, Yahoo or Yandex, as well as a wide variety of regions.
From there, you can select the keywords you want to track. By default, Positionly will supply you with a list of suggested keywords by parsing the content on the page. However, the quality of these keyword suggestions vary and you’re better off doing doing keyword research on your own, if you haven’t already. If you already have a list of keywords you’d like to track, you can simply copy and paste them here.
Next, you’ll select how many competitors you want to track. These competitors will then be tracked across the same number of keywords. The amount of competitors you’re able to track is limited to the plan you select.
One thing that’s annoying is that from this screen, you can’t pick your own competitors. You can only select from a list of pre-selected competitors that Positionly comes up with based on the keywords you picked. If you want to add your own competitors, you’ll have to do go back to the Website Settings, click the “Competitors” tab and add them there. (Described below)
From here, you get a quick snapshot of your overall rankings, including an average rank of all the keywords you’re looking to track:
Clicking “Explore your website” takes you to the Website Summary, which we’ll get to in a second. First, let’s have a look at the Dashboard, which you can click from the upper left corner.
Like most solutions out there, Positionly features a central dashboard from which you can access all of your sites. Each day, you get a summary of all of your ranking changes across all of your sites, as well as a list of inbound links your sites have gained and lost over the last six months. You can also chart your ranking gains (or losses) over a variety of time periods, as well as get a high-level overview of these metrics, along with your Alexa rank.
Clicking on one of these web sites will take you to the Website Summary.
Here you can have a look at metrics specific to each domain. Below the summary, the “Recent Activity” section is designed to show you actionable information related to your site. This includes things like significant gains (or losses) in traffic and rankings as well as select items on your To-Do list. More on that later.
The Search Rankings section provides all of the information you need to know about the keywords you’re tracking, along with a chart that shows position changes over time. If you have your Google Analytics account set up, you can can also get an overlay of organic, paid, social and referral traffic in order to get a better idea of how your rankings are impacting your overall traffic.
Clicking on the keywords section will allow you to view each keyword you’re tracking: the current ranking (along with the corresponding change in position based on the time horizon you’ve selected), as well as a competitive score for that keyword, the group that that keyword is a part of, if applicable (more on that in a minute) and the actual page that ranks for that keyword.
The Group section allows you to see all of your keyword groups in one view. If you want to add a keyword group, simply click the “Add group” button, which will create the group. You then can add keywords to the group by going back to the Keywords section.
Let’s say I created a “Multiple Sclerosis” group for all of the keywords I’m tracking that are related to MS. I can simply select those keywords and click the “Add to Group” button and they will be added to that group.
They will then be shown in the Keywords view as belonging to that group from now on.
Additionally, you can add keywords to multiple groups, if you’d like.
Positionly also provides inbound link data for the last 6 months. The tool leverages Majestic’s dataset and provides users with a list of links lost and gained, as well as a quality index which grades each link as either low, medium or high quality.
The Latest Inbound Links view gives you a deeper look at the links you’ve most recently acquired. You’re provided with the same link quality score mentioned above, followed by source (including the actual page URL upon which the link to your site resides), target page, anchor text, follow type (whether it’s a do-follow or no-follow link), link type (whether it’s a text or image link) as well as the country of origin.
The amount of inbound links that Positionly tracks is dependent on the plan you select. The cheapest plan, available for $19 per month, allows you to track up to 2500 backlinks. For most smaller web sites, that’s probably more than enough. However, the higher your plan, the more links will be available for you to track on an ongoing basis.
This kind of piecemealing might seem frustrating for those who already have access to tools like Ahrefs, Moz Pro or Majestic. After all, those tools provide you with all of your site’s inbound links, not just a snapshot.
But all three of those tools also start at monthly prices much higher than Positionly. By leveraging Majestic’s data set, they’ve provided users with just enough link data they need in order to spot trends and new links at a much lower price point.
Notes and To-Dos
Positionly offers two more functions you can use with each web site: Notes and To-Dos. The Notes section does just what it says: it allows you to create notes that can be accessed later. Positionly also adds high level notifications as notes here as well.
Meanwhile, To-Dos offer you a checklist of a variety of tasks to help optimize your site and get the most out of your Positionly subscription. Items that will help improve your on-page optimization as well as your presence on social media are listed here. The default to-dos are a mix of one-time actions as well as items that should happen on a recurring basis. The differences between the two should probably be marked better. But if you’re new to SEO principles, these suggestions should all help and you can check them off one-by-one as you move along.
Now let’s have a look at Positionly’s reporting capabilities.
There are two main types of reports you can create: manual reports, which are reports you can generate yourself “on-the-fly” and recurring reports, which will auto-populate at an interval you specify.
To create a manual report, you can simply click the “Create your first manual report” button and set up the parameters as you see fit. These parameters include the website in question plus any competitors you have associated with that website, if you want to include them in a report as well. If you’re tracking a lot of keywords and only want to report on terms in a specific group, you can specify the groups you want to include.
If you want to filter the terms included on the report even further, you can choose any one of a myriad of options, including only terms that have increased in ranking, terms that are in the top 10 of SERP results & more.
You can also choose the type of report you want to generate. There are four different options to choose from, although if you want to track competitors, you can only choose from the Simple or Detailed reports. You can also include an overlay of your traffic if you have Google Analytics connected.
Once you’ve done setting your parameters and choosing who you’d like to send the report to via e-mail, you can generate your report and it will be available soon after. You can click the name of your report to view it as a web link or you can choose to download it as a .PDF or .CSV file.
To set up recurring reports, you first need to generate a template. You can go to the “Templates” section and click the “Create your First Template” button to get started. The setup options are almost entirely the same as the manual report section, except now you can specify exactly when your reports will go out. For example, you can choose to have your report sent out at weekly or monthly intervals that begin on a certain day of the week.
You can then expect to receive reports according to that schedule.
If you want to change or add to who receives the report, simply click the pencil icon in the top right corner. However, you can’t change any of the actual reporting parameters. You’ll have to delete the template and start over, which is kind of a pain.
If you want to look at the reports you’ve already generated, you can do so by clicking the “Generated reports” option in the left sidebar to view (and re-download) all of your past reports.
On-Page Optimization Grader
Like many other SEO tools, Positionly also features an on-page optimization checker designed to help out with content and technical issues that may be negatively impacting your ability to rank for your chosen keywords. You can find it under the vaguely marked Research column.
If you want to check a URL, simply click the “New optimization check” button, enter the URL and keywords that you’re looking to target for that page.
After your results are tabulated, Positionly provides you with an overall score as well as a list of issues that range from minor to major. Common on-page conditions like keyword stuffing, along with keyword under (and over) optimization issues are cited, as well as missing page title tags, sitemaps and such. The information is presentable and the actual errors are tabulated as well, so you can go back and correct what needs to be corrected.
All in all, Positionly’s on-page optimization grader is fairly limited in scope. It only works for a specific URL; it doesn’t scan the entirety of your site for technical errors. So if you want to check multiple pages, you have to type in each URL individually, select the keywords that best fit and then get your results.
The colors in the UI can also lead to some confusion. Not only is the status colored but the importance is also colored the same as well. My eyes were drawn to the right side of the column since in most instances, that’s what’s typically marked on SEO page graders as a “pass” or “fail.” But the only line items that actually have issues are those with a red X.
Still, to have anything like this included for under $20 a month is pretty impressive and it’s a nice value-add for small business owners who want to test how well individual pages are optimized for a set of keywords.
Positionly is a solid choice if you’re a small business or a freelancer just starting out with your agency business. It provides no-nonsense rank reporting at a much more affordable price than anything on the market, save for Pro Rank Tracker, which we also recently reviewed.
It’s not going to give you the same level of granularity when it comes to link data and it can’t hold a candle to most all-in-one SEO solutions. But it’s not trying to be that. It’s a rank reporting tool with extras. And for most smaller growing businesses, that’s more than enough.
You can get a free 15-day trial of Positionly by clicking here.