You just downloaded SEO PowerSuite and launched up Rank Tracker to check your rankings for the very first time.

Just one problem. With countless features, Rank Tracker is a lot harder to set up than it looks.

In this guide, I’ll show you my optimal settings configuration and walk you through the process. My example project is a local business that also sells products online.

What you will learn:

  • How to check for local pack, map, and image results as well as organic – from multiple locations!
  • How to avoid blocks from Google and set the ideal search safety settings to show the minimum amount of CAPTCHAs
  • How to create schedulers and publishing profiles that create beautifully branded, automated seo reports

To follow this guide, you need to download Rank Tracker, which you can do by clicking this link.

First step, start a new project

rank-tracker-new-project-open
After you hit the new project button, type in your URL, connect your AdWords and Analytics accounts, and insert your list of keywords. For small businesses you might want to track 25 to 50 keywords depending on the number of products they offer or areas they service. Large companies might want to keep track of hundreds of keywords.

If not, Rank Tracker is also a great tool for conducting keyword research, but that is for another article.

Choose your search engines

choose-preferred-search-engines-instructions

The first custom setting is deciding which search engines to check.

To get the most accurate view of your overall position, you are going to want to check more than just Google. Bing is the default search engine for Windows computers and phones and Yahoo! is the default Firefox and a number of phones as well. Don’t ignore them. Make sure all three – Google, Bing and Yahoo! are all checked.

You might also want to see how you appear on Mobile search and Maps search (I know I do – especially if it is a business that people drive to.) Make sure you also check Google (maps), Google (mobile), Yahoo! (mobile) and Bing (mobile.)

My clients are often in different locations from me. In this case, I will also want a custom search location to see if location of the searcher will affect their placement. For any search engine you want to check this for, click on the “+” sign in the column to the right of the search engine.

rank-tracker-add-search-engine

It will bring up an advanced options screen. Leave everything as is, except put the city where the search should be made from name under “preferred location” and create a “short name” that you will recognize.

rank-tracker-search-engine-advanced-settings

Check off “Use Universal Search” and your final search engine settings should look like this:

choose-preferred-search-engines

Now, Rank Tracker will automatically start checking the rankings for your project right away. Just hit stop to cancel the operation. First, we need to set up your rank checking preferences.

Rank checking preferences and avoiding Google bans

If you don’t follow these steps you will probably run into an error or temporary Google ban when check your rankings for the first time. This is because Google has identified that you are using software to make unnatural searches.

The only way to get yourself unblocked from Google is to fill out a CAPTCHA to prove that you are human. You can either do this manually, or by paying for a CAPTCHA service like Death by Captcha.

It can be a challenge to find the right settings to effectively appear like a human to search engines while working at a reasonably fast pace, but I’ll show you my settings that evoke so few CAPTCHA requests that I use less than 250 CAPTCHAS per month to monitor the rankings of over 10 sites on a daily basis.

Log Out of Google

That means Analytics, Webmaster tools and AdWords. Leaving these on could alert Google after a number of searches, and cause a temporary ban.

Do not use the Google API

Under Project Preferences, you are given the option to use search engine API keys. These are for developmental purposes and are very limited. Do not use them except for extremely small projects.

Disable proxy rotation

Under Global Preferences –> Search Safety Settings, unless you have your own private proxies, go to the Proxy Rotation section and disable this option completely.

Rank Tracker offers free proxies, which is nice, but free proxies are very unreliable and either get unresponsive or get detected by Google very fast. The good thing is, we don’t need them to track rankings successfully anyway.

Disable Data Center Rotation

Under Global Preferences –-> Search Safety Settings, make sure you disable the Search Engine Data Centers Rotation feature.

Human emulation delays

Under Global Preferences –-> Search Safety Settings –> Human Emulation, check ‘visit search engine’s homepage,’ and check ‘Enable human emulation delays’ setting both options to between 3 and 9 seconds.

rank-tracker-human-emulation

Set minimum number of simultaneous tasks

Finally, go to Misc Global Settings and set the number of simultaneous tasks as 1.

Using this combination of configs will let you check your keywords regularly without problems with Google blocks.

Automatically check your rankings every single day

Go to Global Preferences –> Scheduler and set a new scheduled task to collect rankings. You only need to set one scheduled task, and you can assign it to as many projects as you want. If you get too many projects, you can set “a” and “b” shifts for checking rankings and have them scheduled to run on alternating nights.

check-rankings-schedule

Update the customer profile (and your own)

The profile information appears on the custom reports you are about to schedule to send to your boss, client or yourself. Make sure that the ‘Company Profile’ and ‘Customer Profile’ are completed completely and accurately. You can run a quick report to see how they appear before you publish.

Create a publishing profile

Under Global Preferences –> Publishing Profiles, create a new profile and set what type of report you want to publish, and how you want to deliver it. We’ll set the schedule of when to send it in the next step.

The simplest method is to e-mail a .pdf, but a better option is upload the reports as html to a server, and create a web portal to access all of your reports.

Set the schedule for the report delivery

Now to back to the Scheduler and create a new custom task to publish the report based on the publishing profile we just made.

Final thoughts

Those are the Rank Tracker settings that work perfectly for me. I set mine to run every night at 4 am. I also upload new reports to my client area every month. If I need to, I will create custom reports for specific periods of time.

Do you use any different settings than me? I’d love to improve mine in any way that I can. Share your custom settings and Rank Tracker tips in the comments section.