Advanced Web Ranking (AWR) says its main focus with AWR Cloud is to combine an easy to use interface with the best rank tracking capabilities on the market. Once you dig into this $49 per month search engine optimization (SEO) tool, however, you’ll find it also covers ad hoc keywords search, ongoing position monitoring, and website crawling. It also has some brand recognition features that let it see which sites rank, which are doing well, and which are losing ground. All in all this is a capable tool for brand-focused SEO professionals. While it’s not quite as full featured as our other Editors’ Choice picks in this category, Moz Pro and SpyFu, its easy interface and respectable set of capabilities make it a great pick for smaller businesses and well deserving of the Editors’ Choice designation.
On the rank tracking front, AWR Cloud has the best automated monitoring of the tools we tested. The platform’s search engine and website comparisons and rankings across websites and keywords will keep your business up to date on every upswing and down-slide in content and landing page search rankings on a particular keyword or topic. It covers ad hoc keyword research and targeting through Google Analytics (GA) and Google Search Console integrations.
Pricing and Plans
AWR Cloud begins at $49 per month for its Starter plan, which the company markets at small to midsize business (SMB) website owners. This plan gives you 2,000 keywords per week, but AWR Cloud doesn’t otherwise cap users in terms of reports, tracked websites, users, social media tracking, or auditing and crawling. This lack of quotas on users, tracked sites or projects, and reports is atypical of the tools I tested and makes AWR Cloud a more affordable option compared with other do-it-all SEO platforms such as SEMrush and Ahrefs that charge for more quotas and add-ons. There is also a free 30-day trial on all plans. The rest of AWR Cloud’s pricing tiers are as follows:
- Pro plan: $99 per month, marketed at “in-house SEO professionals,” with 7,000 keywords per week.
- Agency plan: $199 per month, with 14,500 keywords per week, and includes application programming interface (API) access.
- Enterprise plan: $499 per month, with 35,500 keywords per week plus API access.
Best-in-Class Search Position Monitoring
AWR Coud is the least complicated and most strightforward SEO tool I tested. The UI is clean and built around a responsive dashboard and streamlined left-hand navigation bar with a home icon atop it. There are clearly labeled tabs: Rankings, Links, Google, Reports, Social, Crawling, and Settings. For the SEO novice, it’s a far easier UI to navigate than the more convoluted layouts of platforms such as Majestic which on top of an antiquated design also inundates you with an overwhelming array of disparate tools. AWR Cloud packages its SEO features into one simple layout similar to a narrower tool like DeepCrawl, but with functionality closer to what the Editors’ Choices offer.
When you first log in, the main Websites dashboard gives you at-a-glance position monitoring right away. This sortable list of all the websites you’re currently monitoring shows each website with any associated keywords for which you’re tracking search rank, along with a small trending graph, overall visibility percentage of your site across search results, and bright green and red Changes metrics showing your cumulative gain and loss in keyword rankings. Before you dig down into specific sites and keywords, AWR Cloud’s search position scoreboard gets straight to the point.
For each website and collection of associated keywords your business is monitoring, you can then drill down into a deeper breakdown along with a number of associated ranking tools. In the Overview section of my PCMag test website, AWR Cloud gave me a host of metrics and rankings stats right away. I saw that my site had a visibility percentage of 77 percent across the keywords I’m tracking and various search engines, the “ranked value” or how many times the site has appeared in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), along with how many keywords have moved up or down in rankings over a given time period. In the interactive line graph below the headlining stats, I was able to toggle the time period to anywhere from a week to six months.
Below that are a number of rankings distributions, showing the percentages of my website’s tracked keywords holding the top spot in search results, top three, top five, top 10, and top 20. Below that I found several interactive pie charts breaking down those SERP rankings and page distributions even further, along with how many of my keywords were ranking as opposed to not ranking. For each metric you always see a plus/minus showing change over your given time period and a button to view a full visibility or rankings report. You also can see explanations of how AWR Cloud calculates each score and metric when you hover over a stat. Despite throwing a ton of information at you on every page, AWR Cloud always remains an extremely user-friendly experience.
Recently AWR Cloud added some new functionality related to the SERP rankings. For example, the SERP Features visibility screen provides a view of all the sites in your project and track the progress of each feature over time. In addition, AWR Cloud added a new SERP features drop-down filter for evaluating how SERP features look based on the keywords you target. In addition, new mobile-specific tracking features let you see what content gets exposure in mobile based on how you search.
Another ranking feature AWR Cloud provides is a Search Engine Comparison showing website visibility and keyword rakings compared across Bing, Google, and Yahoo search engines. There is also a Website Comparison engine allowing me to plug in another website and chart specific rankings on my tracked keywords in line graph and list format. There’s also a straight-up Website Comparison allowing me to add multiple sites and compare standing on a particular one of my keywords on a specific search engine with a button on the top right to generate a Quick Report on that data at any time.
There’s also a fair bit of keyword management associated with AWR Cloud’s rank tracking, which employs a human search emulation mechanism and geo-located proxy servers to deliver results similar to what you find in a browser. Tabbing over to the Keywords overview or scrolling down to the Keyword Rankings tab, I was able to view ranking breakdowns of specific keywords across the same custom parameters I could set with different search engines and tracked websites. The Keyword Rankings gave me plus/minus ranking changes for each keyword in addition to traditional metrics like cost-per-click (CPC), average monthly search volume, and a low or high “competition” score pulled from Google AdWords. While the competition score is a rather general and paltry substitute for the 1-100 keyword difficulty score found in our Editors’ Choices and keyword research tools like KWFinder.com, I was given the option to integrate my Google Search Console account to pull in more granular data.
Plenty of the tools I tested offer some level of automated position monitoring, including Searchmetrics, SEMrush, and our other Editors’ Choices, Moz Pro and SpyFu. None offered nearly the depth of rank tracking, search position comparison, or overall position monitoring vectors I found in AWR Cloud. It wasn’t even particularly close. This is the no-brainer tool to see how your target keywords are performing.
Keywords, Crawling, and Link Tracking
Rank tracking metrics are baked into AWR Cloud throughout, but the platform also offers a capable array of functionality in keyword research, link tracking, and crawling plus a few standout bells and whistles. The catch with much of this functionality is that AWR Cloud prompts you to connect your GA and Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) accounts to access much of it, but every business should be checking Google’s free SEO tool regularly anyhow. Going straight to the source, be it in GA, Search Console, or Google AdWords, is the most effective way to double-check the often conflicting numbers you may see from different SEO tools on the same metric (though Google has plenty of its own accuracy snafus, a fact regular GA users know well).
When it came to keyword research and management, I found AWR Cloud had surprisingly powerful keyword grouping and categorization. At any point, I had the ability to click into a keyword’s options and create a new group for it or add to an existing group along with the ability to color-code keywords and groups. Once I connected GA and Search Console, I was able to pull those groups into reports and data visualizations mapped to Google’s internal metrics. This isn’t the tool I’d recommend for identifying target keywords as it doesn’t have much in the way of related keyword suggestions or deeper landing page alignment (as do KWFinder.com, our other Editors’ Choice tools, etc.), but once you integrate the Google services it’s a usable feature.
The Reports tab is also lacking in built-in analysis. You can customize report templates and AWR Cloud lists all reports clearly in the tab, but the only option from there is to download or email the report in CSV, HTML, PDF, or XLS. Reports are one of the tool’s current weaknesses but, according to the company, a new version of AWR Cloud scheduled for release in the fall of 2018 will come with major changes to the UI and features, particularly around a a brand new and much simpler reporting system allowing users to design and personalize reports in greater depth.
On the link tracking and crawling front, I was able to use the Website Auditor tool in the Crawling tab to run a quick domain scan on PCMag.com and find some site and server errors and SEO warnings such as duplicate content or images missing “alt tags” that are currently hampering SEO value on specific pages. The crawl was nowhere near as extensive or comprehensive as that of DeepCrawl, or other crawlers like Ahrefs or Majestic, but it was quick and effective at effectively giving me a “Cliff Notes” crawl of major surface-level issues. Same goes for the Links section, which populated a pretty barebones report of back-linked domains and landing pages, pulling session and pageview data from GA. It’s not nearly the backlink analysis and profiling you’ll find in Majestic or LinkResearchTools but it’s enough to get by.
There are also a couple bonus features in AWR Cloud that set the platform apart. For one, it’s among the few SEO tools I teste that incorporates social data into keyword metrics. It’s pretty basic—the Social tab tracks shares of your site content incorporating target keywords across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest—but Moz Pro and SEMrush are the only others pulling in the key factor of how social virality can affect SEO performance.
More uniquely, it’s the only tool in this roundup with a dedicated feature for carrying out a key basic SEO function: keeping track of the changes Google makes to its search algorithm. Every tweak Google makes can affect your SEO strategy, and AWR Cloud has an option within its Google tab dubbed Algorithm Changes that monitors just that. Not only does it provide a changelog with descriptions of each update and a link to relevant blog and news coverage, but there’s also an interactive line graph charting Google algorithm changes with your website’s site visits, ranking changes, and visibility percentage. It’s an invaluable feature that eliminates manual legwork for your business and helps AWR Cloud stand apart in the SEO tooling landscape.
A User-Friendly SEO Command Center
The most effective SEO strategy incorporates a complementary set of tools covering all your bases. Ultimately, you want a clear business workflow that identifies target keyword opportunities, crawls and optimizes your site to rank well on those pages, and then proactively monitors those rankings to keep you on top. AWR Cloud is an Editors’ Choice because it does that third part better than any other tool I tested in this roundup.
Editors’ Choices Moz Pro and SpyFu are comprehensive platforms with deeper functionality and SEO recommendation features across all three areas, hence why AWR Cloud’s score is slightly lower. Nonetheless, AWR Cloud sports best-in-class position monitoring that lives up to its Advanced Web Ranking acronym, plus enough keyword and crawling functionality to get by if your business is looking for a single platform that’s affordable and easy to use. Not to mention it’s also the only dedicated platform I tested that tracks Google algorithm changes, and is actively updating the platform with forthcoming improvements to its reporting. As a capable standalone platform or a killer ranking tracking tool in your SEO arsenal, AWR Cloud is an Editors’ Choice.