More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
Reaction score
Hot Ranking Troubleshooting, Local Algo Analysis
And Competitive Research Tools - 3 Alternatives to AOL

I've been sitting on a bunch of tools I have not had time to share.

I was just working on my new expanded "Advanced Google My Business Training" and did some screenshots and explanations about 2 of the ranking troubleshooting tools I've been using a lot lately, so I decided I would go ahead and share here in the public forum too.

BACKGROUND: Most of you know about using AOL search as a research tool for diagnosing local penalties and for reverse engineering the Google Local Algo. I've shared posts about how to use AOL here in the forum several times and those of you who have taken my training have seen my long section about how to diagnose disconnected listings (Rank #1 in organic, but locked out of the pack) which uses AOL search as one of the diagnostic tools.

So in addition to using AOL for ranking analysis, I've been using 3 others I like even more for certain situations. 2 of them are new and I've never shared them publicly, so thought I'd share them today.

All 3 Display Google PURE ORGANIC Search Rankings

<img src="" alt="3RankTrackers" width="75%"/>

NOTE: Stacked 3 browsers for screenshot and it's way too big for the forum, so please click to see full size - then click to magnify

I emphasized #9, just to show you the ranking order on all is exactly the same. (But SERPs had a dupe listing in the rankings, otherwise as you can see they all match up.) I also verified they all matched up with the actual Google SERPS at the time of the screenshot, which I think was 7/13.

I decided to turn this into more of a feature comparison because I use all these tools but depending on what I'm trying to troubleshoot may use one over the other.


AOL Search

- Shows Title Tag and description (Which is hidden in the pack, so is very helpful for SERP analysis)
- YES can set search location
- No Captcha

- No rank numbering
- Shorter title tag before cut off than StartPage

SEO Centro Rank Checker

- Numbered results tight display
- Fast compared to SERPs below

- Captcha
- No meta data
- No search location setting

SERPS Rank Checker

- Numbered results - but big display
- No Captcha
- YES can set search location

- No meta data
- Slow, needs processing time
(It's possible you may have to pay eventually or get sign up nag screens after so many uses.)


The 3rd is StartPage. I could not fit into the side-by-side screenshot. But you can see the results for Seattle Chiropractor here: Besides not fitting I did not show because it looks very much like AOL, with one important difference in the Pros below.

- Slightly longer title tags than AOL (So when I'm doing SERP analysis I use this one)
- Fast

- No numbered results
- No search location setting

So depending on what data you are looking for, one is sometimes more helpful than the others.

If I'm analyzing SERPs and especially to view title tags I like to use Start page because it shows as much as 10 more title tag characters before cutting off than AOL search does. That can mean you see one or 2 extra words that could be important.

But if I'm just cross checking rank order, then I like to use SEO Centro due to the fact its fast and display is tight. However if it's a KW only search without city modifier, I'd use SERPs since it has the GEO search.

Take them for a spin! What you think? :)

NOTE: I have other cool tools I've been sitting on and have not had time to share. If I ever get this damned course done that keeps growing on me (due to all the recent Google changes that need to be covered) I'll have time to share more tools.

One tool is so HOT! I helped develop it, to turn it into one of the hottest local search tools in my arsenal.

So stay tuned to the Linda Local channel for more

<img src="" alt="LocalTools3" width="120" height="57" />​
Re: 4 Hot Local Ranking, Local Algo Analysis & Competitive Research Tools Compared!

I'm curious what some of the pros think.

Has anyone had a chance to try these yet?

I'm wondering if maybe since many of you are working on clients and don't do as much ranking troubleshooting and algo analysis as I do, maybe these tools aren't as meaningful as I thought?

Or maybe I did not explain the benefits well enough?

Just curious what happened with this one?
Re: 4 Hot Local Ranking, Local Algo Analysis & Competitive Research Tools Compared!

I will certainly be one of the ones checking more into this when I can. As always Linda, we appreciate every little nugget you give us! :)
Re: 4 Hot Local Ranking, Local Algo Analysis & Competitive Research Tools Compared!

Linda, this is a great resource, thank you, thank you, thank you.

I just added this to our team's troubleshooting checklist!
Re: 4 Hot Local Ranking, Local Algo Analysis & Competitive Research Tools Compared!

Really liking the SEOCentro Linda. Thanks. SERPS rank checker, however, has been hit and miss displaying data. Will check it out later..
Re: 4 Hot Local Ranking, Local Algo Analysis & Competitive Research Tools Compared!

Thank Justin. SEO Centro is the one I've been using the most.

I also don't like waiting for SERPs to process. BUT if you need to check Ortho without city, you need the geo search option.
Re: 4 Hot Local Ranking, Local Algo Analysis & Competitive Research Tools Compared!

Hi everyone - new member to the Forum here, but Linda and I have known each other for a few years now. Quick question here:

As a dentist who does a lot of my own social/SEO/Local stuff (I really like to be on top of what's going on to get a head start on my competition), if I had to pick just ONE tool to track my Local rankings, what should it be? I'm not interested in doing a ton of comparison stuff, I just want to have one tool to check on an occasional basis to make sure my Local rankings are ok and nothing has happened to them.
Re: 4 Hot Local Ranking, Local Algo Analysis & Competitive Research Tools Compared!

Hey Chip welcome. It's about time you stopped being just a lurker! :p

I shared your G+ for Dentists Primer here and everyone really liked it.

I'm getting ready to run out for Dr appts and no time to answer. PLUS I use so many tools and am so immersed in all the crazy update stuff, my brain is totally frazzled.
Could not come up with a good answer right now if I tried.

Hopefully others will weigh in or I'll try to remember tomorrow if I can.
Re: 4 Hot Local Ranking, Local Algo Analysis & Competitive Research Tools Compared!

Hi Linda,

Thanks for sharing these tools with us! Have used aol and start page, tried seo centro for the first time, which I'm liking so far, but the serps checker doesn't seem to work at all for me. Not sure if others are having the same trouble.

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