The announcement from RavenTools on Friday took many search engine optimizers and online marketers by surprise, but it shouldn’t have. If you haven’t seen the move away from traditional SERPs, then you’ve got more to worry about than complaining to the fine folks at Raven.
A little caveat, I spent almost three years of my life working at Raven, and the agency from which it grew, Sitening. I mention this because I know that the decision to remove the SERP Tracker isn’t something that Raven’s founders would have taken lightly. I consider Jon Henshaw to be a mentor and a brother, and Patrick Keeble to be one of the finest people I know. I meet with them as often as I can, but not enough.
In a recent lunch meeting with Patrick we were talking about leadership and some of the traits it takes to be a good leader. Patrick said:
Being a good leader is all about communication.
And the communication via the blog post that was published on Friday was first-class (as was Courtney Seiter’s communication with Raven customers here). Many companies wouldn’t have fought for the transition period that Google eventually granted, and it’s because of this that many of us may be able to maintain keyword history via another vendor.
I use Raven for personal projects, and I also use it where I work, as Head of Search for Cj Advertising (an agency exclusively serving personal injury lawyers). My team and I manage almost 40 web clients that are concerned about their ranking. Like many others, I too am going to have to do some tool comparison to get something that even comes close to Raven.
I’m also going to have to have conversations with clients about their ranking and how it may not be available, but you know what? My team’s success aren’t based on rankings alone because that’s neither a big picture or holistic viewpoint. Whenever a new client comes on board I don’t even mention rankings – one of the KPIs I use as a measurement of my team’s success is non-branded organic traffic. If I can increase that YOY then the work we’ve done holistically will have been a success. I would encourage you to do the same.
Do we use Raven’s SERP tracker? Absolutely. But we’ll maintain our subscription to Raven because of the continued value we see, and we trust the decision makers at Raven to make the right ones for us, as our clients trust us to make the right decisions for them.