We all know how important search engine optimization is. High rankings on SERPs (search engine result pages) results in more business and, thus, more customers for you. It’s as simple as that.
That is why you should use every tool at your disposal that will help you get better rankings. The competition out there is cutthroat, therefore, you need every possible advantage to stay one step ahead.
So, no matter what kind of business you have, rankings are important. Even more important if you have a local business, and want to attract more customers of a certain type. Say, perhaps people who live and work in your area?
You might be inclined to ignore local traffic, as anyone can access your website from anywhere in the world. But, that doesn’t really do you any good, does it?
If you have a business and offer services in, for example, South London, you don’t quite have any benefits or revenue from visits from someone in France or Finland.
That is precisely why local traffic and, consequently, local rank tracking is significant.
But, local rank tracking can be a tricky business. Even though it’s undeniably important, not every rank tracker can offer precise, accurate local rank tracking. In fact, only a few can.
Because local rank tracking helps you to increase your local organic traffic, thus attracting more customers from your area, you really need a tool that will smack the nail on the head, so to say.
If the local tracking isn’t precise and accurate – it’s no good.
That is why many users in need of this service turn to SEO tools and platforms specialized in local tracking.
WhiteSpark is one of those tools.
WhiteSpark is a team of software builders and service providers focused on local SEO.
This tool monitors and investigates your rankings as well as your competitions’, and gives you an idea of what you could do to better your positions.
It offers a multitude of features:
Citations make up around 25% of local SEO, according to some experts. A citation is any mention of your business on the web, with or without the link.
Local citation finder can help you figure out where to list your business and take a thorough look at your competition. If you know what your competition is doing, and if it’s working for them, you can get valuable ideas that will, consequently, increase your local search rankings.
The WhiteSpark rank tracker can gather in-depth local organic traffic data. It uses precise locations, thus providing an accurate review of your online visibility and rankings.
You can also spy on your competition in this feature, too. Tracking their performance for the same keywords you are tracking will give you an insight into their place in the rankings as well as some ideas for improvement, perhaps.
Reputation builder helps you earn more customer feedback and online reviews. This is an automated platform that facilitates engaging with your customers and actually hearing what they have to say.
This feature also helps you intercept negative reviews, that can be sent through a private internal feedback form, so you can address them directly.
This feature helps you find new outreach openings so you could get more links and shares.
You can find relevant link opportunities quickly and easily.
This is a free tool that gives you instructions on how to leave a Google review, customized for your business.
You can print them out and hand them to your customers!
This is another free feature that allows you to easily find your business and generate a unique Google Review link. You can also share the short URL that you’ll get with your customers.
This is a feature that allows you to keep track of how your customers got to your business. You can view statistics and graph forms that will give you insight into where our customers are coming from. This feature is also free.
WhiteSpark also offers different services:
Although WhiteSpark is an amazing tool that monitors, identifies, and improves your citations, competitors, and ranks, we are currently only testing out their rank tracker feature.
The rank tracking tool entails functional, useful features:
Now, because WhiteSpark caters to local tracking in particular, as well as local SEO, you might find it most useful for those purposes.
It should also be mentioned that the rank tracker can sometimes be slow while loading the page or data, so, be patient.
We’ve decided to take a peek under the hood of this rank tracker, so we opted for the 14-day free trial option.
Now, this option is somewhat restricted, but it allows you to try out the features and see if you can easily navigate through this software.
After you log in, you’ll be directed to the starting page where you’ll need to put in the information needed, so the program can start to gather the data. This page is very useful because you can make all the necessary adjustments and input all the information needed in one go.
The process of rank tracking starts by creating a new campaign. It requires completing several different steps, or, better said, inputting information on:
1. Campaign name
The first step is naming your campaign. This will facilitate navigating through different projects and campaigns in the future.
The next step is adding keywords you wish to track. Now, assuming you’ve chosen this SEO tool for the purpose of local tracking, you might be inclined to add location-specific keywords.
Don’t do that. Just type in broad search terms and you can further specify your search in later steps.
All of the steps have useful info buttons next to them. The information they provide will help you fill in all the fields as accurately as possible, thus enabling the optimal rank tracking experience.
3. Domain and URLs
Step number three is entering your domain and accompanying URLs. As before, the trusted info button will give you further instructions. You should enter your primary domain to track your own website, but, you can also track any other URLs, like your:
4. Business name
In this slot, you should enter your business name as it is shown in “Google my business.”
The rankings will be identified in local results and WhiteSpark will match results against the business name. You can also type in multiple business names or partial names.
5. Phone number
For best results, you should enter your full business phone number, with area code.
In this slot, you can type in up to three competitors. Enter their full names and websites for best results.
7. Search locations
Next, you’ll want to input more specific information pertaining your location.
Not only can you type in any city or area code here, you can also specify which keywords you want to track for each of the locations you’ve put in.
This is optional, you can also track all the keywords you’ve entered in step two for all locations.
Besides all this, there is a right side panel that provides the option of:
You can enable or disable tracking for a certain campaign in the right side panel, as well as determine how frequent you want your tracking to be – daily or weekly.
In additions to that, you always have a clear overview of the number of used keywords, so you know when you’ve hit your limit.
You can also automate your email reports on this page, and insert all the email addresses you want the reports to be sent to.
Once you have typed in all the information and selected the wanted settings, you can just click the Save button that is located on the top of the right side panel.
When you click the save button, the program will inform you that your project has, indeed, been saved, but you’ll stay on the same page. This is a bit of a letdown, as it means that moving forward can be confusing for some users.
This should have been organized a bit differently, and the navigation through the platform should be more effortless.
But, it’s not. So, you’ll want to look at the top of the page that has all your information and click on “Campaigns” instead of “Create a new campaign.”
After that, you’ll be directed to the dashboard. It holds information on all your campaigns, keywords and their position change, as well as shortcuts to other features.
The dashboard also has the Keyword Usage chart, which allows you to keep track of the overall number of your keywords.
On the dashboard you can:
When you click on the Rankings button on the dashboard, you’ll get access to all the information WhiteSpark has gathered for you:
The Rankings display a bar with crucial information like Google organic rankings, visibility score, and keyword overview.
On this bar, you can also navigate through different types of rankings. So, you can switch your overview to show:
You can also change your overview so it shows different keyword ranking – Top 5, Top 10 or Top 100.
Underneath the bar, there is also a graph showing a visual representation of your rankings.
Now, it will take a couple of days to accumulate enough data and changes in keyword rankings to make the graph more dynamic.
Here is how it might look like, after a few weeks of accumulating data.
Either way, it’s a colorful, easy to understand representation of how your website ranks for the keywords you’ve added. You can also see how many keywords are at certain positions, which of them are your moneymakers, so to say, and which aren’t really getting the job done.
Finally, at the bottom of the page, there is a list of keywords that holds crucial data when it comes to tracking locally.
This list provides insight into rankings for each individual keyword. Here, you can filter through locations and see the average and median ranking of your keywords.
There is also a change indicator next to every keyword that changes color if the keyword goes up or down. That way, you can see the major changes at just a few glances.
Directly beside every keyword, there is a Link Button you can click on to verify the rankings that are shown. This link will open a new window with Google or Bing search engine result page, and you can see for yourself where your website ranks for that keyword.
Competitor comparison is a section that shows the same layout as the rankings section but compares your ranks with the competitors you’ve entered while setting the campaign up.
Here, you can see how you compare to your competitors, and the information is displayed in graph and list form.
You can compare your rankings with your competitors’ keyword by keyword to see which one scores more traffic in the area you specified for local tracking.
Keyword comparison allows you to compare keywords on your list.
This gives you insight into the performance of individual keywords and the option of comparing them.
The layout is the same as it was with previous features. When you choose keywords you want to compare, their ranking will show in the graph and in the list below it.
Exporting information is available at any moment.
Although you have the option of choosing the frequency of reports in the “Create a new campaign” segment, you can export the data and receive an email at any other time, too, by clicking on the “Export” button.
If there is one thing WhiteSpark has been praised for, its accuracy. This is to be expected, considering they are a local rank tracker and SEO tool.
Now, as you know, no rank tracker can provide you with 100% accurate results, because of the ever-present changes in algorithms, rankings and tracking software.
But, if you have ever Googled your location and got results for one town over instead of the one you’re in, you’ll know to appreciate accurate rank tracking while forgiving certain imperfections.
The fact that WhiteSpark tracks locally, down to not just city but region and area code, significantly increases their accuracy. A precise ranking like this is rare, and it will help you make well-informed decisions regarding your business.
WhiteSpark has a very responsive customer support, but no live chat support. This Canada-based company allows you to contact them by phone, email or send a ticket directly from their website.
If you encounter any problems during your rank tracking experience, you can click on the Support button in the top right corner of the dashboard.
This allows you to browse through their comprehensive Help Center page, and possibly find the answer you are looking for.
The support button will direct you straight to the section of the help center related to the tool you are using (in our case, it’s the Rank Tracker section). There, you’ll find several sections of questions and answers you can look through to find what you’re looking for.
If the help center doesn’t have the solution for you, you can send them an email.
Like we mentioned, WhiteSpark is lacking in this department, as they do not have a live chat support button, which means that you can’t get instantaneous answers and help.
While it absolutely can’t be denied that WhiteSpark is a powerful and useful tool for more than just rank tracking, it must be mentioned that it’s not exactly user-friendly.
Now, when we say “not user-friendly” we don’t mean “at all”. No, just about anyone can use it, but, it requires some prior knowledge and SEO know-how.
This means that it might not be the best choice for absolute beginners.
The set up can be a bit confusing, even though it has helpful Info Buttons next to every step. Navigating the set up of a new campaign and the dashboard can be hard if you’ve never used a rank tracker before, especially one so local-oriented
Because everyone loves free stuff, when talking about pricing, the first thing we should mention is that WhiteSpark has some features that are completely free.
Yup, you’ve heard right – you can use several of their features free of charge. You don’t have to have an account with them, you can access these features through their website.
The freebies are:
Now, while this is a really nice bonus, these features won’t help you further along your business plan, if you don’t have access to other, more important tools, such as Citation Finder and Rank Tracker. And those aren’t free, of course.
When it comes to pricing, WhiteSpark is more convoluted than other rank trackers and SEO tools. The reason is that they implement a different pricing system than most.
You see, there is no one package that will grant you access to all of their features. And, this is a real double-edged sword, as it can come in handy if you need just one of their tools (like we did, with rank tracking) but it can be a real pain in the back for users who wish to use all the tools available.
Every tool has its own pricing package list.
For the Rank Tracking tool, the prices are reasonable and scalable. The smallest package, meant for small businesses, has a very affordable price and is available, no matter your budget.
If you want to have access to all the tools and features WhiteSpark has to offer, that will require signing up for services multiple times, and calculating the final price on your own.
This is a real letdown, because, for an SEO tool held in such high esteem by the SEO community, it should be more accommodating to their users, and not make them work and navigate through an endless number of pricing pages.
A combined monthly price for all their services starts at around $125 (if we calculated it right. We might have gotten lost on a pricing page or two).
Overall, WhiteSpark is an excellent SEO tool, if you or your clients are local business owners.
If you’re not, then it might not be for you. The biggest selling point of this platform is the fact that they are so local-oriented. This might not work for you if you don’t own a local business or if you aren’t that focused on attracting customers that live and work in your area.
If you are, however, then you can profit immensely from the features this platform has to offer. You can dominate the local rank lists in no time.
If you are in need of a more global rank tracker, you might want to look elsewhere. So, it’s hit-or-miss, depending on your tracking needs.
The biggest benefits are:
Of course, there are some downfalls to be considered:
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