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Browser-based Google rank tracking tools versus desktop apps

Google rank tracker tools (or SEO tools, for that matter) come in two main forms:
  • Installed desktop applications
  • Browser-based cloud applications

Each has its set of unique features, strengths, and weaknesses as we’ll find out shortly. But if you’re looking for a quick summary, know that cloud-based rank trackers are usually far better.
Home Blog Pros & cons of browser-based cloud rank tracking tools vs desktop applications
Let’s compare desktop and cloud rank trackers in a side-by-side duel!
Desktop Rank Trackers Browser Rank Trackers
Portability Limited & painful. To access projects/data on a different computer you need to download/install the software and migrate historic rank tracking data. Fully built-in. Log into your account using any device, from anywhere. Mobile devices are supported.
Data security &
Tracking continuity
Not guaranteed due to potential disk crashes, computer malfunctions, and malware infections. Project & rank tracking data stored in the cloud, hence more reliable and safer.
Cost Possibly cheaper. Often overall costs are unpredictable and heavily depend on proxies, electricity, internet, hardware repairs, upgrades, etc. Usually more expensive than desktop apps. Find the cheapest rank tracker here.
Updates Unpredictable, slow, and manual. Instant, automatic, done for you.
Support Poor or non-existent (for free Google rank trackers.) Usually fast and more responsive.
Cloud-based trackers thrive where their desktop counterparts falter
Download/no download
One of the most significant drawbacks of using a desktop rank tracking app is that you must download it to a computer to start using it. This limits you to using the one device in which you’ve installed the tracker whenever you want to check your keyword movements. If you travel a lot or like to share the data remotely with other people, this can be quite inconveniencing.

Cloud-based trackers on the other hand? A browser and active login details are all you need to access your projects and data.

Want to check how your client’s keywords are faring while out having coffee? No problem! Just sign in to your account using your mobile or PC to view the developments. You can even share the news with your business partner or client using a report link or by sending them your account login information.
Data safety
Desktop rank tracking tools gobble up quite a lot of computing resources, hence the need to invest in a high-performance computer. In most cases, you’re forced to dedicate the PC to this process alone to avoid interrupting it.

So, what happens when you lose the computer or your hard drive crashes?

Well, chances are you will break your rank tracking continuity, or worse lose your historical data. To mitigate such risks, you need to invest in dependable automatic backup services – another expense that can run into hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually depending on the size of your projects.

Cloud-based trackers take away all your data worries by storing your data in the cloud. SEOlium, for example, gives you access to keyword ranking data dating back to several years.

Updates
As with most downloadable software, you need to manually update your desktop tracker any time the provider releases a new version. Failure to do this could mean less than accurate results or in worst cases, leave your computer exposed to malware infections.

Cloud-based rank trackers work differently when it comes to software updates. For example, in the case of SEOlium, you probably won’t even know when we implement new changes. Unless it’s a major upgrade, most updates complete discreetly, sometimes multiple times in a week.
Support
Quality support is rare on desktop apps. In fact, most of the tools we’ve come across have non-existent support. Couple this with the fact that updates are few and far between, and you’ll see why these apps are almost always a timebomb.

Reputable cloud-based rank trackers invest heavily in customer support. At SEOlium, we offer round-the-clock support and have an on-call engineer to resolve technical issues as soon as they arise.
Cost
Pricing is one of the few areas where desktop rank trackers beat their cloud-based cousins. Some are even advertised as free, although we recently deconstructed them to show why this impression is not always true!
Verdict: Cloud-based Google Rank Trackers win!
Overall, cloud-based rank trackers are far more superior to their downloadable desktop apps, both in features and convenience. Sure, they cost more but it’s all worth it if you care about accurate results and quality support!
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