Raven Tools To Remove Scraped Data To Maintain Access to AdWords API

google-adwords-square-logoWhile there has been lots of talk about a Google crackdown on developer access to the AdWords API, there have been few details about what the disputed issues may be — and why they’re coming up now, with tools-makers like Raven and SEOmoz that have had access to the API for years.

Now, Raven Tools, which was warned about possibly having its API token revoked back in November, is opening up about what’s going on in its case, at least. The issue: Raven has long been using data scraped from search engine results pages (SERPs) to display ranking and keyword data for its customers.

While the company has been doing this for years, and says it’s successfully gone through two previous Google audits, the search engine giant is now choosing to enforce the anti-scraping provision in its AdWords API terms of service. Google has previously denied that it’s cracking down, or doing anything new other than continuing to enforce its terms of service.

Given Google’s new hard line, Raven has chosen to stop displaying the scraped data — SERPs rankings and keywords — within its tool set, in favor of keeping on good terms with Google, and retaining access to the AdWords API. Based on comments to its blog post, the reaction has been mixed, with some saying they understand the desire to stay on Google’s good side, while the majority of commenters complained that the scraped data is much more valuable than the AdWords API data.

While one of the appeals of Raven for marketers has been getting a lot of different types of data in one place, it seems Google’s stance — to remove AdWords API access from developers that are also scraping data — will likely prevent an all-in-one solution from existing.

Raven will be removing the SERP Tracker data as of January 3, and will allow customers to export their data until January 2.

We’ll have more on this issue coming up later today, so stay tuned. 


Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Google: APIs | Top News


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  • daveintheuk

    This is bullying by Google and should be examined closely by the FTC as an example of how they operate – however Danny is right the ranking data is useless. Google now show different results to different people all the time – this is done under the guise of various forms of personalisation, but the real reason Google do it is to spread the traffic around as they traffic shape and control visitors to websites.

  • Jereme Thomas

    I completely agree. Rankings are not the end all. Traffic and conversions are but rankings play an important part in the process. Tracking rankings is just one of metrics which needs to be metered.

  • Maurice Walshe

    but it deos provide a good high level kpi for exampel we have an v large chemicals site (tracking 12k english terms alone) and i know that that individual keywords are not exact but if i see across the 5k aprox chemical terms if i see an averge change of 3 places i can tell that somthing is happeneing – i dont care the pvc prices is 2 or 3 its the average that I am looking at.

  • Maurice Walshe

    I can just imagine a finicial data provider saying “no Mr Buffet” you dont need those silly share prices and p/e figures” :-)

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    I can average the price of shoes in New York City and tell you just as much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=883535625 Julie Wallace Brooks

    I am a former Raven customer who just signed up with WhooshTraffic. For the same $99 price(WT calls it Agency Lite.) I gave WT the api keys for each profile and they imported all my clients’ data. WT has the added benefit of counting local search in ranking, and provides keyword, back link, and competitor analysis tools, white label report emailing, and more. I will miss Raven but so far WT is doing the job.

  • Mark

    after reading this article i checked with my soft. (Sheerseo) and they told me they have no intention to stop serp tracking service.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    Exactly Henley, I love the “ranking reports are dead” bells, been hearing them for years. The quality of our SEO has been driven by relevent keyword ranking tracking and improvements.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    Danny yes that isthe bottom line but not just traffic but conversions. I can send a boatload of traffic no use if they do not buy or convert. However, as an internal SEO tool ranking reports are still very valuable. If for example, I see a high traffic relevent keyword in postion 15 and I work to move it to top 5 or higher now I drive the bottom line. Wthout exception even with personalization, local listings etc we have increased business using this “relevent” keyword approach for over 12 years. My clients are happy and some have been with us for several years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    “A quick glance at the ranking report and check of AdWords’ keyword tool revealed that not ONE of the top 10 non-brand keywords that they were checking rankings for (and boasting about position #1, #2, #3 rankings) had any estimated exact match US searches in a month… none! ”
    That is just rubbish SEO plenty of it out there. If the keywords had search voume and were relevant to the services provided on the site different story. I am all in favor of not giving clients rankings reports but wont be giving them up as a powerful part of our SEO process just yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    Henley, thats how we use rankings to drive conversions and relevant traffic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    I am happy to see that there are still some hard core SEO’s who know what they are talking about :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    On their own completely useless but as part of the overall tactics to improve ROI and increase business priceless. I have been using SEO rankings as indicators to improve SEO for years and I have some very happy clients. Michael, tell me how you improve sales and revenue for your clients SEO programs without ever looking at rankings?

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    We are tracking the rankings that drive traffic, actions, sales and conversions to the clients business.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    Michael, if a ranking in the #2 position for targetted keyword produces $10k in revenue in a month regardless of whether its #1 in New York, #5 in LA or 100 in timbuktu how can you say that is not relevent. You bet its relevent when it drops to page 2 and the client loses the $10k a month for that keyword.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    SEO’s worth their salt are reporting KPI by keywords you do that in ADwords why would you not do it in SEO. Keyword, traffic, conversion, dollars, now watch what happens when that ranking dissapears and the dollars dissapear now try telling your client rankings dont matter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    Traffic share why not conversions, and revenue that is all that matters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    Should be doing all of that now if you are offering SEO services which work and rank tracking helps us get to all of the above.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    I see a ressurection of Traffic Swarm my life just got much easier

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    Thank You..Annoying

  • Gerard Klein

    If your conversions drop is that due to a seasonal influence or is your site slipping? Traffic share (or you could calculate a conversions share if you want :-) helps to see how you are doing relative to the (fluctuating) search volume. From that it is also a piece of cake to make a business case for your SEO Effort, or spot low hanging fruit. I like it a lot. It is great to have as an (extra) metric.
    Not all our customers are selling stuff on their site or even have a clear understanding of what the value of their conversions is. In those case you have to work with what you’ve got.

  • Dennis Brennan

    It’s not the one thing we do, it’s all the things that really matter…

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