Rank Checker Review and a Short Lesson on URLs and Domains

by Gary on April 16, 2008 · 4 comments

in Firefox,Phoenixrealm,SEO,SEO Basics,SEO Tools

Been trying out Aaron Wall’s new Firefox extension, Rank Checker, and it works really well. If you want to have no problems making it work though let me remind you of the difference between a URL and a domain.

We all know that the URL of a website is its HTTP address. For us that would be http://www.phoenixrealm.com/. We also know that the domain is also used to locate the the address of a website. However, they are different in that the domain of a website is just a subset of the site’s URL. So for this site the domain would be phoenixrealm.com.

So why did I give that short review on the difference between URLs and domains? Because I have to admit that I use the two terms very loosely and often interchange in my mind. In my defence this is because it usually doesn’t matter if you type in the full URL or just the domain name of the website. With the new Rank Checker though it DID matter, leaving me confused when I couldn’t get it to work.

So this is what happened. Upon installing the Rank Checker (it’s a breeze to install by the way even if you are using Ubuntu like I do) I immediately typed in Phoenixrealm’s URL in the box labelled DOMAIN. I then proceeded to type in the list of keywords I wanted to check out. I started getting confused when I realised that none of the buttons worked and I couldn’t get the new tool to start. Instead of looking at my entries I restarted my PC and booted using Windows, thinking that it might not be compatible with Linux. The same thing happened when I tried it in Windows. So instead of thinking about it I just turned off my PC, took a break, played with my son, and ate took a shower. While taking a shower it suddenly hit me: I was typing in the URL and not just the domain! And sure enough when I tried typing just the domain it worked flawlessly.

It got me thinking then, why did Aaron Wall make it so that the complete URL can be entered in the domain box and I came up with a couple of answers either he overlooked it or typing in the URL would narrow down the results to the exact URL while typing in the top level domain included the subdomains in the results. I don’t know his exact reason but in any case be reminded to input the domain and not the URL.

As for the rank checker’s performance I can say that the results are not totally accurate but gives a very close approximate of the actual rank of the URL for the keywords given. For example for the key phrase SEO BLOG, according to the rank checker Phoenixrealm ranked 11 in Google, 25 in Yahoo, and 41 in MSN Live. The manual results I got was 10 for Google, 25 in Yahoo, and 29 in Live. Apparently the rank checker was way off for the Live results. Despite this fact the more important difference to me is the difference in Google results because this means making it to the first page for SEO BLOG. As for my favourite features that would be the ability to schedule tasks (rank checking) so that it will automatically run at the preset date and time checking the domains and keywords you want regularly.

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  • morgan

    I’m not gonna lie, I had the exact same problem that you did! After looking dumbfounded for a little bit I realized that I had done the exact same thing as you! The funniest thing is that I had used the rank checker and got it to work, only to try it later to not have it work. ;) Once I got past my problems, I came to the conclusion that I like this quite a bit. It’s much nicer than having to pay for this service, or, even worse, doing manual checks (which are really a drag when you’re checking 100s of keywords).

  • Noemi

    Thanks for making the distinction – I never really realized the difference.

  • Delicious Monster

    ah the old URL problem

  • Ryman

    A shorter way of putting it is that URLs are the full address, while domains are the name of the site plus the extension.