There are a huge number of options out there for SERP tracking software. A lot of them seem similar (and they are), but there are key differences which will impact your buying decision.
In this article I'm recommending 5 tools depending on:
- If you want just a SERP tracking software
- If you want an all-in-one SEO tool that includes a rank tracking feature
- What kind of budget you're working with
I'll also explain why popular tools Ahrefs and Mangools (SERPWatcher) didn't make the cut this time.
Here's a tl:dr with 5 common scenarios to help you choose.
The 5 best SERP tracking tools:
If you're looking for an all-in-one tool to manage your SEO including rank tracking, and you can spend $119+ per month, choose Semrush. 7-day free trial 🔗
If you're looking for an all-in-one tool to manage your SEO including rank tracking, but you're looking for something cheaper, choose Nightwatch. 7-day free trial 🔗
If you simply want the best rank tracker, without worrying about the price, choose AccuRanker. Prices start from €99 per month. 14-day free trial 🔗
If you're looking for a low-cost SERP tracker for a tight budget, choose Wincher. Prices start from €10 per month. 14-day free trial 🔗
If you're looking for an advanced tool with a lower entry price than AccuRanker, choose ProRankTracker. Prices start from $25 per month. 7-day free trial 🔗
Click to scroll down and get the details about each of these 👇
We'll explore key features, the good & bad, and pricing.
But first… which tools didn't make it?
Obviously, I'm not going to list out every tool in the world that I haven't recommended. Rather, I'll quickly mention my reasons for not recommending Ahrefs and Mangools here.
These are both popular tools with a full suite of SEO features, including rank tracking. In fact, I use both myself. But if your primary need is to track keyword rankings, I don't recommend buying either. Here's why:
If you're shopping in the price range that Ahrefs costs, you're better off with Semrush. I recently wrote a guide to when it makes sense to buy Ahrefs vs Semrush. There, I concluded that rank tracking is one specific case where Semrush wins.
Ahrefs' update frequency is only once every 7 days on the entry level package, and still only every 3 days on the most expensive tiers.
There are a few other minor differences, but that one thing alone is enough for me to recommend Semrush for rank tracking (which updates daily on all plans). Any good rank tracker should update daily.
Mangools is a suite of 5 SEO tools. I mentioned (and recommended) them recently as a cheaper Ahrefs alternative. I also mention in my Ahrefs vs Mangools comparison that I use these tools together right now.
One of the 5 tools is SERPWatcher, a rank tracking tool. It's okay. I bought Mangools because their keyword research tool, KWFinder, is excellent. I now use SERPWatcher too, just because it happened to be included within the price.
But if I was shopping in this price range, with the primary need of rank tracking (instead of keyword research), I'd have gone with Nightwatch.io. It starts from $24 per month, and their rank tracking and reporting features are excellent. I'd definitely consider picking up a subscription if I were an agency reporting to multiple clients.
… So with that out of the way, let's get into the 5 recommendations!
The best SERP tracking software for different scenarios
These 5 tools do have a lot of similarities. They all cover the basic fundamentals of SERP tracking. To save repeating them each time, here's some common features that all of the following software share:
- Daily rank tracking updates
- Device-based tracking (desktop / mobile)
- Track competitor performance
- Alerts for ranking gains / dips
- Monitor SERP features (e.g. featured snippets)
So let's look at what separates these tools. I'll comment on key features, reporting tools, and pricing structure.
Semrush might be the most popular SEO software out there right now, and it's still growing. In fact, it's no longer even just an SEO software. They've been adding features for years, and repositioned in 2020 to become an ‘online visibility platform'.
It makes the most sense to buy Semrush if you need an all-in-one tool. Keyword research, backlink monitoring, site auditing, rank tracking, and more.
Here, we're focusing on their SERP tracker: Semrush Position Tracking. It's a really good tool, which rivals purpose-built rank trackers, and outperforms the rank tracking feature in other all-in-one SEO suites.
These are some key features which not all competitors have:
- A ‘visibility index' to indicate overall performance at-a-glance
- Local rankings at the country, state, or city level
- Track rankings in Baidu as well as Google
- Customizable reporting (can be made white label with higher pricing tier)
The visibility index is particularly useful, I find. It's effectively an estimation of whether your traffic is likely to have gone up or down as a result of your ranking movements. It's much better than something like ‘average position'.
If you move from position 100 to 23, for example, your average position will look like it's improved massively. Whereas if you move from position 1 to 2, the gains can be huge, but the average position will barely move. The visibility index metric solves that problem, and makes it easier to report to those who are less SEO savvy.
You should know
There are a couple of minor downsides to their position tracking feature. These won't be a deal breaker for most people, but it's worth being aware of them before buying:
- It doesn't track Yahoo / Bing / Amazon / YouTube / Yandex etc.
- There are no on-demand ranking updates (although it updates daily)
- White labelling your reports costs more
Semrush have a nice drag-and-drop report builder, which is really nice. It makes it easy to make reports with exactly the information you would like, without any extra fluff.
There are templates too, so it literally takes a few seconds to make. You can set a schedule for automated reports to go out to any email address, too (daily, weekly, or monthly):
Lastly, these can be made white label. The catch is that you need to pay +$100 per month for the ‘agency growth kit' add-on. It's steep just for this feature, but in Semrush style, it is packed with a bunch of other things. You can take a look and see if it's worth it for you.
Plans & pricing
Pricing starts from $119 per month (monthly), or $99 per month (annual).
The entry level package starts off with 500 daily keywords tracked, and includes some automated report scheduling. It also integrates with Google Data Studio, but you'll need at least the middle pricing tier for that (‘Guru').
Semrush offers a 7-day free trial. Link to website 🔗
Nightwatch.io is another suite of SEO tools that comes in at a lower price than Semrush. It has various pros and cons, but it's biggest strengths are rank tracking and reporting. Hence why it made it into this list.
Nightwatch actually started as a rank tracker (literally called Rank Trackr), which explains why that's it's strongest feature.
It makes the most sense to choose Nightwatch if you need a good suite of SEO tools (rank tracker, reporting, backlink monitor, site auditor) at a much lower price than Semrush. It's very affordable, but comes without any keyword research function.
With a really low starting price of $24 per month, there's a ton of value for money here. Let's focus on their SERP tracking feature.
Here's some key features that not all competitors have:
- Visibility & click metrics to indicate overall performance
- Tracks rankings in YouTube & Bing as well as Google
- Excels in accurate local tracking, including GMB maps listings
- Connects to Google Analytics & Search console to overlay traffic data
- Create custom graphs with any metrics in a few clicks
- White label reports included in all plans
You should know
Of course, there are some downsides with Nightwatch's rank tracking feature. Like with Semrush, these probably aren't a deal breaker, but it's worth being aware of:
- It can't track outside of Google/Bing/YouTube (no Amazon, Yahoo, Yandex etc.)
- There are no on-demand ranking updates
- Some other tools have a simpler UI
I really like how easy reporting is in Nightwatch. It lacks some of the advanced features we'll see later in AccuRanker or ProRankTracker, but it does enough for most of us, and is quick to use.
The ‘graphs' feature let's you create any graph you want really quick, and export it ready to share in one click:
That means you can overlay data from Google Analytics & Google Search console like traffic volumes, to visually show the effect of ranking increases.
You can also use some predefined templates to speed things up:
- Display only positive changes (or negative)
- Generate a progress report (focus on keywords that have movement)
- Generate a competitor report (focus on movements in relation to competitors)
And lastly, it comes with the daily / weekly / monthly automated report scheduling that you would expect. You can add you logo to this for white labelling (in all pricing tiers)
Plans & pricing
Pricing starts from $39 per month (monthly), or $24 per month (annual), which is great value for money considering the feature set you get.
The entry level package already lets you track an impressive 50 different websites. Although, you're capped at 500 daily keywords tracked, so that's more likely to be the limiting factor. Still, upgrading to the middle tier to get 1,000 daily keywords won't break the bank.
Nightwatch.io offers a 7-day free trial. Link to website 🔗
AccuRanker is the best rank tracker out there. If you can spend the money (starting at €99 for 1,000 keywords), I'd definitely recommend it.
It makes sense to buy AccuRanker if you're an experienced agency or in-house marketer tracking lots of keywords, and you aren't tight on budget.
It's not cheap, but pricing is straightforward. There's only one plan which includes all of the killer features, and pricing scales up as you add more keywords.
Here are some of the key features that not all competitors have:
- Share of voice: overall, by tags, and by landing pages
- On-demand ranking updates
- Connect with Google Analytics to map rankings to traffic & conversions
- Tracks Bing, Baidu, Yandex, and Youtube as well as Google
- Local rankings including GMB, as precise as a ZIP code or street
- Integrates with Google Data Studio
- View SERP history for any keyword
- Import historical data from another tool
Share of voice is similar to the visibility metrics that Semrush & Nightwatch have. It's pretty much an estimation of how many clicks you should expect; much more helpful than ‘average position'.
Having the option to import historical data is a big win here for AccuRanker. When you think about switching rank trackers, that's the biggest pain point – losing your historical ranking graphs. The only other tool that I'm aware of that offers a history import is Semrush, but even then, it's only on higher pricing tiers.
Lastly, accurate on-demand updates are really nice to have too. Once you've had the experience of being able to refresh your rankings whenever you want, it's painful to lose it! AccuRanker and ProRankTracker are the only tools in this list with that feature.
You should know
Since AccuRanker offers so much functionality, it can take a little bit of getting used to. That said, the UI is fairly intuitive, and I do prefer it overall to ProRankTracker, which is the only tool in this list with comparable functionality. There are also tutorials & videos available.
Other than that, I really don't see many downsides to AccuRanker. It can't track Amazon rankings, there's no mobile app, and it has a steeper starting price. That's all.
AccuRanker comes with all the basic reporting functionality you would expect, plus some bonuses.
One big strength is being able to connect to 3rd party tools like Google Data Studio, Databox or Adobe Analytics to visualize data. If you're reporting to clients, setting up a Data Studio dashboard will really help with digesting information. You'll be able to use tags and share of voice to separate the performance of different categories, and get a simple visual overview that is easy to understand.
AccuRanker's support team are pretty helpful if you get stuck with that, too.
Plans & pricing
Pricing starts from €99 per month (monthly), or €89 per month (annual).
All features are included in one plan. Pricing increases are only based on the number of keywords tracked, which is a good thing in my opinion. Nothing is locked into a higher tier of pricing.
1,000 daily keywords tracked are included in the entry package. It can get expensive fast though; by the time you're tracking 5,000 keywords, the price is €389 per month.
To give you an idea of how that compares, Semrush's Business tier includes 5,000 keywords for $449 per month. Of course, that comes with a ton of extra features for SEO, PPC, PR, social media, and all the rest. It'll be a difficult call to make either way, that depends on your situation. Either way, both are solid tools which will do a good job.
AccuRanker offer a 14-day free trial. Link to website 🔗
Wincher is a good choice for an entry level rank tracker, with prices starting at just €10 per month. I used this tool for over a year on personal side-projects, switching only when I decided to get an all-in-one suite of tools.
It makes sense to buy Wincher if you're just looking to track your rankings over time, without the bells and whistles. It does the basics well, and you don't pay extra for advanced features you might not need.
With it being the cheapest tool in this list, it doesn't really have any unique features to separate it from the others. The main thing to understand is that it's a simple & cheap option. Here are some nice features, though:
- You can invite more teammates to the account for no extra cost
- You can add annotations to graphs, e.g. if there's an algo update, or you get a new backlink
- You can use tags and groups to analyze different performance areas
- It can overlay your rankings over time vs competitors
You should know
As you would expect for the price point, it lacks some of the more advanced features. For example, you can't connect to Google Analytics & Search Console to map your rankings to traffic & conversions data.
I also found that Wincher's keyword volume estimates were sometimes way out, and their support team couldn't offer a useful explanation for it. Therefore when looking at the total traffic estimates it offers, take it with a pinch of salt.
There are also no on-demand ranking updates.
Reporting functionality in Wincher is basic, but it does the job.
You can get email alerts for daily success & dips, and schedule regular reports (daily / weekly / monthly) to go out you any email address(es).
Plans and pricing
Pricing starts from €10 per month for 1 website. Every website you add thereafter costs an extra €3 per month for 100 keywords.
It's a good option for those getting started with a basic requirement. Adding sites for €3 each makes sense up to a point; but after a while Nightwatch.io might become more attractive.
Wincher offers a 14-day free trial. Link to website 🔗
ProRankTracker is a pretty comprehensive tool. It can rival AccuRanker as a premium software, but has a lower starting price ($25) which makes it accessible.
Some key functionality is locked into higher pricing tiers (e.g. on-demand ranking updates), but it allows you get started, and grow into more advanced features (if you want to).
It makes sense to buy ProRankTracker if you're an experienced agency that need advanced features & white label reporting, without the budget for AccuRanker. It's great, but not very beginner-friendly.
Here are some key features that not all competitors have:
- ‘MyRanks', a unique white label mobile app for clients to check rankings ($$)
- Tracking across all major English search engines, including Amazon & YouTube
- Sub-accounts so clients can log in and access (only) their data ($$)
- On-demand ranking updates ($$)
- Unlimited number of websites tracked (but still capped on keywords)
- White label reports on all plans
- Generate live URLs to share for customizable reports (that auto-update)
You should know
As you will have gathered by now already, lots of the killer features aren't available on the entry level plans. So other than that major point, the only other potential negative I'd highlight is the usability. The UI takes a bit of getting used to, and it's not quite as straightforward to get a simple overview as with other tools.
ProRankTracker can do a lot, but it isn't super intuitive.
ProRankTracker is really good for reporting to clients, which makes it a solid choice for agencies. It offers multiple options for customized, white label, and automated reports.
One is the MyRanks mobile app, which is really unique — I haven't found this elsewhere. You can share it with your clients so they can check rankings in the app (that has your branding) at any time.
Other than that, another way to give clients access to check rankings whenever they please is with shareable URLs. You can create reports however you wish, generate a URL (with extra options like an expiry date and password protection) per client.
These are pretty comprehensive, with more options for customization than I can fit on one screenshot:
And lastly, there are lots of different types of reports that you won't always find in other tools too. For example, you can quickly generate reports for:
- Progress (week by week, or month by month)
- Ranking comparisons between different URLs
- Search engine comparisons (e.g. see your rankings in Google vs Bing)
And lastly, as you would expect, you can schedule overview reports to go out via email daily, weekly, or monthly.
Plans & pricing
Pricing starts from $25 per month (monthly), or $22.5 per month (annual).
The entry level plan gets you 200 keywords tracked, increasing to 500 with the next tier up ($49). The price quickly creeps up as you add more keywords & features, but it remains cheaper than AccuRanker still, even as you get into the thousands of keywords tracked.
ProRankTracker offers a 7-day free trial. Link to website 🔗
How to choose your SERP tracking tool, and which features to look out for
In case you haven't made a decision yet, here's a few factors I'd recommend thinking about. These are the things that make the difference between each of the software options.
Every SERP tracking tool I've mentioned here offers daily updates. Anything less than that didn't make the cut. If you're shopping outside of this list, remember to check that.
You can also take a look and see whether the tools offer on-demand SERP refreshes / checks. Typically, you'll find that in more expensive tools (or tiers). For example, AccuRanker offers this, and ProRankTracker offers on-demand updates, but only from $89+.
Pay attention to how the pricing works with each tool. The chances are, whichever tool you pick, you'll use for a long time. You'll grow with it, and inevitably want to add more websites and/or keywords over time.
Some are straightforward. For example, AccuRanker just scales pricing along with the total keywords tracked:
On the other hand, ProRankTracker has several different tiers, with lots of advanced features locked into more expensive subscription plans.
Make sure you understand how the monthly bill will look in different scenarios!
Even though the vast majority of searches take place on Google still, you may want to track other search engines. Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo & others all have notable search volumes. Not all rank trackers work outside of Google.
If you're working in countries like China or Russia, you may need to track local market leaders (Baidu or Yandex).
For example, AccuRanker supports all of these other than Amazon, and Semrush works with Google + Baidu. ProRankTracker is the only one that does track Amazon. If this matters to you, remember to take a look before buying.
It's great having ranking information at your own fingertips, but if you're not working alone, reporting is equally important.
Each tool offers different reporting options, and some are easier to use, and easier to understand.
For example, Nightwatch.io lets you whip up a graph with any metrics you want, and has a 1-click PDF export. Really quick to use, and nice for delivering information in a format that is easy to understand.
You should also check for reporting automation features, for example if you'd like to schedule a weekly email summary.
Tracking by locations & devices
Pretty much all trackers these days will let you separate mobile & desktop tracking. But when it comes to localized rank tracking, not all tools perform the same.
For examples from this list:
- In Wincher, you can only choose the country (e.g. google co.uk or .com)
- In Semrush, you can track locally at the country, city, or state level
- In AccuRanker, you can get granular, right down to a ZIP code or street
Each tool will work differently, so if you're working with local SEO, it's worth taking a minute to check that before subscribing.