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Position tracking like a pro: Tools for small businesses and online agencies

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 23 Oct, 2018
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Position tracking for small businesses made easy through SEO tools

Search engine optimization (SEO): in this day and age, you're simply not going to get anywhere without it. No matter what line of work you're in, it's almost a guarantee that you're going to use the internet, and this fact has made it even more important to know how to use SEO to drive visitors to websites and front doors. Thankfully, because of how connectivity is so widespread, there's no dearth of tools to support the SEO efforts of business owners.

The features you need

Nowadays any small business or online agency can run their own SEO campaigns or take on projects on behalf of other companies. SEO has come a long way since the black-hat days of keyword stuffing, though; working your website up the search results ladder into that coveted top spot requires a steady hand on the tiller and much of that involves tracking your SEO campaigns so that you can adjust your tactics and strategies on the fly.

Before we begin, it’s important to know that there are a number of SEO tool platforms out there for your perusal. These tools all provide different types of functionalities, but when it comes to position tracking here are the features that will be the most useful to you:

  • Access to robust and detailed data
  • Local and global keyword monitoring
  • Desktop vs mobile position ranking
  • Scheduled tracking
  • Performance over time data
  • Competitor keyword tracking and comparison
  • Scalability and affordability

Depending on your specific niche, there may be other specific features you’ll need. However, the above is an excellent place to start before looking into the specific position tracking platforms detailed below.

1. SEMRushsemrush-logo

One of the biggest names in online keyword research, SEMRush rose from its humble beginnings of yet another startup in 2008 to one of the industry leaders in SEO and marketing support that it is today. Because SEMRush has been around such a long time, you can rest assured the company has been doing something right; the tools SEMRush offers its customers originated as the same ones the company used in-house for years before offering them commercially.

These highly-developed tools make it easy for you to monitor your keyword positions from a local, regional or national level, discover local competitors and see how their own keywords rank, group your keywords together with different tags or even see targeting data specifically for desktop or mobile devices. Position tracking as a feature is included as standard no matter which tier of SEMRush services you subscribe to, making this an attractive option for startups with limited budgets.

2. Moz moz-logo

Another longtime mover and shaker in the SEO world, Moz was founded in 2004 and began its life as a search engine optimization blog and community. It soon transitioned to the SEO powerhouse it is today after publishing some insightful studies into the world of SEO, earning a positive reputation for itself. Moz Pro, the company's signature service, provides access to an entire suite of advanced tools - including its highly sophisticated rank tracker software. In addition to receiving tracking data for both pages and keywords, Moz Pro's rank tracker also includes settings for tracking over time without having to make daily checks yourself.

Additional features include the ability to access search data from more than 200 countries. Moz makes it easy to check either local or global positions, as a result, allowing you to alter your SEO strategy upon identifying positive or negative trends. Included in all subscription tiers of Moz Pro, this rank tracker is just as accessible as SEMRush's similarly-priced services. In fact, almost all of our top picks for position tracking are at around the $99 a month price point. There are exceptions to this, though, as you'll find directly below.

3. Mangools mangools-logo

The little SEO company with the funny name, Mangools burst onto the scene in 2014 from the central European country of Slovakia and hasn't looked back since. Originally offering just a keyword checking tool, Mangools has since grown to provide an entire suite of services - including rank tracking. Mangools' SERPWatcher displays its info in a compact and efficient manner without sacrificing scope, as it tracks more than 410,000 different keywords on a daily basis.

Mangools as a suite of abilities is incredibly cost-effective. Not only does it have a robust free version, but the fully-fledged subscription price for the top-tier level of service is also only around $79 a month, which is much less expensive than the basic level of service for both Moz and SEMRush. This makes Mangools an excellent choice for marketers looking for high levels of value without having to spend an arm and a leg in order to access that value.

5. Ahrefs Ahrefs

Another relative newcomer to the scene, Ahrefs was founded in 2014 and has, from day one, focused on having the most complete and exhaustive keyword and website data possible. Its keyword index has more than 6.1 billion keywords stored across a fleet of 2,500 servers that do the heavy lifting; part of that massive computing power goes to its fully-developed rank tracking service.

Ahrefs rank tracking ticks all the boxes, as it includes the ability to chart your performance against your competitors, provides performance over time data and monitor both desktop and mobile ranking performance. Visualization tools, filtered and tagged list sorting, ranking progress and other metrics are all included in Ahrefs’ competitive price, which is in the same range as Moz Pro and SEMRush.

5. SerpStat SerpStat

SerpStat began its life as a keyword tracking tool in 2013. Early successes prompted quick growth, and today SerpStat offers a full suite of services up to and including position tracking, both for free and at prices that are very attractive to startups and marketing agencies with small budgets. At the same time, SerpStat is scalable up to the enterprise level - and with a price tag to match.

SerpStat offers data review in any language, country, or city you specify, offering both global and local search result tracking. Tracking is available not just for keywords but for specific phases such as laptop or phone searches, unlimited daily search result queries, and an unlimited number of logins for clients or coworkers. This makes SerpStat one of the more agile and flexible SEO service suites available today.

Position tracking for fun and profit

While each of the position tracking services on this list has its own specifics, these are all excellent choices in their own right and have been fully adopted by the digital marketing community. Whether you go with an established company or a start-up new to the SEO marketplace, you'll be sure to get the data you need to fine-tune your own digital marketing campaigns.

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