Choosing the Right One for You

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Everybody desires to rank excessive in Google as a result of rating excessive results in extra natural visitors.

But to grasp the place you rank within the first place, you’ll want a rank tracker.

In this information, you’ll learn to select the suitable rank tracker for you, and how one can use it to enhance search engine optimization.

But first, let’s be certain that we’re on the identical web page.

Rank monitoring is the method of checking search engine rating positions for sure key phrases over time. A rank tracker is the software program or device that automates this course of for you.

Why is rank monitoring essential?

Rank monitoring helps you perceive which key phrases and pages want your consideration most. But that’s not the one cause it’s essential. It additionally provides you some perception into whether or not your search engine optimization efforts are paying off.

For instance, our visibility for all our tracked key phrases is enhancing over time:

This tells us that our search engine optimization efforts are having the specified impact on the entire. If visibility have been declining total, that may be one thing we’d wish to examine additional to hone our search engine optimization technique.

Most rank trackers additionally offer you numerous methods to slice and cube the information for much more actionable insights, which we’ll discuss shortly.

Why can’t you simply verify rankings your self?

Rank trackers save time by automating the rank monitoring course of. But should you solely have just a few key phrases to trace, you may be questioning why not simply kind them into Google and verify rating positions manually?

The reply is that guide rank checking not often provides an correct view of actuality as a result of Google’s search outcomes are closely customized primarily based on issues like your:

  • Location
  • Browsing historical past
  • Language
  • Device (desktop/cellular)

For instance, these are the search outcomes for “how to make flapjacks” within the UK:

If we use Ahrefs’ search engine optimization Toolbar to simulate the very same search from the US, the outcomes are fully totally different:

This occurs as a result of the definition of flapjacks varies between nations. In the UK, it’s an oat bar. In the US and Canada, it’s a pancake.

What about going incognito?

Using an incognito browser tab solves the difficulty of personalization primarily based on looking historical past, nevertheless it doesn’t remedy the rest. Your IP handle stays seen, so Google will nonetheless personalize the search outcomes primarily based in your location and inferred language.

For instance, right here’s that “how to make flapjacks” search in an incognito tab:

Google nonetheless exhibits recipes for British flapjacks as a result of it is aware of my IP handle.

Bottomline: even should you simply wish to verify rankings for one or two key phrases, you need to use a rank checker. If you’re not able to pay for one, strive our free key phrase rank checker.

How to decide on the most effective rank tracker

Right now, you’re studying the Ahrefs Blog. Ahrefs is an search engine optimization toolset with its personal rank tracker. We suppose it’s among the finest in the marketplace however we’re clearly biased, so I received’t insult your intelligence by creating a listing of the ‘best’ rank trackers with Ahrefs on the prime.

But what I’ll share are the outcomes of a recent Facebook poll by Matt Diggity:

Interestingly, solely two of the highest 5 are standalone rank monitoring instruments. The others are included as a part of an all-in-one search engine optimization toolset like Ahrefs.

This leads me to an fascinating level…

If you’re doing search engine optimization in any critical capability in 2021, you’ll want an all-in-one search engine optimization device like Ahrefs for essential duties like key phrase analysis and hyperlink constructing. Given that the majority of those instruments embody a rank tracker, arguably the most effective rank tracker for most individuals is the one included with their favourite search engine optimization toolset.

But, should you’re but to put money into an all-in-one search engine optimization toolset or would simply want a standalone rank tracker, what options must you be in search of?

Here are just a few options you would possibly want:

Location assist

Rankings range from location to location. If your web site or enterprise primarily serves the US market, you’ll wish to monitor rankings within the US. If it primarily serves the UK market, you’ll wish to monitor UK rankings. If it primarily serves the Canadian market… you get the thought.

You would possibly even wish to monitor rankings throughout a number of international locations should you’re working for a multinational company.

Naturally, Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker helps most international locations; 187 and counting.

If you’re doing native search engine optimization, you’ll need a rank tracker with extra granularity so you possibly can monitor rankings on the state, metropolis or zip code degree—as you possibly can in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker:

Language assist

If your web site targets a locale with a couple of official/frequent language, you’ll in all probability wish to monitor rankings in a number of languages inside that locale.

For instance, say you run a restaurant in Barcelona. This metropolis is in Catalonia the place, according to Wikipedia, there’s a reasonably even mixture of Spanish and Catalan audio system. If your restaurant’s web site is on the market in each languages, as is the case for this one, you’ll in all probability wish to monitor rankings for each Spanish and Catalan searchers.

Here’s the way you’d try this in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker:

Device assist (desktop/cellular)

Desktop and cellular rating indicators aren’t an identical, so it’s not unusual for rankings to range between desktop and cellular.

For instance, desktop customers sometimes have quicker web connections than cellular customers, so it may be a extra essential rating issue on cellular than desktop. In different phrases, you probably have a gradual web site, it would negatively impression cellular rankings greater than desktop rankings.

Here are a few different issues which will trigger rating discrepancies throughout units:

  • Poor cellular friendliness
  • More intrusive adverts/interstitials on one system over the different

If you’re utilizing Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker, you possibly can simply toggle between cellular and desktop rankings and verify common positions throughout units.

SERP characteristic monitoring

SERP options are non-traditional search outcomes like featured snippets and prime tales carousels. Ranking in a few of them might help drive extra visitors to your web site, so it is sensible that you just’d wish to monitor their prominence for essential key phrases over time.

Many rank trackers offer you this capability together with Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker, which robotically tracks the prominence and possession of most SERP options for tracked key phrases.

Daily rating updates

Frequency of rating updates essential for figuring out potential points shortly as they come up. In Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker, replace frequency is determined by your plan. It’s anyplace between one* and 7 days.


*Daily updates can be found in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker Pro. You can add this to any Ahrefs plan. It additionally means that you can monitor as much as 100,000 key phrases. 

How to make use of a rank tracker to enhance search engine optimization

It’s simple to spend your days obsessing over each little fluctuation in a rank monitoring device, however this isn’t a productive use of your time. Instead, you need to use a rank tracker to determine methods to enhance search engine optimization and get extra natural visitors.

Let’s have a look at just a few methods to do that:


We’ll be utilizing Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker within the examples beneath, however many different rank trackers have related options and functionalities. 

Featured snippets are brief solutions that always seem on the prime of Google’s search outcomes. They’re pulled from one of many top-ranking pages.

For instance, Google pulls this snippet from our information to hreflangs:

By profitable featured snippets, you possibly can usually shortcut your solution to the highest of Google and increase natural visitors within the course of.

How do you discover featured snippet alternatives?

Look for key phrases with featured snippets that you just don’t at the moment personal the place you additionally rank within the prime 10. You can usually win these simply by including or modifying the content material in your web page.

If you’re aware of Ahrefs, you’ll know you are able to do this for any web site in Site Explorer. Just head to the Organic Keywords 2.0 report, filter for featured snippets, and verify the “where target doesn’t rank box” to see unowned snippets.

But there’s one massive profit to doing this in Rank Tracker: You can see the historic prevalence of the featured snippet over time.

This is helpful as a result of it’s probably not value pursuing featured snippets if Google not often exhibits them within the SERP.

For instance, there’s at the moment a featured snippet displaying for “find email address”:

Yet, if we click on the caret and verify the SERP characteristic historical past, we see that Google is barely displaying the featured snippet sporadically. It’s solely been noticed within the SERP by Rank Tracker for a handful of days up to now month:

For “ecommerce SEO,” however, Google is persistently displaying the featured snippet:

So, for us, it could make extra sense to pursue the featured snippet for “ecommerce SEO” over “find email address” as a result of its prevalence presents a larger visitors alternative.

Track natural search share of voice by subject

Organic search share of voice tells you the way a lot market share numerous web sites personal for a given set of key phrases. In this case, your tracked key phrases.

Before you possibly can see this in Rank Tracker, you first must specify a number of rivals.

If you haven’t performed this already, head to the Competitors Overview tab, hit the choice so as to add rivals, then enter the rivals’ domains or paths you wish to monitor. If you’re undecided who your rivals are, verify the ideas primarily based on key phrase intersections and hit the “+” button so as to add them to your mission.

For the Ahrefs Blog, we’ll add Backlinko and the Moz weblog.


We added the Moz weblog as a path as an alternative of a site so we’re solely monitoring natural search share of voice for content material underneath their /weblog/ subfolder somewhat than their whole web site. This is as a result of Moz places all of their weblog posts underneath this subfolder, which permits us to match apples to apples. 

If we now head to the Competitors Overview report, we will see that we’re trumping Moz by way of “visibility” for our tracked key phrases, which is the proportion of all clicks for the tracked key phrases that land on every web site. And we’re roughly on par with Backlinko.

It’s the same story for common rating positions, visitors, and SERP options too:

But this will get much more highly effective whenever you group key phrases by subject utilizing tags, as a result of you possibly can then monitor natural share of voice by subject utilizing the Competitors Tags report.

Now we will see that though we’re method forward of the competitors in terms of content material about key phrase analysis, Backlinko is thrashing us for content material about hyperlink constructing.

If we verify the Traffic tab, we see that this interprets to visitors too:

So we’d wish to examine this additional and see if there’s something we will do about it. For occasion, we’d want extra backlinks to compete, or we’d be capable of increase rankings for this subject by making a content material hub.

Find low-hanging alternatives to beat rivals

If rivals are outranking you for essential key phrases, you would possibly wish to prioritize rating increased for them to win again visitors.

Here’s how one can discover these key phrases:

  1. Go to your mission in Rank Tracker
  2. Click the Competitors Overview report
  3. Filter for prime 10 rankings
  4. Sort the desk by competitor rankings from highest to lowest

For instance, Backlinko is outranking us for key phrases like “LSI keywords” and “blog post templates”:

Given that we’re just a few positions behind, it may be value investigating the SERP to see if there’s something we will do to rank increased.

In the case of “LSI keywords,” it seems to be like we’d like far more backlinks—which received’t be simple:

In the case of “blog post templates,” Backlinko is rating one place above us in pole place regardless of having roughly the identical variety of linking web sites.

Although there could possibly be many causes for that, one issue could also be that Backlinko arguably has a extra engaging angle within the title tag (“work like a charm” vs “when to use them”).

Find pages which might be prepared for a refresh

Rankings don’t final without end. Even in case your web page was as soon as in pole place to your goal key phrase, chances are high it would finally drop in rankings and lose visitors.

It’s at this stage that you just’ll wish to refresh and republish the web page.

To discover pages which might be probably ripe for a refresh, go to the Grossing report in Rank Tracker and search for key phrases with declining rankings over time.

For instance, our rating place for “local SEO” has dropped from #1 to #9 since we began monitoring the key phrase.

If we verify that publish in Site Explorer, we additionally see a corresponding drop in estimated US visitors:

It’s fairly probably that if we have been to refresh this publish for 2021, it could regain not less than some degree of rankings and visitors.

Learn how to do this in our full information to refreshing and republishing content material.

Find rivals to kickstart your key phrase analysis

Looking for matters coated by on-line rivals is among the greatest key phrase analysis ways. But it really works greatest when analyzing the web sites of shut rivals.

To shortly discover these rivals, head the Traffic share report in Rank Tracker and hit the “Domains” toggle:

Because Rank Tracker generates these rivals by in search of web sites attracting search visitors out of your tracked key phrases, it usually exhibits shut natural search rivals that you will have ignored.

For instance, we see amongst our prime rivals by visitors share:

Given that this web site is neither a direct enterprise competitor or an search engine optimization weblog, we might in all probability have ignored it when doing key phrase analysis. But if we plug the web site into Site Explorer and verify the Top Pages report, we see just a few matters that may be value us overlaying like “small business tips” and “marketing calendar.”

If you’ve tagged your key phrases by subject in Rank Tracker, you possibly can take this competitor discovery methodology even additional utilizing the tag filter.

For instance, if we filter by our “link building” tag, we see a few rivals that didn’t present up earlier than like and

Given that we’re at all times looking out for extra link-building-related matters, it could in all probability even be value checking the Top Pages report for these web sites in Site Explorer.

In reality, if we try this with, we see just a few good link-building-related matters that we haven’t coated but like “link exchanges” and “link building expert.”


Before we wrap issues up, let’s reply just a few frequent questions on rank trackers.

What is the most effective rank monitoring device?

The greatest rank monitoring device is subjective however in line with one business ballot, SERPRobot, Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker, Accuranker, and SE Ranking are probably the most broadly used.

Is there a free rank tracker?

Yes, many. We even have our personal fully free key phrase rank checker.

Can I monitor native rankings in a rank tracker?

It is determined by the rank monitoring device. Some have that functionality; some don’t. You can monitor rankings on the nation, state, metropolis, or zip code degree in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker.

Final ideas

Rank monitoring can shortly grow to be a time suck. If you’re obsessing over each little rating fluctuation every day, you’re utilizing it fallacious. The greatest rank tracker is one with options and functionalities that truly aid you enhance search engine optimization and get extra visitors.

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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