6 Free SERP Tools that Actually Work!

by Paul Wilson

 

The other day my friend Leland asked if I knew any great SEO SERP tools that were free (serp is an acronymn for search engine ranking position). Personally, I am hooked on the paid tools SEOmoz offers, but I understand that when you start out in SEO you often don’t have the luxury of paying for the all the new shiny tools out there.

Leland’s biggest frustration was that when he did a search in Google all the tools he tried didn’t work. A lot of these websites can’t sustain their tools since they are free. It actually takes real resources to crawl the engines and return results. If a SERP tool pings the engines too often their IP is banned for a day. Get banned too many times and you can count on being permanently locked out.

So, you can see why finding a decent free SERP tool can be difficult. I love the challenge of finding free resources to help people in their SEO quest and hopefully my research from these efforts can help others. Therefore, below are the different tools I found that actually worked. I haven’t used most of them more than once or twice so my feedback is limited. Yet, the one thing I can guarantee is that they will show you your SERPS and that they are free (at least at the time of writing this).

Easy SEO Tracking

When Leland first asked about free SERP tool I found Easy SEO Tracking in my initial search results. I think it was number nine or 10 in the results, and all the ones before it didn’t work. This tool works, but it is quite limited. It only checks in the top 100 results, and you can only check one keyword at a time. It does look like they track your results with a cookie. So, if you don’t clear your cookies you can come back (probably within 30 days since most cookies expire after this time frame) and it will offer you historical data. I wouldn’t recommend using a tool that uses cookies for your history, but if you are looking for a quick glance at a keyword, and you don’t care about anything beyond 100 results, it does the job.

SEO Administrator

I must admit that when I scoured SEO Administrator’s web site for information and found several grammatical mistakes my confidence wasn’t exactly buoyed in the product. Also, the tool isn’t a web based, but rather software you have to download. My final gripe is that it is obvious (at least to me) that the UI was created by a developer and not a designer, since it is very geekish.

Yet, regardless of all this the tool isn’t bad. In addition to the SERP checker it provides you with eight more SEO tools. All nine of these tools were well thought out, and the SERP tool is one of the few that I found which allowed you to check all 1000 results. The downside is that the software is only free for 60 days. They will give you a free license to the software if you put a backlink on your website. For some this might be a deal killer, but thanks to this review I am going to email them for the license.

CrawlTrack

I give full disclosure that I am wearing the Google tin hat on this one. However, I personally know that Google uses their own tools to spy on your SEO efforts. I even asked Matt Cutts about this practice at PubCon. His only response was that they promised not to use Google Analytics when assessing your SEO property (I point blank asked him whether they used people’s Google Webmaster information to determine if a site should be penalized). Therefore, you have Matt’s unofficial word that they won’t use your analytical data against you, but it seems everything else is fair game.

Unfortately, Matt’s sworn oath (official or not) really isn’t good enough for me, and so I am in the process of moving my websites to CrawlTracker. Beyond the fact that CrawlTracker provides you a SERP tool that gives historical information for your rankings, it also is a full blown analytics program, and also provides an additional layer against hackers.

Not sure if you could ask for much more! Oh wait, it’s also 100% free. Now, that’s my type of SERP / analytics / hacker-defense tool!

iBusinessPromoter

My good friend Jimmy swears by iBusinessPromoter, or according to him (and others in the industry) IBP. The software is definitely a better design than SEO Administrator, and even has some additional tools for SEO. Yet, when it comes to a SERP checker I would use SEO Administrator instead. IBP does check your keywords for you and offers some really spiffy reports. Obviously, this is nice if you are a consultant or marketing firm. However, the software only checks the top 10 search results, which doesn’t help much. This might be just for their free version, but it doesn’t say either way.

Digital Point

I used Digital Point’s keyword tracker several years ago. It is another software you place on your server, and it does do the job. Though, if you are going to setup software on your own server you might as well do ClawTrack, which offers a lot more—and from my experience it is easier to setup. Another downside with Digital Point’s keyword tracking tool is that the free version only provides 20 results deep. Personally, I need to know before the 20th position how a keyword is doing.

RankingCheck

This is a basic serp tool that checks three keywords at a time. It looks like it hasn’t been updated to show results for Bing. From my testing it showed rankings as deep as a 100 results. However, you need to enter the exact page you are checking in order to get the correct ranking. Meaning, you can’t just enter your home page and expect to find a subpage’s rankings on your specified keyword. Again, not the best tool, but unlike the other tools (with the exception of Easy SEO Tracking) you don’t have to download anything or play with script. Yet, Easy SEO Tracking does find the rankings of your subpages, even if you only list your domain name. So, it truly is up to you to decide what is more important—keyword quantity or domain depth.

My Conclusions

There you have it, six SERP tools to try and use. To find these tools I had to go through 30+ tools that were debunked or junk. Hopefully, my time researching this will save you time.

My final conclusion still holds to using paid services. Free SEO tools can only offer so much value. Yet, if I was pressed to go the free route I would utilize SEO Administrator and CrawlTrack. Even though they are not out-of-the-box web based, they offer the most solutions for the price tag of free.

I have no doubt that new free solutions will surface (as well as die), so if you are aware of any free SERP tools let me know. I will test them out and possibly add them to the list.

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