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Keyword Tracking Tools (To Suit All Budgets)

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Keyword Tracking Tools (To Suit All Budgets)

With so many options for tracking your website’s keywords, it’s hard to know which tools will suit both your business and your budget.

Let’s look at the options.

1. Ahrefs – Best all-around keyword tracker

It’s easy to get started tracking keywords with Ahrefs. We have two core ways to track keywords to suit most budgets and businesses:

Free keyword rank checker (best for spot checks)

Ahrefs' free keyword rank tracker

Ahrefs’ free keyword rank checker is perfect for those who want to check rankings for a few keywords and don’t want to be tied to a monthly subscription.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Enter your keyword(s) in the first box
  • Enter the domain or URL related to the keyword in the box below
  • Select the location (by default, it’s set to the United States)
  • Hit the Check rankings button

Once you have done that, you will get something that looks like the following:

Results from Ahrefs' free keyword rank tracker

The free keyword rank checker gives an overview of the first page of the SERP, enabling you to conduct an analysis of the top results.

It also gives you access to Ahrefs’ data on the following:

  • Domain Rating (DR)
  • URL Rating (UR)
  • How many backlinks the domain has
  • How many domains it has
  • Amount of organic traffic it is receiving
  • Number of keywords that page is ranking for

From this data, you will understand whether you can rank for that keyword.

The tool also allows you to manually check any keyword. But sometimes, you need an automated solution to track more than one keyword. 

That’s where Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker can help.

Rank Tracker (best for most websites)

Ahrefs' Rank Tracker overview

For most businesses, Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker will be the go-to solution for tracking a site’s keywords. 

Unlike our free keyword rank checker, this tool allows you to track multiple keywords in your account, enabling you to monitor the total performance of your organic search campaign.

It also enables you to track and analyze the important elements of your campaign, such as:

  • Share of voice
  • Average position
  • Organic traffic
  • SERP features

You can also compare this data to your competitors’ websites:

Competitors' performance, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

And understand your performance across 13 different types of SERP features:

  • Featured snippets
  • Sitelinks
  • Top stories
  • Image packs
  • Thumbnails
  • Top ads
  • Bottom ads
  • Shopping results
  • Knowledge cards
  • Knowledge panels
  • Videos
  • Tweet box
  • People also ask

You can also monitor SERP features against your competitors at a page or domain level.

SERP features tracking against competitors, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

This feature shows you where you need to focus your SEO efforts.

Another really useful feature is keyword tags. Tags allow you to group keywords to analyze performance at a group level. 

Here’s an example of a tag group I made that groups the articles I have written for Ahrefs together.

Overview of tag performance, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

Using this strategy, you can start understanding which parts of your site are performing well and which parts need improvement.

Keyword tracking tools enable you to understand the performance and effectiveness of your SEO campaigns.

Learn more about Rank Tracker’s features here.

2. Google Search Console – Keyword tracking with Google

Google Search Console homepage

Google Search Console (GSC) allows you to monitor your site’s performance in Google. You can also track your average ranking position as well. 

It tracks this in the Performance tab once you have verified your profile.

GSC average position, via Google Search Console

If you don’t want the hassle of logging in to GSC all the time, you can pull the performance data into Ahrefs by linking your website to your Google Search Console profile

GSC performance, via Ahrefs Webmaster Tools

If you want to take it further, you can use Google Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) to build a keyword-tracking dashboard.

The quickest, no-code way to do this is to use Ahrefs—you can simply click on the button highlighted below in Rank Tracker.

Overview page, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

Once you have authorized your account on the next screen:

  • Choose the primary Project that you want to track. 
  • Select the Device type below that.
  • Check all the boxes on the right-hand side (Allow “X” to be modified in reports) all the way down the page.
  • Hit Connect in the top right corner.
Ahrefs' Rank Tracker setup, via Google Looker Studio
  • On the next screen, click on Create Report.
Ahrefs' Rank Tracker setup, via Google Looker Studio
  • You will then get a dashboard that shows an overview of your project.
Ahrefs' Rank Tracker report template, via Google Looker Studio

The screenshot shows the “Overview” page, but there are six other tabs on the left-hand side you can click on that will give you more detailed data on topics such as:

  1. Positions
  2. SERP features
  3. Competitors
  4. Tags
  5. Traffic share
  6. Keyword metrics

One of the main advantages of creating a dashboard is that you can take a periodic snapshot of the report and share it with other stakeholders automatically.

To do this:

  • Click on the downward facing caret next to Share.
  • Click on Schedule email delivery in the drop-down menu.
Ahrefs' Rank Tracker template, via Google Looker Studio

The email delivery screen will then pop up and allow you to schedule the report to be sent as a PDF.

Here’s an example of what the scheduling screen looks like:

Email delivery, via Google Looker Studio
I’ve scheduled the report to be delivered weekly and added members of the team to receive the report.

You can see that this setup can be a powerful and customizable option for SEO reporting.

This combination of tools for keyword tracking is popular with agency SEOs to keep their teams aware of their client’s organic performance.

3. FatRank Keyword Checker – App-based rank tracker

FatRank Checker's app version

FatRank’s Keyword Checker is another way that you can quickly spot-check keywords. The great thing about this keyword checker is its format—you can use it as an app or a Google Chrome extension.

This means it’s great for checking a keyword’s ranking while you’re on the move, even if you don’t have your computer with you.

The Google Chrome extension has also got great feedback: 

Both versions of this tool could be useful for SEOs who are traveling and want to quickly spot-check the rankings of their most important keywords.

The app and the extension are free to use, meaning that you can use them alongside your main keyword tracker if you want.

4. Nozzle – Good for frequent tracking

Nozzle homepage

Nozzle is a keyword tracker with some interesting features and a luminescent-looking dashboard.

Here are a few stand-out features of Nozzle that I like:

  • Ability to track keywords every five minutes – This is frequent. If you work in a fast-paced industry, this may be a useful feature for you.
  • Track unlimited competitors for free – If you work in an industry where you need to keep tabs on a lot of competitors, this could be beneficial.

But what do SEOs think about it? 

The tool has a lot of good reviews. Check out this example from JR Oakes and others below.

Nozzle testimonials, via Nozzle's testimonials page

When it comes to pricing, Nozzle’s plans start at ~$49 and go up to ~$5K, so it has a wide range of pricing options for SMBs all the way up to the enterprise level.

5. ScrapeBox – Fixed cost keyword rank tracker

ScrapeBox rank tracker

If you are happy to run something more technical, check out ScrapeBox. It’s been around since 2009—so quite a while.

As a result, the UI is perhaps a little more “rustic” than some of the options here, but the functionality is all there.

Looking at the features of this keyword tracker, we can see that it:

  • Tracks unlimited sites.
  • Tracks unlimited keywords.
  • Supports Google, Yahoo, and Bing tracking.
  • Has proxy support—using proxies is important to stop your activity from being blocked by search engines.

The basic package of ScrapeBox is $97. To get the rank tracking plugin for Windows, it costs an extra $37. So for under $150, you can get a functional keyword tracker.

If you are tech-savvy and want a fixed-cost, no-frills keyword tracker with no recurring subscription (apart from proxies), this could be a good option.

Pi Datametrics rank tracker, via Pi Datametrics homepage

Pi Datametrics is a visual, client-friendly platform for keyword tracking. It allows you to dissect your organic performance in different ways with various tools.

Some features I like:

  • Build visual business cases quickly within the platform
  • Integrate with Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics 
  • Identify keyword cannibalization issues easily
  • Add unlimited competitors
  • Add unlimited locations
  • Get industry insights into 650 business categories using the Pi Vault

This tool is a good option for enterprise e-commerce businesses or agencies that want to get buy-in for their SEO strategies from senior stakeholders.

7. Nightwatch – Good local tracking

Nightwatch homepage

Nightwatch is a keyword tracker that allows you to “track search rankings from any location on earth.” Its emphasis is on accurate local tracking.

Nightwatch has some good features:

  • Local rank tracking across 107,296 locations
  • SERP feature tracking
  • Custom keyword segmentation
  • Automated reporting
  • GSC and GDS integration
  • White label reports at a higher price point

Prices start from $32 per month for 250 keywords. 

This type of rank tracker may be useful for you if your business relies on local areas or perhaps if you are an agency that works with many local businesses.

8. Mangools SERPwatcher – Easy to use 

Mangools SERPwatcher keyword tracker

Mangools’ SERPwatcher is a clean, minimal-looking keyword tracker that doesn’t overcomplicate things. 

When it comes to features, you get the following:

  • Track desktop and mobile rankings
  • Add keyword tags
  • Daily keyword updates
  • Track specific locations
  • Easy setup—“from setup to daily rankings in 30 seconds”

In terms of pricing, you need to buy the total suite of products, but plans start at under $30 per month.

In my opinion, Mangools is most likely to appeal to solo entrepreneurs or affiliate marketers who are looking for an easy-to-use, cost-effective rank tracker.

Final thoughts

Keyword tracking tools help keep your SEO campaign accountable. They often come at a cost, but there are cheaper and even free options available to suit all budgets and websites.

Ultimately, the keyword tracking tool you choose depends on your business needs, priorities, and budget.

Got more questions? Ping me on Twitter. 🙂



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Google To Upgrade All Retailers To New Merchant Center By September

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Google To Upgrade All Retailers To New Merchant Center By September

Google has announced plans to transition all retailers to its updated Merchant Center platform by September.

This move will affect e-commerce businesses globally and comes ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The Merchant Center is a tool for online retailers to manage how their products appear across Google’s shopping services.

Key Changes & Features

The new Merchant Center includes several significant updates.

Product Studio

An AI-powered tool for content creation. Google reports that 80% of current users view it as improving efficiency.

This feature allows retailers to generate tailored product assets, animate still images, and modify existing product images to match brand aesthetics.

It also simplifies tasks like background removal and image resolution enhancement.

Centralized Analytics

A new tab consolidating various business insights, including pricing data and competitive analysis tools.

Retailers can access pricing recommendations, competitive visibility reports, and retail-specific search trends, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and capitalize on popular product categories.

Redesigned Navigation

Google claims the new interface is more intuitive and cites increased setup success rates for new merchants.

The platform now offers simplified website verification processes and can pre-populate product information during setup.

Initial User Response

According to Google, early adopters have shown increased engagement with the platform.

The company reports a 25% increase in omnichannel merchants adding product offers in the new system. However, these figures have yet to be independently verified.

Jeff Harrell, Google’s Senior Director of Merchant Shopping, states in an announcement:

“We’ve seen a significant increase in retention and engagement among existing online merchants who have moved to the new Merchant Center.”

Potential Challenges and Support

While Google emphasizes the upgrade’s benefits, some retailers, particularly those comfortable with the current version, may face challenges adapting to the new system.

The upgrade’s mandatory nature could raise concerns among users who prefer the existing interface or have integrated workflows based on the current system.

To address these concerns, Google has stated that it will provide resources and support to help with the transition. This includes tutorial videos, detailed documentation, and access to customer support teams for troubleshooting.

Industry Context

This update comes as e-commerce platforms evolve, with major players like Amazon and Shopify enhancing their seller tools. Google’s move is part of broader efforts to maintain competitiveness in the e-commerce services sector.

The upgrade could impact consumers by improving product listings and providing more accurate information across Google’s shopping services.

For the e-commerce industry as a whole, it signals a continued push towards AI-driven tools and data-centric decision-making.

Transition Timeline

Google states that retailers will be automatically upgraded by September if they still need to transition.

The company advises users to familiarize themselves with the new features before the busy holiday shopping period.


Featured Image: BestForBest/Shutterstock

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Meta AI Introduces AI-Generated Photos to All Platforms

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Meta AI Adds AI-Generated Images to Social and Messaging Platforms and Expands Availability to More Languages and Countries

Meta just released multiple updates to Meta AI which brings advanced image generation and editing capabilities directly to Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp feeds, plus availability in more countries and languages.

New Meta AI Creative Tools

Meta AI is bringing AI generated and AI Edited photography that can be generated at the moment a user is making a post or sending a message with a new tool called Imagine Me.

Imagine Me is a prompt that can be used to transform an uploaded image that can be shared. This new feature is first rolling out as a beta in the United States.

Meta explains:

“Imagine yourself creates images based on a photo of you and a prompt like ‘Imagine me surfing’ or ‘Imagine me on a beach vacation’ using our new state-of-the-art personalization model. Simply type “Imagine me” in your Meta AI chat to get started, and then you can add a prompt like “Imagine me as royalty” or “Imagine me in a surrealist painting.” From there, you can share the images with friends and family, giving you the perfect response or funny sidebar to entertain your group chat.”

New Editing Features

Meta products like Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram now have advanced editing capabilities that allow users to add or remove objects from images, to change them in virtually any manner, such as their example of turning a cat in an image into a dog. A new Edit With AI button is forthcoming in a month that will unlock even more AI editing power.

Adding AI generated images to Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp within feed, posts, stories, comments and messages is rolling out this week in English and coming later to other languages.

Screenshot of a Facebook user adding an AI generated image into their post

Meta AI In More Countries And Languages

Meta AI is now available in seven additional countries, bringing the total countries to to 22. It is also available in seven more languages.

List of Seven Additional Countries:

  1. Argentina
  2. Cameroon
  3. Chile
  4. Colombia
  5. Ecuador
  6. Mexico
  7. Peru

Meta AI is now also available in the following seven additional languages:

  1. French
  2. German
  3. Hindi
  4. Hindi-Romanized Script
  5. Italian
  6. Portuguese
  7. Spanish

Advanced Math And Coding

Meta AI is making their most advanced model, Llama 405B, available for users to take advantage of its advanced reasoning abilities that can answer complex answers and excells at math and coding.

Meta AI writes:

“You can get help on your math homework with step-by-step explanations and feedback, write code faster with debugging support and optimization suggestions, and master complex technical and scientific concepts with expert instruction.”

Read the official announcement:

Meta AI Is Now Multilingual, More Creative and Smarter

Featured Image by Shutterstock/QubixStudio

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System Builders – How AI Changes The Work Of SEO

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Kevin Indig's Growth Memo for SEJ

AI is terraforming tech. The content and SEO ecosystem is undergoing a massive structural change.

Human-written content gains value faster for LLM training than for end consumers as the pure profit licensing deals between LLM developers and publishers show.

Publishers struggle to survive from digital subscriptions but get millions that go straight to their bottom line for providing training data.

Content platforms, social networks, SaaS companies and consumer apps coat their products with AI. A few examples:

  • Spotify DJ (AI-generated playlist).
  • AI Overview (AI answers in Google Search).
  • Instagram AI personas (celebrity AI chatbots).
  • Ebay’s magical listing (turn a photo into a listing).
  • Redfin Redesign (try interior designs on real house pictures).
Image Credit: Kevin Indig

The quality of machine-generated content (MGC) challenges human-generated content (HGC). I ran an experiment with my Twitter and LinkedIn followers: I asked them to choose which of two articles was written by a human and which by a machine – and they had to explain their answer.

Only a handful of people figured out that AI wrote both pieces. I intentionally framed the question in a leading way to see if people would challenge the setting or believe that one piece was written by a human if told so.

  • Not an isolated experiment: A survey of 1,900 Americans found that 63.5% of people can’t distinguish between AI content and human content.1
  • People seek help: Google search demand for [ai checker] has reached 100,000 in May 2024 (Glimpse).
  • Dark side: scammers use MGC to make money, as 77% of AI scam victims lost money.2
Search demand for AI checkerImage Credit: Kevin Indig

The quality level of LLMs pushes SEO work towards automating workflows and learning with AI, while writers will take content from good to great instead of zero to one.

Boost your skills with Growth Memo’s weekly expert insights. Subscribe for free!

How AI Changes The Work Of SEOImage Credit: Lyna ™

System Builders

Clients, podcasters and panel hosts often ask me what skills SEOs need to build for the AI future. For a long time, my answer was to learn, stay open-minded and gain as much practical experience with AI as possible.

Now, my answer is SEOs should learn how to build AI agents and workflows that automate tasks. AI changes the way search works but also the way SEOs work.

AI + No-code Allows SEOs To Automate Workflows

A few examples:

1/ Cannibalization

  • Old world: SEOs download search console data and create pivot tables to spot keyword cannibalization.
  • New world: SEOs build an AI workflow that sends alters, identifies true keyword cannibalization, makes content suggestions to fix the problem, and monitors the improvement.

2/ Site Crawling

  • Old world: SEOs crawl websites to find inefficiencies in internal linking, status code errors, duplicate content, etc.
  • New world: SEOs build an AI agent that regularly crawls the site and automatically suggests new internal links that are shipped after human approval, fixes broken canonical tags and excludes soft 404 errors in the robots.txt.

3/ Content Creation

  • Old world: SEOs do keyword research and write content briefs. Writers create the content.
  • New world: SEOs automate keyword research with AI and create hundreds of relevant articles as a foundation for writers to build on.

All of this is already possible today with AI workflow tools like AirOps or Apify, which chain agents and LLMs together to scrape, analyze, transform data or create content.

Moving forward, we’ll spend much more time building automated systems instead of wasting time on point analyses and catalogs of recommendations. The SEO work will be defining logic, setting rules, prompting and coding.

building automated systems Building workflows with AirOps (Image Credit: Kevin Indig)

You Can Learn (Almost) Anything With AI

I never made the time to really learn Python or R, but with the help of Chat GPT and Gemini in Colab, I can write any script with natural language prompts.

When the script doesn’t work, I can paste a screenshot into Chat GPT and describe the issue to get a solution. AI helps with Regex, Google Sheets/Excel, R, Python, etc. Nothing is off-limits.

Being able to write scripts can solve problems like data analysis, a/b testing and using APIs. As an SEO, I’m no longer dependent on engineers, data scientists or writers to perform certain tasks. I can act faster and on my own account.

I’m not the only one to figure this out. People are learning to code, write and many other skills with AI. We can learn to build AI workflows by asking AI to teach us.

Search demand for coding with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig
Search demand for write with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig
Search demand for learn with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig

When you can learn almost anything, the only limit is time.

The Work Of Writers Changes

Against common belief, writers won’t be crossed out of this equation but will play the critical role of editing, directing and curating.

In any automated process, humans QA the output. Think of car assembling lines. Even though AI content leaps in quality, spot checks reduce the risk of errors. Caught issues, such as wrong facts, weird phrasing or off-brand wording, will be critical feedback to fine-tune models to improve their output.

Instead of leg work like writing drafts, writers will bring AI content from good to great. In the concept of information gain, writers will spend most of their time making a piece outstanding.

The rising quality work spans from blog content to programmatic content, where writers will add curated content when searches have a desire for human experience, such as in travel.

A mini guide to Los AngelesTripadvisor’s attraction pages feature human-curated sections. (Image Credit: Kevin Indig)

Unfair Advantage

As often with new technology, a few first-mover people and companies get exponential value until the rest catch up. My worry is that a few fast-moving companies will grab massive land with AI.

And yet, this jump in progress will allow newcomers to challenge incumbents and get a fair chance to compete on the field.

AI might be a bigger game changer for SEOs than for Google. The raw power of AI might help us overcome challenges from AI Overviews and machine learning-driven algorithm updates.

But the biggest win might be that SEOs can finally make something instead of delivering recommendations. The whole value contribution of SEOs changes because my output can drive results faster.

Survey: ChatGPT and AI Content – Can people tell the difference?

Artificial Intelligence Voice Scams on the Rise with 1 in 4 Adults Impacted


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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