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Best rank checking tools in 2021

Included in this guide:

Best rank checking tools
(Image credit: Pixabay)

The best rank checking tools enable you to check keyword rankings locally and internationally.

The best rank checking tools

Click the links below to go to the provider's website:


1. SEMrush

2. Ahrefs

3. Moz Pro

4. ProRankTracker

5. Advanced Web Ranking

Being able to rank your website keywords on Google and other search engines is an essential part of SEO. 

With a small number of keywords it used to be possible to do this simply with a manual search, but with the advent of ever-increasing use of personalized data and customization of results, along with the rise of local searches, manual checks are no longer reliable. While keyword ranking tools were always essential for larger keyword lists, nowadays it's just as important for smaller ones.

As Google continues to dominate search in North America and Europe this means most people will want to check their Google Rankings in particular, as opposed to other search engines such as Bing. However, because Google serves results based on geolocation this means it's important to track on the right Google search engine. 

Also, with the rise of Baidu and Yandex as major search engines for China and Russia respectively, international businesses need a rank checking tool to be able to select a preferred search engine or region.

Additionally, the best rank checking tools won't simply show your ranking positions, but also show additional information. This might include changes over time, filters by difference in change, keyword volume, and even whether you have featured snippets or sitelinks for any of your keyword rankings.

Overall, the best rank checking tools won't simply tell you your keyword positions, but also provide additional options, data ranges, and filters, so you can more easily determine which keywords and therefore areas of your website require further work to try and help them improve.

Here then are the best rank checking tools currently available.


(Image credit: SEMrush)

1. SEMrush

Best SERP checker

Reasons to buy
+Comprehensive filters+View SERPs in dashboard+Key indicators+Free trial

SEMrush offers a full-suite SEO platform that covers a wide range of toolkits, such as for competitor research, keyword research, link building, on page SEO, as well as a comprehensive rank checking tool with a number of advanced features.

You can create multiple keyword lists to track rankings on different Google search geolocations, and Baidu. This means you can track either a single or multiple websites across just one or multiple territories, which is handy when managing different clients who may have markets either in specific countries or worldwide.

The ranking information provided doesn't just include positions and historical data, but also includes symbols to communicate if your listing is a featured snippet, includes sitelinks, and whether the results feature images, reviews, knowledge panel results, as well as Google Ads on top or bottom of the results.

Listings for keywords being tracked also includes estimated search volumes allowing you to gauge traffic and estimated changes to this as your keyword ranking changes. There are also various date filters to track changes over time, with another filter for sorting keywords according to the biggest gains or falls, allowing you to better manage your keyword targeting.

Overall, SEMrush provides a superb rank checker that allows you to track and manage your keywords in a comprehensive way.


(Image credit: Ahrefs)

2. Ahrefs

Best position tracking tool

Reasons to buy
+Comprehensive tools+Competitor analysis+Aggressive campaigns

Ahrefs is very much focused on link building, but also includes a rank checker on the platform in order to ensure that you know which keywords and pages to build links for in order to help improve those rankings.

The result is that the rank checker includes position, traffic estimates, and listings features you might have such as sitelinks and featured listing. There's also an opportunity to check individual keyword progress over time, as well as a value for keyword difficulty.

The last part is very much at the heart of the Ahrefs ranking checker, in that it doesn't just seek to show what rankings you have, but encourage you to more aggressively claim more. This is underlined not just by the keyword difficulty score but also by a chart that shows both your current positions plus additional space in the ranking results that you can aim to compete better for.

As with SEMrush, you can run analysis of competitor SEO, keywords, and rankings, but Ahrefs makes it more of a normative part of your campaign management.

This means that the Ahrefs rank checker is perhaps a more ideal tool for those looking to more aggressively target keyword rankings rather than simply observe current positions, as part of a general SEO and marketing strategy.


(Image credit: Moz)

3. Moz Pro

Best rank checker

Reasons to buy
+Accessible interface+Comprehensive toolkit+Advanced tools option

Moz is another established SEO platform, that provides a range of different toolkits such as site audits, keyword research, backlink analysis, and of course a rank checker.

The rank checker itself, like the others featured here, offers a graphical user interface that should be reasonably familiar to anyone who uses Google Analytics, which makes it easy to use, and like the others here it shows data according to ranking tables or charts to show movement over time, as well as general summaries of changes. 

By itself it covers all the important information but doesn't really add too much extra in terms of bells and whistles, making it one of the simpler but best rank checkers for general use. In that regard, some users will find that it just does exactly what they need without it getting too complicated, while others may find it a little limiting by comparison to SEMrush and Ahrefs.

What Moz does, though, is pack a secret punch by also being able to offers stats tracking from STAT, which is a far more detailed and advanced rank checker. This allows for tracking of millions of keywords, as well as changes through the day and by geolocations. 

STAT itself is a very advanced tool that offers something extra, but most users will probably find it offers more than they need and that the Moz Pro rank checker is all that they require. However, the option is there if they need to use it.


(Image credit: ProRankTracker)

4. ProRankTracker

Best rank tracking analysis

Reasons to buy
+Keyword rankings+Analytics+White-label reporting

ProRankTracker is a tool developed specifically for tracking and analyzing keyword rankings, and allowing users to sift through the data for insights. As well being a ranking checking tools it's as much as an analytics and reporting platform, too.

The tracking feature allows you to track rankings with automated daily updates as well as cater for on demand requests, so you can check your rankings as you need to. International tracking is also supported across various search engines, including both desktop and mobile results where different, along with local tracking options.

ProRankTracker's analytics section allows you to dig deeper into your rankings, not just for your targeted keywords, but also for other keyword searches that you're being found for. This is a great little feature that can help you better take control of your targeting and positioning, such as by building on an existing strong page for your CTA.

As well as various reporting filters and options, there's also the ability to set up notifications in case of significant ranking changes you may need to know about. Additionally, reports are white-labeled so an SEO or SEO agency can share reporting data with clients, exporting them as XLSX, PDF, or CSV, or alternatively simply copying them to a cloud service such as Dropbox or Drive accounts.

Overall, while ProRankTracker isn't able to match more comprehensive SEO toolkits, it does stay focused very well on all aspects of keyword rankings and analysis that most users and clients will need to know.


(Image credit: Advanced Web Ranking)

5. Advanced Web Ranking

Best organic traffic insight tool

Reasons to buy
+Easy and intuitive to use+Comprehensive ranking checks+Customizable reports+Long-term competitor analysis
Reasons to avoid
-Standalone tool

Advanced Web Ranking is a dedicated ranking tool that stays firmly fixated on that one task, rather than being bundled as part of a SEO software platform. The positive of this is that it can cover pretty much everything you need a ranking checker to do, but the negative is that this makes it less useful for additional SEO needs such as for keyword research.

What it does do, though, it does well, and even better is that it's an easy to use platform that is intuitive to use. While there are a lot of different options and features available, users aren't likely to feel overwhelmed as the basic defaults are pretty standard for most needs. Those with more have the option to change and develop them as required.

Advanced Web Ranking provides all the essentials you would expect in a keyword ranking checker, such as automated and on-demand updates, mobile and local options, as well as different SERP features tracked. Additionally, there are no limits on the number of ranking projects, which is welcome.

There are a number of reporting templates and quick reporting options available. However, there are also custom reporting options which means your data and layout is fully customizable, using a straight-forward WYSIWYG editor, making it easy to format for clients. There are easy sharing options as well as integrations with third-party reporting tools as required.

Another feature is the ability to do a competitor analysis, by tracking how competing websites perform and how the websites you are tracking do so by comparison. You can then aggregate performance metrics and perform longer term SERP analysis for a wider context.

Altogether, Advanced Web Ranking is a very accessible and competent rank checking tool that not only covers all of the important bases but also makes it easy to generate reports. The only negative is the lack of accompanying tools to work alongside it.

Brian Turner

Brian has over 30 years publishing experience as a writer and editor across a range of computing and technology titles, and has been interviewed multiple times for BBC News and BBC Radio. His specialty on Techradar is Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, covering everything from office suites to IT service tools. He is also a science fiction and fantasy author, writing as Brian G Turner.