How do you decide on a marketing tool that best fits your needs? What is it that you look for? Do you want to cover all your marketing bases with a costly all-in-one SEO tool like Ahrefs, or would you prefer to get precise and accurate data with an Ahrefs alternative like SerpWatch?
With different tools, the pros and cons of using either vary as well.
For instance, Ahrefs is best known for its backlink analysis, which is its most useful feature. And while it does have an enormous database with 15 trillion links, Ahrefs has broadened its scope since its inception by adding reliable keyword analysis and position tracking functionalities. Also, when it comes to their rank tracking tool, some users are largely unhappy with Ahrefs’ accuracy, speed, and pricing models.
Conversely, developed as an alternative to tools like Ahrefs, SerpWatch is a useful new tool for any modern SEO professional who wants to not only track but also successfully analyze and manage their keywords. With an easy-to-use interface, highly-informative graphic overlays, and customizable Slack notifications, SerpWatch is a rank tracker similar to Ahrefs that truly enables users to perform immediate and meaningful action to reach and stay on the first page of SERPs. And it won’t break your bank!
Things are not so clear-cut, though. To help you decide which tool to commit to, we have analyzed both Ahrefs and SerpWatch against relevant criteria—tool type, key features and integrations, pricing models, and support.
Read on to get all the information!
|UI Ease of Use|
|Highly specialized tool|
|All-in-one SEO tool|
|Multiple SEO metrics|
|Precise keyword rank tracking metrics|
|Clean, modern UI|
|Multiple current users|
|Star favorite keywords|
|Auto-populate with keywords|
|In-app adding keywords to track|
|Keyword import via CSV upload|
|Suggest similar keywords to track|
|Relevant for SEO and PPC|
|Quick load time|
|Quick data pull|
|Advanced keyword data|
|Advanced SERP features|
|Multiple languages available|
|Cross-project keyword tags|
|Group keywords by pages|
|Add keyword position notes|
|Historical rank data|
|Data available indefinitely|
|Multiple search engines|
|Search engine comparison|
|Multiple Google indexes|
|Desktop ranking index|
|Mobile ranking index|
|Global rank tracking|
|Local rank tracking by country|
|Local rank tracking by state/city|
|Keyword trend analysis|
|Updates every 2 hours|
|Updates every 6 hours|
|Updates every 12 hours|
|Updates every 3 days|
|Updates every 5 days|
|Position change notifications|
|Google algorithm update notifications|
|SERP feature notifications|
|Get notifications in Slack|
|Get notifications via email|
|Data workflows via Zapier|
|Integration with Google Analytics|
|White label feature for agencies|
|Individual Client Portals|
|Send a report to a client from the tool|
|Reporting for a specific timeframe|
|Report via email|
|No additional fees|
|Free trial period|
|Free Demo mode|
|Access to all features during the trial period|
|Perks for subscribers over time|
|Track from desktop and mobile|
|Unlimited sites/projects for tracking|
|Unlimited locations for tracking|
|In-app tutorial available|
|Helpful knowledge base|
|Support via chat|
|Support via email|
Unlike some tools that require users to download a piece of software to use them, both Ahrefs and SerpWatch work outside of these constraints. The reason for this is that they are both web-based SaaS tools, i.e., centrally hosted software licensed on a subscription basis.
One benefit of this type of software is having better means of access, which is quite significant for companies with a large number of users. They need to be able to log into the same tool at all times and from multiple devices.
Also, with web-based tools, keyword rank tracking in bulk is easy and quick, while the information gathered is more useful to the users.
You don’t have to be immersed in the SEO world for long to hear about Ahrefs. For a large number of marketers, it’s the go-to tool for all things SEO. Even our team here at SerpWatch prefers using Ahrefs to other similar tools. However, after having the opportunity to locate its shortcomings, we have created a better solution.
Even though the Ahrefs tool is primarily a backlink analysis software, that’s not all it offers. Here’s what they have in their proverbial toolshed:
Ahrefs’ solution for keyword position monitoring is just one of the things you get if you decide that it’s worth opening your wallet to buy this tool. By all accounts, you will be able to get regular status reports to check how your website ranks for your desired set of keywords. You will be able to choose a region you want to monitor (country, state, city), as well as cover both desktop and mobile rankings (but this will depend on your subscription plan).
Conversely, these and many, many more keyword rank tracking features are available with SerpWatch as well.
To see all the ways SerpWatch is different from Ahrefs in this respect, read on.
Ahrefs’ User Interface is Crowded
As previously stated, Ahrefs is a well-rounded software, with lots of SEO tools available directly from the dashboard. However, while its users may expect to have access to this many features for the amount of money they are paying, it can also be overwhelming at first. For example, some users have stated that they find SEO ranking reports to be incomprehensible, so this is an area that deserves more attention. Others say that they don’t feel like they have the chance to utilize all the features because there are just too many.
Moreover, Ahrefs users have stated that they have trouble locating all the options they want to use without having gone through some kind of training or an onboarding process. However, it stands to logic that once you get some practice under your belt, getting around Ahrefs won’t be so confusing anymore.
SerpWatch’s User Interface Is Clean and Intuitive
Having trouble navigating SerpWatch is, however, a non-issue. As a true alternative to Ahrefs, its user interface is modern in style and easy to use. The dashboard gives a clear overview of the number of your tracked projects and keywords. It also shows you the number of keywords that have moved up since the last check, haven’t changed positions, or have moved down, respectively.
Directly below, you can search your projects by name, select how many you want to see on the page, add or delete any, and even toggle their order.
This Ahrefs alternative software lets you see general information about each individual project (the number of keywords tracked and their movement changes, rank checking frequency, location, search engine, and selected language). You can also manage individual projects from the dashboard by opting to edit any of the existing ones, edit notifications on the project level, set up reporting, or delete the projects you no longer want to follow.
SerpWatch Provides an Elaborate Project Overview
Unlike the somewhat user-hostile project overview in Ahrefs’ rank tracker, SerpWatch enables users to get a thorough understanding of their keyword ranking results. You can achieve this with the following elements:
SerpWatch Neatly Displays Advanced SERP Features
This keyword rank tracking software gives you additional information upon clicking on a keyword to inspect its movement.
If you need insights into the advanced SERP features for the keywords you are tracking, this is where you can find them. In terms of content type, you can get information on whether your keyword appears in a piece of written text, image, video, as well as its location in the search result section—featured snippet, people-also-ask-box, or custom rankings.
Tons of Advanced Keyword Data
Both Ahrefs and SerpWatch provide data such as the average keyword position, your website’s estimated keyword traffic, keyword position distribution, as well as an overview of SERP features. You will also be able to see how many of your keywords are in the top spots, what they are, and which ones have moved up or down in rank.
In both tools, you can add even more keywords to track straight from the dashboard by simply typing them in. This is useful if you want to add keywords to track your website rank on the go instead of having to upload a text or CSV file every time, which is necessary with some rank trackers.
Ahrefs Can Be Very Slow
Since the Ahrefs SEO tool wasn’t initially conceived as a piece of software for monitoring ranking changes, it’s only logical that its focus lies elsewhere—in backlink analysis. While this is good for getting the most out of your package deal, it also means that Ahrefs hasn’t had enough time or interest to perfect its “side tools” so far.
In this sense, the quality of Ahrefs data may be just high enough for the users to overlook any discrepancies with tools like SerpWatch—whose focus is on tracking website ranking specifically, and as such, does not compromise information quality.
However, what many Ahrefs users have noticed and complained about is the speed with which the tool fetches requested data. In other words, Ahrefs can, more often than not, be painfully slow, which is unacceptable when you have in mind the fast-paced world of SEO and the impatience that stirs up in people.
Not only that, but the technology used for building the Ahrefs ranking software requires it to cover too much ground, which makes it unable to crawl your website as fast or frequently as you would like.
SerpWatch Is Highly Responsive and Accurate
On the other hand, SerpWatch users have stated that it works quite snappy, thus giving them the liberty to transition from one section or feature to another and get the necessary data almost instantaneously.
Not every software can boast about speed AND accuracy in the same sentence, but SerpWatch can.
SerpWatch is the best alternative to Ahrefs because it uses the latest developing technology. It scrapes search engines more frequently and with a more narrow focus to provide accurate keyword ranking information for the chosen terms. Hence, SerpWatch doesn’t get sidetracked by retrieving information that would be useful for other SEO aspects, making it faster and more precise in delivering data.
Such qualities are definitely valuable if you want to know the ranking information for your keywords as it changes. SerpWatch also gives you notifications so you can react in a timely manner to keep, achieve, or retain your desired rankings.
Filtering data you want to see in any rank tracker tool, especially the one you are paying for, can be the deciding factor for choosing the appropriate SEO software. The more you can do with the information you are getting, the more value you get from the tool.
As luck (or brains) would have it, both Ahrefs and SerpWatch generate and provide a lot of important SEO data.
Aside from the website traffic insights, advanced keyword data, SERP features, and competition comparison you get in both tools, you also have the option of adding notes to every single keyword position you find important. For example, you can add a comment in cases of remarkable keyword movements, or when it seems that a Google algo update is responsible for a change in the rankings.
Moreover, you can assign cross-project tags to any keywords you deem fit, making it easier for yourself to group the phrases in a way other than according to domains, projects (or even languages), and navigate later on in the website rank tracker.
Furthermore, both tools have the option of tracking your keywords in a large number of locations and languages. However, SerpWatch has a slight advantage here, since it lets you set the two parameters independently from one another.
Conversely, Ahrefs limits your selection of languages according to the countries in which they are officially or most frequently spoken.
Ahrefs Doesn’t Keep Historical Data for Long
While both SerpWatch and Ahrefs offer comparison for up to five of your most relevant (and probably the fiercest) competitors, keeping historical data for a prolonged amount of time doesn’t seem to be a priority for the Ahrefs rank tracker tool.
Depending on the plan, Ahrefs gives you access to historical rank data only for 3–12 months back. For users who want to have a clearer picture of their keyword performance for longer periods, Ahrefs doesn’t provide nearly enough data to present a documented view of the keyword movement trends.
All SerpWatch Plans Offer Unlimited Historical Data
On the other hand, SerpWatch imposes no such limitations on its users and doesn’t limit access to their data. This Ahrefs alternative lets you see all your keyword ranking data for however far back you have been using it. No matter the pricing plan you choose, your data is only a click away at all times and for as far back as you need it.
SerpWatch Gives Context to Data
SerpWatch provides multiple graphical representations of acquired data over time, aside from just displaying hard numbers—Ranking, Featured Snippet, Google Analytics, Revenue, and Competitors. All of these give context to the keyword ranking movements, making it easier for the user to track a keyword’s movement and placement, how it fares against the data from Google Analytics, what the estimated revenue projections are, and how you fare against the competition.
What makes SerpWatch different from Ahrefs and similar tools in this respect is that it gives greater significance to each Google algorithm update by representing how they affect keyword position changes across all of its charts. Conversely, Ahrefs provides data on the time of adding or removing keywords from tracking.
In terms of data coverage, SerpWatch and Ahrefs greatly differ.
Ahrefs Tracks Keywords Only on Google
For all intents and purposes, Ahrefs is limited to being solely a Google ranking tool, since that is the only search engine for which it tracks keyword ranking. While Google is the most relevant search engine of them all, with 63,000 of searches performed daily, you have to admit that this is a pretty big limitation for those using Ahrefs.
SerpWatch Covers All Major Search Engines
In contrast, SerpWatch lets you track keywords on Google, Yandex, Yahoo, and Bing. Moreover, the best Ahrefs alternative—SerpWatch—will soon be able to offer a comparison of different search engine data. With this many platforms available to expose your website, your chances of being front and center in front of your potential customers are growing significantly higher.
Not only that, but SerpWatch also gives users the opportunity to track keyword rank with respect to several Google and Bing indexes, thus showing which subpages have the biggest potential for an excellent ranking. Some of them are Google.com, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Google News, and Bing Map Pack.
Global and Local Rank Tracking
Both Ahrefs and SerpWatch are able to track keyword rank on a global level—in almost all world countries, all US states, and cities.
However, for now, the Ahrefs alternative, SerpWatch, is only focused on gathering and providing global and country-specific ranking data. A US state/city option is currently in development, and this is one of SerpWatch’s strengths. Since it can boast an extremely high accuracy level, this is an opportunity for all the users who cannot get accurate data on regions outside of the US to get it instantly.
Desktop and Mobile Index Available in All Plans in SerpWatch
Being able to monitor how your keywords rank across both desktop and mobile devices seems like one of the essential requirements of any SEO tool. Therefore, SerpWatch has sites like Ahrefs beaten here as well, as it provides the data on mobile rankings in all its pricing plans, unlike Ahrefs, which has allowed access to this feature only to its higher-plan subscribers.
Another one of the biggest demands of every similar software is to be quick and accurate. Moreover, not only does the tool have to work fast, the data has to be up to date at all times in order to be valuable to the users who demand it. In the fast-paced world of SEO, a quick reaction to any changes can make or break a marketing campaign, so having a reliable SERP rank tracking tool is a must.
Ahrefs Rarely Provides Updates
In keeping with the fact that Ahrefs’ focus is not on its rank tracker, it doesn’t provide frequent updates on keyword position movements. Aside from weekly updates in the lowest plan, Ahrefs enables users to get ranking updates once every five or three days in the higher and more costly plans.
The highest updating frequency in Ahrefs is once per day—and it seems that you can only get these updates by manually refreshing the data. According to Ahrefs reviews, from the time records are updated to the time you manually verify data, quite a few hours may pass.
This can prove to be very problematic if you pay a lot of attention to the rankings of your keywords, as you will be unable to monitor the changes when they happen or perform actions that can rectify any negative changes in ranking.
SerpWatch Offers Very Frequent Tracking Updates
As one of the best alternatives to Ahrefs, SerpWatch can perform automated checks with exceptionally high frequency. Being highly aware of how important it is to have current data available at all times, it has the option to check keyword ranking every one, two, six, 12, and 24 hours. This is especially useful to those users who want to monitor their ranking situation very closely as part of their ongoing SEO efforts.
SerpWatch will alert you immediately of any changes you want to receive notifications about—all of which you can set up in the app.
Ahrefs Practically Has No Notification System in Place
If you care about your keyword rankings and want to receive immediate notifications on any changes that affect your search engine optimization, Ahrefs cannot help you there.
Why? Because it has no keyword position change notification system in place.
If you want to be in the know about the situation, you either have to check manually in its keyword rank tracker tool or wait for the scheduled email updates. Depending on your subscription plan, you can receive these emails once a month (in the lowest plan), on a weekly and monthly basis (in middle-range plans), or every day, week, or month if you are willing to pay the highest price.
Nevertheless, even these options may not be as relevant as you might need them to be, depending on your subscription plan and the chosen update frequency. In other words, you may check your rankings manually twice a day, but if your Ahrefs pricing plan includes only five-day updates, the displayed information will be the same until the next update and, therefore, outdated.
Customizable and Actionable Notifications in SerpWatch
If you need frequent keyword position updates, you will most certainly want to receive timely notifications about the changes. SerpWatch shares the same logic, so it’s made available immediate notifications about various types of ranking changes:
You have complete control over your notifications in SerpWatch. You can decide on which level to receive notifications—for entire projects (all the keywords), some keywords, or none at all.
Moreover, you can determine how big position changes have to be for you to be notified about them (e.g., three places up, 12 places down, breaking in the first 10 or falling below #40).
You can also choose between three channels to be notified in: via email, in a dedicated Slack channel, or through a Zapier-triggered task.
Whatever works for you—SerpWatch, the truest alternative to Ahrefs, can make it happen if you set it up correctly.
The same way you need frequent keyword position updates and immediate change notifications, it stands to reason that you also need to be able to act upon them in a timely manner. This is precisely what SerpWatch has made possible and easy.
Integration with Google Analytics and Developer APIs
Both Ahrefs and SerpWatch can easily be integrated with Google Analytics and developer APIs in all pricing plans. This way, you can get more comprehensive data and a better context for the information provided by your search engine position tracker.
Zapier Integration with SerpWatch
In order to make the provided data as actionable as possible, SerpWatch can be integrated with Zapier as well. Therefore, when a ranking position change of your choice is detected, Zapier enables SerpWatch to create trigger-based tasks so that you or your team members can perform adequate action. Hence, the notifications you get from SerpWatch are now translated into relevant activities as part of your SEO strategy.
One of the most sought-after features in today’s SEO tools certainly is white labeling—the ability to brand reports for your clients, generated by third-party tools, with your company logo. Marketing agencies, in particular, love this option as it adds to their credibility and brand image as a whole.
Ahrefs Demands the Use of Their Logo
It is impossible to brand Ahrefs’ reports before sending them to your clients. Ahrefs requires you to use its name as a data source, and you must leave their logo in the report—you cannot even add your own beside it.
SerpWatch Offers Customizable Reports and White Label
SerpWatch has listened to user requests and has implemented white labeling in its rank tracker. You can customize the appearance of the branded reports you send to your clients by branding them as your own (a feature that originated in SerpWatch). You can also choose which metrics you want to generate the reports for, in what format, and for which time frame. You can also choose if you want to send them directly from the tool or just download them. With the SerpWatch rank tracker, you can do all the things Ahrefs hasn’t made possible.
Moreover, agencies are able to set up individual Client Portals, from which their customers will be able to access SerpWatch and keep track of ranking results regarding their own keywords. No longer do you have to take your agency’s word for it, you can follow the progress on your own.
When it comes to pricing models designed by Ahrefs and the Ahrefs cheaper alternative—SerpWatch, things differ quite a lot.
Ahrefs Is an Expensive SEO Tool
Ahrefs’ lowest plan (Lite plan) costs $99 per month and allows the tracking of 500 keywords within no more than five projects and with one user account at a time. This means that if a few people try sharing the same account, one user will be logged out of the app when another one logs in.
Coupled with the fact that none of the users can access the Ahrefs’ rank tracker while it is under maintenance or being updated, this has proven to be quite a big drawback. Therefore, a large number of users believe they are paying too much for such a limited tool availability.
Moreover, in the lowest plan, data is available only for desktop rankings and is updated only once a week, while the users are notified of their keyword position changes on a monthly basis via email.
Ahrefs’ plans get a little bit richer as their costs rise, but not by much. You get more keywords to track, more projects to sort them in, and eventually get to see mobile rankings as well. However, the number of users stays pretty limited, along with the data updates and the email notifications frequencies.
The next Ahrefs plan—Standard—is priced at $179/month and gives one user access to track 1,500 keywords in 10 projects. The cost of Ahrefs’ Advanced plan is $399/month in which three team users get to track 5,000 keywords in 25 projects, while the highest—Agency plan—allows five users to track 10,000 keywords in 100 projects for $999/month.
Furthermore, Ahrefs doesn’t offer a free trial period for its tools. The best you get is a 7-day trial where you can choose to sample either of the lowest two Ahrefs’ plans—Lite or Standard—for $7. Also, once you officially subscribe to any of the plans, you can request one Demo tour per month.
Considering the above, you will be overpaying Ahrefs if you don’t use all of the tools in its toolbox, especially since there is no custom plan available.
SerpWatch Offers Affordable Pricing Plans
Services like Ahrefs cost too much. If you need a cheaper alternative to avoid the high pricing, SerpWatch is the rank tracker you’ve been looking for.
SerpWatch pricing plans are entirely scalable and completely flexible. Not only do they allow users to determine how many keywords they want to track, but also in what way and how quickly they will be spending their tracking credits.
With the keyword volume range going from five to 100,000 keywords to track, SerpWatch can accommodate the needs of a wide variety of users in need of an accurate rank tracker—individuals, small businesses, agencies, large corporations, etc.
Like Ahrefs, SerpWatch, too, has the options of subscribing to monthly or annual plans—yearly plans come with a 10% discount—and you can upgrade or downgrade your plan as you need it. Here’s how affordable the SerpWatch subscription plans are:
Let’s compare this with the Ahrefs pricing. Their lowest plan costs $99/month, where you get only 500 keyword checks per month and limited access to other features.
However, that’s not the case with SerpWatch, which grants all users uninterrupted access to all of its features regardless of the plan they choose—advanced tracking metrics, unlimited number of users and domains, historical data available forever, etc.
Not only that, but you are also able to choose how frequently you want SERPs checks in multiple search engines, locations, and devices. That way, you never have to pay for what you don’t use (which is not the case with the Ahrefs plans) and control the pace at which you are spending your tracking credits.
Moreover, all of SerpWatch’s features are available in its free 15-day trial period, as well as in the free Demo mode—which requires no sign-in and has no additional costs. Plus, the users of all plans get access to the developer API, tracking from both desktop and mobile devices, and pricing perks over time. So if you are an Ahrefs user looking for a cheaper alternative or an SEO professional searching for a piece of software with versatile pricing plans, SerpWatch has got you covered.
Who could ask for anything more?
When it comes to signing up for new tools, especially those a bit overwhelming, like Ahrefs, having access to constant support can be the decisive point in whether or not you continue to use and pay for them after some time.
Ahrefs Has Solid Support
Since developing the new SEO rank tracking software, Ahrefs has upped their game when it comes to supporting potential new users. They have created a lot of tutorials (educational videos, how-to blog posts, and a private Facebook community).
However, Ahrefs’ customer support department is available only Monday through Friday via chat and email, with many users complaining about the level of accommodation on their part.
SerpWatch Support Is Better
You will find that SerpWatch can offer you better support. Reachable anytime via email or chat, we will do our best to help you resolve any issues you might have as soon as possible.
What is more, SerpWatch is an Ahrefs alternative that is here for you from the start. From the moment you first log into your newly created account, there is an in-app tutorial to help you go through all the important steps (create a project, add keywords, etc.). If you, however, prefer learning on your own, there is a rich Knowledge Base with specific and helpful step-by-step instructions at your disposal.