I have had many small to medium sized businesses ask me this question. I know many businesses go into the SERPs daily and weekly to search and see where they are ranking for different keywords. They are perfectly happy doing it, but they are devoting a good amount of time doing so.
I have paid for SERP tracking for years because it saves me tons of time and time is money. I know many businesses are trying to cut back on expenses and use money wisely. I get it, but I want to break down the reasons why paying for SERP tracking software or services is a good idea no matter how small your budget it.
Do the Math
When you manually check the SERPs to determine rankings for keywords it takes a lot of time and the work has to be done multiple ways to rule out personalized search and also to determine where you stand locally. If you have to check even just 50 keywords by hand weekly and/or monthly you are losing hours of time and money.
Determine what you or your business needs to make hourly to succeed. If your employee is searching manually for terms and you pay them hourly you could be spending more on the employee’s SERP research work than you would pay for a monthly SERP tracking option. Are you losing money on the hours the employee is doing this type or work?
If you are doing the manual searches yourself you have to ask yourself what you need to be making hourly and then determine if your time/money is best spent doing manual searches. If you need $150 an hour with client work to pay the bills and tracking software is $99 a month what makes sense to you?
Why I Pay
I pay because when I do the math the monthly cost of SERP tracking with Authority Labs actually saves me money. There is no lost time doing manual searches all the time (which is what, back-in-the-day, had to be done). I can just login and see what is ranking, what isn’t and what improvements have been made.
I also no longer have to document all the time because the information I need is all saved and ready for me when I need it. Documentation takes time as well, which is money spent/lost.
I don’t know what is best for your business, but I can tell you that if you track the number of hours spent manually SERP tracking you will most likely find that it would save you money to invest in a tracking service.