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One Blogger’s Review of Wincher: The WordPress Plugin for Keyword Rank Tracking

If only the Babel Fish existed in real life—not just in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

When you’re trying to learn a new language, foreign words look like weird squiggles and the people speaking sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

You might bump into exactly the same problem when you’re trying to learn about keywords, SEO and content strategy—after all, the internet has its own language.

Well, luckily there actually is a Babel Fish for SEO. It’s called Wincher.

It’s a godsend to bloggers and content marketers who work in WordPress and who need to track keywords. Having your keyword tracker right inside WordPress makes the SEO tasks so much easier and more enjoyable!

No more clicking between web pages and your SEO tools. It’s all in one place.

There’s more to Wincher too, as it’s one of the most user-friendly keyword trackers I’ve ever tried to date. Everything is displayed and explained clearly, so you’ll have a complete understanding of how your content is performing, even if you’re a complete beginner.

Read on for the whole experience.

Wincher Review

The Free Version of Wincher

Features: Basic Rank Tracking for 1 Domain and 5 Keywords

The free version of Wincher allows you to test plugin and website features free of charge. You can use this plan for one domain with a maximum of 5 keywords to monitor.

That’s admittedly not a lot to work with.

Wincher will update your rankings weekly and report the SERP changes in a graph and in the form of “up” and “down” arrows to tell you whether your content earned or lost positions in Google.

You can signup for Wincher when you set up the plugin in WordPress to start using it, there is no need to register to the website prior to installing the plugin.

 

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Keywords in the free version of Wincher (plugin)

 

The free version of Wincher doesn’t display ranking paths for the five keywords you monitor, so you have to manually go to Google and check your position, or use another keyword rank checking tool such like the one provided SERPs.com.

Keyword grouping and bulk keyword import, two other powerful features available in the paid mode, aren’t available either.

So why start with this free plan and then decide to upgrade?

Mainly, you’re going to witness with your own eyes if Wincher is the right keyword tracking solution for you. Wincher is a streamlined and user-friendly suite for keyword tracking only, so it might not be enough if you need more monitoring tools, like backlink tracking tools.

In the case that you need more than keyword tracking alone, or in the case that you need more data about the keywords you’re tracking, you’ll need to consider a more comprehensive SEO tool like Monitor Backlinks instead.

Starting with the free trial gives you the time and space to experiment (without paying a penny). For example, you could start with the free trial of Wincher and the free 30-day trial of Monitor Backlinks. This would give you a pretty good idea of what you need (or don’t).

Also, tracking your most critical five keywords is never a waste of time, and you can always add more when you upgrade.

The Upgraded Version of Wincher

Features: 100 Keywords and More

When you upgrade, you get the whole package of Wincher tools and daily updates instead of weekly.

Upgrading is far from being expensive!

In fact, Wincher offers an interesting à la carte pricing model to its users: You can add as many websites to the account as you wish and Wincher will charge its fees the following month based on how many websites were added.

The first domain you add costs you €6/month (about 7 USD) and each additional domain costs another €3/month (about 3.50 USD). One hundred keywords are included per domain, but after that they’ll charge you €3 (about 3.50 USD) for every 100 additional keywords.

So, that works out to about $10.50 per month for two domains and 200 keywords. Not too bad!

 

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The sections below will introduce you to the upgraded version of Wincher—the plugin and the website.

An Introduction to the Full Wincher WordPress Plugin, from Setup to Keyword Tracking

After some introductory words, it’s now time to dive deep into the how-to of this cool plugin!

Step 1. First things first: Log in to your WordPress Dashboard and install the Wincher plugin using the WordPress repository (search for “Wincher”) under Plugins → Add New.

Step 2. Once you’re done with installing and activating the plugin, the fun begins: Go to your Dashboard sidebar and look for the Wincher tab near the top.

Step 3. Click it to begin the setup—this is an easy-peasy wizard, so no headaches: Just input your first and last name, your email address, some keywords to start monitoring your rankings and a few competitors.

Step 4. You’re set to go! Wincher will retrieve your positions within 24 hours and report them in the graph. You’ll start getting daily (or weekly, for free accounts) ranking data trends you can work with.

Step 5. Once the setup is done and your rankings have been updated, refresh the Wincher plugin page (or click it again from the tab) to start working with it.

Now let’s review the plugin features:

 

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As you open the Wincher panel, you’ll see:

  • The number of keywords you added and the competitors you recorded.
  • The data period (one week to five years) that you want displayed.
  • A graph with all your tracked keywords, with a different color assigned to each keyword, so you can distinguish them at first glance. You can zoom the graph, send it via email or export it as a CSV or PDF file. You can also selectively exclude keywords to see a focused graph.
  • A keyword table with their ranking URL, position in the SERPs, change in positions with respect to the last recorded ranking and the search volume for that keyword.

In the list of keywords, you can order keywords per ranking or group (keyword groups are a feature only for paid plan).

To import more keywords, you can use the Bulk Import link to upload a CSV or TXT file including your keywords, one per line.

 

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You’ll see a list of Alerts (ranking changes and achievements) and a list of competitors.

Then, there’s the competitors feature. You have full control of your competitors table on the Wincher website. The plugin only allows you to add competitors to a list.

 

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You’ll see more of these tools on the Wincher website when you create an account and link it to the plugin.

Read the section below for a thorough review of the rest of Wincher’s tools.

More Than a Plugin: A Review of Wincher’s Website Features

As soon as you log in to Wincher, click the My Websites button on the top menu to see an overview of how all your websites are faring.

 

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Choose a website and click on its domain name to open the Dashboard.

Wincher immediately gives you an overview keyword trends for the chosen domain and current positions in Google SERPs.

This is the same overview you saw displayed in the Wincher plugin on WordPress: A table containing the last best rankings and the graph showing keyword position changes.

In the Dashboard you can select which ranking data period you want to view (like on the plugin, you have up to five years of rankings) and which keywords you want to display in the graph (use the drop-down menu to see all added keywords and the trend per single keyword).

 

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Here, you can view the last position or opt to view all keywords in the Top 10 (<10) or Top 100 (<100) positions in the SERPs. You can even filter keywords that contain the same term.

Watch what happens when I search the term “freelance” for my website in the screenshot above. This filter returns five keywords (all including the word “freelance”) and their related graph.

 

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This page mainly shows you the same keyword trends you found in the plugin: How SERP positions have changed over time, best keyword rankings listed in order down to the worst-performing keywords, plus a keyword graph to illustrate it all.

The keyword table, as in the plugin, displays a list of your tracked keywords with rankings, and lets you order the keywords by SERP position, position change, CPC and search volume.

Keyword Groups

I mentioned Wincher’s keyword grouping feature. Now let’s get into a little more detail about it.

Wincher allows you to assign keywords to custom Groups that you can create either within the plugin or directly on the website.

A good practice for Group creation is to make the group relevant to your SEO goals: For example, if you find yourself constantly needing to monitor branded keywords, you can create a Group named “Branded” and monitor that group of keywords as an isolated collection.

I found it helpful to select groups of keywords by priority. First, I choose those that have at least some search traffic already, and mark those as part of a higher priority group in Wincher. The ones that don’t get searched usually are rare, branded keywords that need more work until users start searching them in Google. I’ll label these as part of the Branded group and keep an eye on how they do.

An example: The keyword “how to start a blog” returns 49,500 average monthly searches (using SearchVolume.io) so I will make it High Priority.

Next, I can try to brand this keyword for my blog (Biz Character Blogging, about character blogging) by adding the term “character” to the mix. This gives me the keyword “how to start a character blog,” which is a critical topic for my blog and I absolutely want it to rank in page one of Google for it—but in doing so, I’m also trying to rank for the highly-searched “parent” keyword (“how to start a blog”).

Mixing branded words with keywords that get searches is a strategy that works pretty nicely for me. But that’s just one way you might use the Grouping feature.

Now let’s move on with the other sections (tabs) in Wincher:

  • Keyword Research
  • Competitors
  • Reporting
  • Notifications
  • Annotations

Keyword Research

Under this tab you can grab Wincher’s keyword suggestions and add them to the list of tracked keywords.

Below is an example from my The Pen Thinker blog, showing interesting keyword suggestions such like “how to make money blogging for beginners” and “sensory processing disorder” (both of which I deal with and write about):

 

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This table tells us if our site was seen in the first 100 results for each suggested keyword within the last year, how many words compose the keyword, its search volume, competition and CPC.

Let’s take the keyword “sensory processing disorder” as an example. The search volume is high and I want to add it to my list of tracked keywords (and I might even brand it as “freelance writing with a sensory processing disorder”).

I will select the keyword, click the “Bulk action” drop-down menu, and choose “Add to website.”

Another way I can do this is clicking the “+” green button next to the keyword, after CPC.

Wincher will take a few minutes to load ranking positions for the new keyword.

I have to admit, many of my keywords for this website come from Wincher’s keyword suggestions.

Competitors

This is the place where you can compare your ranking results with competitor results!

For each keyword you added to Wincher, this page display your rankings against that of your competitors to see who of you is doing better in Google.

 

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In the screenshot above, for example, Make A Living Writing outranks my The Pen Thinker for “freelance writing challenges” and “freelance writing myths,” while Smart Blogger outranks both of us for “how to make money blogging.”

The interesting feature of this table is the possibility to click the ranking position to view exactly what page is ranking in the SERPs! You have this option for your own rankings, but it’s fantastic to have the same open door even for competitors.

Here’s an example for “freelance writing myths”:

 

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Reporting

This is where you can tell Wincher to send you email notification, choose the sending frequency and on what day of the week you want to receive the report.

Your reports can be daily, weekly or monthly (I chose weekly, on Monday), and include specific options such like the ranking data period and various content options (graph, ranking path, position and so on).

 

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You can customize the language of the report (Swedish or US English), order table by position or other items (keywords, etc.) and upload your own logo.

You can also preview the report as a PDF if you wish.

Not bad for such an inexpensive tool! And the report is pretty and professional enough to send to a client or a team member:

 

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A report preview for The Pen Thinker

Notifications

Here you get to choose whether you want to get notifications for Alerts or Successes.

Alerts and Successes are Wincher’s way to communicate ranking position changes and to celebrate your big achievements (for example, you managed to rank #1 for one of your keywords, like the example below).

 

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You can even tweet your successes! And this is nice—we all love to brag and impress our clients from time to time, don’t we?

Here’s what the tweet looks like:

 

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The link in the tweet is a shareable statistics, which honestly made me love Wincher even more.

This is a live link to that keyword success milestone and below you can see a screenshot:

 

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Annotations

This section is your “notepad” in Wincher to track SEO changes, plan a keyword strategy and note down any to-dos that come to your mind as you work in Wincher.

 

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It’s a good idea to keep keyword-related plans always handy as you use the tool.

The Pros of Wincher for Content Marketers

Because I do content marketing for both my clients and my own websites, I’ll tell you what “easy” translates to when it comes to Wincher.

Easy to Use, Time Saver

I found Wincher one of the easiest, cleanest and most user-friendly keyword rank trackers I’ve used so far, with the added benefit of being installed and updated directly in WordPress.

It saved me a lot of time and avoided multitasking, since I didn’t have to jump between Wincher and other software, including my own site.

All I had to do was opening the Wincher panel to see how my keywords were faring in the SERPs—and decide the next step from there. Rankings are updated every 24 hours for upgraded accounts, but even as a former free account I was able to get a lot of work done with the weekly updates.

Great Price and Technical Support

Wincher is a very inexpensive solution and it is good even for small teams and solo webmasters who want to do serious SEO without spending a fortune.

The price model I discussed earlier also makes it hassle-free to add websites without the immediate concern for upcoming free. If your team’s budget is uncertain until the end of the month, Wincher definitely comes to your rescue. (This is my situation and it fit it perfectly.)

Wincher comes with a great tech support team that responds quickly to tickets. When I could no longer access my account after my trial period expired, I contacted support and they manually reactivated my account so that I could renew.

A word of caution here: Because the account gets deactivated after it expires, make sure to renew at least one or two days before the renewal due date.

I think this is something Wincher should work on, since anything might happen to delay the renewal of a subscription and it’s important to be able to access the account (even with obscured data) even after it expired to renew it later.

Final Thoughts on Wincher

Wincher is a very simple tool, it doesn’t take long to learn how to use, but it’s a powerful keyword rank tracker for content teams on a budget that still want a quality tool to work with.

To date, Wincher stays one of my favorite keyword rank trackers and I went out of my way to get my subscription back to life after it expired and I could no longer access the account. Can you imagine?

While definitely not as complex as a big suite like Monitor Backlinks, it’s a good option if all you want is a keyword tracker that includes only the essentials for the job.

I invite you to give Wincher a try and see if it suits your needs as well.

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