SERP APIs can be a great bit of kit for SEO professionals. They offer an easy way to access structured SERP data, saving any manual searching you might otherwise have to do manually to find competitors, featured snippets, results for Google images, and other accurate data from the Google results pages.
They can also be used as an alternative to many of the expensive SEO tools that we all use (and probably underutilize), helping to streamline your SEO, drive down cost, and increase efficiency by slimming down the assortment of tools you pay for each month, while automating manual processes in your workflow.
I wrote this article for two reasons, the first—providing a list of the best SERP API solutions that let you get started for free—and second, to give those just starting to automate their SEO workflow a jumping off point for how and why they might use a Google SERP API.
If you’ve come here specifically for SERP API tools, jump straight to that part of the article using the link below. For anyone new to SERP APIs, keep reading for more about what they are and how you might use them for SEO.
For full-disclosure, many of the providers that made it to my list include affiliate links which, should you decide to purchase them, I may make a commission from.
Who is this SERP API resource for?
I’m a huge advocate of SEOs learning to program. Personally, I think if you work in SEO and don’t have an active interest in picking up some programming skills you’re missing out on opportunities to maximize the efficiency and scale of your SEO campaigns.
If you’re just starting to think about SEO automation, a SERP scraper API is a great next step after the free APIs that Google offers. They can be incredibly powerful, letting you automate any work or research you currently do manually on Google.
Unlike the more premium tools many of us use, SERP APIs are very affordable—offering access to SERP data for a fraction of the cost of tools like SEM Rush and Ahrefs. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can use them to automate everything from keyword research and keeping track of rankings, to outreach, basic site audits, and competitor analysis—replacing many of the tools and services you use currently.
Right—with the intro done, let’s move on to the topic at hand—SERP API tools; why use them and which are the best SERP API tools that you can start with for free.
What is a SERP API and what can you do with them?
For anyone unfamiliar, a SERP scraping API is a tool that retrieves structured data from the SERP—or “Search Engine Results Pages”. Put simply—they’re like web scrapers specifically for Google that make it easy to scrape search results, but instead of returning raw html, they return parsed JSON. This makes the SERP data collected from these APIs incredibly easy to use in other scripts and tools.
These tools make collecting data of all sorts from the SERP possible—with most including everything from organic and paid results, related queries, People Also Ask (PPA), and featured snippets, to other search features, like jobs, maps, local listings, and google images. Essentially, if you can see it in the Google SERP, you can retrieve it via API.
This could include things utilizing PPA and related searches in your keyword research, finding backlink and guest posting opportunities with advanced search operators, finding internal link opportunities—if you can do it on Google, you can automate it with a SERP API.
101 things you can do with a Google SERP API
OK, so it’s not 101 things—although this would make an interesting article. And while I did consider providing a lengthy list, I felt that this post was too long already. So instead, I’ll briefly outline how I use them, offering a jumping off point for anyone just getting started.
The first way I use Google SERP APIs is to automate repetitive tasks that would otherwise involve lots of manual searching using advanced search operators. This includes everything from outreach—creating lists of targets for guest posts and link insertion—to finding internal link opportunities on my own sites and basic analysis of ranked competitors, all from a simple search query.
The second way I use them is to extract URLs of ranked competitors, so that I can run these through various scripts and tools to audit or extract relevant SEO data. In particular, things relating to content—like headings, word count, and other bits and pieces, which help me better optimize my own content.
These are all topics I’ll try to post about in the future, so be sure to come back for those!
Before we get into the best SERP APIs, here a few honorable mentions
Before I get into my picks, there are a few honorable mentions. The most notable is SerpApi—which with it’s range of advanced features and functionalities, is amazing. So why did I leave it out? Well, it’s not cheap.
While its range of APIs—particularly the Google autocomplete and Google trends APIs—are amazing for SEOs, for this article they’re a little overkill, as this is strictly about Google SERP APIs. Because these extras come at a significant cost, making the product considerably more expensive, I decided to omit SerpAPI from my round-up.
Another thing I’m not too concerned about are other major search engines, beyond Google. I’m in the West, so it’s all about Google—in fact, it’s probably debatable if the other search engines, with less than 10% market share between them, can even be considered “major search engines” at this point. This isn’t true for other markets, in particular Asia, where domestic players dominate—but for me and this article—I’m only interested in Google.
If you’re looking for a SERP API for search engines like Baidu, Yandex, and Naver—SerpAPI is a great choice, as it supports each of these international search engines.
While it’s not important to me, if a given SERP API offers support for multiple search engines or functionality that lets you do more than just collect data from a search engine results page I will include it.
There were also a few providers that weren’t included due to limited features—with these being more like rank tracking APIs than those to capture structured data from search engine result pages—lacking the features I would want to utilize them in my SEO efforts.
Such products won’t feature here—I’ve only included those that can be used to extract at least organic rankings, paid listings, people also ask, and related searches. That said, each product below will include a list of the SERP features that they offer, which should make making a decision easier.
Lastly, I’ve also only included those that let you get started for free, offering either a free trial or forever-free tier. With so many to choose from, you may as well try-before-you-buy. I go into more details about the criteria used to include and rank a specific vendor in this list in the section immediately after it—so give that a look for more detail if you’re interested.
SERP APIs you can get started with for free
🗸 Supports Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex
🗸 7-day free trial (up to 5k credits)
🗸 From $1.71 p/1K requests
🗸 Supports Google
🗸 Free trial (up to 40 requests)
🗸 From $2.49/1k requests
How were the products in this article chosen and how are they ranked?
I didn’t want this to be another “best SERP API” article, with an unnecessary 10+ vendors to choose from, with reviews and write-ups by someone who has not only never used any of these products, but probably wouldn’t even know where to begin!
I personally don’t understand the point of articles like these—they don’t get you any closer to being able to make a decision. Instead, I find a bulleted list for each vendor that includes a summary of features and pricing far more useful.
Each of these services is essentially the same, so I’d for one prefer to get the arbitrary decision of which one to use out of the way so I can focus on more useful things—like getting them up and running with my scripts.
For anyone interested in the criteria used to rank the SERP scraping API vendors given in the previous section—I’ve summarized these in the numbered list below:
1. Have a free trial or forever-free tier
The first bare minimum requirement for products that made it to this list was that they offer some way of getting started to free—either with a limited free trial, or better yet, a forever-free tier, offering a number of API requests free each month.
I’m a big fan of try-before-before-you-buy—it’s a pretty common feature of similar articles on this blog—and given the number of providers of SERP API services, all essentially offering the same thing, there’s no need to run in, credit card waving. Take advantage of the trial offers first—there are plenty of them!
2. Are full-featured SERP APIs—I’m not so bothered about the other bells and whistles
For me, a full-featured SERP API is one that at the very least lets you capture organic and paid results, related queries, and people also ask (PAA). Beyond this, other SERP features that together make up the SERP structure, like Maps, Local Listings, Knowledge Graph, Shopping, etc. (for me at least) a nice-to-have. This may not be the case for you, as of course use cases and requirements differ, but I thought it was important to set a bare minimum threshold for functionality.
What I’m really trying to do with this is to make the distinction between proper SERP APIs and a handful of others offered by some tools as a value add that inflates their offer, offering limited functionality and calling it a “SERP API”—when in fact, it’s closer to a basic rank tracking API if anything, returning keyword positions and search volumes. While these services are fine, and would be suitable for some, they’re not for me—which is why I found it important to keep such products off of my list.
I’ve also factored out other features and services beyond SERP scraping. Sure, some of these are great, like eCommerce and general web scraping—adding lots of value and utility—but for the purposes of this article, they’re not all that relevant (although I’ve mentioned dome of these above these).
3. From Reputable, well-known vendors with good reputation and uptime
Lastly, I’ve kept it to better-known providers, and not just anybody—you don’t want to integrate to a service that disappears as quickly as they popped up.
It’s also pretty critical to plug in to reliable sources of SERP data—especially if they’re a critical component of internal SEO systems or worse, paid-for services that you offer to third-parties.
Those who made it to the list all have an uptime of 99.99%, be able to handle high volume API requests, and have been around for some time—so no fly-by-night, here today gone tomorrow types to worry about if using any of the products or services in this article.
Beyond these minimum requirements, they’re ranked by price per API request
There are plenty of different Google SERP API providers to choose from, all more or less offering the same thing. This means that when it comes to pricing, you’re best off going with the service that offers the lowest cost per API request.
This means that beyond ensuring that a given product or service meets some basic level of parity when it comes features—which is what I did before shortlisting them here—it’s all about how much you pay for them.
As a result, the options that made it to my list are ranked primarily or order of price, with the cheapest first, giving you the most bang for your buck.
Why use a SERP API? Why not scrape the Google yourself?
Because it’s a pain! Setting up and managing all the infrastructure needed to reliably scrape Google and return accurate data is a lot of effort. Proxy server management, proxy network management, rotating IP addresses, SERP data validation, data parsing—all before you even write the code! Let the tool builders deal with the tool building—we just want the SERP data.
There are only a couple of situations where doing it yourself would make sense—either your requirement is so large that the cost savings make it worthwhile, or there’s no service currently that meets your specific requirements out-of-the-box.
Form anyone reading this article (I’m assuming we’re mostly SEO specialists with fairly limited requirements) it’s unlikely any of us fall into either category where it would make sense to build your own.
Summing it up
Well that’s it—my round-up of some of the better SERP API services available—along with a an overview of the why and how you might use them to automate some of your existing SEO processes that involve getting required data from Google search results.
These tools offer a quick and easy way to cut through the noise, getting what you need from the SERP in a fast, efficient, and effortless way, returning easy-to-use structured data. Utilizing advanced search operators to find exactly what you need is one way to do this, letting you automate many ongoing, repetitive SEO tasks with ease.
Such tasks could include everything from keeping track of rankings, keyword research, and basic site auditing, to creating lists of outreach targets, finding guest post opportunities, and extracting ranked competitor URLs for use in other scripts and third-party tools. In many ways, getting getting a good SERP API is one of the first step towards automating your SEO workflow.
These are just a few things you can use them for—but there’s obviously way more such a tool can do, as most (if not all, depending on the vendor) of the SERP can be extracted this way—letting you receive data of all kinds from the Google SERP, not just organic search engine results. This can include everything from map and local listings, to knowledge panels, jobs, and shopping results—which with a little bit of creativity, can all provide valuable insights about the keywords and phrases you’re trying to rank for.
They’re no-brainers in my view. Given the low cost, ease of use, and impact they can have on automating SEO processes and workflow—why wouldn’t you want to invest in a good SERP API that delivers data from Google with a simple API call? Especially when you can get one from a monthly price of sub-$30?
If you made it this far—thanks for reading! I hope this article has been of some use, and if you’re not using SERP scraper API yet for SEO, with any luck this article has made a strong case for them and you’re now thinking about it.