I am curious as to what software is recommended for doing serp checks...
I see that some of the available software's are beginning to charge for this service--are there better alternatives?
check this link tools.seobook.com/rank-checkers/
i hope it will solve your problem.
well, most of the time I check for my keywords SERP manually, and sometimes, I use datacenter checkers to have a better idea on how they rank, here are few tools
DCcheck.com - query google's datacenters
Google Data Center Multiple IP Address SEO Research Tool
I don't know about good rank checkers, but DO NOT USE WEB CEO!!! It's the biggest piece of trash on earth. It never gives me proper rank values for google because it doesn't know how to handle product search so your reports are 1 off sometimes. When you ask them to fix this bug, they tell you "no" even after you haid paid them for software.
Using automated SERPs tool are a violation of Googles Webmaster Guidelines. You still can check your rankings if you have setup Google Analytics: Track SEO rankings with Google Analytics - Yoast - Tweaking Websites
Google PageRank Checker - Check Google page rank of any web pages
Use this for checking your PR and for checking the position in the Google use
Samaprzyjemnosc.pl Seo Friendly Directory. Deep Links are Allowed.
May be this will help you.