What is Rank Tracking and Why is it Important for Effective SEO?

Rank Tracking

If you’re running a blog, one of the key measurements you must own is rank tracking.

Because when it comes to organic visibility, it’s all about your ranking and you need to make sure that your content marketing strategy is on the right path.

Besides, you’ve got to make sure that you are ranking for the best keywords and phrases above your competitors.

However, rank tracking can be an easy trap for SEO practitioners as they become fixated with their rankings, which can later turn into an issue of security.

To avoid that, it is important to know what you are looking for when it comes to tracking your site rankings to help find opportunities and guide towards success.

Before we begin, let’s understand what is rank tracking in SEO?

What is Rank Tracking?

What is Rank Tracking

Rank tracking is the consistent monitoring of your content’s ranking position on the search engine results page across different queries and keywords.

Although you can track your ranking for keywords manually by opening up a sheet and internet browser in incognito mode, it is not really reliable (…and trust me, the process is going to be tedious)

In fact, for years there was never really a reliable way to know for sure what kind of ranking you had overall in Google for any particular keywords.

You can always refer to Google’s Search Console as a keyword tracker:

1. Sign in to Google Search Console
2. Click on the name of your website (or click add site if you haven’t done so previously)
3. Refer to search analytics for “average position”

But take note that this number is an average, so your site may not actually have ranked in the exact position – either before or now.

For example, if your content has been ranked 2nd for half of the time and 4th for the other half of the time, your average ranking position would be 3rd.

Due to the continuous updates of Google’s ranking algorithm, rank tracking simply isn’t as straightforward as it used to be.

It will often fluctuate – from day to day and from week to week. In certain instances, you can even see how the ranking for your content vary in just a single day.

Before you start tracking your rankings, here are a few things you need to know:

  1. Rankings for Keywords Changes Every Hour
  2. Even in one day, a page on your site might rank in different positions for the same keyword.

    Although fluctuations within a day are normally just difference in a position or two, a Google algorithm update can also cause drastic changes.

    Hourly rankigns

  3. Keywords Rankings vary due to Personalization and Localisation
  4. Depending on where you are and your personal preference, Google can return different search results in different order and positions.

    For example, someone who searches search engine optimization agency in New York is definitely going to get a different result from someone who searches for it in London.

    Even if both searchers are in London, personalization can also impact in different returned results based on both users previous searches.

  5. SERPs aren’t the previous 10 results
  6. With Google ads, answer box, and featured snippets, search engine results has long featured more than 10 organic results.

    So note that while it may say you’re ranking in the first position for a certain keyword, in reality, you may be fifth (after position zero and ads).

What Does This Mean For Rank Tracking and SEO?

Hopefully by now, you’d understand now that rank tracking is no longer about getting 1st place on the SERP.

There’s zero stability, but this doesn’t mean you should give up on rank tracking.

Instead of aiming for position #1, you should look to get your content on page one and position zero. This is because page one would remain consistent, with the top 10 domains either staying put or just flipping one or two positions between themselves

In any case, rank tracking is still important to inform you and help you make effective SEO decisions.

Rank Tracking Tips for Effective SEO

Again, knowing where does your website rank is not about being #1.

Because as you can see, the volatility of results is largely affected by geography, personal preference and factors like featured snippets.

Remember all you want to do is get high on the first page of the SERP.

While it is good to optimize in order to rank higher or continuously stick to position #1, it should not be the main focus of your rank tracking.

Rank Tracking

Avoid getting freaked out when you suddenly lose the position only to get it back the next day. So, the question is what should you achieve with your rank tracking?

1. Use Rank Tracking to Uncover hidden SEO keywords

When we are doing SEO, we always want to know where our website is ranking in search engines like Google and Bing.

Often times, we track our ranks through keywords we already know. But sometimes our content might be the answer to another type of query.

That is why you need to keep tracking your ranks.

Because how Google works is – whenever you create a new content, Google would most likely feat it on related search queries to get some feedback.

It’s not just for your targeted keywords, Google will be showing your content to anything relatable and your content might be the answer for that instead.

Problem is, search engines don’t really tell you all the words you are getting traffic for.

In this case, you need to use a reverse rank tracking technology like RankReveal to uncover all the keywords you are currently ranking for.

Rank Tracking

These are keywords you may never even knew existed!

2. Understand The Variations of Keyword

Search engine rank tracking or SEO keyword tracking, there are so many ways rank tracking can go by, and that’s just the semantic side of things.

When it comes to keywords variations, rank tracking and track rankings both mean the same thing.

However, your content might be ranking for one and not the other, in this case tracking this data can help let you know the next blog post you are about to write.

Write a content that answers this intent, and link it to your original content and soon you will create your own topic pillar of content.

3. Understand if Your Content Matches Search Intent

Though we mostly use organic traffic to tell if our content is ranking, ranking analysis, on the other hand, can let you know how Google understand your content.

Looking at your impressions on Google Search Console would reveal the keywords Google is ranking it for.

Lo and behold, you might be finding your content gaining a lot of impression for certain keywords but not getting the traffic.

Though it may be low or placed after page 2 and beyond, knowing these keywords will give you an important direction to re-optimize your content.

Or grab the chance to write another more specific content to target that keyword. Link it back and you have a win-win strategy.

match search intent

Take note that what you want to achieve, is to rank on the featured snippet. So write content that answers the user’s intent in the query.

4. See how your SEO Efforts Translate in Rankings

An important feature of monitoring your rankings is to pinpoint the effect your changes you make, both on- and off-sites.

This includes changes of all kinds, from switching to Https or tweaking your titles and descriptions. Tracking your rankings then will let you know the impact of your efforts.

5. Tracking your competitors ranking can reveal your next aim

You need to keep an eye on your best competitor, according to Alan G. Lafley and Roger Martin, and the same goes for internet marketing.

You need to track the ranks not just for your own sites but for your competitors as well.

You need to see what your competitors are doing to be able to sit above them in the searches, this also serves to inform you what to do next.

Really, if you’re not doing it, your competitor sure is. Rank tracking lets you keep an eye on them to make sure you’re always at the top.

6. It Lets You Spot Search Engine Algorithm Updates

One important feature of rank tracking for SEO is that it lets you know if Google has released another algorithm update.

When they do, you will see fluctuations for your rankings and you may want to keep track which rankings are improving and which are falling off the charts.

This will let you know what to update for.

Now that you understand what you should be looking for in your rank trackings. It’s time to start rank tracking and better rank analysis with RankReveal.

Before you go, here’s one last advice.

Takeaway: SEO isn’t something that you can set and forget

The world of SEO is constantly changing, and sites that have ranked well in search engines just last month may have dropped this month.

Some may have even been shut down or blacklisted, and the best way of knowing all this is through rank tracking.

The best way of knowing all this is through rank tracking. But one thing to avoid is don’t be tracking every single keyword and phrase.

Those that you should always focus for are those with the highest search volumes, ignore keywords you may be ranking for but has low search volume.

Because what’s the point, it is meaningless to optimize it if people don’t use them on a regular basis. Your readers aren’t going to find you with those keywords.

Updated: 26/4/19


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