Organic rankings are one of the most important metrics to track when measuring your SEO campaigns’ effectiveness. It is helpful to know what your rank for and whether those rankings are improving over time.
But how do you go about monitoring your search rankings? Well, I’m going to go through several methods of tracking your positions in this article to help you get rank tracking set up for your website.
First, let’s take a look at why you would want to monitor your search positions.
Why track rankings?
So, you might be wondering why it is crucial to track your organic search rankings. Well, there are many reasons. Some of the most important are:
- Identify if you are increasing the number of keywords your website is ranking for
- Determine if your rankings are improving and, therefore, your SEO work seemingly has a positive impact
- Monitor keywords at a granular level to identify content on your website that needs improving or that requires new pages
- Identify the impact of Google updates, in particular, changes that negatively affect your website
- Identify keywords that are dropping
How to track rankings
How do you go about tracking your rankings? Well, first, you need to decide which keywords you want to rank. If you do not already have a list of keywords, you will need to carry out some keyword research. Once you have your keyword list, then it is time to start monitoring your search positions.
I’m now going to go through several ways that you can track your Google rankings. Please note, there are alternatives to the software and tools that I recommend. I am just mentioning the ones that I have personally used. Some of the tools also have affiliate links.
We will start with the most straightforward and cheapest ways to track Google rankings – manually searching on Google for your keywords. This method is acceptable if you only have a handful of keywords but is not practical if you want to track many search terms.
The other issue with tracking search positions manually is that you need to remember to do it. You should ideally be spending your time running your business rather than searching through Google’s results pages.
If you are going to track rankings manually and currently use Google Chrome, make sure that you check search positions in incognito mode to minimise the personalisation of results.
Use desktop software such as SEO Powersuite
When I started working in SEO over a decade ago, the first tool I used to track rankings was SEO Powersuite’s Rank Tracker. This software is a desktop application rather than web-based.
I found the tool pretty easy to use with much flexibility in terms of the data you are tracking and the number of search engines you can monitor, obviously including Google. I would go as far as to say that SEO Powersuite has the most flexible rank tracking tool. However, there is one significant downside to this software.
The tool is running on your own machine, and if you are not using proxies, you might find Google temporarily blocking your IP address from carrying searches if you are checking many keywords.
Admittedly, I have not used SEO Powersuite’s Rank Tracker for some time. Since I had used it, the tool appears to have received some significant updates and new features. I would recommend trying to tool see if it works for you as they have a free version that you can try out.
SERPRobot (formerly SERPLab)
If you are on a budget, then SERPRobot could be for you. This tool is a web-based rank tracker. It currently provides free tracking of 25 keywords per day, but for only $4.99 per month, you can track 300 keywords daily, which is some of the cheapest rank tracking available in my experience.
The interface is the least modern out of all of the rank trackers I have used, but the data is quite good, especially when factoring in the cost. You have a considerable amount of flexibility when setting up tracking ‘projects’, such as:
- Regions, e.g. Google UK
- Search engine, including Google, Bing, Yahoo and Youtube
- Device type – desktop, mobile phone and tablet
- Search location, e.g. a specific city or town
- Search language
- Limiting search results to a specific location
SERPRobot does not have the most features when it comes to reporting. Despite this, I still use this tool for low-cost rank tracking of various projects.
Another free way to track rankings is by using Google Search Console. In a way, this data is great as it comes directly from Google, but it does not offer all of the advanced options that actual rank tracking tools provide. For example, you can filter the search data by country, but you cannot select a specific city as the search location, which might be relevant for you if you operate a local business.
To check your rankings on Search Console, go to the Performance report, then check the box ‘Average position’. Note that ‘Average position’ is the average of the topmost rankings for each query, not a single snapshot in time, like most rank tracking tools.
If you don’t already have it, you can sign up for Search Console here.
AHREFS is probably the most expensive tool on the list if all you want is to track rankings. Their UI is perhaps the best, but their plans start at $99 for 500 keywords. The equivalent cost on SERPRobot is less than $10. However, AHREFS comes with a suite of powerful SEO tools, so I wouldn’t write them off too soon. The platform provides some great detail regarding the SERPs, indicating whether shopping results were present, videos, the tweet box and more.
I personally use AHREFS primarily for their link data. If you need their link data and only and the pro plan you subscribe to tracks enough keywords for your SEO campaign, then you should definitely consider AHREFS as your rank tracking tool.
SE Ranking is my new favourite SEO tool. It is packed full of features, including rank tracking. Their cheapest plan currently starts at £13.80 for 250 keywords checked weekly. With all of the other functionality that comes with the subscription, I think this is an outstanding deal.
SE Ranking comes with keyword research tools, link data, competitor analysis, an on-page SEO audit tool, keyword clustering and more. Some of the additional tools, such as the keyword cluster functionality, are an additional cost, although relatively cheap compared to similar software.
As you can see, there are many ways to track your Google rankings. In fact, many more tools than I have listed here. Give these a go and let me know if they worked well for you,
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