Monitoring involves thousands of keywords, not just hundreds
SEO is about bringing Google users to your page when they enter a keyword in Google's search bar.
Hundreds of SEO tools can help to get the data you need to create your keyword list. We believe that simply building a list is not enough to help SEO specialists. We built Mazen to process the entire SEO workflow in only 1 screen, for keyword research to editing content, sending reports and auditing each URL. To our mind, the best SEO tool is the one that streamlines the entire SEO workflow. But, in this content, we're going to focus on keyword research.
But the main problem with SEO is that each one of those users might have a different way of saying the same thing. Finding secondary keywords or variations of the primary keywords, but also long tail expressions is always one of the first steps of any SEO campaign.
If your keyword list has fewer than a hundred, your method of finding keywords might be too light. You need to put the time in for this first step of your SEO campaign. Once that job is done, for each page of your website, you need to monitor the ranking of your primary keyword, as well as all your secondaries and long-tail keywords. This will allow you to make the most informed decisions.
For example, if you are ranking well for your primary keyword, but badly for your secondaries and long-tails, it can mean that your page has authority, but lacks content (quantity or quality).
Conversely, if you rank well on some long-tail expressions, but you're still not in the first page for your primary, it probably means that your page lacks authority and that you should try to get some backlinks. In order to get a real overview of your page's ranking power, you should group your keywords in your ranking Software so you can analyze their evolution. Sometime, a simple spelling variation can cause a +/- difference of five ranking spots. For instance, the keyword "summer camp" is not the same as "summer camps." If you are ranked second on the singular but fifth on the plural, you're missing out on a ton of traffic. It's important to know that so that you can make changes to rank better. This might involve using the plural in H2s, alt texts, content, or even the title tag, or getting a backlink with an anchor containing the plural.
Local rank tracking
If you're working on local SEO, then your keyword tracking should also be local. But you should be aware that local ranking might not always be the best solution for you, and depends on the location from which your clients make their requests.
Local tracking shows you the rankings of your pages for specific keywords, for queries made from a specific location. For instance, you can rank in the top 10 for "hairdresser" requests made from Soho in New York City, but not rank at all for the same query made from the East Village. Google is very precise.
However, if your goal is to bring people from all over the US to a specific place, then you don't need local tracking. This might be the case, for example, if you sell travel packages to New York and you want to rank for "best all inclusive travel NYC"; most people searching for that keyword are most likely not currently in NYC.
Bing, Yahoo, Google…
In 2017, Google accounts for 79% of the search engine market in the United States. So, if you want to keep things simple, you only really need to track your keywords for Google. Tracking for the other search engines makes your work a little harder because you'll also need to compare with your competitors.
There isn't much difference between Google's guidelines and Bing or Yahoo's, unless your website is very recent. It is more difficult to rank on Bing than on Google when your domain name has only existed for less than a year. In this case, it can be helpful to check Bing rankings as well, so you can see when your efforts will start to yield results in Microsoft's search engine.
With universal search, there are 8 different ways for your website to rank on Google's first page:
- Google Images
- Google Maps
- Google Shopping
- Google Videos
- Google News
- Google Books
- Google Flights
- Google Play
When you track your keywords, it's important to know what kind of media or page is bringing you the traffic. If your images perform better than your pages, it might seem really interesting at first, but at the end of the day, you'll probably lose a lot of potential traffic because most Google users just look at the images in their search results, without ever accessing the page where the image appears.
Answer boxes: "Rank Zero"
Google tries to directly answer simple questions that people ask the search engine. Those answers are displayed in an answer box, at the top of the results page.
Here, we can see that the website nodejs.org owns "Position Zero," which means that Google deemed it to be the most informative and appropriate, and used a snippet of its content to display in the answer box.
Sometimes, the same page can be ranked in the answer box and at the top or the bottom of the SERP. This helps users find your content more easily. When tracking your keywords, you will know if your content is displayed in an answer box (and, no, you can't ask Google to change the text it automatically chose from your page to display in the answer box).
Tracking keywords to compare with competitors
You probably know who your competitors are. Usually, the SEO competition reflects the general competition in your market; you'll be up against the same companies/websites. But, depending on how important SEO is to each company (and their ability to create an SEO culture within), your competitor's performance may not be proportional to its size. Smaller businesses can beat their bigger rivals if they are clever and persistent.
Tracking the performance of your competition is also important because it helps you find out the best techniques they used, and strategies they tried that could work for you as well. You should run a competitive analysis about once a month or once a quarter:
Check the keywords for which your competitors are ranking well and that you are not currently targeting. This means finding new keywords. Mazen lets you do that easily by entering any competitor's domain name and filtering to see only keywords they target that are not already on your list.
Check the keywords for which you lost positions. Then, compare that to your competitors' latest changes: did they add new content to a page? Did they get new backlinks? Did they gain position only for one specific page or for the entire website? Mazen makes this information readily accessible. You can simply add columns to view a list of a competitor's backlinks, their Moz rank, or their content and title tags.
This will help you figure out if your loss in position was due to your competitors' efforts or by an optimization problem on your own website or webpage.
Tracking keywords to detect and anticipate new competitors
As you probably know, it can take long to improve your rank in SEO. For this reason, you need to anticipate the rise of competitors. Otherwise, you could become out-dated. Mazen allows you to see who your competitors are in the 10 top keywords of a list, and will notify you when a new competitor is rising.
Once you know that a new competitor is now ranking in the top 10 of an important keyword group, you can zero in on this competitor and study its strategy.
Mobile rank tracking
Since 2015, the SERPs for mobile searches have been different to those of desktop searches. If you get more than 30% of your SEO traffic through mobile search, then you should track desktop and mobile search separately. This will help you determine whether your website is fully mobile-friendly or if you need to improve your mobile version or responsive design.
Google search console: get information about impressions and CTR
Google search console can be very useful because it is the only tool that provides access to four key pieces of information:
- Impressions: number of time the website ranked for a specified keyword during a specified time period. This can also help evaluate a keyword's search volume
- Clicks: number of clicks (visits to your website) for each keyword.
- CTR (click through rate): Percentage of clicks over impressions.
- Rankings for a list of keywords that you can't personalize. The problem here is that you only get the average rank for a specific time period and you can't monitor a list of keywords you've chosen. Google displays only the keyword for which you are currently ranking and a list of keywords Google thinks are relevant for your website.
These three figures provided by the search console can help you make very important decisions. For example, if the CTR is weak even though you are highly ranked, then it might mean that your title tags and meta descriptions need some work.
To get this information:
- Go to the search console
- In the left-hand menu, click on Search Traffic and then select Search Analytics
- On the dashboard, select clicks, impressions, CTR, and positions.
- That's it, you're done!
Not your father's way of checking keyword rankings
In order to check your keyword rankings, you'll need a dedicated tool. Checking your ranking manually can easily yield a lot of false results. That's because Google personalizes search results based on your own profile. So, if you search for and visit your website often, Google will position your search keywords higher than they actually are. When delivering search results, Google takes into account at least 180 days of your browsing history, your cookies, and your Google account (Google+, Gmail, etc.). The results are even more skewed if you use Google Chrome.
Google also personalizes results depending on your current location and the IP address you are currently using.
Keyword rank checkers use proxies in their search simulations to ensure that Google doesn't get any specific information about where the request is coming from, nor about the user making it. Using this process, you'll get more reliable rankings for each of your keywords
Another reason why you should use dedicated keyword research tools is that you'll most likely need to check a long list of keywords every day. But if you just need to quickly check a specific position, here are some free tools that can help you:
If you prefer to check keyword positions yourself, here is the step-by-step guide:
Ensure you are signed out of your Google account
Clear your cache and cookies before each request.
You can also use proxy services like Hidemyass or Scoggle.
Requirements for a good keyword position checker
Before using software like Mazen to check your keyword rankings, you should make sure that the results the tool delivers are neutral. This means that the keyword rank checker's parser should meet the following requirements:
- Has no browsing history
- Generates a new cookie for each request
- Has no cache
- Uses Google Chrome browser
- Is always in offline mode
- Uses a large number of IP addresses
- Requests the Google.com TLD and not a specific datacenter via a specific IP address (to imitate human behavior). For example, getting rankings via a US datacenter is of no interest for research in Mexico.
For every local extension, user IP and location strongly influence the ranking of Google search results, including Universal Search.
The global infrastructure of the ranking tool should operate as follows. If a proxy is available in the local country, it should be selected as priority. If a proxy is not available in the local extension, the tool should use a regional proxy (Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania).
Slack keyword ranking checker.
If you're a Slack user, you can easily get your rankings by using Mazen's free bot for keyword suggestions and rankings. Discover Mazenbot
Mazenbot understands natural language, so you can ask it,
"Hey @mazenbot, how does the keyword summer camp Arizona rank for the website raisingarizonakids.com?"
Agencies: create and automate white label reports for your clients
White label SEO reporting software is the key solution for agencies to automate their reporting for clients. Traditionally, those reports might involve:
- Rankings on Google for each keyword, including the type of content that is ranking in Universal Search
- The number of keywords ranked in the top 3, top 10, top 50, and so on. This is a key insight for sharing a global overview of your progress.
- Conversions and, if possible, revenue generated by SEO traffic (ROI)
- Rankings of your client's main competitors
- SEO traffic (all traffic brought to the site by search engines)
- Socials shares (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
Advanced reports to show the value of the SEO work being done by the agency
One of the main goals of these reports is to show the value that the SEO agency's work has brought to the client. Therefore, these reports should contain the items below.
- The number of words on the ranking pages. This shows the evolution of the content and highlights improvements the agency may have made to the content. Quantity is as important as quality.
- The number of issues detected on the pages. This identifies any technical and content issues that have been corrected by the agency.
- Backlinks earned by the ranking pages.
- The authority of the ranking pages (Moz or Majestic data)
- The Number of pages on the website, if the agency has created new content
Last but not least: a report that shows what you really earned thanks to your SEO campaign
Let's say you managed to get into the Top 3 on Google for a panel of 30 keywords. That's great an everything, but that alone doesn't really show how hard it was or the real value of this exercise. Ranking Top 3 on Google for keywords that have a low search volume is actually pretty easy and brings far less traffic than being in the Top 3 for high volume keywords.
A good ranking report should also take into account the search volume of each keyword. The best way to do that is to create a simple table, just for the keywords that rank on the first page.
At the bottom, the table shows the distribution of the traffic depending on the rank. For example, the first result of the SERP earns an average of 32% of the traffic.
The table displays the search volume of the keyword, then the ranking, then keyword's average traffic share, and finally the ranking benefit. The ranking benefit is calculated using this simple formula: (search volume)*(average traffic share for the keyword's rank).
This data is not reliable enough to tell you the exact traffic a page got from keywords, but it helps identify which keywords brought more value to the table. This information allows you to compare and prioritize your work.
To download this excel sheet, click here
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|google keyword rank checker||480|
|Keyword position checker||390|
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