Rankings mean everything in SEO.
Rank at the top of Google and you’ll drive tons of traffic to your site.
But rank at the bottom (a.k.a. Page 2 and beyond) and you’ll be lucky to grab a couple of stray visits.
That, in a nutshell, explains why rank tracking is so important…
…and why so many new and struggling marketers can’t seem to get people to visit their site.
Let’s face it, knowing what to track and when to track it can be confusing and difficult.
But here’s the thing:
There are a lot of SEO metrics that experts recommend you track.
But only a very small handful of these recommendations are requirements.
(Especially when traffic-generation is your main SEO goal.)
With that in mind:
Today, I’m going to relieve the stress and confusion of researching the best way to track your Google rankings and show you how to do it as efficiently as possible, using just three simple steps.
But first, let’s look at what actually matters when it comes to Google rank tracking.
What Matters Most in Google Rank Tracking
There’s a lot you can track in SEO:
- Organic traffic
- Local visibility
- Mobile traffic and rankings
- Engagement metrics
Just to name a few.
And they’re all important to some degree or another.
At the end of the day, what really matters is traffic.
(A.k.a. sending more people to your site.)
And when you look at it from that perspective…
…there are really only three areas you need to focus on when it comes to rank tracking:
- Keyword tracking,
- Current rank tracking, and
- Historical rank tracking.
First things first:
You need a simple and easy way to manage and track each of your site’s target keywords.
If you can’t easily track keywords, then you’re guaranteeing your SEO efforts have minimal (if any) success.
This means using software that will:
1. Let you add keywords to track
2. Keep all keywords in a central, organizable database
3. Regularly update keyword tracking information
4. Provide detailed breakdowns of key ranking metrics
5. Simultaneously track keyword rankings for top competitors
6. Provide historical ranking data
Monitor Backlinks is the tool I recommend for the job. It gives you all of the above in addition to world-class backlink monitoring, making Google rank tracking as simple as a few mouse clicks.
I’ll go more into how the tool works in a bit, but you might like to get set up with a free trial at this point so you can follow along with the steps in the next section.
Current Rank Tracking
Once you have the means to track keywords, you then need the means to stay current on keyword rankings.
Staying up-to-date on your keywords’ current rankings is important for two main reasons:
One, it shows you how you’re faring in your SEO efforts (simple enough).
Two, it reveals any potential SEO issues before they spiral out of control and cause your rankings to take a major nosedive (more on this in just a bit).
Then, after current rank tracking comes…
Historical Rank Tracking
Historical tracking data shows you how your keywords are trending in rankings, which gives you valuable insight into the effectiveness of your SEO strategies.
To sum it up nice and neatly:
Historical tracking quickly and easily shows you what is and isn’t working in your SEO.
(There’s actually more than one useful way to track historical rank, and I’ll show them to you in just a little bit.)
Now that you know what needs to be tracked, let’s look at how to track it using Monitor Backlinks.
How to Track Your Google Ranking in 3 Insanely Simple Steps
Step 1: Add Keywords to Monitor Backlinks
I think it’s fairly obvious that you need to have keywords to track before you can track them, right?
If you already have some, great!
Here’s how to do that:
Go to your Keywords module…
…and click the “+” button at the top-right of the page:
Then, enter your target keywords in the box:
You can enter multiple keywords at once by separating them with a comma:
Finally, hit the “Add Keywords” button:
Now, when you go to the Keywords module’s dashboard, you’ll see your keywords in the keywords list (the last section on the module):
You’ll notice there’s no keyword data available when you first add your keywords.
That’s perfectly normal.
It takes a few hours for each keyword’s info to be updated within Monitor Backlinks when you first add it. But once it’s added, it’ll be updated weekly.
Step 2: Track Your Current Google Ranking
To run effective SEO campaigns, you need to know where your keywords rank on any given day.
Doing so shows you the immediate effect of your SEO efforts.
Monitor Backlinks’ keyword tracking gives you the ability to do that.
Plus, it’s easy to use:
Once you’ve added keywords (see Step 1 above) to Monitor Backlinks, the software will start tracking important current information about each keyword.
Scroll down to your keywords list from within the Keywords module and take note of these three columns:
Each column gives you valuable current info.
Column 1: Current Keyword Ranking
This section shows you the ranking of each keyword as of the latest update.
But that’s not all it does.
It also compares the keyword’s current rank status to the previous update…
…which gives you valuable insight into how your SEO strategies are affecting your rankings.
There are two pieces of information that combine to give a complete picture:
First, there’s the graphical arrow.
A green arrow pointing up…
…means that keyword’s rank has increased since the previous update.
A red arrow pointing down…
…means the keyword’s rank has decreased since the previous update.
Second is the number accompanying the arrow:
A positive (+) number…
…shows how many ranks the keyword increased compared to the previous update.
While a negative (-) number…
…shows how many ranks the keyword decreased compared to the previous update.
What should you look for when reviewing the current ranking?
Any type of change in ranking.
An increase in ranking means your current SEO efforts are working.
Whereas a decrease in ranking most likely means you need to switch up your strategy.
Columns 2: Current Competitors’ Rankings
If you’ve added competitors to Monitor Backlinks, then the competitor columns…
…will show you the rank of any competitor that’s currently ranking for your keyword.
This lets you easily compare your ranking to theirs.
And just like with your own current ranking, the competitor rankings use arrows and numbers to show the ranking changes compared to the previous update.
One additional feature included with the competitors’ ranking is the red transparent box:
This box gives you a quick indicator that your competitor’s keyword rank is currently higher than your own.
Column 3: URL of Page Ranking for Keyword
The “Page” column shows you the URL of the page the keyword is linked to:
This is useful in two ways:
First, it helps to make sure you’re ranking for the correct page.
Second, it lets you access the page with a single click so you can investigate the SEO on the page and look for ways to improve it to increase the rank if needed.
After tracking your keywords’ current ranking, you’ll want to track their historical ranking.
Step 3: Track Your Google Ranking History
Historical rank tracking is perfect for testing long-term SEO strategies.
Let’s pretend you wrote three Skyscraper Technique-based articles and published them on your blog a couple of months back.
Over those two months, you’ve tracked the ranking of the keywords attached to each post and noticed they’ve significantly increased in rankings in comparison to other posts you published around the same time that weren’t Skyscraper Technique-based.
Congrats! You just uncovered a winning SEO strategy.
The ability to track your rankings over a period of time and then compare them to other rankings (either your own or competitors’) is key to creating and fine-tuning an SEO strategy that works.
The best part:
Tracking your historical ranking in Monitor Backlinks’ Keywords module is incredibly easy.
Use the History Column to Track Historical Rank
All you have to do is find your target keyword and look at its “History” column:
This column shows you how your keyword has ranked in Google over the course of the most recent updates.
A steady incline in the line graph means your strategy is working.
A steady decline means it isn’t.
There are other ways to track historical data in Monitor Backlinks too…
Use Average Keyword Rankings to Track Overall SEO Efforts
The Average Rankings section in the Keywords module shows you the average ranking of grouped keywords over four different time periods:
These time periods include:
- 1 month
- 3 months
- 1 year
You can also filter which keyword groups you track by clicking on the group names at the bottom of the graph that you don’t want to view:
Use Ranking Positions to View Historial Ranking Positions
Last but not least, you can also track historical ranking positions using the Keywords module’s Ranking Positions section:
This section shows you how the number of ranking positions you’ve held has changed over different time periods.
The position range groups are:
And the different time periods are:
- 1 month
- 3 months
- 1 year
So just by glancing at this bar graph…
…we can tell that we’ve gained more top 3 rankings compared to one month ago, equaling our totals from three months ago, and have had a significant increase in top 3 rankings since one year ago.
And if you want particulars, just hover over the graph…
…and you’ll get exact keyword counts.
Now It’s Your Turn
You now know how to track your Google ranking in three simple steps.
Here’s what you should do next:
First, if you haven’t already, sign up for a free trial of Monitohttps://monitorbacklinks.comr Backlinks (no CC needed).
Next, add your keywords using Step 1 above.
Then, use Steps 2 and 3 to regularly track your keywords and see firsthand how your SEO efforts are paying off.
While you’re at it, you might as well take a look at this guide to help you start tracking your backlinks through Monitor Backlinks’ Backlinks module.
(After all, backlinks are one of Google’s top three ranking factors.)
Then, as you start to make progress (i.e. drive more traffic to your site), you can turn your attention to the nuances of ranking for more competitive keywords and converting that traffic into loyal followers.