Keyword tracking is like calorie counting.
It’s time-consuming and boring and unexciting.
But if you will yourself to do it, day in and day out, you’re all but guaranteed to see positive results.
Where diligent calorie counting leads to weight loss…
…diligent keyword tracking leads to higher rankings on search engines.
With that in mind:
Today I’m going to share with you what I call the “5 laws” of keyword tracking in SEO, and show you how to make it less like calorie counting and more like Weight Watchers Freestyle by using Monitor Backlinks’ powerful suite of keyword tools.
Let’s dive right in.
Keyword Tracking in SEO: The 5 Irrefutable Laws
Law #1: Know Your Site’s Keyword Ranking Data
The best way to get tons of targeted traffic to your site is to rank at the top of Google for your target keywords.
(Preferably the top 3 positions.)
And how do you do that?
And how do you know if your SEO strategy is working?
By tracking your keyword rankings in search engines.
If you don’t track your keywords, you’re selling your SEO short and not ranking as high as you could be.
That said, let’s look at how to do keyword rank tracking properly.
How to Do Keyword Tracking
Once you’ve targeted multiple keywords, it’s impossible to track them all by yourself.
You need software to handle the task for you.
More specifically, you need Monitor Backlinks’ Keywords module.
This module alone gives you everything you need to fully track your keywords, including:
- Overall ranking statistics
- Keyword rank history and
- Competitor keyword ranking
So if you want to efficiently track your keywords, you need to sign up for Monitor Backlinks.
Then, after you log in to Monitor Backlinks, go ahead and add your target keywords.
First, go to the Keywords module…
…and click the (+) button at the top of the page to add keywords:
Then, enter your keywords in the box, using commas to separate keywords, and click the “Add Keywords” button:
Within a few hours, Monitor Backlinks will update your keyword information and begin tracking the entered keywords’ progress.
Keyword data is updated every seven days.
Law #2: Know Your Keywords’ Overall Ranking Statistics at a Glance
SEO strategies constantly change and evolve.
(Thanks in large part to Google’s constant stream of algorithm updates.)
What does this have to do with keyword tracking, you ask?
Think about it…
What’s the main reason you track keywords?
So you can see which SEO strategies are working and which aren’t.
Because at the end of the day, all that matters is that your keywords rank high enough on Google so your site gets significant, targeted traffic.
Keyword rank tracking shows you three valuable things:
1. How your current SEO strategies are performing.
2. How new strategies are affecting your SEO and rankings.
3. Potential negative SEO attacks on your site.
And it’s this information that dictates what actions you’ll take moving forward.
For instance, if you notice your overall rankings have increased since refining your pages’ on-page SEO, then you’ll focus on implementing that change across all of your pages.
As I mentioned earlier, tracking can be a chore.
But Monitor Backlinks includes several tools and features that simplify the process immensely.
One of those features worth mentioning here is Keyword Overview.
This feature gives you an instant snapshot of your keywords’ most recent and important activity.
Here’s what it looks like:
How to Get Snapshots of Important Keyword Data
In the Keywords module, Keyword Overview will be the first section you see…
…and it has six valuable pieces of keyword-related information:
1. Keywords Up
This is the number of keywords that have increased in Google ranking since the previous update.
2. Keywords Down
This is the number of keywords that have decreased in ranking since the previous update.
3. Rankings Up
This is the total number of ranking positions (across all keywords) that have increased since the previous update.
(E.g. If Keyword 1 increased 7 positions and Keyword 2 increased 4 positions, the total Rankings Up will be 11.)
4. Rankings Down
This is the total number of ranking positions that have decreased since the previous update.
5. 1st Page Rankings
The total number of keywords that are currently ranking on the first page of Google.
6. Total Keywords
The total number of keywords you currently have in your Monitor Backlinks database.
By itself, Keyword Overview gives you a quick snapshot of what’s happening with your keywords at any given moment. That alone is useful in planning future strategies.
But combine it with your Keywords List for maximum impact.
For example, let’s say you want to see which of the 49 keywords are currently ranking on Google’s first page.
Scroll down to the Keywords List…
…and sort the keywords by ranking by clicking “Ranking” at the top of the column:
This sorts your keywords in descending order starting with the highest ranked keywords on Google:
And that’s just a small sample of what the Keywords List can do.
We’ll go into more detail about how it works a little later on.
Law #3: Know Your Keywords’ Average Ranking History
At first glance, an average keyword ranking may not look important.
But it is.
Seeing the average performance of keywords over a definite period of time gives you valuable insight into your SEO campaigns.
A steady decline in average keyword ranking could mean you need to either tweak your current SEO strategy or overhaul it all together.
Little or no change in average keyword ranking could mean you should keep doing what you’re doing (if the average ranking is high enough), or consider modifying your strategy (if the average ranking is too low).
A steady incline in average keyword ranking could mean that new SEO strategy you implemented a month ago is working like a charm (and should be implemented more fully).
You get a crystal clear picture of how your keywords have performed on average for a specified amount of time, including keyword groups that focus on a specific type of keyword (more on this in just a sec).
Which you can then use to modify your SEO strategy accordingly.
Here’s how it all works using Monitor Backlinks’ Keywords module:
How to Track Average Keyword Rankings Using Monitor Backlinks
On the Keywords module, scroll down to the Average Keyword Rankings section:
By default, you’ll see a line graph that gives you a week-by-week average ranking of your site’s keywords over the past three months.
That in itself is useful.
But there’s more “underneath the hood:”
The graph has multiple lines
These colored lines each represent a certain category of keywords which you can see in the key at the bottom of the graph:
The green line shows you the average keyword ranking of all the keywords you add to Monitor Backlinks…
…while the other colored lines show you keyword groups that feature the listed keyword.
For example, the blue line in the graph shows the average keyword ranking for all keywords that include “review” in them:
So if your site focuses heavily on reviews, then this keyword grouping becomes invaluable.
The graph can be filtered
Each line on the graph can be filtered.
So, for example, if you want to view only the average keyword ranking for the “review” keyword group, then you simply click the names of the other keyword groups to remove them from the graph:
Different date ranges can be selected
You can choose between four different date ranges: Last Month, 3 Months, Last Year and Forever.
The default date range is 3 Months.
To change it, click the drop-down box…
…and choose a different date range:
The graph will change to show the new date range and can be filtered accordingly.
Hovering displays detailed ranking statistics
Hovering over a specific date on the graph will display a box that includes specific keyword average ranking data for each keyword group:
The data will change to accommodate any filtered keyword groups:
Law #4: Know Where Your Competitors Are Ranking
Success is not all about having the most valuable business.
It’s also about being more popular than your competitors.
And one huge way to do that is by outranking them in search engines.
But in order to do that…
You first need to know where they’re ranking at!
That’s where the Compare with Competitors section of Monitor Backlinks comes into play.
But in order to use it, you first need to add your top competitors to the tool.
How to Add Your Top Competitors to Monitor Backlinks
Go to your Monitor Backlinks dashboard and click on the Competitors module:
Next, click the plus sign (+) at the top-right of the page…
…and add your competitors’ domains.
(You can add up to four competitors with Monitor Backlinks’ Freelancer plan.)
Once added, you’ll see them listed on the home page of your Competitors module:
You can now monitor your competitors’ backlinks and keywords.
But for now, let’s focus on competitor keyword tracking.
How to Track Your Competitors’ Rankings for Your Target Keywords
There are two useful sections for tracking your competitors’ keywords within Monitor Backlinks:
1. Compare with competitors
Go to your Keywords module and scroll down to the Compare with Competitors section:
This gives you a side-by-side comparison of how your average ranking for all of your target keywords compares to the rankings of your competitors.
And just like with Average Keyword Rankings, you can:
Filter different competitors…
…and hover over the graph to get specific data:
2. Use the Keywords List
Your Keywords List has a column for each competitor you add to Monitor Backlinks:
And each column shows you that competitor’s ranking (if any) for that specific keyword:
So based on the image above, Competitor #3 currently ranks 43rd in Google for this particular keyword.
Pretty cool, right?
This feature takes the legwork out of finding your competitor’s rankings for a specific keyword.
Now you can just add the keyword to Monitor Backlinks, find the keyword in your Keywords List and then see where your competitors rank for it.
The list also shows you how the competitor has moved in rankings since the last update:
A green arrow with a “+” prefixed number means the competitor’s page has moved up in rankings for that keyword.
A red arrow with a “-” prefixed number means the competitor’s page has dropped in rankings for that keyword.
One other cool feature:
Monitor Backlinks highlights the competitors currently outranking you for a keyword with a red box:
So you’ll instantly know who you need to beat.
Law #5: Know Where Your Top Keywords Rank
This law should be the most obvious.
Your top-ranking keywords are most likely your best traffic generators.
(Note: Studies show that the top 3 rankings on a Google search results page get approximately 55% of clicks.)
Which means that if they drop too low in ranking, it can have a serious impact on your site’s exposure and profitability.
Monitor Backlinks’ Keyword Rankings and Keywords List sections help make sure you know where your keywords are ranking at all times.
This section breaks down your keyword ranking positions over four separate time periods: Today, Month Ago, 3 Months Ago and Year Ago.
And each time period shows the number of keywords ranking in that specific position.
So, if we want to see how many keywords have ranked in the 1-3 positions on Google, we simply look at the 1-3 position group and see the results:
Just glancing at the graph we can summarize the following:
- There are fewer keywords in positions 1-3 today than there were a month ago.
- There was no change in the number of keywords in positions 1-3 from three months ago to a month ago.
- There are significantly more keywords ranking in positions 1-3 now than there were a year ago.
That’s a decent amount of info just from glancing at a graph, right?
But let’s say we want to know the specific numbers.
All you need to do is hover over the section in question…
…and you’ll get exact numerical data.
To get to the Keywords List, scroll down to the last section of the Keywords module.
It looks like this:
As you can see, there’s a lot of info to look at here.
So let’s break it down and look at each individual component:
This column lists every keyword you’ve added to Monitor Backlinks’ database.
You’ll notice a checkbox to the left of each keyword. This is used for selecting keywords for specific purposes.
This column gives you a snapshot of the keyword’s ranking history.
It shows you the ranking of the past five keyword updates performed by Monitor Backlinks.
Hover over one of the points on the graph…
…and you’ll get the update’s specific date and ranking on that date.
This column shows you each keyword’s ranking as of the latest update.
The green arrow shows that the keyword has increased in ranking since the last update (a red arrow indicates a drop in ranking).
And the “+1” shows how many ranks the keyword has increased.
This column shows you the competitor’s ranking (if any) of the associated keyword.
The competitors’ columns combined with the “Ranking” column shows you how your keywords are ranking compared to your top competitors:
The transparent red box around a competitor’s ranking tells you that they’re outranking you as of the latest update.
The “Page” column gives you a hyperlink to the page associated with the corresponding keyword.
Click the link to be taken to the page.
This column shows you the highest your keyword has ranked since adding it to Monitor Backlinks.
It also shows you how high (green arrow/positive number) or low (red arrow/negative number) the current ranking is compared to its best rank.
Volume & Competition
“Volume” shows you the keyword’s global search volume.
The higher the number, the more potential traffic you can send to your site.
“Competition” shows you how difficult it’ll be to rank for that keyword.
The lower the percentage, the easier it’ll be to rank.
Ideally, you’ll want to target keywords with a higher global search volume and a lower difficulty.
Cost per Click
This last column shows you the keyword’s cost per click (CPC).
This value is the amount an advertiser pays for each click in a Google AdWords campaign.
CPC can be a strong indicator of how profitable a keyword can be.
How to Filter Your Keywords in Monitor Backlinks
One last thing…
The Keywords module doesn’t hold back on valuable keyword info.
But sometimes you need to simplify the data to make research easier.
You can do that quickly and easily using Monitor Backlinks’ keyword filters.
To access the filters, click on this icon at the top of the page:
This opens up the filters menu…
…where you can set a variety of different filters like:
- Keyword Rankings
- Keyword Ranking Changes
- Date Added
- Search Volume
You now know what’s most important in regards to keyword rank tracking and how to do it using Monitor Backlinks’ Keywords module.
The only thing left to do now is put it into practice.
So if you haven’t already, sign up for Monitor Backlinks’ free trial (no CC required) and add your keywords to the site.
Then, start incorporating different SEO strategies into your marketing campaigns and track the results.
I’m confident you’ll find that Monitor Backlinks takes the tediousness and boredom out of keyword rank tracking while providing you with powerful information that’ll boost your rankings in Google.