Your new website is live but how do you check your websites position in Google?
In this post i’ll look at one of the many SEO tools out there that allow you to check where your website ranks for specific keyword search phrases (that hopefully you are targeting)
Key takeaway: Check your website position in Google for your selected keywords to understand website performance and inform future content changes
- What are website rank checking tools?
- What's the benefit of checking website rank?
- What are SERPs?
- Google Search Console gives me position data, can't I just use that?
- How do these keyword position checking tools work?
- What do I do with the information a rank checker gives me?
- What is the best tool to check my website rank in Google in 2020?
- What is SE Ranking?
1. What are website rank checking tools?
Keyword rank checking tools have been around nearly as long as search engines have.
They are designed to allow you to input a range of keywords (or more specifically search phrases) to which the program will then search Google and/or Bing, Yahoo etc to find what position your website ranks for those specific search phrases.
Before the advent of cloud based services rank checking programs used to be software that you would install on a computer.
The process took hours to complete as they were often throttled to prevent triggering Google's spam traps. More often, if you had a few sites to check the process could take days.
Since the advent of SaaS (Software as a Service) rank checkers are now based on subscription models and are accessed through a browser. A server takes care of running each search phrase through a search engine and the results come back much quicker.
The rank checking software will show you each individual keyword ranking position and overall google search ranking in one convenient tool.
2. What's the benefit of checking website rank?
What if you are planning to write a piece of content to target a keyword search query. You'll want to know a few things before you start like what is the competition like for that search query?
Say you had spent a good few days of your time writing content for your target search words or you paid an agency or copywriter to write your content for you in the hope that what has been written will get your website to rank on the first page of Google for the target search query.
The manual way of checking is to go to Google and search for your keywords but this could take you ages to do, especially if you are trying to target a lot of search phrases.
Keyword rank checking tools firstly automate this process for you, saving you a bunch of time and effort, but they also provide lots more detailed information about your competitors, Google Adwords advertisers and many include additional tools like keyword research and website audits. Anything you see in Google Search Engine Result Page's (SERPs) you can get detailed statistics for.
3. What are SERPs?
SERPs is shorthand for Search Engine Result Page's. It is a page of results returned by a search engine for a search query. Normally SERPs are paginated with 10 results per page (not including any adverts). These search engine listings are called the organic results.
Ideally you will want your website to rank on page 1 of the SERPs as users tend not to flick through the rest of the search result pages to find what they are looking for.
4. Google Search Console gives me position data, can't I just use that?
Google Search Console (GSC) has had a makeover in the last few years and is a lot better than the old Google Webmaster Tools (GWMT) and it does provide position data for the queries you are ranking for.
However, GSC lags behind by about 3 days, so you'll never get up-to-date information and Google isn't the only search engine, what about Bing which has 30% of the search engine market?
What if you also wanted to find out potential traffic using Keywords AdPlanner Tool in Google AdWords for a range of search queries?
You'll end up with a soup of excel spreadsheets trying to juggle all the search data into some meaningful result that you can take actionable steps on.
5. How do these keyword position checking tools work?
Keyword position checking tools all work in the same way. They perform Google (and any other search engines you specify like Bing or Yahoo) searches for each of the keywords or search phrases you want to see positions for.
They usually modify the search query so that it outputs more than 10 results per page to keep the number of requests to each search engine down to a minimum. This results page is then stored.
They'll then scan through the page using a script to extract as much information as possible from the results, including your website ranking position and if you have specified any, the positions of your competitors websites as well.
6. What do I do with the information a rank checker gives me?
If you had written content for a specific page on your website that you wanted to rank highly for a select few search phrases you'll be able to tell from the rank checker where exactly that page sits in the SERPs.
If the pages' rank is low on page 2 or 3, you can then inspect the page in detail to find out why it's not ranking as high as you think it should do or look at your competitor websites and analyse why they rank higher than you. This gives you the opportunity to make changes to the page and then check those changes over time to see if they made a difference to the page rank.
Combine this with the ability in some tools to perform web page or site audits and analyse your competition the data rank checkers provide really is invaluable, especially if you are spending money in writing content. You after all want a return on your investment.
7. What is the best tool to check my website rank in Google in 2020?
The search engine rank checking service market has become saturated in recent years so it is difficult sometimes to evaluate which rank checker is the best one to choose.
The best approach to selecting a rank checker is to prioritise what you want to understand from your website and it's position in Google and whether the extra features that commonly come bundled with search phrase rank checking tools are important to you or not.
For years, probably since around 2003, I used a program called Advanced Web Ranking. It was a program that gets installed on a computer and you let it check your keywords against various search engines. I found it to be very trustworthy in the results it gave back to me and the competitor analysis component it had was quite useful as well, effectively allowing me to 'spy' on their SEO efforts.
The problem with it was that a computer needed to be kept on all the time in order for it to work (unless you paid top dollar for their server based enterprise version). A few years ago the company that made the program abandoned the Desktop version in favour of their new cloud offering at which point the service became too expensive so I started looking for alternatives.
There are plenty of keyword rank checking services out there from the likes of Moz.com, Semrush, Raven Tools etc and they all vary in price and capabilities.
Most of them have 14-day trials which will give you a good idea of how well they perform and the features they provide. I spent a few weeks looking at the various services and testing them out with my search phrases but there was one clear winner for my requirements and it was called SE Ranking.
8. What is SE Ranking?
In my search for a better keyword rank checking service I found SE Ranking.
I took out their free trial, entered in the same keywords that I was using in Advanced Web Ranking, and ran some tests on the results it gave back.
Thankfully the website ranking positions SE Ranking gave weren't too dissimilar to those from Advanced Web Ranking, or in other words, it was accurate enough for me to trust it to show me where my client's websites ranked for their chosen keyword search phrases.
It also has some useful tools bundled in as well, like competitor analysis, some elementary keyword research and a website audit scan that will tell you areas that need fixing on your website.
PDF reports can be customised and emailed out to your clients on a schedule, or after each update.
It can also be white labelled for agencies and it even integrates with Google Search Console and Analytics. The search console integration is really powerful when combined with SE Ranking's position metrics.
Most importantly though it offered to me results that I could trust at a price that wasn't unreasonable.