How to Track Keyword Rankings in Google & Other Search Engines

Sometimes, the SERP feels like a battlefield where SEOs try to outperform competitors for top positions and featured snippets. Is it enough to just optimize your content with keywords to become #1? Sometimes, yes. But if you want to secure high positions in Google, you need to put in more effort. It’s crucial to regularly track keyword rankings to see how your content performs over time.

In this post, I’ll explain why and how to monitor keyword rankings. And, as a bonus, I’ll share some tips on how to boost your site keyword rankings even higher.

Explore how to track your keyword rankings in a few clicks

What is keyword ranking?

Put simply, keyword ranking is the position of a specific page in the SERP for a relevant search query.

When people search for keywords or phrases, webpages line up in a certain order. If your webpage ranks high for a keyword, it appears near the top of the search results. This makes it easier for people to find your website.

The majority of users typically click on the search results displayed at the top of the SERP and rarely explore further. As such, it's crucial to strive for higher keyword rankings to boost your traffic and attract more customers.

Why track keyword rankings?

Monitoring keyword rankings is an essential aspect of SEO, and there are several reasons for that:

Keeping an eye on search trends

Your keyword rankings can reflect fluctuations in user preferences. By tracking keyword positions in search engines, you stay tuned to trends and, more importantly, can adjust your strategies quickly.

Imagine you're running a fashion blog. You track Google rankings and see that the keyword "black tie dress code" consistently performs well. Hence, you can conclude that users relate to this topic and, by generating additional content, you can engage a larger audience.

On the flip side, users may lose interest and stop looking for certain topics. For instance, keywords like "Grammy Awards outfits" or "summer outfits for women" usually see a spike in popularity during specific periods and then fade away. It’s a sign that you have to research the hyped trends and experiment with new keywords.

Identifying areas for improvement

Keyword tracking isn't just about celebrating your successes. It's also about uncovering areas where you can do better. Some keywords that ranked well may suddenly lose their positions.

Though fluctuations are a normal thing in a digital world, it’s still important to detect those shifts and find the reasons for ranking drops. Once you know why certain keywords don’t rank as before, you can optimize the content or take other measures to restore your positions.

9 Reasons Your Google Rankings Dropped Learn more

Catching up on competitors' activities

When you check your keyword search rankings, you also get a glimpse into other websites that rank for the same keywords as you do. By knowing how your SERP competitors perform, you can identify areas for your website improvement, gain new ideas, and adjust your keyword strategy.

Say, you notice that several more authoritative competitors beat you in the SERP rankings for a certain keyword. In this situation, you can try to switch the focus to more specific, long-tail keywords. Optimizing your content will help you target a niche audience and increase your chances of ranking higher.

Predicting SEO ROI

One of the biggest challenges in SEO is predicting its impact. Position tracking can help you bridge that gap by providing tangible data on your website's performance.

By correlating changes in keyword rankings with shifts in website traffic and conversions, you can assess the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. And when you can predict SEO ROI, it’s easier to make informed decisions about resource allocation and future strategy.

Responding to Google algorithm changes early

Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms to deliver the most relevant and useful search results. At this point, regular rank checking lets you spot shifts in your website's visibility and investigate whether they're due to Google algorithm updates.

When you stay alert to the SERP shakeups, you can proactively adapt your SEO strategy to a given algorithm change. Thus, your pages don't lose rank position, and even climb higher in search engine results.

How to check your keyword rankings quickly

Knowing the list of your top-ranking keywords helps you prioritize tasks better, focus on the most valuable pages, and do keyword research in a smarter way. If you want to have a quick look at your current search engine keyword rankings, here are a few methods to do that:

Option 1: Manual method

This method is so simple that it only requires a search browser. All you need is to type your keyword in the Google search bar. But here are a couple of tricks:

  • Keep in mind that search engines may personalize your search results based on your browsing history. As such, to make the search more precise, I recommend you switch to a private browsing window (Incognito Window in Google Chrome).
  • To search for an exact match of your keyword, you can use a Google search operator. By putting your search query in quotation marks, you’ll get results that include a key phrase with a specific sequence of words.

After entering the keyword into the search bar, scroll past the ads and featured snippets. Count the search results until you locate your website. The sequential number indicates your webpage's current ranking for the keyword.

Option 2: Google tools

You can also check your keyword ranking positions using the well-known Google tools: Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

In your Google Search Console account, navigate to Performance > Search Results and tick Average position so that this metric is displayed on the chart and in the table below.

Scroll down to the Queries tab. Here, you’ll find your top queries and their Position. Also, you can filter queries by Clicks and Impressions to spot the best-performing keywords.

Search Console lets you see the impressions and clicks by the Search type (Web, News, Images, Video), by Devices (Desktop, Mobile, Tablet), by Countries, etc. By adding custom filters, you can generate keyword ranking reports upon your needs.

Additionally, if you connect the Search Console to your Google Analytics account, you’ll also be able to check the top keywords that bring most of the organic traffic.

In Google Analytics, click the Reports icon on the sidebar. Then, scroll down to the Search Console tab and choose Queries in the dropdown. Here you will see your top keyword phrases and their dynamics for a chosen period, including Organic Google Search average position.

Option 3: Rank Tracker

This step requires Rank Tracker. You can download it now for free.
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Another way to get a quick keyword ranking overview is by using our free rank checker tool (Rank Tracker).

Launch the software and create a project for your website by entering the URL. The position tracking tool automatically analyzes your domain and sets up a workspace.

To view the keywords your website ranks for, in Project Dashboard scroll down to Keyword Research > Ranking Keywords. To check the complete keywords list, click the See all button below.

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Rank Tracker will take you to the dedicated Ranking Keywords module where you can access statistics on the total number of keywords, overall organic traffic, and SERP features.

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The table below displays a list of found keywords, their exact ranks, number of searches, and organic traffic, among other metrics.

Alternatively, you may track the rankings of a separate keyword. In the SERP Analysis module, choose the search engine in the dropdown menu, type your keyword, and click Analyze.

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When the keyword rank analysis is finished, Rank Tracker will deliver comprehensive data on the given search term, including your position in the SERP if you rank for the requested keyword.

Advanced ways to track keyword rankings

Now, let's delve into more advanced methods for tracking keyword rankings. We'll explore approaches that offer deeper insights into your website's performance on the search engine results page.

Manage keywords by groups and landing pages

If you have a few pages on your website, tracking several dozen keywords is not a big deal – you can manage them in a spreadsheet. But bigger websites may have hundreds or even thousands of search terms. If it’s your case, you need to find a way to handle all of them without missing a thing.

I suggest you track keyword positions by logical groups and landing pages. It’s a more structured and effective way to check the ranking progress of specific objectives and important pages.

But first, you need to manually group those key terms according to your needs and goals. Here’s what you need to do:

Open the list of keywords you rank for in Rank Tracker (Keyword Research > Ranking Keywords). After that, you need to choose the ones you’re going to track. Simply click the plus icon next to a keyword and a label Tracked will appear.

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Next, head to Rank Tracking > Keyword Map. Here you’ll see all your tracked keywords.

Pro tip: If you want to track organic keywords from Google Search Console, you can simply import keyword ranking data to Rank Tracker. To do that, consult our step-by-step instructions on how to connect your Google Search Console account.

To assign a keyword to a landing page, right-click on a selected term and choose Map to Landing Page in the context menu. Assign selected keyword(s) to landing page(s) to match it with the current ranking URL (or manually enter the page you would want it to rank for).

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You can also classify tracked keywords by groups. To create one, click Add New Group, and it will appear in the list of Keyword Groups. Then, you can simply drag and drop keywords to groups.

Time-saving tip

You can automatically sort keywords based on semantic similarity. Click-right on the needed folder and choose Regroup by Topic. In the pop-up window, select the level of similarity (Low, Medium, or High).

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If you choose a high similarity, Rank Tracker will create numerous small groups of closely related terms. On the contrary, low-similarity keywords will be grouped into bigger clusters with terms less closely related to each other.

From now on, you can check the rankings by groups and landing pages separately.

Track mobile and desktop rankings separately

Mobile SERPs differ a lot from desktop SERPs. There are several reasons for this:

  • Users behave differently on mobile and desktop devices. Their search intent, browsing habits, and preferences depend on the device they're using. Mobile users may be looking for quick answers or immediate solutions to their queries while desktop users spend more time exploring.
  • Mobile and desktop SERPs prioritize different features. Unlike the desktop experience, the mobile SERP layout tends to be more minimalist, focusing on rich results like images and videos.

As such, checking mobile and desktop keyword rankings separately is indeed a good idea. It provides valuable insights into your target audience preferences and overall website performance.

To check mobile ranking separately from the desktop in Rank Tracker, go to Project Preferences > Preferred Search Engines. Here, hit the plus button next to Mobile to add it to your active list.

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After that, you need to optimize the display of keywords so that the tool shows mobile rankings as well. Back in your Rank Tracker workspace, go to Rank Tracking > Tracked Keywords. Here you can select the columns to be visible in your workspace. Add the Mobile options to your active columns, and they will appear in your main view.

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The next time you check Google keyword positions, the tracking software will collect stats for desktop and mobile devices separately in two different columns.

How To Make Your Website Mobile Friendly Learn more

Check SEO ranks in alternative search engines

While Google holds a dominant share of about 90% in the search engine market, it's important not to overlook the presence of other search engines. In fact, certain search engines are more popular than Google in some specific geolocations, like Baidu in China.

By optimizing your pages for Yahoo, Bing, or whatever search engine is relevant to your target location, you will get a good source of extra website traffic. That is why it makes sense to track keyword rankings in alternative search engines, as well.

To add other search engines beyond Google in Rank Tracker, you need to navigate to the Preferred Search Engines settings and add the ones you need.

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To check the rankings for the chosen search engines, make the respective columns visible in your workspace. Go to Rank Tracking > Tracked Keywords and customize columns.

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Once done, the column with the added search engine will appear in your dashboard.

Track local rankings for specific geolocations

Local SEO influences Google rankings. The impact can be so significant that searchers in various areas within a town may encounter distinct search results. This means you need to track ranks for each targeted location separately.

To set up geo-specific rank tracking in Rank Tracker, again go to Preferences > Preferred Search Engines and select locations among the list of given countries.

If you're physically in one place but manage an SEO campaign in another area, it can be handy to create custom locations. To do that, click the Add Custom button next to a chosen search engine.

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After that, you will see an Advanced Settings window. All you need to do here is enter the name of the city, district, or the exact street address, and click Apply.

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After creating your custom location, it will appear in your Search Engine List. In your Rank Tracker workspace, you can add the newly created search engine to your active columns and check your local rankings.

Evaluate keyword performance by changes in traffic

If you notice that your online visits and sales go up or down, it’s vital to trace down the reasons. Ranking position changes are among the possible reasons.

Regular checks of your website performance in organic search can help you spot ranking drops early. And by eliminating the issue in the early stages, you may even be able to prevent losses.

To analyze how organic visits correlate with keyword rankings, you need to sync your Google Analytics account with Rank Tracker first. In Preferences, select Google Analytics Settings and specify your credentials.

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Now, Rank Tracker will be able to access the current traffic data. In your project, select all your keywords and hit Update Traffic. In the pop-up window, tick Organic traffic and hit OK.

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Finally, check the Organic Traffic (GA) graph in Rank Tracker. Here you can see the number of visitors that your tracked keywords have brought to your website from various search engines.

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Make sure to compare this graph to your Rank Progress graph to see how ranking changes correspond to your website's visits.

Compare your rankings against competitors

If competitors are gaining rankings, it’s crucial to detect those shifts quickly. By being on the lookout, you can timely find out what makes them rank higher and adjust your strategy not to lose your positions. For the same reasons, it’s also important to be aware of newcomers who enter the top positions in the SERP.

Luckily, Rank Tracker is here to help you automatically identify your top competitors and track their keyword positions along with yours.

To discover your digital competitors effectively, go to Competitor Research > Domain Competitors. Type your domain, specify your location and device type, and click Search.

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Wait for a few moments till the position tracking tool compiles a list of your competitors with data on keyword intersection and their organic traffic.

If you want to discover the detailed lists of Competitor unique keywords (or any of the given columns), click on the magnifying glass icon.

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Rank Tracker will automatically take you to the Keyword Gap module where you can see your keyword rankings against the given competitor.

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Bonus: 3 tips to improve keyword rankings

In this section, I'll provide handy tips to help you boost your search engine visibility and climb higher in search results:

Tip 1: Find keywords with high SEO potential

Checking keyword ranks is a great way to find low-effort ways to get more traffic. One approach is to look for pages that are already ranking for high-demand search terms, but those rankings aren't high enough.

Say, if a web page ranks #10 for a term with a high search volume, imagine how much traffic you can get if its Google position improves to the top 3.

Here’s what you can do to pinpoint those little-effort pages:

In Rank Tracker, navigate to Tracked Keywords. In your workspace, select all keywords and hit Check Rankings to update the data for a selected search engine.

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For your convenience, you can create a custom workspace to sort out those low-hanging fruit — the pages that need a little extra effort to be ranked higher for popular keywords. To do that, hit the plus button next to the tabs in the Google rank checker workspace. Make sure to add the Google Rank column and the Google URL found column to show the ranking page. When you're done, click OK.

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Now create the filters by clicking the filter button and defining conditions for your workspace.

Let’s say you want to see all the keywords that your pages rank for on positions ranging from 5 to 20. Here’s an example of how your filter tuning may look like:

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Once the filters are applied to your workspace, the tracker tool will show only the keywords matching the defined conditions.

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Here you are — now you see the pages that need a little extra content optimization to get better rank positions.

Tip 2: Optimize keyword placement

This step requires WebSite Auditor. You can download it now for free.
Download WebSite Auditor

If you want to improve your rankings for specific keywords, it's essential to put them in the right places on the page you're aiming to boost.

In the previous section, we already identified keywords that offer a good opportunity to boost your rankings. Now, it's time to optimize the content on those pages. You can do this by incorporating the keyword or its variations in specific areas, such as:

  • Meta title and meta description

  • Header tags H1-H6

  • Intro paragraph

  • Main content

Ensure that these keywords are naturally integrated within your content to avoid keyword stuffing. The goal is to make your content user-friendly while still making it clear to search engines what your page is about.

At this step, I recommend using WebSite Auditor’s Content Editor. It’s a handy assistant that enables you to optimize your content on the go and offers real-time SEO tips. Launch the tool and go to Page Audit > Content Editor.

You can create a new page from scratch or refine an existing page. Simply enter the page's URL and specify the keywords you aim to rank for.

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WebSite Auditor will show your optimization rate and generate handy instructions for you to follow.

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You’ll be able to check how well your page is optimized for your target keywords. Plus, the tool offers additional relevant keywords in the Recommended keywords section so that you can expand your content's reach even further.

Tip 3: Mind user’s search intent

Another important thing that influences keyword rankings is search intent. Simply put, search intent is the reason behind a user's online search. It's about understanding what users hope to find or accomplish when they type a query into a search engine.

There are generally four types of search intent:

  • Navigational: Users aim to reach a specific website or page.
    Example: "Facebook login"
    Marker words: [names of brands, products, or services]

  • Informational: Users are looking for information or answers to questions.
    Example: "How to cook quinoa"
    Marker words: How, what, why, who

  • Transactional: Users are ready to buy or perform another specific online transaction.
    Example: "Buy iPhone 15"
    Marker words: Buy, sale, discount, near me

  • Commercial: Users research and compare options before making a purchase.
    Example: "Best running shoes 2024"
    Marker words: Best, top, alternatives, reviews

Google tailors its search results to closely match the various types of search intents. Therefore, if your content doesn't align with the specific intent behind a query you're targeting, it's unlikely your page will show up in the search results. That’s why crafting content tailored to search intent can significantly enhance your SEO strategy.

You can divide your top-ranking keywords by search intent in Rank Tracker setting up filters manually. Say, you want to pinpoint keywords with informational intent.

Here’s an example of filtering options:

Download Rank Tracker

By understanding the intent behind a search query, you can tailor your content to meet the users' needs more precisely. This leads to a better user experience, as visitors find exactly what they're looking for on your site, and surely, better search rankings.

How often should you check your keyword rankings?

Though there’s no rule of thumb on how often you should track your keyword rankings, regularity is key.

The frequency depends on several factors, such as the keyword difficulty, the pace of changes in your industry, and the resources available for monitoring.

For most websites, checking keyword rankings once or twice a month is sufficient to track trends, avoid severe drops, and make informed decisions about further SEO steps.

However, if you're operating in a highly competitive industry or recently experienced a penalty from Google, you may consider weekly ranking updates (or even several times a week).

Fortunately, you can automate this process using Rank Tracker’s Scheduler tool.

To create a scheduled task, go to Preferences > Scheduled Tasks and Alerts. Click Add, select Check search engine rankings, and click Next.

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Follow further steps to choose the project and specify the timing and frequency of alerts. On the given day and time, you’ll receive email notifications about your keyword performance.

Final thoughts

Keyword rankings may experience ups and downs, and it’s common in the digital world. However, every webmaster aims to keep online visibility on the rise. I hope that after reading this blog post you have a clear roadmap of how to check your positions with both Google tools and SEO PowerSuite's rank-tracking software.

Do you monitor keyword rankings regularly? Are there any keyword-tracking challenges you’ve faced? Feel free to join our group on Facebook to share your experience!

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