If you would like to focus on your SEO and get more and more users from search engines like Google to your website, you will – inevitably – need to:
- find a way to check your current rankings
- be able to see how your rankings evolve over time
Now, there are manual approaches you might be using once in a while, where you’d need to make sure your language + country settings in Google are in line with your target audience – but this is a tedious process you might just want to do once in a while to double-check your tools’ results. In any case, I talk about it at the end of the post in case you’re interested).
What you really want to look into is so-called rank tracking software:
What is rank tracking software?
Rank tracking software essentially asks you for a list of keywords you would like to rank for, and the target audience’s geography (country, or city for local seo).
The tracking software will then frequently query Google (and usually Bing as a second option) and check if your website comes up, and at which position. (By the way, modern rank trackers will ask you if you’d prefer to check rankings on mobile phones or desktop computers – these might differ in certain cases.)
The outcome usually is a list of keywords with current rankings and changes over time, as well as a graphical representation of rankings in the last days or months.
Rank tracking software options
Although there are many rank trackers out there, I’d like to take a moment to list some of the most common and recommended ones:
this is still one of my favourite tools which also provides solid results
almost industry-standard rank tracker with tons of features
probably the best tool for quick backlink analysis out there, that also comes with an extensive rank tracker
the online marketer’s “pocket knife” also offers rank tracking
Of course, there are many more rank trackers out there, and I’ll probably extend this list the next time I work my way through a few more and test them.
Manual rank tracking
OK, so if you’d really need to manually check where a certain site comes up in Google, here are 3 recommended methods to get results not biased by your Google user profile or search history etc.:
- open an “incognito window”
very often, results being seen from a search within an incognito window are rather realistic
- add &pws=0 to the end of your search url
this used to disable personalized search – have heard it doesn’t work too well though, lately
- create a fresh profile
creating a new google profile on a browser with no cookie history allows you to directly adjust google’s settings to the language and location you’d like to use for search. Keep in mind that Google has the ability to use previous searches for new search results (e. g. searching first for “Barack Obama” and then for “how old is he” might still refer back to Barack Obama’s age).
As you can see, rank tracking can get tricky when done manually but can be very easy using one of the indicated rank tracking software products. At the end of the day, what you’re looking for is a quick way to see whether your ongoing SEO work brings the desired success and ranking boosts.