How to track SEO Rankings

When reading a map, you need to know where you are before you start any journey; the same can be said for creating an SEO campaign. You must have a strong understanding of the current traffic, keywords, and rankings your website receives; that way, you gauge how much work is needed, and you can track the effectiveness of the effort performed.

SEO Rankings
SEO Rankings

Proper analytics tracking might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many digital marketers get this step wrong. Tracking and Analytics are difficult and time-consuming, similar to tracking and reporting expenses.

What are Search Engine Rankings?

Search engine rankings, also referred to as Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), are numbers referring to a website’s position on the search engine results page. 1-10 are first page results, 11-20 are second-page results, 21-30 are third-page results. Anything higher is inadmissible. 

How to track organic traffic (for free)?

You need analytics tracking installed on your website to track how many people visit your website. Google offers these services for free:

  • Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool provided by Google to analyze your website traffic. 
  • Google Search Console helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google search results.
  • Bing Webmaster Tools is a free service as part of Microsoft’s Bing search engine, allowing webmasters to monitor Bing search results’ performance.

Why is monitoring Organic Traffic important?

Setting up Google and Bing tracking is essential because it tracks visitors, what areas searchers are from (Geo Locations), types of browsers used (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) if desktop or mobile devices are used, and how they engage with your website.

How to track Keywords?

In Google Analytics:

  • Select Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords

In Google Search Console:

  • Select your website>Performance > Queries
GA & GSC: keyword tracking
Tracking Keywords in Google Analytics (left) and Google Search Console (left)

From here, it’s best to review data on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis (GSC only reports as far back as three months); when tracking the progress of your website over time. Seasonal spikes can skew results. You can also compare data over time.

Compare date ranges in Google Analytics
Compare date ranges in Google Analytics
Comparing GSC Queries over time
Comparing GSC Queries over time

What Keywords are you ranking for?

Google has dialed back how much information it shares. Still, from a broad deduction, you can start seeing where your pages are ranking in Google Analytics Organic Keywords and Google Search Console’s Queries.

How to measure SEO success?

Keyword rankings are essential, but it’s not the best way to measure SEO success. Rankings give an early warning signal to organic shaping, affecting admits, sales, and conversions. The ultimate goal is to rank on page one of search engine results pages (SERPs).

Keyword tracking is most effective when monitoring Algorithm updates; these ranking shifts indicate that something increased for good or bad. More extended tracking periods are vital that you can perform period-to-period comparisons.

Where does my site rank?

A few years ago, the same result would be the same every time. Today, every search query is customized for your search patterns, devices, and geographical location.

The best route for keyword rank tracking is to sign up for keyword tracking services like AhrefsSEMrush, or Sistrix.

From there, you can analyze your site against your competitors and find useful content gap analysis.


Published on: 2021-01-20
Updated on: 2021-04-22

Avatar for Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is an SEO Director, Full Stack Developer, and InfoSec enthusiast. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Western Sydney before joining various marketing positions in search portals, higher education, and addiction recovery marketing agencies.