How to Track SEO Rankings
Whenever you implement a robust Search Engine Optimization strategy, you must know whether your efforts are paying off or not. So most people turn to Google Search when they want to see how high they rank for particular keywords. But Google Search positions change, so you need to know how to track SEO rankings.
Being on the first page of Google Search results doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. Your current efforts could only be bringing in a fraction of the potential traffic.
If you want to know how to track SEO rankings properly, you need to learn how to analyze multiple metrics. This will help you visualize the end from the beginning. Google Analytics and Google Search Console put all these metrics together to provide insight on your SEO ranking for free.
How to Track SEO Rankings: 5 Important Metrics
1) Organic Traffic
Ultimately, the goal of all your search engine optimization efforts is to boost web visibility and increase traffic. Tracking your organic traffic over a period is the strongest indicator of SEO ranking.
Your organic traffic gives you measurable proof that your efforts are bringing in more visitors. An increase in visitors to your site demonstrates that your ranking is improving.
Let’s break down the steps for how to use Google Analytics.
The first step in tracking your organic traffic is to log into your Google Analytics account to open your Channel Grouping reports.
Click on Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels
Here, you will see all traffic sources grouped by channel. Click on the “Organic Search” channel to get a more detailed report of your organic search traffic metrics.
Next, use this report to find out a host of things such as your top landing pages and the keywords driving the most traffic. Aside from these, it will show which search engines are sending the most traffic, the top exit pages, and much more.
2) Organic Conversions
Organic traffic gets people to your site, but not all these visitors will convert or buy from it. As such, it is important to ask yourself: What Is the Quality of My Organic Traffic?
As you probably know, your SEO efforts may generate leads that do not convert into a sale or a quality lead. To measure the quality of your leads, set up your business goal or conversion events in Google Analytics. Examples of goals include:
- Form submissions
- Email signups
- Phone calls
Defining goals for your site makes it easy for you to monitor them. To set these goals:
Choose Admin from the top navigation > click Goals
Next, select what should indicate a conversion transaction, like when a consumer opens the landing page or goes to the call-to-action page. You can set up multiple goals along your conversion path to see exactly where you are losing people in your sales funnel.
After setting your goals, open the Assisted Conversions Report. Here’s how to access it:
Conversions > navigate to Multi-Channel Funnels > open Assisted Conversions
Next, set the date range to “Previous Month” and compare it to “Previous Period.” It will then give you a monthly comparison of conversions straight from search. Use this report to look for improvements or decline in conversion from search traffic.
If you notice a decline in your conversion rates from search, yet the search traffic is unchanged, the traffic you are getting is not qualified or of high quality. Start focusing on a more refined set of keywords, and you might see an improvement in the quality of organic traffic.
3) Keyword Rankings
The main goal of any SEO strategy is to increase web traffic. By choosing the right keyword for your content, you answer not only the user‘s query but also provide the quickest way to prompt a conversion. Some keywords may boost your web traffic but not conversions.
To know how your keyword research is paying off or how it is failing, you need to track your SEO rankings. This research will help you know the following:
- The direction of your SEO efforts: Largely, tracking keywords shows you the effectiveness of your current SEO plan. A better ranking for one keyword is usually a sign of an improved overall ranking, especially for related long-tail keywords.
- The quality of your keyword selection: If other SEO metrics like organic traffic or domain rating improve but you don‘t see an improvement in target keyword ranking, this is a sign of poor keyword selection. In such a case, we highly recommend choosing a less competitive keyword and trying to rank for it first.
It’s tough for businesses to check their website rankings manually. This is because Google uses many different factors like a user’s browsing history, their geographical location, and even the type of device they are browsing with to personalize search results.
For unbiased keyword ranking, you should use a keyword rank checking tool like Google Search Console.
Here is how to track keyword rankings:
Log into your Google Search Console > Choose Search Traffic > Search Analytics
Note that in Google Search Console, the search analytics data only goes back three months. It’s a good idea to regularly download the data and store it in a spreadsheet program like Excel, where you can track and analyze your keyword ranking.
4) New Backlinks and Referring Domains
On-page factors matter, but so does the quality of backlinks when creating a strong SEO ranking profile. A study by Backlinko, for which a million Google Search results were analyzed, found a strong correlation between ranking and the number of referring domains.
Always keep track of your backlinks and referring domains to get a general idea of the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
To track backlinks, you will need an SEO analytic and backlink monitoring tool with these features:
- Regular update rate: It should be able to index new backlinks as they appear online.
- Accuracy: A useful backlink tool should indicate the actual backlinks and show you the follow or no-follow links in a different section.
- Trends: The tool should show you the general trend, including whether you’ve gained or lost backlinks over time.
Lucky for you, Google Search Console has all these features.
Go to your Google Search Console > click on your site name > navigate to Search Traffic> click on Links to Your Site
This report will show you the latest links to your site and insight on how your link building may have contributed to your ranking.
When it comes to backlinking, more is always better. However, we also encourage you to focus more on the quality of the backlinks and the linking root domains your site has. To get more quality leads, consider using your Facebook feed or Instagram stories ads. These social networks improve your chances of getting quality links.
5) Page Speed
Sometimes, people overlook a page’s load time, yet it impacts SEO. Page speed is a major search ranking factor, and it even affects user experience. If you are already spending a good portion of your time and money in keyword ranking and SEO, do not blow it by overlooking slow loading page times.
Here’s how to identify your pages’ load times:
Google Analytics > Navigate to your view > Open Reports > Select Behavior > Site Speed
As an SEO professional, you’ll want to use the report to optimize your page load times. After fixing the issues slowing down your web pages, run the same report, and match it to the old data. You will see how much more search traffic you’ve gained and converted after improving your page load times.
The Importance of Knowing How to Track SEO Rankings
Over the years, SEO has become more complicated, and measuring SEO success has become even harder. You can no longer rely on specific metrics to analyze your SEO efforts.
To get an accurate picture, you need to know how to track SEO rankings. You must analyze several metrics covering everything from organic traffic and keyword ranking to page speed and conversions.
It’s important to put as much effort into tracking your rankings as you put into planning your content. Each one benefits the other. And while it may seem complicated, tracking your SEO rankings becomes easier with practice.
Use these five key metrics to track and monitor SEO ranking to stay ahead of the game by making the necessary changes to ensure continued success.