Why to constantly keep track of your targeted SERPs? When done regularly and properly, this analysis may help you with your most important SEO campaign challenges. By tracking your targeted keyword search engine results, you will:
- learn new emerging SEO techniques;
- keep track of your well established competitors;
- timely spot your new competitors and their tactics;
- watch blackhat techniques and learn how long their effect lasts;
- learn how recent SE algorithmical changes influenced your competitors;
- define who of your competitors to learn from;
How to monitor SERPs?
I’ve been trying multiple (mostly paid) tools and none of them is perfect. I won’t review them here. There is one nice free online tool that can be effectively used to track organic search results for the unlimited number of projects and domains – SerpArchive (the service is no longer available, please refer to these posts instead: How to Track Google SERPs and4 SERP Trackers Reviewed). Developed by Russian programmers, it has a great variety of features that are a real fun to play with. Some of them are broken at times (like Google PR-tracking feature) but the main (and my favorite) one is working fine.
So how to use it? All you need to do is to create a project (I keep one per domain) and add your keywords (all you want to track). And that’s it. Now all you have to do is to check back now and then to see and compare the results. Here is how the results page for each monitored keyword looks like:
That’s an exact copy of regular Google results page enhanced by the rankings history of each site (to the right of each result). The ranking history will show you the snapshot of each site rankings over the last five days:
In this case the site rankings were changing dramatically: first it was #29, on the next day it lost 7 positions and then got to #8 in a day (after this sudden boost it disappeared from top 100 results at all). Do you feel you should definitely look into this site deeper? – Yeah, you bet! An interesting case, isn’t it? You can also look into a longer period of time – here is what each individual result history page looks like:
Here you can choose the period of time to analyze (start-end report date) and see the results in a handy format:
- Google rank: black for neutral (if the rank hasn’t changed compared with the previous one), green for positive change and red for negative change;
- change = number of points lost/gained.
Plenty of data to analyze and learn from!
Some bonus features to make your life even easier:
- Use sorting feature to view only new results (those that were not in top 100 previously);
- Bookmark your own sites (or sites that caught your attention) to track only them;
- Export the results to Excel to play with titles and URLs.
And which (free/paid) tool are you using to keep track of your own or your competitor’s rankings?