Where and for what keywords does your blog or web site rank in search engine results? I will show you how to monitor this automatically!
This is installment #4 in the Tracking Your Blog’s Progress series! In yesterday’s post Increase Traffic with MSN, Yahoo, and Google I talked about making sure that your blog and xml sitemap were registered with all the major 3 search engines. Doing that will ensure all the major search crawlers are indexing your site properly – and that will lead to your pages and posts getting listed in search results. Depending on which search results pages you rank for (and what keywords) will determine how much traffic and how many visitor’s you actually get through the search engines. I find that this is one of the most difficult things for a blogger or webmaster to figure out – what keywords and what rankings do they actually have?
There are many ways to get this information, from buying expensive software to digging through the search engines yourself spending hours trying to figure it out manually. No way is really wrong as long as you are actually checking from time to time where your blog stands, and hopefully you are making progress. Tracking search engine rankings is essential to making sure that you’re not going backwords in search results, no one is actively stealing your content, and you haven’t accidentally acquired some kind of “google penalty” knocking you down in search results, or even words – sending you to “supplemental index hell”.
Get Daily Search Ranking Email
**UPDATE** – When I wrote this post I was using Zoomrank and getting free email from them every day. After the post was published their CEO emailed me and told me that their service wasn’t free, I had just been part of their “beta test”. Nice communication on their part eh? I like getting email from Zoomrank, and now I’m at the end of my free 30 day “trial” and I’m sure not paying them $7.95 per month for the service. You’re welcome to read the original review I published about Zoomrank – but I highly recommend that you read my post on Indispensable Firefox Extensions for Bloggers where you’ll find “Rank Checker”. Rank Checker is a firefox plugin that does same thing and more (much better) and it’s entirely FREE. It can also be setup to run scheduled tasks. Now, back to the original post…
A very easy way to check your search rankings or SERP pages is by using a monitoring service. A new place that I found is ZoomRank.com. Zoomrank is a search engine rank monitoring service. It is a paid service,
but you can monitor up to 10 web sites / keyword combinations for free (update – *I just got email from the company that this is a paid only service and the only reason it was free for me is because I was part of the “beta” test. I will try and find another free service to use to replace this ASAP!). I use the free service, and it does the job for me quite well. I get a daily email notification from Zoomrank with a report for my blogs that shows my page, rank, and position in the major 3 search engines. I glance at it every day as an indicator of what’s going on so I know that nothing drastic has happenned.
Ranktracker is a very basic service, when you enter a URL you can only enter one keyword query. In addition it can only check a URL based on keywords you give it, it can’t tell you what other keywords you rank for (you might now know about), and it can’t tell you if you have other URL’s (pages or posts) within a domain that perform well in search results either. When I get my daily email from them I’m not going to be concerned if my position moves a few slots, but if it’s a few pages I’m going to investigate further. I’m also very glad that I know that I’m ranking in all 3 search engines. If for some reason you rank in google, but not yahoo or MSN – your daily tracking email will let you know as soon as you do! More importantly, if you don’t (rank in Yahoo or MSN) you need to read yesterday’s post and get registered and indexed by yahoo and msn since they makeup 40%+ of all searches daily online.
Using Software to track Search Rankings
Rank Tracker is a piece of software that you can download for free to do advanced search result tracking. There is a “pro” version you pay for with more features, but I’ve been using “free” version for quite awhile with no problems at all. I fire up this software when I want to get a little more in depth regarding search results. Basically you add a “url profile” and give it a list of keywords and keyword phrases you think your site should be ranked for. It then sets up a profile you can run reports on.
In order to do this right you need to know a little bit about your site and what keywords you should be doing well for. I entered in a dozen or so keywords for this blog in my profile, and some were related to my tagline and categories, and others were keywords I wanted to or thought I would be ranking well for. There are a number of engines you can check in, and I decided to check for google, MSN, Yahoo, Alexa, and Ask. Not only is this a great snapshot of what you’re doing in the search engines for bunches of keywords at once, but if you click on each keyword result line one by one, in the bottom you’ll get “URL’s found”. In this example I clicked on my #2 keyword “bans setup”, and in URL’s found it shows me all “URL’s found” for that keyword. Very helpful, since for some keywords you might not rank at all for your homepage, but for a post or category page. In the bottom right is a progress graph, so if you run these reports over time you can truly “track your blog progress”. You can add or remove keywords at any time to your profile or project.
How to find keywords you don’t know about
So far I’ve only shown you how to track search results for keyword you know about. Wouldn’t it be great if a tool like this could suggest keywords for you? Well – it can! Click on the “sugges” button and you have some options to do a little keyword research. You can’t use the “overture” option because Yahoo bought overture and shut down the servers, but the rest of the options seem to work nicely. With every option several “lookups” are peformed to get the results, and one is a call to “overture” which of course lags a bit until the software figures out there are no results coming back. What I’m getting at is, the lookups take a little longer than usual but work if you just wait.
In this example I fed it some suggestions like blog help, blog tips, and blog monetization and it gave me some very nice results. I even get the number of searches (when it can provide it) and what my competition is – very handy information! With Rank Tracker once you find those keyword suggestions – it will automatically check and see if your site ranks for them, and automatically adds them to your project so you can check them all the time.
Regularly Track Your Search Rankings
Part of “tracking your blog progress” is tracking your search results to make sure you actually ARE making progress. You need to know whether you are doing well or not, and make clear and direct plans to improve your rankings and increase traffic if you want to be a blogging success! If you have questions or comments about tracking search results, please comment below now! Especially if you know about other tracking tools everyone can use!