Using SERP Checkers More Effectively to Monitor Your Ranking

Many bloggers and online marketing writers keep track of their blog post rankings using search engine results page (SERP) checkers.

However as your blog post gets bigger and the content evolves, this is the time to become more thematic about how you monitor your ranking.  It isn’t just about ranking for individual posts that is important, but rather how your overall ranking for a particular topic is progressing.

This is because both Google and searchers are looking for authority leaders in your niche.  And this is one of the key ranking factors.

Ranking Factors for Google

word cloud expertise

“Expertise Word Represents Educated Wordclouds And Specialist” by Stuart Miles (freedigitalphotos.net)

There are a number of factors that influence your overall page ranking, some of them can be read about in this article How To Rank In Google

However, out of all of the 200 or so factors, one of the key indicators for quality page ranking is authority.

If Google believes that you know what you are talking about, then the chances of ranking high greatly improve.

How Does Google Determine Authority?

There are a number of factors that are known (and quite a few that are not) about page ranking. The main ones to note are;

  • age of domain – newer websites tend to be discriminated against until they can prove their worth (buying an established domain doesn’t get around this necessarily unless you keep all the same content as well).
  • links to known authoritative figures – yes you are trying to show your own authority, but knowing who all the thought leaders are in this field is another way to show you know your stuff.
  • other topics on the site – a website that has several pieces of content on a particular theme is likely to be seen as more interested and more authoritative on that topic, compared to only having a single post or article.
  • internal links – to other posts and pages on your own site. This supports the message that you have other content on this theme and therefore you are an authority on it.
  • use of categories – having your posts categorised under a particular heading, again supports the message that there is more content available

As you can see many of these focus on proving authority, especially by having multiple posts and themes on the particular subject matter.

So How Do You Know Whether You Have Authority in Google?

One of the ways to start to build up your own awareness of your authority is to monitor your page rankings thematically.

Your website is probably already a niche site so you are focused on a specific segment of the market. However even within that niche there will be further themes and areas to build specific expertise.

I use SERPLAB which is a free SERP checker to monitor the positions of my web posts. Within the dashboard you have the option to set up projects from across different websites.

For this website I have developed 5 themes, which are listed below and which you can see in the screenshot.

  • Start a Business
  • Digital Marketing
  • SEO
  • Blogging
  • Writing
image project layout of SERP Checker

Dividing your blogs into themes can help to identify areas that you are becoming seen as an authority by Google.

The first figure in the keyword section (that is not in brackets), shows the total number of posts that I have listed in this project. The other figures which are in brackets are indicators of changes since the last check, they show a figure out of the total;

  • how many posts have improved in ranking,
  • how many are in the top 100
  • how many have gone down in ranking

Even at a glance I can see that Digital Marketing and SEO are the topics that I write most about, with more than half the posts on my blog falling into one of these two categories. This is the first step to assessing my authority subjects.

Checking Page Rank by Theme

The next stage is to open each of the projects and look at page ranking within these themes.

The following screenshot shows posts in the SEO category. There are three figures shown which include;

  • First – the entry position in the top 100 that the post started ranking at (positions outside of the top 100 are not shown)
  • Best – the overall best position that has been recorded
  • Latest – the current position.
screenshot SERP results for SEP

This shot show some of the SEO posts and their current ranking

Some of the post titles used long tailed and low hanging fruit keywords, i.e. there was little competition for these exact phrases. Other posts were more competitive in the hope that in time they would start ranking better.

For a long time the two posts (9 & 10) on writing about SEO content and on Page SEO were nowhere to be seen in the page rankings. As more posts have been published on this subject gradually over time they are starting to make their way up and are currently on page 3 in Google.

The overall results for this theme can be seen by the dashboard within each project.

SERP results SEO

Here the average position has just slipped off the first page (this doesn’t include any pages that are undetected and/or unranked). 13 of the total posts are in top ten positions and 9 of these are within the top 3, which is positive progress (for me).

This site is still fairly new being only less than 10 months old. It is also working in a competitive field.  Despite this the main theme of the site is SEO and so it is important that Google recognises that and sees the content I have written as being useful to the sector.

It might have been difficult to see this if I had simply analysed all 80 posts and pages that are on the site together, and looked for an overall position. Less competitive sub niches such as writing or blogging could have swayed the results one way or the other.

This way I am very clear as to where the SEO content on my site is ranking.

How to Get Google to Match Search Queries to Pages

The next challenge is to try and ensure that the right pages are being presented into relevant search requests.

Many people are concerned about getting Google to show their posts in the searches and don’t necessarily focus on where they are appearing and for which particular searches.

In Google Webmaster Tools there is the option to review the keywords that Google is using   to index your site. For this site they are shown below;

Google webmaster tools keywords

This list is one indicator as to how Google views the relevance of your posts and what themes it sees from your overall site keywords.

Google Console (or Webmaster Tools as it used to be known)  is an important tool to use in the analysis of your organic search results. As well as showing the number of clicks it also breaks them down into the pages shown and the search queries.

I took a snapshot of my most recent Google organic search results for the top 12 search results that resulted in click throughs.

screenshot Google console search results

As you can see the search results are less predictable.

 

Three of the last 12 search results related to one post I wrote on WordPress plugins for SEO.

 

Another 2 posts that are interesting are;

  • Number 1 which relates to a line used by Neil Patel and which appears once in my article on him.
  • Number 11 Jaaxy – this was a surprise because this is normally a high ranking post, ‘keywords’ are one of my top recognised keywords by Google, and yet in the search results I was only shown on average on the 10th page.

 

Writing Content based Upon Ranking Results

The reason for reviewing your post’s ranking position is to understand, what the search engine sees on your site and also how content is being matched to searcher’s interests.

Understanding searcher queries is an important aspect of deciding what content to write about and what keywords to use. Knowing the ranking position of your other pages and where the page is appearing in search query results, tells you something about the relevance of the keyword and the searcher’s interest in your topic.

Over time this will become slightly less important, as your authority grows generally across a theme. Eventually your site will begin to rank for all aspects of your topic whether or not you deliberately chose to highlight that keyword in your article.

Using SERP Checkers More Effectively

This article has highlighted a number of advantages to using SERP checkers to analyse your results thematically, rather than as individual posts.

  1. You gain better insights into posts on the more specific areas of your niche
  2. You can start to view page ranking as part of your content development strategy
  3. You can measure success at a broader level rather than solely on the ranking of one individual post

Remember as well that posts that are not ranking well can be linked internally or promoted separately on social media.

I hope you found this article useful and please feel free to share any other tips on analysing your content in the comments below.

 

2 thoughts on “Using SERP Checkers More Effectively to Monitor Your Ranking

  1. Marcus

    I see you use SERP Lab. I use that too, and I think it’s great. The thing is, without a tool like this, it’s possible for internet marketers to waste quite a lot of time checking their rankings manually in Google. If you have a lot of keywords you are trying to rank for, this could really end up taking you a long time.

    The only problem I find with SERP Lab is that it often complains that the bots are under strain and tries to get me to pay for a bot of my own. I’m a bit cynical, so I do wonder how true that is. I wonder whether they fake those messages saying they are struggling to cope as a marketing tactic to try to persuade us to pay money. What do you think?

    Reply
    1. Marie

      HI Marcus thanks for sharing and yes the robots are sometimes stressed out poor things. I think it’s a gimmick to explain delays and as I don’t mind waiting 24 hrs it’s never been an issue. It is one site I would consider paying for the service though as it’s only $5 a month to hire another robot!

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