Keyword Tracking to Outsmart Your Competition
Last updated on Thursday, November 24, 2022
Your target audience is doing a Google search for a product or service your business is uniquely qualified to provide. But whether they end up on your website depends on your ability to apply search engine optimization (SEO) best practices.
Keywords are integral to any SEO strategy. Matt Cutts, who previously served as an engineer in the quality group at Google, confirmed search engines pick up the web page or site with the most relevant, frequent, and strategically placed keywords in their content.
But adding keywords to your content is only one part of the job. You must also track them to know whether your optimization efforts are indeed working.
What Is Keyword Tracking?
Keyword tracking is an SEO-focused activity that involves monitoring the position of your website or web pages for specific keywords. It helps you determine whether your website or content ranks in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for the keywords you are targeting in your content.
Ideally, you want your content to rank in the first position for every keyword search. Or at least on the first page of the search engine. By tracking your keywords, you will be aware of your current ranking and can act appropriately to get to the top spot.
The Benefits of Keyword Tracking
Keyword tracking provides critical insights into how your website and content are performing in the SERPs. It helps you spot opportunities for keyword optimization and take actionable steps to improve your website’s online presence.
Let us quickly review keyword tracking benefits in more detail.
Identify Your Site’s High-Performing Keywords
Monitoring keyword positions helps you identify:
- Which web pages are ranking well in the search engine
- The type of content Google prefers
- The keywords that bring in the most traffic and revenue
With this information, you can better understand the type of keywords and related terms to focus on and create content around to improve your site’s organic visibility.
Instead of creating, optimizing, and publishing content in the dark without relevant data, you can track keyword rankings to guide your content and make data-driven decisions for your SEO campaign.
Suppose some of your web pages rank on the 11th and 12th positions (second page of Google) for keywords with substantial traffic opportunities, you can further optimize your page content and create new supporting web pages linking to it to improve their ranking and drive traffic.
Tracking the right metrics and keywords is a no-brainer when you want to identify your site’s high-converting pages and posts.
Note that the focus here is on conversions and not traffic. While it is nice to see your organic traffic rise, it will not do you any good if those visitors do not buy what you are selling.
When you know your high-converting pages and posts, you can use the data along with keyword rankings to further improve conversions with your content.
According to Backlinko, moving up a single spot in organic search results increases click-through rates by 2.8%. So if your keyword tracking data indicates your highest-converting post is not ranking in position one, you can focus on optimizing it further so that it ranks higher. As it already converts well, the influx of traffic is likely to bring in more revenue.
Moreover, you can use a keyword rank checker like AccuRanker to collect actionable data to recover your lost rankings. If you find your highest-converting post’s position has dropped, you can take immediate action to rectify it, preventing a substantial revenue loss due to less traffic and fewer conversions.
Monitor Your Keywords and Your Competitors
As part of your SEO strategy, you are targeting a lengthy list of keywords. But it is likely a select few keywords are your top priority being the highest-volume purchase-intent keywords for your brand. For example, “lounge chairs” if you are an online retailer for lounge chairs.
The problem here is that your competitors are also targeting those keywords.
Monitoring keywords helps you understand which keywords your competitors are ranking for and missing out on. You can then use this information to make informed decisions and pick quality keywords your site can rank for instead of making decisions in the dark.
Consider using AccuRanker to see the Top 10 aggregated competitor lists for all keywords. You can also choose up to ten competitors for side-by-side comparisons to collect valuable insights.
If you find a specific competitor starting to gain ground, investigate what they are doing right. For example, publishing more content or rigorous link building. And refine your strategy to better compete with them.
The Different Types of Keyword Tracking
You can apply several types of keyword tracking techniques based on what you think is important for your website.
Here is a quick rundown of each one:
Traditional Keyword Ranking
This stage is all about answering what is the Google rank of your keywords.
The key challenge here is to accurately analyze keyword performance at an individual level. Google SERPs show different results to people based on several factors, such as device, locality, language, and browsing history, to provide a highly personalized experience.
Due to this, two people may see different ranking results at a given time.
A keyword rank checker accounts for these personalization factors by applying sophisticated methods to depersonalize search and generate results on average.
You can track rankings of these factors individually, too. For example, AccuRanker tracks keyword rankings for both mobile and desktop. Simply input or import the keywords you want to track, and the keyword rank checker will show you the results for each device.
Local Rank Tracking
Local rank tracking is your best friend if your targeted keywords have local search intent.
Why? Keywords with local intent have different rankings based on city, neighborhood, and area code. For local rank tracking, you must track keywords in multiple locations to get a clearer picture of how your rankings change over distance.
This will help you identify problems and opportunities directly impacting your business, which would not have been possible in the case of non-personalized ranking.
AccuRanker lets you track keyword rankings for any country, state, city, postal code, and neighborhood. You can accurately track positions for any custom location of your choice to pinpoint your local SEO efforts to the exact areas you are interested in.
Alongside location-based tracking, AccuRanker also monitors and reports on whether your side registered in the Local Pack results for each keyword.
Tracking individual keywords, especially if they have a high volume, is undoubtedly a great tactic. But you cannot continue with this approach when tracking tens of thousands of keywords at the same time.
That is where rank indexes come into the picture.
By creating a rank index, you can group keywords around topical themes and combine the ranking of several similar keywords into a single metric. This helps simplify keyword monitoring by eliminating unnecessary complexities.
Share of Voice
While rank tracking and rank index are great indicators of keyword performance, they do not provide insights into how your website stacks up against your competitors.
Share of voice (SOV), also known as visibility, combines monthly searches with your rankings to provide an accurate representation of how your most important keywords are performing in the search engines.
Under this, you consider all the keywords ranking on the first two pages (positions 1 to 20) and then multiply the average CTR (click-through rate) for the position by the search volume of each keyword. You can then determine whether your site’s high-traffic keywords are gaining or losing ranks.
The Different Stages of Keyword Tracking
Here, we will review the three different stages of comprehensive and detailed keyword tracking.
Simple Keyword List Tracking
This is the traditional way of tracking keywords, involving a single list of keywords. Reporting for a simple keyword list includes a visibility trend chart and a table showing your keyword ranking performance.
This technique was enough when search engines were less complex, but not anymore. Today, search engines use tons of factors to rank content to ensure visitors get the best possible answers to their search queries.
This does not mean simple keyword list tracking is dead. You can still use it if you meet any of the following criteria:
- Your business only offers one product or service
- You have a low-consideration product or service
- You operate in a single location
If you operate in multiple locations, you can run a simple keyword list. Simply use different geography-related terms for different lists.
Category Split Keyword Tracking
If your simple list of keywords grows past one hundred (or 1,000 for the strong-hearted), determining your strong and weak points becomes challenging. While you can continue looking at your organic traffic, you will not have insights into content silo performance.
Category split keyword tracking comes in handy when tracking keywords for multiple services and brands. Here, you will split your visibility metrics into specific categories to get a clearer view of your site’s organic performance across the business landscape.
Tag your keywords with a unique identifier (a service, product category, or brand name), followed by filtering your reporting to only display visibility and keyword ranking tables for those tags. The idea is to split your metrics amongst the different keyword categories.
Keyword Funnel Tracking
This keyword tracking stage is more advanced, where you monitor your targeted keywords along a user funnel. You prioritize search behavior over simple keyword tracking by tailoring your SEO efforts to what consumers are looking for.
You need to categorize web pages into different marketing funnels, Top Funnel (awareness), Mid Funnel (consideration), and Bottom Funnel (action), to execute an agile and effective SEO strategy.
Here is a basic-level example to give you an idea:
- Top Funnel: Blogs, Resources
- Mid Funnel: ’About’ page, ‘Services’ page
- Bottom Funnel: ‘Contact’ page, ‘Location’ page
Then combine data from keywords and website analytics to track user engagement at every stage of the purchase cycle. Make note of the metrics you want to track, such as conversions, conversions value, and organic sessions.
3 Tips to Effectively Act on Your Keyword Insights
What should you do after finding opportunities to improve your current keyword ranking? You optimize.
Here are a few tips to help improve the ranking of your website and web pages in search engines:
Use Keywords in the Right Places
Where you use your keywords is as important as how many times you use them. Ideally, you want your keyword to appear at least once on your web page:
- Title tag
- Meta description
- Header tag
- URL structure
Look at how following this simple tip has helped Capterra score the top position for ‘appointment scheduling software.‘
In addition to this, you should add targeted keywords to images and add them naturally throughout your content.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is the practice of forcefully adding a keyword into your content, even when it is out of context, in the hopes of ranking higher for that keyword in the search engines.
In addition to lowering the quality of your content, keyword stuffing harms your ranking. Google has already issued a statement it will penalize websites with poor content. So, adding keywords unnecessarily to your web pages is certainly not helpful.
Simplify Visualizing Your SEO Progress
If you work with thousands of keywords or have a huge website with several categories and subcategories, use filters and keyword grouping options to easily navigate and visualize your ranking data.
For example, you can group added queries based on search intent, location, and product features. This will tell you which parts of your website’s semantics are working well, and which ones need to be optimized.
You can also consider using a keyword rank checker to organize your data. With AccuRanker you can view ranking data more efficiently, identify site structure and content improvement opportunities, and track keyword ranking metrics to make informed decisions about moving your keywords in the SERPs.
Maximize Your SEO Efforts with Keyword Tracking
Keyword research is the first step of SEO, and keyword tracking is your best bet to realize better outcomes.
AccuRanker allows you to automate keyword tracking to always stay on top of your keyword rankings. And check keywords in every country and language combination to gather accurate data and rankings for every keyword. You can also use it to measure and report success with historical keyword data to optimize pages and continually re-evaluate your SEO strategy.
Start increasing organic traffic today with AccuRanker.
Chief Marketing Officer at AccuRanker
As the Chief Marketing Officer at AccuRanker, Bo is responsible for all aspects of AccuRanker’s marketing - including outlining and implementing the company’s worldwide marketing strategy and branding. A marketing senior with more than 20 years of software marketing experience, Bo has both firsthand and strategic experience with all major marketing tactics and technologies.