SEO Rank Monitoring, Explained: The Complete Guide for 2024

Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t easy. But as a small business owner or marketer, you already knew that. Hitting those top search spots is a cut-throat business. 

Tracking search engine results is key to staying ahead of the competition. And we’re not just talking once in a while. You need a constant view of how your SEO and content perform. Or someone else will jump in that ranking spot ahead of you.

But how do you keep on top of SEO performance day in, day out? That’s where SEO rank monitoring comes in. 

If you’re new to SEO rank tracking, you’re in the right place. I’ll explain what it is and why it’s important. I’ll also talk you through how to do it. Including the best tools to use and what you should measure.

What is SEO Rank Monitoring?

SEO rank monitoring measures performance on search engine results pages (SERPs). SERPs list web pages and sites in a ranking order. Most web searches return hundreds of thousands of results. Search engine algorithms rank results by relevance. Or what they think is most useful to the person searching.

The best results go to the top of the SERPs. This is important because most click-throughs go to the top 5 positions. Everything else is easily overlooked. Success in SEO means hitting those top spots. SEO rank tracking is about making sure you do.

Search engines use lots of different methods for judging results rankings. But one of them is keyword relevance. Keywords are phrases that people use when they search. If your website features different keywords people use, it’s more likely to rank higher on SERPs.

Rank tracking focuses more specifically on keyword performance. The use and relevance of keywords go up and down over time. SEO rank tracking is about navigating these changes. And spotting patterns for how keyword positions can give you an advantage over time.

Why is Rank Monitoring Important?

SEO requires time, effort, and money. You want to know you’re getting good returns for what you put in. Rank tracking helps you do that in several ways:

  • It helps you judge if your strategy is working. Every successful SEO strategy includes goals and targets. Rank tracking helps evaluate performance against them. And it helps you justify your approach when it works. Including justifying what you invest. 
  • It makes sure issues are identified early. Dips in average ranking position lead to dips in click-throughs and traffic. You want to know about this ASAP so you can make changes.
  • It informs changes to your SEO approach. SEO rank monitoring helps you make smarter decisions. If one set of keywords isn’t working, what could do better? Tracking data gives you viable alternatives.
  • It drives continuous improvement. Rank tracking looks at SEO performance across your whole website. It will throw up parts that are driving plenty of traffic. And pages that are underperforming. Over time, it helps you continually identify opportunities for improvement.

SEO Rank Monitoring Tools

So how do you go about monitoring your SEO rankings? Doing it right means tracking several different metrics at once. Yes, you need to look at SERP positions. Many free basic keyword trackers are available. But SEO success depends on more than that. If you want valuable insights, you need a tool that can track all the important metrics.

I’ll start with Google Search Console. And then talk you through 6 of the best SEO rank monitoring services.

Use Google Search Console

Google search console seo tool

Plenty of SEO professionals swear by Google Search Console. Many use it alongside other SEO tools. It makes sense. Google dominates online search. The search console is Google’s way of helping you use its search engine successfully. And it’s free.

Google Search Console has 4 main functions. The URL Inspection Tool shows you how Google indexes information from your website. This is priceless for understanding how to make a web page ‘Google ready’. Presenting information in the right way is critical to good search rankings.

You also get ranking data. GSC measures search positions, impressions, and clicks. An impression means that someone saw your content listed in the search rankings. Clicks tell you how much traffic you’re getting from your search results.

Google aims to crawl every website for search results. But there are billions out there. To make sure your pages get indexed, you can submit URLs and your sitemap through the console. 

Finally, the Google Search Console gives you alerts if algorithms spot issues with your site. If something is getting in the way of good rankings, Google Search Consoles tells you.

Use a Rank Tracking Tool

Rank tracking services cover several search engines and can be used for paid search and advertising analytics. They give you more data points than Google Search Console.

You can read our detailed guide to the best rank tracking software or here’s a summary of our top picks.

SE Ranking

SE Ranking keyword rank monitor

SE Ranking is a large suite of SEO analytics tools. Its Keyword Tracker provides in-depth analysis of keyword positions. It covers the top 5 search engines and you get daily ranking updates. Stats are available for search visibility, average position, organic traffic, and top impressions. 

You can also see how competitors are ranking for the same keywords. And analyze entire websites to get valuable insight into your competitor’s performance. There’s an AI-powered on-page SEO checker to guide your optimization. And you can check and research backlinks separately.

Try SE Ranking for free

Semrush

Semrush rank tracking software

Semrush is a major digital marketing platform with tools for content marketing, online advertising, and social media marketing.

Its search product alone has 28 SEO tools. Its position tracking tool monitors keyword positions daily. You can break the analysis down by devices, locations, and specific landing pages. Find out how competitors are ranking. And monitor SERP features, like which keywords are landing in Google’s Featured Snippets.

Semrush is Google-focused. It connects to Google Analytics for monitoring organic traffic. You can run competitor analysis for keywords and backlinks. There are also auditing tools for your whole site or individual pages.

Get started with Semrush for free

Serpstat

Serpstat rank tracker software

Serpstat is an SEO platform that leans heavily into keyword research. It’s the kind of tool you need when planning your SEO strategy. It analyses keyword performance on Google in 230 countries. And gives you insights into traffic, visibility, and backlinks. That makes it more than useful for ongoing rank tracking. Not just research and planning.

Serpstat is suitable for both organic and paid search. It lets you run competitor analysis to find out what keywords your competitors are using. It will also help you discover keyword gaps and opportunities you can pounce on. Serpstat also offers SEO audits you can automate to run regularly.

Try Serpstat here

Wincher

Wincher search engine rankings software

Wincher describes itself as the easiest rank tracker to use. The basis of that claim is that it focuses solely on rank tracking. It’s not an all-in-one SEO platform like some of the other software on this list. That makes it affordable and straightforward to use. It’s very beginner and SME-friendly.

Wincher runs daily ranking updates. The starting point is 100 keywords. You pay extra to add more keywords. You can schedule more updates on demand. Tracking covers keyword positions and traffic. You can research new keywords and compare competitors.

Whitespark

Whitespark local SEO rank tracker

Whitespark is a specialist local SEO platform. Local SEO works the same as normal SEO. It’s just all about location-specific searches. Which is how people find customer-facing bricks-and-mortar businesses.

Whitespark features lots of tools that are specific to local SEO. Things like managing listings and reviews, and getting local citations. But it also features a local rank tracker. 

This does the familiar job monitoring keyword visibility and positions in organic search. But it also tracks results in Google Maps and Local Packs. Local Packs are location-specific results that appear at the top of SERPs. Whitespark analyzes these in Google and Bing. 

You can analyze and compare different location-specific search terms. So, for example, you can track by neighbourhood, street name, and postal code.  

The 6 SEO Metrics to Monitor

So what are the best metrics for telling you that your SEO strategy is working? Here are the 6 things to measure when you’re starting out.

Keyword rankings

Keyword rankings tell you a page’s SERP position for specific keywords. This is the absolute core of SEO rank monitoring. It’s what tells you if you’re hitting those all-important top search positions. 

keyword ranking and monitoring

It also links directly to keyword strategy. It matters which keywords you rank high for. You want top positions for keywords people use to find businesses and content like yours. Monitoring keyword rankings helps you focus on the most important ones. 

Organic traffic

Getting those high search engine rankings isn’t the ultimate goal of SEO. What you’re after is plenty of traffic to your site. High ranking positions make you more visible in search. And make it more likely that traffic will follow. But you must measure traffic to be sure.

Search results are split into paid and organic. Paid-for ads appear first. Then the ‘organic’ search results. Organic traffic simply means the traffic you get from these organic search results. High or growing organic traffic is a good sign your SEO strategy is working.

Click-through rate

Click-through rate (CTR) is another way to measure traffic from search results. But it gives another perspective to a raw total. CTR tells you what proportion of search hits result in someone visiting a page. So you could have pages that rank well. But you notice the CTR is low, despite the high ranking. Why? Maybe your page titles and meta descriptions aren’t grabbing people’s attention. SEO has to work for people and the search bots, too.

Or, you could have a high ranking page with what looks like good traffic. But you notice the CTR could be higher. This means you have an opportunity to grow traffic even more.

Conversion rate

From a business perspective, even high traffic to your website isn’t the ultimate goal. For SEO to be worth it, you want it to increase sales. Or other actions you want your target audience to take. Like signing up for your newsletter or following you on social media. 

Conversion rate tells you the percentage of visitors that take these actions. You can’t fix a low conversion rate through SEO alone. That’s about your broader marketing and sales strategy. But it’s the easiest way to quantify the success of your SEO in broader business terms. 26% of visitors convert on a landing page on average. These visitors are already on a landing page, so you have to think about your sales funnel. How will you get people from your content to your landing pages?

Bounce rate

Bounce rate tells you the percentage of people who click through to a page, then leave. This reminds you that SEO alone isn’t the goal. You can have great rankings and high CTRs. But if people click through and then leave, where’s the value? A high bounce rate means you need to work on the on-page experience.

Site exit points

Even if people don’t leave after landing on one page, it doesn’t mean they all convert. They might browse around several pages before they leave. Tracking site exit points lets you see if people leave after hitting certain pages. Again, it allows you to review and improve your site. The best landing page builders have conversion optimization tools like AB testing to help you increase signups and sales.

SEO Rank Monitoring: Conclusion

Rank tracking is key to monitoring and measuring SEO success. In no small part, SEO is all about hitting high SERP rankings. You need to know the keywords people use to find sites like yours and optimize your site to rank high for those terms. SEO rank monitoring tells you if you’re successful.

To do it well, you need the right tools. Google Search Console is free to use and great for getting accurate SEO data about your site. But you’ll need rank tracking software for keyword research, competitor analysis, SEO audits, and rank tracking. 

If you’d like to outsource SEO or content writing, check out the best freelance marketing website to hire top talent.

FAQs about SEO Rank Monitoring

How do I monitor SEO ranking?

The best way to monitor search engine rankings is to use SEO reporting software. Connect your site, select the keywords and it will show you where you rank and how your positions change. You can track keyword rankings of your competitors and see where you can improve to support your SEO efforts.

What is an SEO rank checker?

An SEO rank checker is a search optimization software to check where a site ranks for different keywords. You can research the right keywords to add to your pages. Track keywords to see how your rankings change. And analyze the keywords your competitors are using to identify gaps.

The best SEO rank checkers are SE Ranking, Semrush, Serpstat, Wincher, and Whitespark.

What is SEO monitoring?

SEO monitoring is the process of analysing site performance in organic search. SEO monitoring tools track search results positions or rankings. The higher you are, the more visible you are. Keywords and terms are big factor in how search algorithms judge relevance. Keyword monitoring helps track rankings to identify what performs well and where you need to improve.

How do you maintain SEO rankings?

To maintain SEO rankings, you need to update your blog and product pages regularly. Search engine algorithms prioritize fresh, up-to-date information. You have to keep your content relevant and authoritative to get to the first page and stay there. If you don’t have any ideas about what to improve, try prompting AI writing tools to get some ideas.

You can also keep working on getting more quality backlinks to your site. Search algorithms love trustworthy and popular sites. Inbound links are a sign of trust and popularity. Some of the best email outreach tools have specific features that make building links easier. Also, think about what unique content you can include that’s valuable to your audience. Think of data, tools, calculators.

About Paul Newham


Paul Newham is a content writer specialising in business blogging, report writing, software reviews, and online copywriting. He has 5+ years of email marketing, marketing automation and software review experience. He tested over 60 business software including email marketing tools, CRMs, outreach services, SMTP providers, email verification, and AI writing tools.
With a background in journalism and PR, he understands business content from both sides. And knows what makes for great, engaging copy, but also understands that for businesses, the written word is all about driving value.

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