Ranking Report

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April 19, 2011:
Free Ranking Report Sources include This Link and This Link.

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How to track your Search Engine Results

Rankings management and tracking

No search engine optimization (SEO) project is complete without a reliable ranking report platform to help you understand how your keywords stack up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and whether you’re moving up or down in the search engines.

Luckily, there are free ranking reports available for the casual “DIY SEO” practitioner and there are also some very good paid versions that can be used by small businesses and webmasters who want to create a white label ranking report for customers.

Tips:

• Ranking reports will usually only show whether your site is in the top 40. If you are #41, it may look like you’re off the map, even if you’ve come up 100 spaces. If you have a few keywords, you can set ranking report software to 100 or 200 places, but this can tax the limits of your API, since each keyword query counts as one search.

• Many reports show numbers in parentheses next to the keyword. This number reflects the number of competing pages for the term, not the search volume.

• It is not unusual to move up or down by 1-3 spaces between reports. A large drop may indicate that your code has been taken off the site, you have been penalized by the search engine, or the site was simply “not there” or unreadable when the spider came to visit. Make sure your site is readable to search engines.

• Use a bigger list of keywords to track broad trends, or create two reports, one of which has your “core” phrases, and the other tracks the “aggregate” terms. Looking at an aggregate report can help you understand whether the core terms are about to move up.

In October/November of 2010, Google started integrating its Places results into rankings for local searches, instead of showing the "7 pack" of map results at the top of the screen. For some site owners, this has created a problem, especially when the ranking report software is not located in the same IP address as the actual store location, as people can't see if they truly rank in the places results or if they are being pushed down. Likewise, a poorly optimized site with good map results (unlikely, but possible) may suddenly start to see traffic among the natural search results thanks to a good "places" listing. Nonetheless, ranking reports are still valuable, and it is likely that ranking report software will find a way to emulate local searches in the future, even if that involves the use of multiple dedicated proxy servers.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: Ranking report software may come with tools like submitters or link exchange programs that may actually harm your search engine rankings, or just leave them in their old positions. Excessive use of these tools is not recommended.