I keep seeing people ask for their rank, asking what the best free ranking tools are, etc., like it’s so darn hard to ask Google where your website is in terms of it’s keywords.
First of all, Google Analytics has an ‘Average Position’ column for popular search queries that tells you a lot of great info about your site’s keywords.
This is an example of Search Queries sorted by Average Position
The link to this area is:
+ your URL.
Our website link would look like this:
You can also click at the top of the position column to sort it, or tack this onto the end of the URL:
If you aren’t getting enough data from this, first try out the download options, and load them up in a spreadsheet so you can sort/filter the data.
Most folks are surprised what a little bit of filtering and grouping can accomplish to provide you with a fresh perspective on data.
Still not enough? Well there’s a zillion free tools that will gladly trade your URL and keyword targets for a limited ranking report.
This is valuable data, so why not trade something free for it? Google does!
Indeed there’s enough free tools, that I won’t even bother mentioning one. Why don’t we just make one?
It’s not ‘hard’ to get your rank really, lets break it down:
- Make a list of phrases you are trying to rank for
- Do a Google search for your first phrase
- Keep searching until you find your site
- Take note of the position
So how does the average person do this? It’s gets pretty technical, but all the resources are out there, and free!
To break that down in simple terms:
- Setup a server or install XAMPP
- Setup a database/table to store your rankings by date
- Make a page that CURLs for your keywords
- Setup a schedule to execute the php page regularly
Bingo, you now have your own ranking reports tool, and nobody is the wiser, besides Google, and they are usually too busy to care that you’re extra curious about your rankings.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of fine details to explain and not everyone is comfortable installing programs like this or scripting, but I am going to look at getting permission to make this a step-by-step how-to guide with full downloads so even novices can give this a try.
A final point to make is that excessive/automated queries on Google is a breach of their TOS, and could result in annoying blocks/complaints from Google if you were to attempt to use this method for a large set of keyword phrases, or wanted the reports updated constantly.
If you are a ‘power user’ who needs a lot of data, you’ll end up paying someone, and either you pay to use someone’s API key at a premium, or you get your own API key from Google and only pay for what you use.
Seems like an easy decision to me!
SEO news blog post by Ryan Morben @ 1:03 pm on January 24, 2013