What is keyword ranking?
Your ranking for a keyword is an unpaid position in search engine results when that keyword is searched on Google or another search engine. Establishing your keyword ranking will allow you to understand your SEO performance and where your site needs more work.
For example, in the example below, the site ‘Seattlearborist.com’ ranks in position 3 for the search ‘ Seattle arborist’
Manually tracking keywords
You might think you can estalish your site’s ranking for a keyword by simply searching on Google.
However, the challenge with this approach is that it is very hard for an individual to do on a personal computer or phone. This is because of the amount of personalisation on the SERPs. For example, Google tends to deliver personalise results to people based on thousands of factors, including:
- Browsing history
Personalising results makes them more useful to end users but makes tracking keywords much more difficult. Two people may never see the same order of results.
A workaround is to use an incognito browser tab. Opening an incognito (a.k.a private) tab will remove much personalisation.
Tracking keywords in bulk using Google Search Console (GSC)
A popular free tool which can be used to track keyword ranking is Google Search Console (GSC). In GSC, they use the term ‘position’ instead of rank. According to Google, the ‘position’ attempts to show approximately where a given link was seen on the page, relative to other results, averaged across all users.