Rank Tracking Explained
The Google Algorithm has 200+ factors (domain age, backlinks, on page factors, etc) that influence ranking. Only Google knows the exact value of each factor, but with tens of thousands of SEO’s ranking sites; we’ve come up with a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t. Think of the Google Algorithm as a 200+ variable long formula that equals a total score for a site. The site with the highest score will rank at the top. Note: This is an overly simplified explanation, but check out my other blog posts for more info on the various factors.
Why Rank Track?
Basically its progress tracking. The goal of SEO is to rank at the top of the search engines for quality keywords, as search users tend to click the higher results in the rankings. By tracking the ranks, you can see the movement over time, and the affect that it has on traffic volumes and conversions.
I give all my clients access to ExecutiveSEOClients.com, which uses our fantastic ranking software. It shows you live (updated every 24 hours) ranks for all your keywords in Google, Bing, and Google Places. I also set it up with Google Analytics, so you can see your rankings and traffic in one location. You receive a personal login that lets you access these 24/7. For some clients I open up the Social Media features, so you can post to all your social media sites at once.
Rank Updates/ Fluctuations
The search engines are updating results constantly. It’s not unusual for a site to shift several positions up and down during the day; therefor hourly rank check ups are not recommended as they can often be misleading. There’s several Google Data Centers around the country, and depending on which one you are closest to; you may receive different results as they haven’t fully synced up.
Local Results (Google+ Local)
It’s quite interested how Google is showing results based on your IP Address, which is essentially what your computer tells the servers about your location. A few years ago they started with Google Place Pages (now Google+ Local), where the results showed up with a letter and corresponding map. These were often in a defined box, either as a sole listing, 3 box, or 7 box. As of the past year or so, they’ve actually been mixing local results into the regular search for some keywords, sometimes along with the other local map listings. I see these most in national keywords. What I’ve been running into with most of my clients is where the local results are essentially the Google Place Pages, but they’re mixed into the regular top 10, and look like part of it.
While these do include the local results from the previous section, they also include News Updates, Pictures, Videos, and Authors. The goal of Google is to provide the best results to its users, so they take into account what people who search these terms most click on and try and provide the most useful results. If you type in a musician or politician, you’ll most likely receive all of the above.
On the left side, you can tell Google the specific types of results you’d like to see. They overlap with the hybrid results, but when you define your specific filters, you can see exactly what you’re looking for. There’s a dozen or so main categories, and you’re also able to change your location for local results and the time frame of when that content was posted. If you know more about what your visitors are looking for, you can stress certain sections to rank higher in.
I Thought This Article Was About Ranks?
While I may have run off on a slight tangent, everything above is relevant to rankings in their own way. If you see your top 10 results showing completely local results you’ll know to focus on ranking your Place Page (Google+ Local). If you’re seeing videos rank in the top 10, you can influence your own videos’ ranking on YouTube and encourage it to show up. And finally, I used to work with a photographer who had me optimize some of his images as he wanted his portfolio to be the first thing his potential clients would see.
Google Slap/Dance: I wrote an entire post about this a month ago or so. This is when your sites bounces way out of the normal search results, often tens of pages deep. This is often caused by too many links at once.
Swingback: When SEO starts I often see rankings move down several spots for a few days, and then return to a better position. For example if you were ranked 10th at the start of SEO, one week in you may be ranked 15th, and two weeks in you’ll be ranked 6th. It seems scary, and I can’t tell you how many angry phone calls I’ve received by clients who are constantly checking their ranks complain that the “SEO isn’t working.” I give this exact explanation, and ask them to wait another week or so.
Don’t check your ranks daily. Granted the rank tracking software I provide you a log in to updates every 24 hours, there can be a decent amount of fluctuations throughout the week. Most software for clients updates weekly for that reason, but I prefer to see exactly what’s happening so I can respond according as soon as possible. At most I’d suggest logging in every few days, and again looking at the month as a whole.
Thanks. ~Ryan England – Executive SEO