What Keywords Do I Rank For?
This is such a broad question with so many variables! Our SEO clients always seem to want to know where they rank and what keywords they rank for – and while we do try to discourage them from focusing on keyword rank, we do understand the desire to have this data.
While there are tools that will give you this data – they are typically too pricey for most website owners. We typically utilize Ahrefs.com and SEMRush.com to grab this information for our clients, but wanted to share a free option that is pretty awesome!
IMPORTANT NOTE: There is no way to get a 100% accurate keyword rank list for your website or to even know where you rank for a specific keyword!
The methods in this post are to be used as a general overview only. There is absolutely no way to get a definitive list of keywords and rank position for your website. Whether you use SEMRush, Ahrefs or what we are about to show below – there are just too many variables in search to give a “one size fits all” result.
Why is it so hard to get accurate keyword rank date? Because search results fluctuate day to day – week to week – month to month and are based on so many personal variables it would be hard to get an actual rank position.
Why might your website rank so differently for the same keyword for different people?
These are a few of the variables that can affect your keyword rank position:
1) Where the person is doing a search from (country, state, county etc)
2) Whether they are logged in or or out of Google
3) Have they visited your website before
4) The browser being used
5) Google algorithm changes
6) Device the searcher is using
There are rumors of many other things that can affect these variations in rank as well – so as you can see it would be impossible to say “you rank #4 for “this keyword”.
WHAT IS THE SEARCH CONSOLE?
The Search Console by Google – formerly called Webmaster Tools is a must have if you run a website. If you have not setup your website to work with the Search Console, we recommend you do that immediately. Here is a beginners guide to setting it up!
Here is a list of some of the data/services you can get out of the Search Console:
1) Check your indexing status
2) Find websites that link to you
3) Get alerts if there any issues with your website like a hack, indexation issues and more
4) Fetch as Google tool to submit new pages faster
5) Get keywords and positions
….these are just some of the more common uses, there are many more great things you can do with this toolset.
UNDERSTANDING THE SEARCH CONSOLE TERMS
When you arrive in the console you will see many terms – we wanted to give you a rundown on what they mean.
CLICKS are an overview of the number of times a search result was clicked on to get to your website
IMPRESSIONS are the number of times your website may have been shown in the search results for your keywords/phrases
CTR is your click thru the rate – a percentage based on how many impressions were received compared with the actual clicks to your website
POSITION is your “average” position in the search engines
FINDING KEYWORDS YOUR WEBSITE RANKS FOR – AN OVERVIEW
1) Go to the Google Search Console
2) Click the website name of the website you want to review data for if you have multiple websites setup
3) In the left menu bar click SEARCH TRAFFIC > SEARCH ANALYTICS – you will then see a page that looks like the below.
4) From here click the checkboxes for CLICKS, IMPRESSIONS, CTR, POSITION – now you will see something like the below screenshot.
The red highlighted area shows an OVERALL view of your website in terms of clicks, and position. It also is the area you will use to further refine your filtering of the data. So you can see here that we had 435 clicks and our average position for all of our keywords is 44.8 for the last 28 days.
The green highlighted area is a progress graph – this is critical for seeing big changes whether up or down. As you can see below we are pretty stable for the last 28 days which is the default time frame the search console returns data for.
The blue highlighted area is what you are here for! This is the list of the keywords your website ranks for.
ANALYZING AND USING THE KEYWORD DATA
Now that you know how to view the list of keywords your website ranks for – we will cover what to look for.
Let’s take our term “WEBSITE AUDIT” as shown in the screenshot below.
It looks like we received 9 clicks in the last 28 days from results returned for that term and that our average position is 21. We are not thrilled about a .3% CTR so that is something we would want to look into a little further.
By clicking on the little icon to the right of the keyword we can get the current search engine results.
The first thing we notice is that for this term we are actually result #9 (we are logged in to Google and using Chrome) your results may vary if you search for that keyword.
The next thing we want to check is what page is being returned for this keyword. By clicking on the last icon to the right of the row we can see a list of any pages that are returned in the search results for any term.
THE DATE FILTER
Now – let’s change the DATES in the filter – we typically like to review results for the last 7 days to get the most current data. By changing the date you can see how different the results are for the same keyword.
The rank position is now at 14 and our CTR went up to .46%….so this lets us know we are doing a bit better this week than for the last month.
With the date filter you can do date comparisons and check data for custom date periods.
PAGES FILTER – KNOWING WHAT KEYWORDS RANK FOR WHAT PAGES
This is one of our favorite tools. In the filter area you will see a filter called PAGES – if you click this option instead of queries you will receive a list of all of your website pages that have received impressions and then you can view the clicks, impressions, CTR and position on a per PAGE basis!
This is important for determining your most popular pages and where you can find room for improvement.
In the below screenshot – you can see we checked CLICKS, IMPRESSIONS, CTR and POSITION in the top filter area. Then we selected PAGES and chose a date range of 7 days to get the results below. We sorted our data by clicks so we can see what pages are receiving the most clicks in the search results.
Our winning page is about Website SEO Audits.
If we click the icon to the right of the page name – that will take us right to the page on our website.
WANT TO SEE ALL THE KEYWORDS FOR THIS PAGE THAT MAY APPEAR IN THE SEARCH ENGINES?
Of course you do!
1) Click on the double arrows to the right in the row (on the right of the position column)
2) On the page that is returned you will see PAGES is still chosen – you will want to choose QUERIES on this page, then you will see all keywords that the page ranks for in the search engines
POSITION VALUES – WHY THEY MAY VARY
So you have your list of keywords that your website currently ranks for and you choose to sort by POSITION because you want to see what your top ranking keywords are. You do the sort and are excited to see so many keywords ranking in the number 1 position – but wait, do not get too excited too quick!
In the sample below we chose all the standard options (clicks, impressions, CTR and position) and then chose the date filter to return the last 7 days worth of data. We then sorted by position. You can see some of the keywords that are showing in the #1 position.
For some of the terms we do rank in the local pack which is why we show as #1 – for example the terms “nj wordpress designer” and “web design” are both local results so if you are outside my local area of course you will not see those results.
For other terms like “sussex county seo” and “website for seo” – we are no where to be found in the search engines when we search for them, so why is it showing us at #1 over the last 7 days?
No one knows for sure exactly.
What we do know is that Google takes an AVERAGE among ALL QUERIES where your site appeared. So if your keyword returns a result in Organic, Local, Knowledge Graph or on mobile or desktop – all of these things are averaged together. You can read more about position values as written by Google to help you better understand these calculations.
Remember, this is just an overview of the data relevant to your website. Nothing in these reports are EXACT given all the variables – but this data can help you tremendously. There is a lot more to review in the Search Console and we will do future posts to help you further refine your data.
Once you have this data – you can download it for use in other tools you may use and to analyze the data in other ways. There is a download button at the bottom of every page of data so you can get an Excel or Google spreadsheet. Doing a monthly review and downloading the data can help you evaluate progress and future work that needs to be done.
Explore the Search Console even further by looking at the devices that people are using, the countries that are visiting you and more!