When you have a website, it is important to know where you rank for different keywords.
Many people do however misunderstand how to do this and end up getting results that are not correct – this can lead to wrong future decisions about your website.
In this article I will show you how to check Google ranking of a website precisely, so you can use the results to make the right decisions about your website in the future.
I will also show you what to absolutely avoid when checking your keyword rankings – so let’s get to it.
The importance of knowing your Google Rankings
Often people are not using the knowledge about how they rank in Google to its full potential.
Sometimes people just want to know how they rank out of curiosity, but they do not really know what to do about this knowledge.
It is however very important to know how you rank in Google – it is important info and data you can use to make future decisions about your website and how to develop it.
With this knowledge you will know what works and what does not work. This can be used to do more of what works and less of what does not work.
You can also use the info to optimize your site further. If you for example see you have an article that is ranking at the bottom of page 1, you know it has potential. But it will still not get a lot of traffic in this position. You can however use the data to localize the articles with the biggest potential and improve them further.
This can be a great way to boost your traffic, and I have previously written about how to update old content and showed a case study, where I increased my organic traffic to an article by 734% this way. So it can definitely be an effective way to get more traffic to have this knowledge.
What to avoid when you check your keyword rankings
Before getting to how you can check your rankings precisely, there are a few things that are important to know to avoid. If you do these things, it can really distort the data you get, and you can end up making decisions based on very wrong data.
Avoid checking the wrong keywords:
I see many people making this mistake. They do simply not check the right keywords.
If you know about how to optimize your website for Google rankings, you will know that an important aspect is to find keywords that people search for, and at the same time these should preferably not be too competitive.
I often see people doing proper keyword research, but when they check the rankings, they make a big mistake.
Let’s say you have found the keyword “lose belly fat” for a website about weight loss. This has more than 45.000 monthly searches (I have checked with the keyword tool Jaaxy). You then want to make the title more interesting to make it more likely people will read it, so you call the article “9 effective ways to lose belly fat today”.
This is great so far. But where it then often goes wrong is when people check the rank after the article has been published. You have to check the rank for the keyword itself. In this case you would have to check for “lose belly fat” and not the whole long title.
Sometimes people make up unique titles (which is great), but when they then check and use these whole long sentences, they will naturally rank high, as it is a very specific sentence – in many cases a sentence people never really search for, and there are therefore also no competition for it, and you will therefore rank higly.
But because they check the whole sentence and see they rank high, they think they are ranking high for a high volume keyword. But they do not understand why they might still not get any real traffic, and it is because they did not check their rankings the correct way.
So to get the right data, make sure to check the data for the actual keyword and not for the whole title or the URL itself.
Avoid just checking on Google:
The most normal way for people to check how they rank is to just do a Google search.
This will however not give you precise data. When you do a Google search on your own device, your preferences are remembered. This for example means that because you often visit your own website, it is more likely your results will come up, when you do a google search.
So because your browser remembers your preferences and past browsing history, the results you will get are not precise, so avoid checking your website ranking like this.
Do not obsess with one keyword:
It is easy to obsess about just one keyword. I have for example had clients that want to rank for a specific keyword. This is very fine and a good starting point, but they sometimes end up obsessing about getting a good result for a very specific keyword, and not be open to the possibilities other words can bring as well.
If you obsess about just one keyword, you can potentially miss out on a lot of other relevant traffic.
What I mean about this is that when you rank, you will not only rank for one keyword. Google reads all your content and indexes all your content. This means that with all the content, you have can potentially rank for different keywords.
So you might have a specific keyword for an article, but you will very likely end up ranking for hundreds of other keywords as well. So to just measure your success based on checking one single keyword will not give you the full picture.
You might be one page 2 of Google for the particular keyword you want to rank, but there can be hundreds of other words/phrases you are ranking for on page 1, which can bring in hundreds of visits.
So do not limit yourself to just focusing and obsessing about ranking for the particular keyword. Optimize your content around a keyword, but be aware that you will potentially rank for hundreds of others as well – great right?
This is an important thing to remember when it comes to ranking in Google. It does not make sense to start checking your rank right away.
It takes time to rank in Google, and it takes time for organic traffic to start flowing to your site.
So do not obsess with measuring your results in the beginning. This can lead to impatience and frustration that you do not see results. But the truth is that if you work with SEO and work on getting organic traffic, you will likely not see many results the first few months – sometimes longer depending on your topic.
So be patient and give it time. You can not get any relevant data after just starting your website, and in general it can take time to rank in Google.
Free vs paid rank checker?
There are many tools for checking your website rank out there. There are both free and paid tools.
Some of them are great, and some of them not so great:-)
Whether you should go for a paid tool or a free tool depends on several things.
There are some free tools you should definitely use, and I will show this below. But if you have the budget for it, it can also be a big advantage to get a paid tool. A paid tool often have more options and can give even more data.
Some tools can however be very expensive, so you also need to look at your needs and budget and find the solution that fits both.
Personally, I use a combination of free and paid tools, as I find this gives the best data, when I put it together. So let’s get to the tools I use and recommend to check your website rankings, so you can see which ones might fit your needs the best.
3 precise methods to check your Google rankings
As mentioned, I personally use a combination of free and paid tools to check my rankings on Google. Below is a list of my 3 favorite methods, and in combination they give a great overview and great data.
Method 1 – Google Search Console
The first tool is a free tool from Google, and it is a must-have tool, if you are trying to rank your website.
It does not only help to get your website indexed, but also gives an amazing amount of data about the keywords you rank for. If you do not already have it installed, you can click the link above to read an article about how to do this, and it is something you definitely should get.
But how does Google Search Console help you with data about your rankings?
It does in several ways. You can for example get a list of all the keywords you are ranking for, but not only this. You can also see the amount of clicks you have received within the given period, the amount of impressions, the click-through-rate, and the average position on Google.
There is a lot of interesting data here. And for the purpose of checking your rank, this can give you a very precise picture about how you rank for specific keywords.
You will see the average rank for all searches where this keyword has showed up. This is from all countries, so it is a great way to get an overview.
Be aware that this is an average for all queries where your keyword has showed up. Sometimes you might be in position 1 and others in position 15. It depends on the person who searched and the preferences, country, etc. of this person.
But it is a great way to see how your keywords are ranking on average.
In addition to this, you can also see how many keywords a particular article/page is ranking for. Remember that I earlier mentioned not to obsess about just one keyword, because you can potentially rank for hundreds of keywords for one article?
You can get info about this in Search Console. You can choose a specific page/post and see all the keywords this page gets traffic from.
On the image above you can for example see the results I get for one of my articles. It shows that I for this particular article ranks for 196 keywords. This can lead to a lot of traffic. The article is written around a single keyword, but it is a comprehensive article, and it has then naturally ranked for hundreds of other words as well. And I am getting traffic from many of these words.
This is very valuable info to have, and it can help you to optimize your articles further, and to get an even better overview of how you rank. And if you work with clients, it is a great way to show them they should not just obsess about ranking for just one word/phrase, but look at the overall results.
So if you do not already have Google Search Console installed, you definitely should (check out here how to install Search Console on a WordPress website).
Method 2 – Jaaxy Keyword checker
Jaaxy keyword tool is my favorite tool to use for SEO. It is a paid tool, but it also has a free trial.
It is a great tool for doing keyword research, but it also has a great function for checking your rankings on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The function is called “Site Rank”, and it is very easy to use.
You just go to the site rank tab, write the keyword you want to check, the website you want to check it for, and then click search.
As you can see on the image above, you then get an overview of where you rank in both Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Below the ranking result, you can also see a tracking option. This is very useful and is a way to automatically track certain keywords in the intervals you want. This is a great way to keep an eye on how your rankings changes over time to see if it is going in the right direction.
When you set the tracker, you will be able to see a graph of the development of the rank over time.
The image above shows the ranking over time for a specific keyword on Google, but as you can see, you can also choose to see the development on Yahoo or Bing.
The keyword checker can be used to check the ranking of keywords on any site, so you can also use it to check and track rankings of your competitors, which can be a great way to see what they do.
Overall is Jaaxy a great keyword tool, as it is also an amazing tool for finding relevant keywords to write articles for. And the rank checker is a tool I benefit a lot from, and in combination with Search Console, this will give you all the data you need.
As mentioned, it has a free trial, and it is great to be able to give it a try without having to take out your credit card. You can read my full review of Jaaxy, to get more info about what it can, and how to get access to the free trial.
Method 3 – Incognito Google search
The last method I want to show you is a “quick and dirty” method. It is not as precise as the two others, but it is free, and it can still give some good info, and it is something you can quickly do without having to setup anything.
Earlier I mentioned that just doing a Google search will not give you precise data, because you browser history will affect the results.
There is however a way to get around this. It is called Google incognito search mode. When you are in your browser, you can open a new window in incognito mode.
This will allow you to browse privately, and the results you see on Google will therefore not be affected by your browser history, so the rankings you check will be more precise.
It will however NOT give you the full picture. As mentioned, it is a quick and dirty method to get a quick idea about your rankings. But the result will for example still be affected by your location, so somebody in another country or part of the same country might get a completely different result.
How you open the incognito window depends on your computer. On PC, it is usually by pressing ctrl+shift+n and on MAC ⌘+shift+n, when you are already in a browser. It can be a fast way to check your rankings, but just be aware of the limitations as well.
If you have a website, it is very important to be able to check and track your rankings. Without this it is difficult to optimize your website and know what is working and what is not.
What the best tools are for this depend on your budget and needs. Above I have however showed you both some great free methods and my favorite paid tool. In combination these tools are great and will give you all the data you need to check, track, and optimize your rankings on Google.
So find the combination that fits your needs the best, and let me know how it goes.
If you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear from you in a comment below.