Get An Accurate Picture Of Your Google Rank Change

How to get the clearest and most accurate picture of your Google rank change

Hello everyone,

If you’ve just tuned in, we’re discussing basic SEO mistakes people are making, even people who seem to get the game and use advanced SEO tools such as a SERP tracker or a local SEO rank checker. This is about the confusion people have on monitoring a website rank change. This issue came to light after we analyzed the usage patterns of some 40k users of our SERP tracker. Since we uncovered 4 basic mistakes, I’ve decided to make a 4-part series of articles about the subject. Here are the first three subjects we’ve discussed so far:

Are you abandoning your website’s mobile ranks?

The SEO basics you might be neglecting

Should you also include Yahoo! and Bing in your SEO plan?

Now onward to part 4: neglecting local rankings. Local rankings or simply “rankings,” as I like to call them, as no general global ranking has existed for many years. In my research, I noticed many seem to have a misunderstanding about how Google personalization works and what ranks are in general.

To understand the current situation, let’s go back in time to the 90’s to when shows about nothing were actually funny, baby Google was a fledgling search engine battling Yahoo! for market share, and indestructible Nokia phones with no internet access roamed the land, microwaving our brains with radiation.

A business man holding the most indestructible object known to humanity - the Nokia phone

A business man holding the most indestructible object known to humanity – the Nokia phone

How Pages Were Ranked Then And Now

During Google’s youth, as the legend goes, before personalization and many algorithms existed, there was a single rank to rule them all, regardless whether searches are made from different, multiple locations. For the sake of example, let’s say I had a website that made episode summaries of Seinfeld. If I searched for “Seinfeld episodes” on Google, my website would be ranked 7th. Theoretically, that would be my one and only “global rank,” and anyone in the world searching for “Seinfeld episodes” using Google would see my website ranked 7th.

Now, that was the case at the beginning, but as Google evolved and started developing their technology further, they quickly began adding layers of geo-targeting and personalization to search results, hoping to show the most relevant search result for their users. That way, a person searching for “cat food deliveries” from London wouldn’t get results in Boston, etc. What it meant was the single global rank was gone and the meaning of a ranking position started to become more ambiguous.

Nowadays, the SERP you get is influenced by factors such as Google’s geo-targeting capabilities (which are VERY accurate, to say the least), cookies, the browser you’re using, the platform (mobile or desktop), your search history, your Google profile, and others. With those factors in mind, every user that searches Google is pretty much unique and therefore tends to see their own unique SERP. The website you’re optimizing and promoting will have keywords ranking differently across different users. Many believe that using their browser’s incognito mode bypasses those checks, but the truth is it hardly changes anything—and it definitely doesn’t bypass the geo-targeting. Using a powerful enough proxy service costs money, is time consuming, and even then the proxy server itself is still subjected to the same personalization checks as a private user.

Although desktop search is rapidly losing to mobile search, it still has roughly a 50% market share, so it’s definitely not the time to stop taking your desktop ranks seriously.

Many locally oriented businesses track only a global Google.com rank, thinking that it’s their one “rank.” This misconception of rank (which I believe derives from the history of search engines and how we once perceived ranks) is what’s stumping many SEO beginners, giving them inaccurate signals which can affect strategic decisions. What a SERP tracker will show when you check for a general Google.com rank is, in actuality, the U.S. rank: a sort of average compilation that people who search from the U.S. see. When you check for a local rank (let’s say from Boston), you will see a much more accurate, high-resolution result that a specific person in Boston would see.

How To Improve Your SERP Tracking

So, if all that is true for you, with all that ambiguity in mind, how can you actually improve your SERP tracking? How does this affect my local SEO strategy? Is there a way to monitor your local search performance?

The first step is to acknowledge that you can’t get one simple, single rank for your website. The rank you should care about, though, is a rank that is most relevant for your business. For example, if you’re promoting an auto parts business that has an online store plus a physical store located in Boston, you would care about (1) the rank that a person searching from Boston would see, (2) a general US rank, and (3) if you ship to other countries, ranks for those countries as well.

There is no simple “one rank” to rule them all, and you have to start adding more relevant local ranks to your SERP tracking tool. To get a “real” rank, you actually need to figure out the assortment of ranks that are most relevant for your business, and to do that you MUST use a trusty SERP tracking tool that can bypass all of that and give you accurate, non-biased ranks for any keyword. 

A SERP tracking tool that can track based on location is CRUCIAL, and if your current one doesn’t do that, you should get one that can. Aside from being a local rank tracker, it should be able to give you a picture of how your website ranks when viewed from another location.There are several tools out there that can do that for you, and to help you navigate that market, you’re more than welcome to read my post about how to choose the right SERP tracker for your SEO agency. Remember: a good SERP tracker to an SEO expert is like a ruler to an architect or a barometer to a meteorologist.

Having said that, it’s time for you to try the best barometer around for monitoring any ranking change—and I mean us—Pro Rank Tracker, the most accurate and SEO-specialized tool among rank trackers on the market with the best per-keyword pricing!


6 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] How to get the clearest and most accurate picture of your Google ranks […]

  2. […] How to get the clearest and most accurate picture of your Google ranks […]

  3. […] Step 2 – Select which search engines you want to track. You can add as many as you need. PRT can track 187 local Google sites, 35 Yahoo! sites, 32 local Bing sites, Yandex, YouTube, Amazon and more (check out the FULL LIST). Next, choose a relevant location to get the most accurate ranks on your keywords. If you also need to track Snack Pack results (which are different than regular Google Local ranks, you can read more on that HERE). Also add the business name in the correct field. *Due to Google’s localization filters, choosing the right location for tracking is very important and should be relevant to the business you’re promoting. You can read more about that here: How to get the clearest and most accurate picture of your Google ranks […]

  4. […] How to get the clearest and most accurate picture of your Google ranks […]

  5. […] How to get the clearest and most accurate picture of your Google ranks […]

  6. […] How to get the clearest and most accurate picture of your Google ranks […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply