2016-12-16 | 3169 Print PDF
How do you know that the current ranking position for your keyword is what it actually is? do you know we have different ranking positions that are quite different in terms of devices and even location? so what do you do to evaluate the true keyword traffic that comes in from different devices? I have been studying and measuring this concept of keyword ranking and traffic with how to evaluate the actual value of the keywords you are targeting on Search engines.
Types of keyword ranking:- Personalization, localization and device type. These are the major common keyword ranking variation that tends to outshine the essence of keyword monitoring and that is the basis of biases and has removed what is the "one true ranking" of keywords.
I am sure most of you must have done some sort of search on your Google chrome (when signed in) and clicked on a certain site for it's keyword...do you notice that next time you search for a similar keyword or same keyword you get some sort of figure referencing the date you visited the site last? or you received the same domain from the site you had visited previously? in reality the site might actually be ranking in top 20 but because of your activity on the site and performance, Google will try to reassign you to that site if it ranks for similar keywords you might search for in the future.
Personalization, turns out, doesn't change ranking that much on average. For an individual it can change rankings dramatically. If they visited your website before, they could be historically biased to you. Or if they visited your competitor's, they could be biased. Their previous search history might have biased them in a single session, those kinds of things.
These are some of the contribution factors to your "not provided" keywords dilemma mostly found on Google analytics search traffic, but with the removal of Google+ from search results, personalization is actually not as dramatically changing as it used to be. Localization, though, still huge, absolutely, and device differences, still huge. So to be safe we track mobile rankings versus my desktop rankings which can also be done locally.
Focusing on this two types of ranking conditions is best, and more over it is the standard for most serp tracking software having both mobile and desktop ranking features...this should help you evaluate your seo effort alongside the keyword efficacy of your website from devices (splitting your keyword traffic by device).
Keyword value estimation
Another big problem that is expressed by a number of folks here is we no longer know how much traffic an individual keyword sends. Because we don't know how much an individual keyword sends, we can't really say, "What's the value of ranking for that keyword?" Therefore, why bother to even track keyword rankings? I wrote a piece on the topic How To Evaluate SEO Effectiveness, which major analysis are focused on keyword evaluation. If you don't know which keywords are sending you traffic specifically, you still know which pages are receiving search traffic.
Focus on that and track the performance of the pages with respect to the keywords you are receiving sending traffic to them, this will also help to set off another revelation, where you will tend to notice that Pages often rank for keywords that they aren't specifically targeting, because Google has gotten way better with user intent. So it can be hard or even impossible to track those rankings, because we don't know what to look for.
If the keywords meets your objectives then you can easily work on more optimization to gain traction from it's current ranking position (increase it's serp).
purpose of serp tracking
So if your goal is to say, "Hey, I want to be able to attribute a search traffic gain or a search traffic loss to what I've done on my site or what Google has changed out there," that is crucially important. I think that's core to SEO. If you don't have that, I'm not sure how we can possibly do our jobs.
So having a purpose or objective for your keywords makes it easy to actually track its effectiveness in respect of its ranking positions, I remember I wrote a topic on How To Improve Google Ranking positions and in that context I specifically point out some checklist which are still valuable when analyzing your site or page for serp. But one fact that is clear is this; most serp are based on site performance as well, if your site performance is better than your competitor's then Google will reward such performance with a better ranking revaluation...in most cases you might find your site is ranking above your competitor for a short period of time prior it's original position.
With the aid of tracking serp of your website keywords, you can flag out keywords (long tails) that are casually ignored by you and most of this results can be found on Google webmaster search console. The tool can show you several keywords that all lead to click through (keywords sending you traffic), you can see from the image above it's application and usefulness in tracking keywords your site is ranking for and how to measure their click through, average positions and impressions with respect to devices, countries, etc.
I believe tracking keywords for a website is good to you if you have an objective for this keywords and in other to discover keywords that are actually of value to your business centric you need to monitor keywords Google is using to send traffic to you, it does speak volume if your sites is getting traffic from unrelated search phrases.
Conclusively, Serp monitoring is a very vital aspect of seo and should be taken in a much more forensic approach. At SEO Web Analyst®™ we track keyword performance with respect to page performance to know which keywords are worth spending on and are of value to business.
Some reference were taken from this post https://moz.com/blog/should-seos-track-report-keyword-rankings-whiteboard-friday by rand of MOZ a big thumbs up to his findings that had shed more light to my own curiosity quest on keyword rank tracking.