Sorry for the surely-noob question: but I'm trying to figure out how well my site's ranking for certain search terms.
But that involves me searching for a term / phrase, then endlessly clicking through SERPs to see whether I'm on the first few pages.
Is there a tool that would instead just tell me right off the bat: "You are result number 789 for search term XYZ". Would be WAY more helpful, save me a ton of time, and I'd be able to track SEO improvements...
I don't think there is any tool which tell you the exact number of position of your keyword like you stated. There are several tools like Rank Tracker which can tell you whether the rank of your keyword is in 100 serps or not.
I use a tool called free monitor for google, I'm not sure about its accuracy but it helps to give some description of how well my keywords do. And it's free.
No there is no such tool which will give you exact results but you must try using rank checker add-on of Mozilla it will give you not exact but 80-90% correct ranking for all 3 search engines like google,yahoo & bing.
I use a tool called Rank Checker Ace, its Free Tool, and it sends you Ranking report of your Keywords , where are they ranked for which URL and the Changes per week / month, its very handy, best of all , its free
If your main aim is to avoid "endlessly clicking through SERPs to see whether I'm on the first few pages", then you have a very simple solution. Go to Google's settings page (click the gear icon in the results page), switch off "instant predictions", and increase the number of results per page to 100. Then, when you do a search, you'll get the first 100 results on a single page. You can then use your browser's "search in this page" feature to see if your own site is present.
However, is this really of any value? Remember, in any search, the results that you see are not the same as the results that anyone else sees. All Google searches are personalised to some extent. They might take account of your search history, or your Google + circle, or simply your location.
A better solution might be to use a tool like Google Webmaster Tools (GWM). This gives an average of your ranking, for any given search term, for all people who are actually searching for that term. It also shows the change in your ranking over a given period, which is probably the most useful piece of information you can have. After all, the whole point of SEO is for your ranking to go up, and the change figure in GWM is a quick way of seeing that.
Thanks Mike - not to be too much of a pest, but can you show me where in GWM that functionality exists? I'm kind of new, and a lot of the GWM tools / interface confuses me:)
No problem. I assume you have activated your site within GWM, and you know how to log in.
If so, click "Traffic" in the left-hand panel. Then click "Search queries". To the right, you'll see the actual search queries that people used in Google, along with the stats for your page. The right-most column shows the average ranking for each query. To see how much this has gone up or down, click the "With Change" button, just above the list.
Note that these are the queries that caused your page to show up in search results, regardless of whether the searcher actually clicked through to your site.
If you then click the "Top pages" button (near the top of the window), you'll see a similar list, but this time it shows the pages on your site that showed up in search results. If you click the little triangle, just to the left of the page's URL, you will see the actual search terms that caused the page in question to show up. This is probably the most valuable item, as it shows the actual search terms that people are using. This in turn could show you which terms you need to optimise for.
Hope this helps. Come back if anything needs clarifying.
Search by "SERP checker" There you will get some handy tools to use. Some of them are useless and few of them are useful.
It doesn't really matter where you rank if it is not in the top 100. For the top 100, you can use the method described above to get 100 results on 1 page.
One thing to bear in mind, is that localisation has a large influence these days. If I do a Google search without logging in, my site may come up below 20, but when I log in or search on a mobile device, I can be in top 5 or even #1.
Consequently, if you rank well at home, somebody further away may not find you at all.
Indexing is also rather random. I've had pages index after a few hours, others after a few months.
On top of all that, Google seem to be very active in tuning their algorithms since Penquin; my results go massively up and down, even pages that I haven't changed for months.
Moral of the story: don't spend too much time on monitoring, and concentrate on producing more, good content, and finding ways to improve existing pages.
Try sescout, when they are up they provide a free service for up to 10 keywords in the first 500 SERPs.
Thank you for this, Mike - I'm just now starting to dive into WMT to try and piece this all together...and see some #'s that I can't explain by any rational measure. For example, WMT is telling me that the search term that produced the 5th most impressions is: wastes. And it tells me that the Avg. position for that search term was 5.0.
Now that makes very little sense. There's a page on my site that features an AMA with a waste management professional, which is my best guess as to why my site was deemed relevant...but "wastes" is just WAY to generic a word (and our site nowhere near well-trafficked enough) to bring up our site in an average position of 5.
What can you think of that would explain this??
**similarly, there are plenty of other seemingly way-too-generic-to-be-true queries that WMT is returning abnormally high Avg position numbers for, i.e. photographer picture (4.0), TV editor (11), etc. For every one of these high rankings, I can think of somewhat-related pages on our site that are at least relevant to the query...but nothing that would justify the absurdly high avg. rank that WMT is reporting.
(moreover, on the Top pages tab of WMT, many of my site's pages do not have the little black arrow next to them...so while the waste management professional page is my best guess as to why Google thinks "wastes" is relevant to my site, there's no way of checking this, right? Why do some pages have no black arrows?)
I'm afraid I can't explain that any more than you can. I could possibly understand it if the term was "waste" (singular), because that's a word that people might conceivably search for if they are interested in waste management, waste disposal, and the like. But "wastes" with an s on the end doesn't even mean anything - at least, not in English.
GWM does throw up more than a few anomolies. I guess this is just one of them. But I hope you still find it useful.
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