How do you know if your SEO efforts are actually working? By tracking keyword rankings!
Monitoring ranking positions lets beginners measure SEO success and reveals opportunities to improve. I'll walk through a simple starter rank tracking process covering tools, rank factors, reporting and more.
Let's shed some light on those elusive search engine positions.
Why Rank Tracking Matters
First, let’s review the key reasons rank tracking is essential:
- Quantifies SEO strategy results to showcase ROI
- Spots high performing keywords to focus efforts on
- Identifies lagging keywords that need optimized
- Allows testing of changes to pages/links/content
- Provides early warning for rankings drops to diagnose
Without tracking, beginners fly blind. Position data illuminates what works to get ahead.
Best Tracking Tools for Starters
Numerous tools exist, but beginners can start simply with these effective rank trackers:
Don’t overcomplicate things early on. These give beginners robust tracking capabilities.
Choosing Your First Keywords
Start by selecting 10-20 core keywords or phrases that encapsulate your most important target search terms. Focus on:
- High traffic searches related to your key products/services
- Industry terminology site visitors would use
- Competitive keywords rivals also target
Track too many keywords initially and you’ll get overwhelmed. Nail your core terms first.
Set Up Ranking Goals
Next, set ranking goals for each keyword to provide measurable targets. Example goals:
- Reach the first page for 5 primary keywords
- Improve lead gen keywords to top 3 positions
- Overtake competitor X for phrase Y
Defining ranking milestones helps frame progress reporting and future optimization.
Regular Position Monitoring
Now comes the fun part - actually checking rankings! I suggest tracking weekly to start.
On designated days, record rankings for your target keywords using your chosen tool(s). Upload to a spreadsheet to visualize progress over time.
4-8 weeks of data reveals meaningful trends on what SEO tactics successfully moved the needle.
Dig Into Ranking Factors
As a beginner, also research factors that influence rankings for more context:
- Keyword usage on page
- Page speed and technical SEO
- Quality backlinks
- Authority metrics like Domain Rating
- Competitor link profiles
This reveals strengths to double down on and weaknesses to improve.
Create Rankings Reports
With a couple months of rankings data, begin summarizing progress into reports for stakeholders.
Visualize trends in graphs and charts. Call out top performers to replicate success. Provide next steps for plateaued keywords.
Reporting gives beginners an opportunity to showcase SEO ROI and strategic vision.
Monitor Ranks Continuously
Rank tracking isn’t a one and done step. Positions fluctuate constantly as you refine strategy and competitors counter.
Set up consistent monthly reports to spot new surges and dips. Alerts also notify you of any sudden drops to quickly diagnose issues.
Stay vigilant to hold rank gains and maximize momentum.
Level Up Your Tracking Process
As you move beyond beginner SEO, enhanced rank tracking approaches unlock additional benefits:
- Track more keywords for wider visibility
- Add competitor tracking
- Monitor international and local rankings
- Leverage scripted rank checking for daily data
- Set up rank tracking for ads as well as organic
But start simple first. Then build upon your foundational tracking process over time.
Stop flying blind - let rank reports guide your strategic roadmap and showcase SEO success. I hope these tips provide a solid starting point for your keyword tracking journey! Monitor, learn and climb the ranks.