For those of us who aren’t SEO experts, figuring out page ranking seems like it should be a fairly simple process. As a business owner, you’d think you could just type in the name of your company or a keyword relevant to your business and scroll down until you find your page. Makes sense, right? To the uninitiated, yes. But it’s actually a lot more complicated than that.
While Google is notoriously secretive about its algorithm, what we do know is that it uses more than 200 ranking factors to determine where your page will show up in the search results. These factors include things like whether your website is seen as trustworthy, the length and quality of the content on your site, and whether it’s optimized for mobile devices.
To add to this complexity, in addition to the hundreds of ranking factors, Google also customizes results based on each searcher’s location and search history. This means that if you, the small business owner in Toronto, and your cousin in Vancouver, both do a Google search for local SEO services, you will likely get vastly different results.
While this might seem ridiculously confusing, there are many tools available that will help you to understand how your page ranks for different keywords, and in different locations. These are some of the best ways to sort it all out:
Doing a Google search while browsing as a guest allows you to search from a clean slate, without any influence from your previous search history. The benefit of doing this is that it lets you search without Google customizing the results based on your browser history.
To browse as a guest on Chrome you need to go to the top right-hand corner of the browser, click on the ‘People’ button next to the minimize window button, and click where it says ‘Guest’.
Besides searching as a guest to see where you’re ranking for certain keywords, there are lots of other marketing tools you can use to give you even greater insights on how to improve your ranking, even if you’re not an SEO specialist.
Here are a few of the best ones:
MozBar is a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome, which allows you to look at a number of different metrics related to page ranking. For instance, it has a backlink research tool, keyword research tool, and the extension allows you to look at the metrics of any website you’re visiting. The Pro version also provides weekly reports that allow you to track the rank of your keywords and offer guidance on page optimization and how to fix site errors.
There is a free version of the toolbar, but options and access are limited. To get full access to everything it has to offer, you’ll have to pay for Moz Pro, which costs $99 per month for the standard version.
SEMRush provides users with analytics for a vast range of page ranking factors, such as backlinks, keyword analytics, and domain comparison, to name a few. But domain comparison is where SEMRush really shines, as it allows you to compare yourself to your competitors. You can compare several different domains to see what keywords your websites have in common, or search for the top-ranking pages for certain keywords, which might make you aware of competitors you didn’t even know about.
This service also has a free version with limited access, only allowing you to make 10 requests per day. If you want to get the full version, it’s going to cost you at least $99.95 per month.
Google Analytics is a free set of tools available to anyone who has an account with Google. Among other things, it allows you to look at the interests and demographics of those who visit your website, and track keyword data such as average position, clicks and impressions to find out what users have searched for to find your pages. Combining this data with information from Google Search Console lets you easily maintain and keep track of your website’s ranking on Google.
If this all sounds overwhelming to you, you can analyze your website’s performance using The Best Media’s free website audit tool. And if you’d like us to help you with search engine optimization, check out our organic and local SEO services and have our SEO experts take care of it for you.