If you’ve been planning to implement a new SEO campaign or improve an existing campaign, you’ll know that targeting and ranking for the right keywords is key to bringing traffic to your website.
It goes hand in hand with other SEO aspects such as using the best WordPress hosting for your site, making sure you have quality outbound links and content, and making sure your site architecture makes visitor navigation easy.
Keywords have been the key foundation of SEO since the beginning of search engines. Over time implementing and ranking for the right keywords has become more and more important for any business. Particularly those that are looking to drive organic traffic to their website and increase their income.
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Brands that put effort into ranking for specific keywords need to pay attention to how their website ranks for those keywords over time. They should monitor any fluctuations in their keyword rankings. If a business owner notices a drop off in traffic, it could be down to specific pages on their site not ranking for certain keywords as well as once they did.
To see success with your own SEO campaigns, it’s important to understand what keyword monitoring is and why it should be a part of your SEO strategy.
In this article, we’ll:
- Look at what keyword monitoring and tracking is
- Take a step back and see how to get relevant content ideas
- Examine the different types of keyword monitoring
- Explore the benefits of keyword monitoring and some of the best keyword monitoring tools available.
What is Keyword Monitoring and Why is It Important?
Understanding and determining how users find your website is a key part of any effective SEO strategy. Part of this understanding is researching the keywords and phrases that users use to find your website, known as keyword research. You then need to target these keywords to drive maximum traffic to your website.
For example, an Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) provider’s target market is likely to be talent acquisition teams or recruitment agencies. Users in this target market will likely be searching for terms such as:
- best recruitment software
- best recruitment ATS
- how to choose the best recruitment ATS
- what to look for in an ATS’.
The ATS provider will want to make sure their website is ranking for these kinds of keywords. They can then track these keywords to see how their website ranks for them over time.
This tracking is known as keyword monitoring. Keyword monitoring is the process of tracking how well a website or specific web pages rank for certain keywords over a period of time. This is typically done by using a keyword monitoring or tracking tool that can be found inside SEO platforms such as Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush.
Website monitoring, on the other hand, refers to monitoring the proper functioning of a website and web applications.
A keyword tracking/monitoring tool will also show you various metrics, including:
- a keywords monthly search volume
- the number of clicks each URL ranking for the keyword is receiving
- the ranking your website holds for a particular keyword
- the click-through-rate for your page that is optimized for the keyword compared to its number of impressions
- how your ranking for a keyword has changed over time.
Learning about relevant content through media monitoring
Apart from the SEO tools mentioned, you can learn a lot about your audience and what they like/dislike through a media monitoring tool. Media monitoring tools monitor online sources and enable you to see in real-time what your audience thinks about your content.
Let’s take Determ
for example. It tracks over 100 million online sources (like websites, social media, forums, etc) and deliver relevant results to your feed in a matter of seconds. So let’s say you’re an eCommerce company and you’d like to increase your organic traffic. You can insert the names of your competitors in the tool, as well as do a query on industry news and monitor what people say about them. In this way you get honest opinions about what your audience likes/dislikes, you can find some gaps in your content strategy by checking out what your competitors are doing and you can be sure that you’ll be among the first ones to tackle industry trends.
Using this tool in combination with an SEO tool to find the exact keyword that will have the best results, can make a huge difference for your marketing efforts.
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Benefits of Keyword Monitoring
Keyword monitoring helps you see if your SEO efforts are paying off
75% of people never scroll past the first page of Google. You really want to be aiming to get on the first page of search engines. The easiest way to see if you’re doing this over a prolonged period is to continually track and monitor the keywords you want to rank for.
Whenever you invest in SEO, you want to be able to get a clear picture that your SEO and marketing efforts are paying off. If you’re investing in SEO and your keyword rankings are improving, you know your SEO is improving. If your keyword rankings are falling, some further investigation may be required.
Keyword monitoring gives you insights into the keywords you’re targeting. By comparing your keyword rankings to your competitors, you can monitor what keywords they are ranking for. You can also spot new keyword opportunities for your own website. Most SEO tools will also show you what your competitors best performing content is, which can help inform your own content strategy.
Keyword monitoring can help you see if you need to improve aspects of your on-page SEO
Keyword monitoring gives you a better understanding of what your target audience is searching for. It can help prevent you from creating content that won’t rank in search engines and won’t be found by your target audience.
In addition, tracking keywords that you’re ranking well for can help you determine if the traffic is converting sufficiently. Is the traffic that’s landing on your site from these keywords staying on your site for an extended period of time? Are they signing up for your email list? Are they filling out a contact form or booking a demo for your solution?
If users are seeing your web page in the search results but not clicking through, you could optimize the page’s title tag and meta description to attempt to increase the click-through rate.
Also, if you’re tracking keywords with low search volumes but ranking well for them, then metrics such as click-through rate will indicate whether you should continue targeting them. If search volume for a keyword is low, but you’re converting search traffic then you should still target this keyword.
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Keyword monitoring can help you spot new keyword opportunities
Keyword monitoring can give you opportunities to test out new keyword ideas by seeing how your competitors are ranking for them.
For example, if you ran an SEO agency and wanted to create a piece of content for the keyword ‘Newsletter Software’, you can put that keyword into a keyword monitoring tool. You can then see if your competitors are ranking for it and make an informed decision about whether you should target this keyword.
Types of Keyword Monitoring
There are two main types of keyword monitoring:
#1 Traditional keyword monitoring
Traditional keyword monitoring is the most “classic” form of keyword monitoring. It aims to answer the question ‘What is my ranking in a search engine?’ for a term you may associate with your business. Traditional keyword monitoring is helpful if:
- your business offers a single product or service
- is located in a single area
- has a low consideration service or product.
Businesses can have problems using traditional keyword monitoring if:
- they offer more than one product or service
- have multiple locations.
This is because search engines have evolved over time, and two users can have different search results even if they search for the same term.
Search engines also consider many factors when determining the best search results to display to a user. These include the device they’re searching on, their location, the language they are using, and more. To track how your website is performing for a keyword in separate locations, ensure the tool you use can monitor keywords in different locations.
#2 Category split keyword monitoring
This type of keyword monitoring involves tagging and categorizing your keywords so you can identify them effectively.
If you offer multiple products and services through your website, you may find that it becomes increasingly difficult to track the performance as the list of keywords you target continues to grow. Or if you don’t categorize them.
You may also want to focus your keyword strategy on a particular set of keywords. Particularly a set that only relates to one product or service or one category of product/services that you’re selling. Without categorizing these keywords, your reporting may get confusing.
You can tag your keywords with a unique identifier to prevent both of these things from happening. This unique identifier could be a brand name, product name, or category name. You can use any tag that will help you differentiate one set of keywords or a single keyword from another.
Any reputable keyword monitoring tool should allow you to tag different keywords and filter them accordingly. For example, newsletter software Sendinblue is an email marketing service that offers a wide range of email services. If they wanted to track keywords that are only connected to their newsletter software offering, they could add a tag to that set of keywords.
This way Sendinblue can track the same metrics as a traditional keywords campaign would but split into categories depending on what service they are focusing on promoting. This is especially useful if you have different teams managing different products from your company.
So, for example, if one team is managing the SMS marketing landing pages and another is handling the newsletter software pages, it would make more sense to only track pages within your category.
Splitting keyword monitoring makes more sense as companies grow and bring in new team members.
What Keyword Monitoring Tools are Available
The most efficient way to monitor keywords is to use a tool that has features that can do it for you. Using a tool that can monitor your chosen keywords makes the process a lot easier, alongside giving you in-depth analytics and results.
There are quite a few different solutions on the market that contain a keyword monitoring or keyword tracking feature. Unfortunately, we can’t cover them all in this article, but here are three of our favorites:
Ahrefs keyword monitoring tool is called Rank Tracker. It allows you to monitor your keyword rankings on desktop and mobile across 170 countries. The tool’s functionality is flexible. You can input or import a list of keywords you want to track across your own website. You can also add your competitor’s URLs to track your chosen keywords against them.
Once you’ve set up the tool, Ahrefs will start tracking data and will send your regular updates. These updates will inform you of any changes in your keyword rankings.
SEMRush’s keyword monitoring feature is simply named Rank Tracking. Like Ahrefs, you can input the keywords you want to track and set up custom notifications. These notifications will inform you of any ranking changes for a chosen keyword. SEMRush’s website states that the keyword ranking information is updated every 24-48 hours.
You can also link your SEMRush account to external platforms like Google Analytics (GA). You can input keywords from your GA account into SEMRush and start tracking them or upload your keywords from a .txt, .xls, or .csv file.
#3 Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a great free tool to use to track your keywords if you’re on a tight budget.
To monitor your keywords effectively within Google Analytics involves some setup. You’ll first need to connect your Google Analytics account to Google Search Console. After doing this, press ‘Set up Search Console data sharing; and then enter a Property Name, Default URL, and Default View.
Once you’ve done this, you may have to wait for a few days for the data to start populating. After the data has populated, navigate to ‘Acquisitions > Search Console > Queries’. Inside this view, you’ll be able to see the exact keywords or phrases you’re ranking for. You can also monitor the number of clicks each keyword is getting, and the average position for the keywords you’re ranking for.
For example, if your URL appeared fifth in the search rankings for one query and seventh for another, your website’s average ranking would be 8.5. Tracking keywords within Google Analytics is cost-effective but does have some drawbacks.
Other tools from Google can be used alongside analytics such as Google My Business, Google Page Speed Insights, Google Ads Keyword Planner, and more.
One of the best ways to measure success over time with any SEO campaign that you run is keyword monitoring. Monitoring your keywords will give you consistent insights into how well your website or a specific web page ranks for a particular keyword.
You can use this information to optimize your SEO campaigns, inform your keyword research and outrank your competitors for the keywords that you’re targeting.
Freya is a personal finance expert and founder of the CollectingCents website that teaches readers how to grow their passive income, save money, improve their credit score, and manage debt. She has been featured in publications like Business Insider, Fox Business, the Huffington Post, and GoBankingRates.