How to Track Keyword Ranking in Google SERP: The A-Z SEO Guide

Well, I know SEO has become tough for beginners to tap into some niches.

It is unlikely that there would have ANY keyword phrase in future with pretty low keyword competition. In other words, ranking for keywords in search engines in future will be very hard.

But, you shouldn’t regret. Because you’re ONE of the very luckiest persons in the world, who have a website that receives traffic from search engines.

In fact, SEO is a cold battle. Some people try to game it. But, guess what, search engine algorithms has become very sophisticated, are using artificial intelligence to detect user behaviors and interests to serve most appropriate content

To win the SEO battle and keep receiving consistent traffic from search engines, you should be aware of what works in present.

A few years ago, article marketing, forum marketing, and side wide links worked pretty well in link building. But, now, they are almost outdated tactics to increase search engine rankings.

What works now may not be working in future. However, some SEO techniques such as high CTR, good user experience, and high-quality relevant content are going to work.

Experiment those tactics in your site might not so hard. But, without a proper keyword rank tracker, you don’t know whether your efforts pay off or not.

Tracking keyword ranking in Google is very important in every other hand. As Google releases new updates to their algorithm you should keep tracking SEO keyword ranking and check position changes on daily basis.

The Untold Story about Keyword Rank Tracking in Google Search Console

Google Search Console is absolutely a must-have SEO tool for webmasters. However, it is not convenient and flexible on some sides.

For example, in keyword rank tracking, Google lists keywords and their average rankings during a period you specify.

The key-word here actually is the average position.

Does average keyword ranking reflect the actual ranking potential or the exact ranking position?


But, the average rank position could be calculated by considering different ranking positions.

For example, Let’s say John’s blog’s rankings for the ‘XYZ’ keyword over a week is 12, 27, 2, 2, 2, 10, 12.

John wants to see rankings for keywords in Google search engine. He logs into Google Search Console and checks Google keyword rankings.

He sees ranking for XYZ keyword for the week is 9.5.

But, four times John’s blog ranked 10+ positions in Google search engine result pages.

However, Google search console’s search analytics information shows that John’s blog ranked in 9.5 positions.

Now you see the difference. It’s the average ranking position. And it doesn’t show anything specially about the keyword ranking position in Google.

average seo ranking google search console

And today, John wanted to check Google keyword ranking in Google Search Console.

Guess what happened?

Google doesn’t have this data ready currently. It might be taking a few days to show up today’s search engine keyword rankings.

keyword ranking date filtering google search console

Now, you see the downside of using Google Search Console as a keyword ranking tracker.

It’s definitely disadvantageous to use Google search console for tracking Google keyword rankings. That’s why many bigger bloggers, SEO experts, and website owners use 3rd party tools to track keyword rankings in search engines.

Why You Should Track Keyword Rankings In Search Engines

There are a lot of reasons why you should track keyword rankings immediately for your important keywords. Here are a few of them…

To know ranking fluctuations on daily basis

If you’re in a very competitive niche and your websites are ranking on Google’s first page for highly crucial keywords, then there’s a no doubt that you should pay your close attention for those keywords.

Your business might solely depend upon those search queries.

Sophisticated keyword rank tracking software can identify daily ranking fluctuations, so you can adapt to changes.

Here’s a screenshot from an online keyword rank tracker tool. As you see, it doesn’t not only show daily keyword ranking changes, but also the keyword difficulty, average traffic percentage out of the total search traffic particular website receives.

organic position changes

Google organic keyword rankings of a blog

To identify keywords competitiveness

Ranking one of your particular blog posts for a specific keyword on the first page for one or two weeks doesn’t confirm that it will be same for upcoming months or years.

In fact, keyword rankings change frequently than past years.

If you’re a set-and-forget blogger, then you will have to work so hard to drive consistent traffic from search engines.

You’ve to have a strategic plan to retain the current rankings in existing positions and improve them gradually.

Without tracking keyword rankings in search engines, you literally play in dark, without knowing what you’re actually doing… blogging or writing for fun…

How to Track Keyword Rankings in Google

Google and Bing are the top search engines in the world. While Google dominantly owns more than 90% search share market worldwide.

search engine market share worldwide

I will show you step by step how to track keyword rankings in Google engines.

Unfortunately, this article doesn’t cover about monitoring search engine positions in Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex, and Duckduckgo.

How to Track Keyword Rankings in Google Search Engine(s)

Google has several country-specific domains. For example, when someone in United Kingdom Google something, he/she actually searches queries on Google.co.uk database.

Note About Google Search

When you search something on Google, you don’t search entire Internet. You search appropriate results in Google database. Obviously, Google has the largest search index. That’s why other search engines fetch Google’s data.

Do You Know?

"Google’s only able to index 4.0% from the entire web! Other 96.0% belongs to the dark web. It’s also known as the deep web."

The deep web

Follow the steps below to track keyword ranking in Google.

The keyword rank tracking tool I use is SEMRUSH. It’s an all-in-one search engine marketing tool. You can spy on competitors keywords, find AdWords ad spending of competitors, see keywords and so much more. Read my SEMrush review to learn more about this SEO tool.

Step 1: First of all you have to create a SEMrush account. Luckily for you, I was able to negotiate with SEMrush to get an exclusive SEMrush free trial offer for you.

Click this link and create your free SEMrush GURU account.

semrush create guru account

Don’t forget to activate your account by clicking the activation link sent to your email address you signed up with.

Step 2: Now here the steps start. Once you created your created your SEMrush account, log into your SEMrush account. You’ll be redirected to SEMrush dashboard. Click on the Project icon as shown as below.

project button

Click on “Create My First Project” green button.

create my first project

Step 3: Enter your website or blog address into the text field, project domain. You can use your site’s name as the Project Name. It’s not very special. But, the domain name is.

project details

Then click on “Save” button.

Step 4: Your very first project will be created instantly. In Project dashboard area, you can see different tasks you can do with SEMrush.

project tools

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    Site Audit: Crawl up to 300,000 inner pages of your blog and find on-page errors such as broken links, adding Nofollow link to inner pages, images without ALT tag, HTTPs errors, 4xx pages (ex: 404- not found, 400- not responding, 302- temporary redirection)
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    Position Tracking: Track keyword rankings within top 100 results in Google and Bing. We are using this tool today to track keyword ranking.
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    SEO Ideas: Suggest recommendations to implement on particular web pages to improve search engine rankings.
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    Social Media Tool: Monitor social media profiles of yours and competitors and find posts that went viral.
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    Brand Monitoring: Monitor brand mentions, co-citations, backlinks, customer reviews and much more. Very useful for medium and large sized business.
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    Backlink Audit: Audit backlink profile of your entire website across millions of linked pages and find toxic links to disavow in Google search console. Very helpful if your website is penalized in recent Google Penguin update.
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    PPC keyword Tool: Find relevant buyer keywords for your product or service and use competitor intelligence technology to analyze your competitor’s strategies, ad texts, and bids. Create ad group for each campaign in Adwords account and keep tracking ranking and much more.
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    Organic Traffic insights: Uncover “not provided” keywords in your Google Analytics account with a few clicks.
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    Content Tool: Analyze competitors content, find keywords and do much more activities.

You can always give a try other tools. However, for tracking keyword rankings in Google, we just need the “Position tracking” tool.

Click on the ‘setup’ button under “Position Tracking”.

Step 5: Once you clicked on “set up” button, a pop-up box will show up....

Stage 1: The first stage is “Domain Settings”. Click on “Advanced Settings” link.

domain settings

You will see these options:

  • Tracking Root Domain: https://pitiya.com.
  • Tracking Sub Domain: https://www.pitiya.com
  • ​Tracking URL: https://www.pitiya.com/2169/how-to-start-a-blog-on-wordpress.html
  • Tracking Folder: https://www.pitiya.com/category/ or https://www.pitiya.com/category/seo/

You can track keywords under root domain. However, if your tracking domain has different domains such as blog.abcdomain.com, support.abcdomain.com, and forum.abcdomain.com, you should go with Tracking Subdomain option.

Tracking URL is significant, if and only if you need to track keyword ranking for a specific web page.

Stage 2: The beauty of SEMrush position tracking technology is you can actually track local SEO rankings very easily.

Select appropriate options as your need. For example, if you want to monitor keyword ranking in Adelaide, mobile devices (mostly smartphones over feature phones), you’d prepare settings like this.

stage two device location

Stage 3: Competitors

SEMrush will automatically search for competitors for your domain within their database. And you will find a few top competitors in ‘Suggested competitors (organic)’ box.

stage three competitors

Select a few competitors from the box or enter a website name you sure it contains keywords that your website is ranking.

Stage 4: Keywords

This is an important stage of your campaign. You are going to add keywords you want to track rankings in Google SERPs.

Remember that in this example, I chose Australia as the country. So, the search engine domain is actually Google.au.

stage four keywords

Basically, you can add keywords by four ways.

  1. Manually: Type each keyword one by one. One keyword per line.
  2. From SEMrush: Find keywords to track from SEMrush keyword database.
  3. From Google Analytics: Connect your Google Analytics account with SEMrush and fetch keywords to track ranking.
  4. From File: Upload keyword file from your local device. Supported formats are .txt and .csv.

Note: With SEMrush GURU plan you can track 1,500 keywords. So, make sure you don’t exceed the keyword amount. You can create 14 more campaigns.

My favorite method to add keywords to track is the manual method. Because I can enter targeted keywords I want to track ranking on daily basis. (HINT: keywords containing review, buyer keywords etc.)

But, if you don’t know what keywords to add, you can simply use SEMrush to help you with adding keywords to your keyword tracking campaign. Here, I added a few keywords that Pitiya.com ranking on Google.au.

Be creative. You can use these methods as well.

  • Find keywords based on your competitors: Your competitors are not always unhelpful, right? Generate keywords based on their rankings. You’ll find several or more keywords that will help you in future.
competitor keywords tracking
  • Find Keywords based on Adwords ads: If your competitors utilize PPC advertising to receive traffic, then there must be something out there, right? They should be driving leads, conversions for them. Fetch a few of them and track SEO rankings to find where your website ranks for them.
adwords keywords tracking

For future easy access, you can tag each keyword. So, you can search a specific group of keywords out from 1,500 other keywords simply using tags.

add tags setup tracking campaign

Tick on “Send me weekly updates” to receive updates about your position tracking campaign.

Now you’re ready to go. One last step.

Click on “Start Tracking” button.start tracking

For a moment, you will see this screen in your project dashboard.

position tracking data gathering

But, not for forever. In a few second, you will see a screen like this.

position tracking campaign visibility information

I have a lot of things to improve on my site.

Step 6: Click on “Position Tracking” box to know more information about your campaign.

This is the page you’re going to be hanging in upcoming days.

position tracking dashboard

I love this page. Just imagine how many things you can accomplish just using this page. I am not going to explain everything.

But, here are a few I can’t neglect.

  1. Add more devices & Locations

    Your local business might be based on several places. Want to know ranking for those places as well? Here’s what you have to do.
    add new device locationEnter location and device details as you added in stage 3 of step 5.

    adding new device location

  2. Add more keywords and competitors

    After a few days, you’d find more keywords that are worth of tracking rank positions in Google. And some other competitors who are also competing for those keywords.
    keywords competitorsAdd them to SEMrush position tracking tool and research ways you can outgo their SEO rankings.

  3. Find competitors SERP ranking changes

    Another way to get a good idea about the keyword’s performance in SERP is through analyzing competitor’s SEO keyword rankings.more websites

    Compare your website’s rankings with competitors. You’ll find which website is the strongest one in SERP keyword ranking.

  4. Add notes

    In some days, you might find higher rankings in SERP, and some days, lower rankings. It happens in nowadays regularly. However, you might have a special note about the ranking change. For example, you updated a particular content and you see some improving in rankings. Add it to notes. It really helps in the long run. 
    add notes
  5. Add Triggers

    If you own a website with a ton of content, then it is not an easy task to monitor keyword rankings in SERPs in every day. For example, let’s say your website’s Landing page variation C is the highest converting one. And you were able to increase keyword ranking in Google.

    But, you’re not sure Landing page C’s keywords’ ranking might lose. The easiest way to get notified about these SERP ranking changes is adding a trigger in your position tracking dashboard.

    Click on little “Bell” icon.

    receive notificationsClick on “Edit Triggers” button.

    edit triggers
    First, select your condition. You might want to know ranking losses rather than ranking gains. Am I right? For example, if want to get notified whenever your “landing page C” leaves from the first page, add this condition.

    Select your domain from the domains list and click on “Add” button.add condition

    You can create more alerts by adding more triggers. For example, you can get notifications to your email whenever your competitor increases its rankings to top 3 results.trigger collection position tracking

At the bottom of the page, you can see SERP ranking for each keyword in each day. The table updates in every single day. So, you can see live keyword rankings of your keywords.

ranking overview

You can add more keywords and also assign more tags for each keyword. I recommend doing it because you will find adding tags is helpful in future when filtering keywords.

If you’re not sure which web page rank for a certain keyword phrase, you can easily find it.

keyword ranking webpage

In “Ranking Distribution” tab, you will see Visibility, estimated organic traffic, ranking distribution in top 3, top 10, top 20 and top 100.

ranking distribution

Ideally, you should try to obtain higher ranking visibility. So, it refers indirectly that your website receives more traffic for given conditions.

In Ranking tab, by clicking on any particular keyword phrase, you can find ranking changes. It is very helpful because, you can see exact ranking positions in Google date by date, not the average ranking like in Google Search Console.

ranking overview per keyword

Analyze more data given by SEMrush, and you will find tons of precious information. Let it a few days operate. The more data SEMrush position tracker tool collects, you receive more accurate information and also you can take most proper decisions for your SEO and content marketing campaigns.

Have only one variable at a time and change it to see how far dependent variables go. Your controlled variable might be the post title. When you split test post titles and make the winner title the meta post title, you will see changes in CTR, bounce rates, average time on page and so Google keyword ranking modifications too.

SEO is a long time game. It’s not a set-and-forget game either. If you followed that path, you lose at this game.

You must be aware of current happenings in SEO industry. Have an ear for buzz going in SEO communities.

Tracking keyword ranking is one way to stay notified of ranking changes on your websites and blogs.

By tracking keyword rankings, you’re absolutely 5-10 steps away from your competitors. Because you can,

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    Analyze ranking fluctuations across entire website and see how SEO strategies you implemented have paid off. Is it in a good way or just in the bad way?
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    Identify SEO strategies of competitors. Do they hire SEO services to prominently build backlinks or use influencer marketing (ex: social media promotion, blogger outreach, reviews, banner ads etc.) to increase rankings indirectly.
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    Discover new opportunities. Have you heard about “Red ocean vs Blue Ocean”? Don’t swim in a place where huge, terrible sharks hanging around. Find a place where you feel you are safe and have opportunities.
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    Improve search engine rankings. This is your ultimate goal in an SEO’s point of view. Tracking keyword ranking makes it so much easier for you to keep in good understanding about what work and what did not work. For example, in some time, Google+ directly made a huge impact to search engine rankings. Now, more weight to high-quality content, user behavior, web security and much more factors which are oriented to people.


As a webmaster, blogger and internet marketer who use content marketing and search engine marketing as a tactic to generate more readers, leads, potential customers and recurring customers, you can clearly see the importance of tracking keyword rank in Google.

I don’t know how to insist this. However, when you started tracking rankings in SERPs, you would see a lot of things that you can’t see just writing and posting articles on your site.

SEMrush is one of my personal SEO tools that I use literally on daily basis. Its SERP Position Tracker tool is an ultimate SEM tool you’d use as a website owner.

Position yourself on shoes of search visitor before trying to position your blog on SERPs. That’s how I learned a lot of things about SEO and content marketing.

So, how do you find tracking keyword ranking helps in search engine ranking? Leave your comment below to let me know your thoughts.

Chamal Rathnayaka

A blogger, Growth Hacker, and Internet Marketer since 2012. Chamal Rathnayaka is the founder of this very site and he's sharing his experience and knowledge on Internet marketing through Pitiya blog. Send him a message on Pitiya.com/contact.

  • Emmerey Rose says:

    Great tips Chamal! I was wondering, what is your take in keyword density? do you think it still matters?

    • Yes, it matters somewhat. But, not highly. User-oriented content will add more terms to search index, so posts will be ranked for more long-tail search queries. When integrating keywords into articles, don’t mind about keyword density. It will be eventually set up after you crafted a good SEO-friendly article.

      • Emmerey Rose says:

        I see. Thanks Chamal for responding! 🙂

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