<strong class="jet-color">For some time now, the importance of tracking the organic ranking positions of your website\u2019s <a href="http:\/\/www.wordstream.com\/blog\/ws\/2014\/08\/11\/seo-rank-checking" target="_blank">keywords has been a hot topic<\/a>.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nSome say keyword tracking tools provide little value because there are so many variables that can affect your site ranking \u2014 making monitoring your keyword rankings a waste of time. Keyword rank tracking can provide great value for your website\u2019s organic ranking in search engines. Let's break it down.\r\n<h2>What is Keyword Tracking?<\/h2>\r\nFirst we should define what keyword tracking actually is: Keyword tracking, or keyword rank tracking, involves monitoring the position of your website and webpages for specific keywords. With this you can see if your keywords (and thus your webpages) are in position one or at least on the first search engine result page (SERP). Knowing how your organic rankings have changed over time can provide significant insight about your website\u2019s SEO performance. By tracking keyword rankings, you can better understand SEO impact on search visibility and project where to focus future search optimization strategies.\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_6939" align="alignnone" width="1048"]<img src="https:\/\/www.northern.co\/wp-content\/uploads\/NC-Blog-Imagery-IntroToKeywordTracking-SERPs-redlines.jpg" alt="AWR Keyword Rank Tracking SEO" width="1175" height="237" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-8055" \/>It can be shown graphically how keywords ranked in SERPs over periods of time, which helps zero in on struggling keyword ranks.[\/caption]\r\n\r\n\r\n<h2>How To Use Keyword Tracking Tools<\/h2>\r\nUltimately the goal of keyword tracking is to find opportunities to enhance your presence on search engines. Here are some quick ways that you can do so using your keyword tracking tool.\r\n<h3>Problem Management<\/h3>\r\nWhen something goes wrong in organic traffic, your keyword ranking positions are a good place to look. If position 1 keywords start dropping you can catch this, optimize in order to improve your page rankings, and monitor these struggling keywords over time. You can also see specific pages that are affected, which allows you to examine the keyword targeting and intent credibility on these pages.\r\n<h3>Evaluating Competitors<\/h3>\r\nYou can use keyword tracking tools to see how competitor domains are ranking for your targeted keywords. This is really helpful when deciding how long-tail your keywords need to be in order to optimize your website in the best way possible. If you have an insistent competitor that\u2019s continuously crushing your SERP results, this is a good indication to re-evaluate your SEO strategy. You can also have reports or alerts created automatically when competitors have drastic changes in search engine results.\r\n\r\n[twitter_share_quote hashtags="SEO"]By tracking keyword rankings, you can better understand SEO impact on search visibility[\/twitter_share_quote]\r\n<h3>Site Launches<\/h3>\r\nFor every planned site launch, it\u2019s important to have an understanding of how your keywords are ranking before the new site is live. From here you can evaluate your keyword positions and determine where your ranking opportunities are. After a new site launches, it is exciting to see how your targeted keywords were affected and whether more optimizations need to be implemented. Make sure you watch these keywords closely to avoid losing previously ranking pages in the SERPs!\r\n<h3>Category Grouping<\/h3>\r\nFor large eCommerce sites, more often than not you\u2019ll want to rank for a lot of different product category pages. Different category and sub-category options (such as types of products and\/or brands, depending on the site) are difficult to monitor all at once. With keyword grouping, you can see if keywords are affected as a group and then pinpoint an SEO strategy for these specifically. For example, if you run a sports clothing eCommerce store, keyword grouping can better show you if your \u201csports sweaters\u201d keywords are tanking.\r\n<h3>Multi-Location Monitoring<\/h3>\r\nFor sites with multiple locations, whether across the country or across the world, you\u2019ll want to monitor location-specific keywords for each of these locations. Here you can see if a specific location\u2019s keywords are more competitive and plan a more in-depth strategy for ranking first for these keywords. Many keyword tracking tools allow you to update your search engine country, so if you\u2019re worried about how your ranks look in Google Canada organic listings versus Google US, don\u2019t fret \u2014 keyword tools are here to help.\r\n<h3>Additional Features<\/h3>\r\nNot every tool, but some keyword rank trackers have helpful additional features. Some features I\u2019ve come across include:\r\n<ol>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Mobile<\/strong> - Ranking data based on mobile SERPs. Yes, these results are often different than Desktop SERPs. This is an especially important feature considering Google's mobile-first indexing, where mobile optimizations are high priority for website optimizations.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Graphs<\/strong> - Graph representations of changes in keyword or domain positions. These can be edited to show all keywords, specific groups of keywords or just one keyword at a time.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">SERP Snapshots<\/strong> - Some tools can provide you with evidence of where in the SERP your keyword ranked your page\/domain at a specific point in time.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Google Product Integrations<\/strong> - Some tools allow you to integrate Google Analytics and Google Search Console data for more detailed organic ranking results.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Reporting<\/strong> - Automatically generated reports with a specific frequency or whenever significant ranking changes occur with your keywords. These are usually available as Excel CSV or PDF exports.<\/li>\r\n<\/ol>\r\n<h2>Where To Use Keyword Tracking<\/h2>\r\nIn order to track keywords, there are several tools available to use. Some of the more popular examples include <a href="https:\/\/www.advancedwebranking.com\/" target="_blank">AWR Cloud<\/a>, <a href="https:\/\/authoritylabs.com\/" target="_blank">Authority Labs<\/a> and <a href="https:\/\/www.semrush.com\/" target="_blank">SEMrush<\/a>. Tools like these are designed to report on changes in the positions of keywords specific to your domain and web pages. Now remember, not every keyword tracking tool has all the bells and whistles. In most cases, paid keyword tracking tools have more reliable results and provide more functionality to better serve your keyword tracking needs.\r\n\r\n<h2>Don't Ignore Your Keyword Data!<\/h2>\r\nIt is true [twitter_share_link hashtags="thingsSEOssay"]Google\u2019s algorithm is an enigma that doesn\u2019t guarantee how your keywords will rank[\/twitter_share_link] in the SERPs. Going into 2017 however, as an addition to other methods for analyzing organic traffic performance, it's a huge help to your SEO efforts to track and monitor your keyword and web page rankings. With this data, you\u2019re in a great position to find opportunities for keyword optimizations and then, with the right resources, maximize your website's overall conversion rate.