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By zhiyuan on July 17, 2015
If you’re lucky, you might find your website ranking on SERP for keywords that you’ve been targeting.
But how do you know if that’s the only keyword your site is ranking for? And more importantly, is it important to know every single possible keyword that your site is ranking for?
Well, knowing which keywords your website actually ranks for is a critical part of your overall search marketing strategy for 2 reasons.
1. Knowing which keywords rank low tells you which ones you need to improve on, especially if they’re part of your core list.
2. Once you know which keywords are ranking well, you can optimize your marketing campaigns to take advantage of this. Doing so should produce a measurable improvement in your overall search traffic.
All right, so we’re agreed that knowing what keywords your site is actually ranking for is important. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many elegant ways of doing that measuring.
The most direct method is to take the keywords you’re using and copy them into Google one by one, then counting down to find your rank.
Once you’ve found those keywords, you can look up related keywords and search for those as well, seeing how long it takes to reach your site from there.
It should be obvious that this method is slow, tedious, and horribly inefficient – three major sins in content marketing. Worse, you won’t even know if you managed to get all of the keywords that are actually ranking (tip: you probably didn’t), so you could be losing out on some of the most valuable phrases.
The only elegant, practical way to tell what keywords a site ranks for is to use third party software like RankReveal.
RankReveal is a new type of tracking software that uses a technique known as “Reverse Rank Tracking”.
Here’s how it works.
You start by entering the URL of the website you’d like to track, and follow up by tossing in a few keywords that are relevant to your site. If you’re selling pet collars, for example, you might input “animal collars”, “dog collars”, and “pet collars”, along with whatever other keywords are most important to your site.
Once RankReveal understands the intent of your keywords, it will go to the Google database and start searching for all of the keywords that your website wants to look for.
Obviously, the more information you give it, the more accurate it’s going to be – you may need to test the software for a little to get used to how it works.
This is the main feature that’s made our lives easier – since we started using it ourselves, we’ve shifted to planning our entire marketing campaign around the results that RankReveal has provided.
Just as importantly, the software allows us to track the performance of our keywords over time (and, honestly, we wouldn’t be using it if it didn’t have that capability – this is important). By actually measuring our overall performance, we can see how effective each marketing campaign is in helping the site rank well, and adapt our future strategies to take advantage of what we learned.
If this sounds a lot like normal inbound marketing, that’s because it is – the software is a bit different, but the essential techniques of testing, measuring, and improving remain central to what we’re doing.
The tracking features we’ve talked about above would be enough to recommend RankReveal all on their own, but as you’ve probably guessed from this section’s title, you’re not limited to tracking yourself.
In fact, you can actually use RankReveal to track your competitors and see how their keyword optimization compares to yours.
Yes. You can track the keyword rankings of any website you choose to.
Well, if you see that your competitor’s rank for certain keywords is improving faster than yours, you know that it’s time to start working harder – or you could focus on the keywords they’re slacking on, try to beat them at their own game and take customers away from them.
Or you could just be as ambitious as we are and try to beat them on every single keyword. It takes a lot of work to accomplish that, but it does tend to result in success even if you don’t perfectly succeed.
Having a constant comparison in performance is one of the best ways to motivate your marketing team and encourage them to work harder – and if you’re using an outside agency, poor performance means you know when it’s time to change companies and find someone better.
Earlier, we talked about keywords that you could be ranking for without even knowing you’re doing it.
How is that possible? Well, search engines are interesting, and occasionally they’ll pick up on things like the variations of keywords that you use. RankReveal is built to find and show these to you so you can start ranking for them properly and building content to match.
Look at these keywords for one of my recent posts that I’ve tracked using RankReveal. The keywords in the white rows are keywords that I manually key in to RankReveal to track. These keywords are keywords that I’ve targeted for this post. And as you can see, they are ranking very well at number 1, however, they are also long-tail keywords and have little to zero search volume.
But because RankReveal is such a wonderful tool, it scoured Google (or Bing depending on your project scope) and look for all the other keywords that my post is ranking for. Lo and behold, RankReveal found 3 other keywords!
The keywords in the blue rows are keywords that RankReveal have found and revealed for me. Naturally, I do not rank too high for these keywords since I wasn’t targeting these keywords when writing the post.
These “accidental ranking keywords” that RankReveal reveal to me are absolutely valuable piece of information even though they do not bring me much any real value yet.
Since the keywords that I’ve targeted are not bringing me any traffic even though it is ranked number 1, I could repurpose my article to fit the search queries of these “accidental keywords”. These accidental keywords have a way higher search volume and since I’m already ranking for them, it shouldn’t be too hard for me to get to the top 20 results once I’ve repurposed the article.
And once I’ve done that, the search traffic for this post will certainly increase.
This is by far one of the easiest ways of getting new keywords to use, and is surpassed only by using KeywordTool to find brand-new long-tail keywords that you haven’t started ranking for yet. Together, these two tools should provide all the keywords you’ll ever need (and KeywordTool is free, making it that much easier to use together with RankReveal).
Let’s face it: If you can’t measure things quickly enough, then you have a problem.
Experienced marketers know that there is such a thing as being too responsive to what customers are doing – jump on data too fast and you could wind up spending a lot of time and effort trying to take advantage of a mere data anomaly.
On the other hand, consistent monitoring can alert you to major problems, like a given keyword suddenly plummeting in rank – that’s a major indicator that you need to go fix things.
RankReveal refreshes itself daily, updating your current list of results and building up the graphs that show how well you’re performing over time. The software is also extraordinarily accurate, and can be easily verified by the manual searching techniques we mentioned above.
Most people don’t immediately think about local results when they’re busy doing SEO, but it’s just as important to know how you’re performing here as it is to see what your global ranking is. At the moment, RankReveal is extraordinarily global in nature, and covers local results for over 175 countries.
Not too shabby – especially if you’re looking into expanding into foreign markets and want to have a good web presence there before you make your big push.
Below is RankReveal’s price list taken from their website.
The setup was fairly clear: the more keywords you want to track, the more you’ll need to pay. That’s not a bad thing – using RankReveal to help improve your marketing efforts should give you a return on investment that’s drastically higher than what you pay for using this service, and we can’t begrudge them asking for a small cut of your success if their help is what’s enabling you to succeed in the first place.
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