How to check search engine rankings

How To Check Search Engine Rankings (FREE + Paid)

AJ Saunders profile picture

By on 07 Jun 23 | Filed: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

I'm a former ecommerce founder turned growth agency owner. When not helping our clients grow, I enjoy automating my home, dogs, and architecture.

How do you know if your SEO plan is working out for your ecommerce store? One way is to track where your target keywords appear in Google or Bing. Sounds good, but you might not know how to check search engine rankings or know when to.


A favorite SEO KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) we use (internally and externally) is for at least 50% of our target keyword to appear in the top 3 spots. If you’re hiding on the bottom of page 1 of the search results, you’ll have little chance of driving website traffic that could convert into sales.


Plus, if you don’t know where each of your posts appears in the search results, you can’t plan the steps you’ll take to improve them and claim one of the top 3 spots! Your store deserves to be easily found.


To win at ecommerce SEO, it’s vital you regularly collect data and measure your performance using KPIs and benchmarks. If this sounds difficult, don’t fear, it’s easier than you might think. You just need to know what data to collect and where from.


As we talk about how to check search engine rankings, we’ll discuss why, how, and both free and paid tools.



Why Check Your Search Engine Rankings?

The intent behind publishing the majority of pages on your ecommerce website is to drive revenue. Without tracking the performance of most pages, how can you assess if you’re doing a good, fair, or poor job?


Part of the battle when measuring your SEO efforts is knowing what to track, and more importantly, what not to. Let’s start with an example.


Google Analytics shows you a thousand different data points. Within a couple of clicks, you can track the number of visitors, bounce rate, time on page, and more. These are all highly useful data points that allow you to measure different aspects of your SEO performance.


Again, it’s important to know what to measure and ignore, and where to gather data from.


If you’re spending your day creating blogs, product pages, and category pages but not measuring the impact on your business, you’re wasting your efforts. 


Without collecting some basic data, you’ll never know if your page ranks for the target keyword or if Google is showing your page for 100 closely related terms.


First, you should set a KPI that involves tracking your keyword position. Next, ensure you check them weekly or monthly. Finally, have a plan to improve pages that don’t perform in line with your KPIs.


I recommend your KPI should be: 50% of your target keywords in the top 3 positions of Google.



When To Check Your Search Engine Rankings?

Before we cover how to check your search engine ranking, it’s worth discussing when. Unless you’re operating in an incredibly fast-moving market where the websites bounce around the search position daily, you can check your rankings weekly or monthly.


The worse thing you can do is check them daily or every few days. The more often you check your keyword positions, the more like you are to start chasing short-term gains, which never bear fruit.


By checking weekly or monthly, you can track the overall changes in the search results and plan a more comprehensive strategy. As you will implement a strategy over a longer period, you can ignore subtle changes in rankings and look at the overall trends.


Checking your search engine positions should become part of your routine. For example, I run SEO Powersuite Rank Tracker every Monday morning and gather keyword position data for several websites. It’s the first item on my checklist for Monday.



Do You Need A Paid Keyword Tool To Check Search Engine Ranking?

At the start, you shouldn’t need to spend any money to check search engine ranking for your website. You can typically get away with using free tools. However, as your ecommerce store grows to over 150 pages, you’ll want to use a paid tool to help you automate the process.


If you’re a data nerd like me, you might want to consider buying a paid tool, as you can store data, automatically generate reports, and have unlimited use (or more than enough for your small business).


With those topics discussed, let’s explore how to check search engine rankings.



Can I Use Google Search Console?

google search console rank tracing


Free to use, Google Search Console (GSC) provides a ton of actionable data. Link it with your website’s Google Analytics, and the tool suite will start to populate data.


You can manually check what keywords each page is ranking for and if a page is ranking for a certain keyword. GSC will show you the amount of impression, clicks, and position each keyword gets for that period. Easily track movements each week or zoom out and look at monthly trends.


There is a catch. GSC will only show you a percentage of the data it collects (frustratingly, Google won’t say how large or small this amount is). The data can sometimes seem out of date as it won’t show you today’s (or yesterday’s) keyword positions.


As a free tool, it’s excellent and super helpful for generating keyword ideas for new posts. It’s also great for displaying keywords you might be ranking for but not targeting, allowing you to tweak a page with a new keyword and rank it higher.



Is Worth Trying?

smallseotools rank tracker


Not the most exciting option, is a free, basic SEO tool suite. It’s not the best or the most advanced, but it does help you with near-instant data. You can easily use it to check the positions for up to 10 keywords at once from a range of search engines.


It produces real-time data as it scans your chosen search engine for the keyword before showing you the results. I like to use it for quick checks where I need a ballpark figure in seconds. But it would be a nightmare to use if you needed to look up 100 or more keywords.




ahref keyword rank checker


If you have a massive ecommerce website or money to burn, Ahrefs is ideal. It’s a comprehensive SEO tool suite that allows you to check search engine rankings, find plenty of keywords to target, see what keywords your competitors are ranking for, and do so much more!


The only downside to Ahrefs is the $99 per month price tag. That said, it offers an incredible amount of data. Plus, they offer a free tool: Webmaster Tools, which they market as a Google Search Console killer.


It’s worth signing up for this free tool as it will show you another level of data that GSC doesn’t. The two complement each other and so are both worth using.




semrush ranking positions


Much like Ahrefs, SEMrush is agency-level software that’s extensive and expensive ($120 per month)! It can help you track positions in real-time, manage paid campaigns, find new keywords to target, find backlink opportunities, and more.


SEMrush is superb if you have a large ecommerce brand with a matching budget for software. That said, it’s probably is too much if you’re a start up ecommerce website or only sell a few products.



SEO Powersuite Rank Tracker

seo powersuite rank tracker positions


SEO Powersuite Rank Tracker is my tool of choice for checking rankings, finding keywords, monitoring a website’s visibility in any search engine, and more. You might like to read SEO Powersuite Rank Tracker review, as it’s highly affordable and easy to use.


I use Rank Tracker almost daily, and it helps me collect data insights that drive my strategy. Unlike the other options I’ve highlighted, it is desktop software that you need to run on a computer with plenty of RAM.



How To Check Search Engine Rankings With Ease

Whether you use a paid or free tool, you have a better idea of how to check search engine rankings. If you don’t regularly measure your website’s performance, you won’t know if your ecommerce SEO strategy is paying off.


So mark your calendar, set up a report in whatever SEO software you use, and use the data you gather to refine your plan.

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