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Checking Where Your Website Is Ranking In Google

First of all, some helpful FAQs to explain the basics;

  1. What is a website ‘Ranking Position’ on Google?To generate an ‘organic’ search result, Google matches every word or phrase you type in the search box (your key term or search phrase) to its index of web pages to find matches. Google displays these matches as search results which are simply lists of web pages in order of relevance. So, the first organic result is the web page Google believes to be the most relevant to your search, and so on. If a web page appears first in a list of results it is said to rank first or to be in position one for that specific key term. Similarly, if it appears 37th in this ordered list of search results it is said to have ranking position 37. Ranking positions are reserved for ‘organic’ search results and it doesn’t normally include non-traditional organic results (such as maps) or paid advertising (Google Ads). 
  2. What types of Google Search Results are there?These days Google delivers lots of different types of results for a search whether it is on a mobile device or a desktop PC. For example, if you search for ‘Cake shop Liverpool’ on a mobile you see three adverts, then a map-based list of local businesses, then some image results, and then finally you get to the organic search results. The type of search result you see will vary depending on the term you use and the device you are searching with. There are typically 10 ‘organic’ results on each page whether you search on a desktop or mobile device. To see more results, you need to move to page two on a desktop or select ‘more results’ on a mobile. For large searches, there can be thousands of these pages listing millions of websites.  
  3. What is an ‘Organic’ Search Result on Google?An organic search result is based on Google’s best guess of the best webpage that answers your search term. This is in contrast to other search results like adverts which appear based on how much a company is willing to pay for you to see their advert. For this reason, they are not always very relevant to your search. Google’s other search result types mingle in with these organic results and adverts. These non-traditional organic results like maps, images, and products are another way that Google tries to provide relevant results to you. In some cases this by prioritising different types of content (like images or videos rather than page text) or by showing results for slightly different search terms. How exactly these results are generated is not clear and it is not always simple to tell the extent to which they have been paid for or manipulated in other ways. As a result, the organic search results remain the gold standard as they are purely about matching relevant content to a key term search. 
  4. Are Google ranking positions different depending on who is searching?Yes, Google doesn’t provide the same search results for a query to all users. Factors such as the user’s location, the page’s relevance to their location, and their past searching habits may affect what they see.
  5. How to check website ranking on google?Google’s Search Console is a free tool that website owners can sign up for. Find out how to check your website ranking on google with this tool at the bottom of this article. It shows all the terms that website visitors used in an organic search to find the website and how the webpages ranked for these search terms over time. There is lots of other information about these visitors as well including their country and device. There are also a number of good commercial ranking services that you can pay for that track ranking positions and can provide user-friendly reports and alerts.
  6. What is a ‘SERP’?‘SERP’ is an abbreviation for ‘Search Engine Results Page’, i.e. the search query result page for a query on Google. The first 10 organic results will appear on page 1, the next 10 results on page 2, and so on.

Due to the continuous updates and refreshes of Google’s ranking algorithm, pages from your website will have a Google ranking that fluctuates often – from day to day and from week to week. Even in one day, a page on your site might rank in different positions for the same keyword. Website ranking fluctuations within a day are normally just a position or two (up or down), but over the course of a month, your Google rankings for a single keyword could change a lot (15th to 8th to 5th to 9th to 3rd, etc.).

As well as algorithmic updates, where your website ranks in Google will also vary due to localisation and personalisation.

Localisation

Localisation is where Google returns different search results, or the same results in a different order, depending on the location (country or city) of the searcher and the website. For example, someone based in Manchester who types ‘Accountants’ into Google will see different sites listed in the search results to someone based in Birmingham who searches for the same keyword. That is because Google will assume that webpages relating to businesses physically close to you or that talk about your specific location will be more relevant to you. 

Personalisation

Personalisation is where Google alters the search results they display for a keyword, based on what they know about the searcher from their previous searches. This can happen if the searcher is signed into Google (including Gmail or YouTube) or is using Google Chrome. For example, if someone has visited a site many times before, when they search for a keyword that’s relevant to that site, the site may show up higher in the search results for that searcher than it would do for other people searching for the same keyword. 

As a business owner this is crucial information as you might believe your own web page is performing better in the search results than it actually is if you rely on your own search experience. You need to use incognito mode, web proxies, tracking tools like Google’s Search Console or third party software to get an accurate picture of performance. 

Average Position Data Is Most Useful

Due to algorithmic updates, localisation and personalisation, knowing your average Google website ranking for keywords over a range of time and locations is of more value than knowing exactly where your site is ranking for keywords at a specific time and from a specific location.

You can check what keywords your site has a Google ranking for, and the average position in the search results for each of those keywords, via Google Search Console, which is free, quick, accurate, and comprehensive.

Check Google Ranking of my Website

Want to know where does my website rank on google? It’s easy and free. Just follow these instructions which will help you use Google’s Search Console. 

  1. Sign in to Google Search Console.
  2. Click on the name of your website (or click ‘Add Site’ if you haven’t already done so).
  3. Click on ‘Performance’ (in the left-hand sidebar)’.

Note: The impressions, clicks and CTR numbers shown in Search Console are approximations rather than precise numbers. Also, they may differ from the data displayed in Google Analytics due to technicalities and a time lag between the numbers being calculated and the data being made available.

A) Metrics To View – Each of the 4 boxes can be clicked (‘Total Clicks’, ‘Total Impressions’, ‘Average CTR’, and ‘Average Position’). Click it once and the background is coloured in and the corresponding metrics appear on the graph and in the data table. Click it again and the data is hidden. You can look at one metric at one, all four at the same time or any combination. 
B) Data To View – ‘Queries’, ‘Pages’, ‘Countries’, ‘Devices’, ‘Search Queries’ and ‘Dates’ actually tab so click on any of them to see different information about your organic search traffic. To view website ranking data, select the ‘Queries’ option which is the default view.
C) Filters – Click the ‘Search Type’ box to choose between Web, Image, Video, or News results. Click on the Date filter to select a custom date range. Click on ‘+ New’ to add more filters for things like a specific country, device, or search query. To remove a filter just click the small cross next to the filter box.
A) Totals & Averages – The combined totals and averages for all keywords that your site has ranked for during the date range chosen for your filters.
D) The underlying data used to draw the graph. A maximum of four columns can be shown based on which metrics you clicked in A. You can also change these columns by clicking on the funnel next tot eh D above. Clicks – How many times someone has clicked through to your site from the search results after searching for a specific keyword or term. Impressions – How many times your site has been displayed in the search results for a specific keyword. CTR (Click Through Rate) – Clicks ÷ Impressions x 100. The higher the CTR, the better, and the higher the position your site is ranking for a particular keyword, the higher the CTR for that keyword should be. Position – The average position that your site has been ranked in the search results for a specific keyword. As this number is an average, your site may not actually have ranked in that exact position – either before or now. For example, if your site ranked 3rd for a keyword half of the time and 9th for the same keyword the other half of the time, then it’s average ranking position would be 6th.

So now you armed with the the knowledge you know how to check website ranking in google search. Google’s Search Console is a fantastic resource for website owners but in my experience it is very underused. Sign in, get your website registered and investigate your top performing terms. Can you update or improve your page content to make it more relevant for these searches and get even more traffic?