In my post, I show you how to find what keywords your website is ranking for. My step by step guide shows you how to use two free tools to check your ranking keywords and their average position in search results.
Let’s get started.
My first free keyword ranking tool – Google Search Console
Google search console is a free tool available to website owners. To get access to Google Search Console, sign up using the link above, you can use a Gmail email address to open an account. You also need to verify you are the owner of your website.
To verify, in your Google Search Console panel, select ‘Add a property’. Then, download the HTML file to your computer. Next, go to your Cpanel and upload the HTML file to your root directory in your ‘File Manager’. After the upload is complete, go back to Google Search Console, and select ‘Verify’.
How to what find keywords you are ranking for and their average positions
First, log into your Google search console account and select your website.
This is the dashboard for one of my sites.
From this page, you need to view ‘Performance’, select the ‘Open Report’ link on the top right.
Then you come to this page.
By default, Google shows you your data for the last 3 months.
Keyword positions change a lot in the first few months of a new website as Google decides where to rank your posts.
To change the default 3 months setting, select the ‘Date: Last 3 months’ link. Here, you have more options.
To change the date range, select the one you need and click on ‘Apply’. I will select the ‘Last 6 months’. Now the performance report looks like this.
On this screenshot, you can see a box above the graph called ‘Average position’. Click on that and it will change color.
From here, scroll down the page to see the data.
Here are the keywords driving traffic to your website. There are other tabs giving you more data about your site. Let’s look at each one.
The first tab title is ‘Query’. This is the search query that someone typed into Google search.
The second tab is ‘Vol’. This the average monthly search volume for this search query. On my list, I can see that every month about 210 times someone types ‘gadgets to make flying more comfortable’ into Google.
The third tab is ‘CPC’. This stands for cost per click. This is important if you are running ads with Google. This is the approximate price you would have to pay for each click with this search query.
The fourth tab is ‘Com’. This is the competition difficulty score for advertisers on Google. It ranges from 0 to 1. 1 being very difficult.
The fifth tab is ‘Clicks’. This is how many clicks from Google search you have received for that keyword.
From my list, you can see I have had 50 clicks from the search query ‘gadgets to make flying more comfortable’.
The sixth tab is ‘Impressions’. This tells you how many times my website has appeared for a search query.
You can see from the query ‘gadgets to make flying more comfortable’. My website appeared in the search results 888 times and I got 50 clicks.
The last tab is ‘Position’. This is the approximate position of my website in the Google search results for that search query
I am in about position 11.1 for the search query ‘gadgets to make flying more comfortable’. That puts me at the top of the second page.
For the search query ‘ best action camera under $150 ‘. I am in about position 7.5.
How to check keyword position accuracy
In my report, Google is telling me that when someone types ‘best action camera under $150 ‘ into Google, my site will be in position 7 or 8. To check if that is accurate you do search for that keyword.
I have put that search term into Google and here is the result. This is the top half of the screen that includes the snippet.
Under the snippet, from position 1 to 5 I can’t see my website yet.
Here is the rest of the page, position 6 to 10.
I am at position 8, Google told me I am in position 7.5.
How to get your first position keywords at the top of the report?
To get your first position keywords to appear at the top of the report, click on ‘Position’ twice.
After you click twice, a mini arrow appears next to ‘Position’.
This page is telling me that I am in position one for the keyword ‘TSA approved logo’ but with only 6 impressions that probably won’t be accurate. It is better to sort your report by ‘Clicks’ or ‘Impressions’, the data will be more accurate.
My second free keyword ranking tool – Bing Webmaster tool
Bing webmaster tool is similar to Google search console. Use Google search console to monitor your keywords positions in Google and use Bing webmaster tool to monitor your keywords in Yahoo and Bing.
To get access to the Bing webmaster tool you have to open an account and verify you are the owner of your website.
Once you have done, that your dashboard will look like this.
I have two websites on my dashboard. I am going to look at keyword rankings for the first website.
This is the dashboard for the first site.
At the top of my dashboard, I have a summary of my site’s activity. But what I am interested in is my keyword ranking. To see that, I scroll the page until I find ‘Search Keywords’.
To view all the search keywords for this site, I click on the ‘See all’ link on the bottom right.
This is the full report.
The default setting is to have the keyword with the most appearances in search, appear first.
For this website, that is ‘the best luggage scale’ keyword. My website appeared in Bing search results 28 times for this keyword. Let’s have a look at the tabs in ‘Search Keywords’.
Tabs in Bing Webmaster ‘Search Keywords’
The first tab is ‘Keyword’. This is the phrase that someone puts into the Bing search engine. The second tab is ‘Clicks from search’. This is how many clicks I got from this search term.
The third tab title is ‘Appeared in search’. This is how many times my website appeared in Bing search results when someone typed in that phrase.
The fourth tab title is the ‘Click-through rate’. Click-through rate is the number of clicks that my website receives in a search result divided by the number of times my website is shown: clicks ÷ impressions * 100 = CTR. For example, if you had 5 clicks and 100 impressions, then your CTR would be 5%.
The next title tab is the ‘Avg click search position’. This is the average position my site was in the search rankings when I got a click on my website.
The last tab title is ‘Avg search appearance position’. This is the approximate position my website appears in Bing search results.
How do you check if the average position is correct?
To check the average position accuracy, type the keyword search phrase into Bing.
In my report, I have a first page ranking for the keyword search phrase ‘do Rfid wallets work’.
This report tells me that my average ranking position for this keyword phrase is 5.8. I got one click from Bing when my website was in position 6.
I am going to put ‘do Rfid wallets work’ into Bing and see if this is accurate.
Position 1 to 4, I can’t see my website yet.
This is the rest of the listings on page one, positions 5 to 10. My website is in position 6.
How to check keyword ranking positions video tutorial
What about the
Two free versions of ‘paid’ tools that I use often are SEMrush and Spyserp.
SEMrush has an option to sign up for a free account to get limited access to their tools. I use SEMrush to see what keywords I am ranking for. The list is short because I have a free account.
Here is the dashboard of my free account in SEMrush.
To check my keyword ranking positions I put my website into the search box at the top of the screen, then click on ‘S
Then I get this report.
To find ranking keywords, scroll down the page.
The section is ‘Top Organic Keywords’. To see the full report, select the link in the bottom-right corner.
Then you get this report.
The report tells me I have 56 ranking keywords but because I have a free account, I can only see the first 10. I would have to buy a premium account to get access to all the data.
Here is a link to go to SEMrush(*paid link) to sign up for a free account. You have the option of upgrading at any time should you want to see more data. This link is an affiliate link, that means I receive a commission should you opt for a paid plan at no extra cost to you.
I use Spyserp to check my keyword rankings in Google and Bing. The free version is restricted. In my free account, I set my website address and what keywords I want Spyserp to check.
My dashboard looks like this.
Spyserp checks my keyword rankings in both Google and Bing. The report is in columns so you can see if your keyword position has improved or not. You can run the check manually or you can set up a scheduled check. With the free version, you have a limit on the number of checks you can run in one month.
Here is a link to go to Spyserp (*Paid) to sign up for a free account. You have the option of upgrading at any time should you want to increase your check limits. This link is an affiliate link, that means I receive a commission should you opt for a paid plan at no extra cost to you.
How to use Spyserp to check a ranking video tutorial
Internal linking is good for SEO
As your site grows over time, revisit your older posts and create internal links to newer posts if possible within your blog. Internal linking is a factor that will help your site in rankings. If your posts link together, your visitors will spend more time on your site.
Go back through your old posts to see where you can create internal links to your newer posts, it is worth the effort.
Here is a video from Neil Patel. He explains how internal ranking can help you improve your rankings.
Frequently asked questions
How can I check what keywords a website ranks for?
You can use SEMrush to check a competitor’s website for ranking keywords. The free version is limited, but it gives you a shortlist of ranking keywords.
To check a website’s ranking keywords, type the website address into the search bar at the top. I will use ‘The Wire Cutter’ website as an example.
To view what keywords The Wire Cutter is ranking for, scroll down.
The list is ‘Top Organic Keywords’. The dashboard only has the top five. We can find the top 10 by clicking on the ‘view full report’ link.
The full report looks like this.
How long does it take to rank in Google?
It is difficult to give a time because there are many different factors to rank on Google. I saw a video by Income school about a study they did about ranking in Google and they put the average time to rank for a keyword on a brand new site at about 35 weeks.
Here is the video from Income School. If you haven’t checked out their channel I suggest you do today. They have some great free content.
Here is another video about ranking in Google from Neil Patel.
Neil has been doing SEO for many years now. He shares his experience of how long it takes to rank in Google. He also talks about ranking factors that will help you rank faster.
How do I get Google to track my site?
The best way to get Google to track your site is by signing up for a Google Search Console and a Google Analytics account.
The Google search console will allow you to submit a sitemap for your site. You can also submit post and page URLs to get them indexed faster.
If you don’t know how to submit a sitemap to Google, check out my ‘How to create a sitemap‘ post. In my post, I show you how to use a free tool to create a sitemap and I also have an easy to follow guide on how to submit your sitemap to both Google and Bing.
Google Analytics gives you excellent data about your site. Once you sign up, you need to add code to your website so Google can start getting data about your site. If you would like a step by step guide on how to do this. Then check out my post at ‘Where to put Google analytics code in WordPress‘
When you write blog posts and target specific keywords, use Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to monitor search positions. You will also find keywords that you did not target but are ranking for. These extra keywords are a great opportunity to improve your blog posts.
Integrate these new ranking keywords into your blog post if they are relevant. It helps you improve your rankings in Google and Bing.
What keyword ranking tools do you use?
Do you use Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools?
Do you like to use free tools or paid tools?
I look forward to reading your comments.