Ranking analysis with keyword ranking tool: How to analyze your Google rankings? Find the keyword rank tracker/checker that suits you best from our selection.
The Google ranking tracker: This is why you need a ranking tool
Do you actually know the current Google rankings of your website? Can you evaluate in detail how your Google positions have changed over time? With a regular ranking analysis, it is important to permanently monitor your rankings and optimize them if necessary. This will help you defend the top rankings you have already achieved or identify the potential for ranking improvements.
However, ranking analysis is hardly possible without a professional ranking tool. Ranking tools help you to keep an eye on the Google positions of all relevant keywords and to react quickly to changes. Our tool overview helps you to choose the right ranking tool.
What a keyword ranking tool must be able to do?
A good ranking tool must support you in the long-term monitoring of your keywords. Already at the beginning of your SEO measures, you should use the program to get an overview of the status quo of your website. So, the ranking tool must be able to display all the current positions that your website holds in the search engine for specific keywords through a domain query. This will give you an overview of where you currently stand.
But good ranking tools can do much more. In addition to the current status, they show how the rankings have developed over time. In particular, continuous monitoring of keywords should be a component. Monitoring keywords that you define yourself are thus monitored with the help of tools over the long term. This allows you to recognize where optimization measures are necessary.
Besides, the ranking tool should be able to perform ranking analyses of competitor sites. This allows you to see where you stand in comparison to competitors and what competitors do better.
Many ranking tools also offer a visibility analysis. From this, you can deduce how the Google visibility of your domain – and that of your competitors – has developed.
The quality of the results depends on the size of the keyword database of your ranking analysis tool. The larger the database, the more accurate the ranking tool’s results. Many of these programs also provide historical ranking data, which is especially helpful when evaluating past ranking trends.
Functionality of keyword tracking tool
Many of the paid SEO tools available on the market already have all the important functionalities to perform a professional ranking analysis. But not every tool meets all requirements equally, as individual functionalities are often designed differently.
When choosing the right tool for ranking analysis, you should pay particular attention to the following,
- include enough of your own keywords in the monitoring.
how often the rankings for monitored keywords are updated.
- whether you need historical ranking data for your analysis.
- how large the keyword database is.
- for which countries the ranking analysis can be performed.
- whether a visibility curve is offered.
- whether competitor analysis is available to monitor competitors.
- that local rankings can also be analyzed.
- whether mobile rankings and desktop rankings can be viewed separately.
- that real-time ranking queries for particularly important keywords are possible.
Ranking tools can differ greatly in these functionalities. Below, we present all the essential functions that you should consider when choosing the right tool.
Number of monitored keywords
You must prioritize important keywords as part of your SEO strategy and monitor them particularly intensively. On the one hand, to control SEO campaigns effectively. On the other hand, to be able to react quickly to possible ranking changes.
However, since no keyword database can contain all possible keywords, your ranking tool must offer you the possibility of storing important keywords in a monitoring tool itself. This allows you to get a quick overview of current positions or position gains or losses of your prioritized keywords in the context of regular reporting or a visibility curve. The information gained is the basis for any necessary optimization measures.
As the size of projects increases, so does the number of keywords to be monitored. Already when choosing the ranking program you have to make sure that you can include enough keywords in the monitoring during the ranking analysis. Also, take into account a planned project growth, so that you do not unexpectedly come up against limits in the number of your own monitoring keywords.
Frequency of ranking updates
Your search engine rankings will continuously change over time. Changes can occur due to your SEO actions, changes in Google’s search algorithm, or simply because rankings take a certain amount of time to reach front rankings.
Therefore, the ranking analysis data displayed by the ranking tool must be as up-to-date as possible. This is the only way to react quickly to ranking changes.
Therefore, when choosing the right program, be sure to pay attention to how often the software provider updates its ranking data. Some providers perform daily updates, while for others this happens at much longer intervals, such as weekly.
The update interval can often be determined by the user, depending on which service package is chosen: The more expensive variants usually include daily ranking updates, while with less expensive service packages, the updates can also take place only weekly.
Historical ranking data
The more precise you want your ranking analysis to be, the more value you have to place on the quality of the available ranking data. Therefore, current ranking data is usually sufficient for simple analyses.
However, if you want to incorporate the development of historical rankings into your decisions, the ranking software must also provide past ranking data. This is the case, for example, if you are planning measures for newly defined keywords and want to derive conclusions from the past development of these keywords.
Not all programs already provide historical ranking data. Therefore, you should consider in advance which database you need for your SEO work and take this into account when selecting a tool.
Size of the keyword database
From your ranking tool, you expect meaningful information about the rankings for individual keywords. At the same time, however, you also want the ranking analysis to provide you with exact results on the visibility of a domain. This can be your own website or that of a competitor.
Both the ranking analysis and visibility analysis results become more accurate the larger the keyword database that the ranking tool can access. For example, if your own website deals with a niche topic, the chances are higher with a large keyword database that realistic visibility of the domain can be mapped than with a database with a few keywords.
In the meantime, most software providers include keyword databases that are well into the double-digit millions. Therefore, when choosing the appropriate ranking tool, make sure that the volume is sufficiently large to obtain reliable information. If a provider does not provide information about the size of its keyword database, ask directly in case of doubt.
If you offer your website in different countries and regions outside the German-speaking area, the content must also be available in the respective national languages and Google search results must be optimized for these pages.
If you want to perform ranking analyses for these countries as well, your ranking software must support the respective national languages. Therefore, before buying the software, check whether the target countries relevant to you are included.
Almost all professional ranking tool providers now cover the most important European countries. Some providers even offer ranking analyses for several hundred countries.
Most ranking tool providers also offer a visibility curve or visibility index. A value is calculated that reflects the visibility of a complete domain in the organic search results of a search engine.
Although the calculation system varies between the different providers, the value for the visibility curve is essentially calculated from the number of rankings in a search engine, the positions of the ranking keywords, and the associated search volumes.
The higher the value for the visibility curve, the more rankings a website has with the search engine, i.e. the more visible the domain is. The number of visitors usually also increases in line with the increase in the visibility curve. The visibility curve, therefore, shows how successful SEO measures that have already been implemented are. Also, sharp drops in visibility can signal that a Google update or a Google penalty has led to ranking losses.
Since you can also view the visibility curves of other domains in the ranking tool, this is an important part of competitor analysis. When selecting a tool, make sure that such a ratio is calculated and displayed by the provider.
An equally important key figure in search engine optimization is the ranking distribution. It shows how the rankings of the keywords examined are distributed across the individual Google search results pages. In concrete terms, it tells you what percentage of your keywords are to be found on the first, second, or other search results page.
The ranking distribution thus provides you with important information for your future SEO website audit. Since more than 90 percent of all clicks are on positions on the first search results page, you can target your future activities more effectively. For example, by trying to improve positions from page two to page one.
This functionality is now standard with most professional providers.
In addition to monitoring and optimizing your own keywords, you should always keep an eye on the rankings of your most important competitors as part of the ranking analysis. This will tell you how your competitors’ visibility in Google search results is developing and which keywords are ranking particularly well.
You can use this information to improve your own Google rankings. For example, by finding keywords with ranking potential for which you create new content.
Local search results play a particularly important role for regionally active companies, such as craft businesses, restaurants, lawyers, or tax consultants. For example, Google plays out completely different search results for the term “lawyer labor law” in London and Birmingham.
If you want your company to achieve top rankings for keywords in the desired region, your ranking tool must also allow you to query local rankings. This allows you to determine exactly how you rank with certain keywords in local Google searches and derive appropriate SEO measures on this basis.
Given the ever-increasing importance of local search, most professional ranking tool providers have already integrated the evaluation of local rankings into their product.
Mobile and desktop ranking
With the introduction of the mobile-first index, Google primarily uses mobile sites for page indexing. This means that both mobile and desktop rankings are output based on the mobile version. Since this point at the latest, all website operators must also think about how well they rank mobile. If there are large differences, the causes must be eliminated.
When choosing a ranking tool, you should make sure that your program can distinguish between mobile and desktop ranking. Not all product manufacturers offer this function by default, but it must be booked separately – depending on the package scope.
Real-time ranking query
If you look at your rankings in the standard keyword monitoring, the results are usually displayed with a certain time delay. This is usually one day to a maximum of one week, which is quite sufficient for most keyword queries and analyses.
However, there are always situations where rankings for certain keywords are needed immediately, i.e. in real-time. For example, when you need to react ad-hoc to an event. For this case, the ranking tool should have the possibility of a real-time ranking query.
A factor that should not be neglected when choosing a ranking tool is available reporting functions. This is because it should be possible to output and present the results in a comprehensible manner. Especially if the analyses are created for clients – for example, an online agency for third parties.
The software should offer the possibility of individualizing the reports and adapting them to your own corporate design. This includes not only the use of your own layout but also the integration of your company logo.
Also important is the way the results are presented. Pay attention to how the ranking results are presented and whether this meets your requirements. For example, are tables or predefined reports available directly as PDF downloads? Or can you also have the documents sent to you automatically as an email? These are questions you should clarify before buying.
In addition to regularly generated reports, some tools also offer the option of sending ad hoc messages. This is important, for example, when there are sudden ranking changes. This is usually done in the form of email alerts, which are sent when a defined ranking value is exceeded or undercut.
Keyword ranking tools with top ratings
How much does the keyword tracking tool cost?
What free ranking tools can do?
If you limit your SEO activities to occasionally querying the rankings of individual keywords, many of the free ranking tools presented below are a good help. But already the most limited number of possible queries does not allow extensive ranking analyses. Besides, the tools almost always do not have the option of continuously monitoring keywords, displaying the ranking distribution on individual search result pages, checking local rankings, or analyzing the Google positions of the competition. These are all functions that you need for a complete ranking analysis, however.
The exception is Google Search Console, which is provided free of charge by Google and already comes very close to many paid professional tools. But even here, it lacks some important functionalities that only pro tools offer.
Costs for professional ranking tools
If you want more than just taking a look at your rankings from time to time, you need a professional ranking tool. This includes options such as displaying local rankings, performing regular and extensive competitor analyses, or extending the analysis to non-German speaking countries. Also important are large keyword databases or the availability of historical data. These are all functionalities or features that hardly any free ranking software offers.
Many ranking tools are part or module of a larger SEO tool and therefore have numerous additional functionalities for search engine optimization, for example, keyword research, on-page and off-page analysis, social media monitoring, or extensive reporting and interface functions. Our SEO tool comparison provides you with a good overview.
Due to these additional functions of SEO tools, a price comparison exclusively for ranking tools is quite difficult. For pure ranking software, the prices start at about 20 – 50 Euro per month. The price range for the all-rounders among the SEO tools, on the other hand, starts at about 50 euros per month and can rise to several hundred euros.
The best free ranking tools
If a free ranking tool is enough for you at the beginning, we have selected the seven best programs in our opinion, with which you can carry out your own first ranking analyses, set up a limited keyword monitoring, or check the visibility history of your website.
For each tool, we have compiled the most important functionalities as well as existing limitations in the user scope. Since the individual tools usually only have partial functionalities for performing a ranking analysis, you will probably have to use several tools in parallel.
Keyword-Tools.org at a glance:
- Live ranking check for the rankings of a domain
- Limited query possibility
On Keyword-Tools.org you can perform a live check after entering a domain. Current keyword rankings for this domain and the corresponding monthly search volume on Google are displayed. The tool uses the Google engine to determine results but does without any personalized settings.
In addition to the limited display of relevant rankings of a domain, the tool can also check the ranking position of a domain for a specific keyword in real-time. However, the ranking tool is of limited use for querying many keywords. For one thing, only the query for a single keyword is possible, and for another, only a limited number of queries can be made.
OneProSeo Ranking Check
OneProSeo Ranking Check at a glance:
- Live ranking check for up to 25 keywords of a domain
- Only 4 queries within 24 hours
Up to 25 keywords can be queried simultaneously with the OneProSeo Ranking Check. As with Keyword-Tools.org, this is also a live check, so the results are real-time. The tool is suitable if you want to regularly monitor the rankings of several keywords of your or a competitor’s site.
However, only a maximum of 4 queries per day from one IP address is possible, so this limits the use significantly.
If you want to run more queries, you have to register with the provider. This increases the number of free queries per day to 20. Up to 500 queries per day can be performed by those who open a paid “Professionals” account.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console at a glance:
- Unlimited keyword queries for your own domain
- Display of clicks, impressions, and click-through rate (CTR)
- Display for which keywords a URL is ranking
- Google account required
The Google Search Console is a very powerful tool that plays a major role in the everyday life of an SEO consultant. This concerns website analyses in the on-page and off-page area as well as traffic measurement or performance optimization. It also has a lot to offer in the area of visibility and ranking analysis.
For example, an unlimited number of keyword queries can be performed for one’s own URL. The ranking results are supplemented with data such as clicks, impressions, or the CTR for the keyword. It is also possible to query for which keywords a specific URL is ranking. Here, too, an unlimited number of queries are possible.
What makes the use of the Google Search Console particularly interesting is the excellent data quality – after all, the information comes from Google itself. If you want to use the Google Search Console, you have to create a free Google account and then verify your website.
Sistrix Smart at a glance:
- Ranking checks for an infinite number of keywords
- Monitoring of rankings
- Display of ranking changes
- Simplified visibility index
- Connection to Google Search Console
- Registration necessary
If you want to use Sistrix Smart, you first have to register with the provider Sistrix free of charge with your mail address and domain name and create an account.
Once this is done, the tool is particularly suitable as an entry-level tool for smaller projects. This is because it offers a comparatively wide range of functionalities, but only for a limited number of queries and one web project.
To use all ranking functionalities, a connection to the Google Search Console is necessary. Sistrix Smart provides a corresponding API for this purpose. If the connection to the GSC has worked, ranking checks can be performed and ranking changes can be displayed. Keyword monitoring is also possible. A simplified visibility index is also calculated based on 100 important keywords.
If you want to monitor different projects with Sistrix Smart, you have to create several different accounts.
Rankalyst at a glance:
- Permanent ranking check for max. 10 keywords and one domain
- International, local and mobile rankings
- Search volume for max. 10 keywords
- Email alert
Rankalyst is free of charge in the “mini” package, but also correspondingly limited in query volume. A total of 10 keywords for a domain can be monitored regularly. International, local and mobile rankings can be retrieved for these keywords. Also, the search volume is displayed and ranking changes are communicated ad-hoc via an email alert.
The free starter package “Mini” makes sense for all those who want to monitor only a very small project with correspondingly few keywords at the beginning. If you want to query more keywords, you have to switch to a larger package. Here the prices at Rankalyst start with 75 keywords and a domain from about 10 euros per month.
Ranking Spy at a glance:
- manual ranking check for a limited number of keywords of a domain
- Regular ranking check for a limited number of keywords
- Keyword queries for different search engines
The free service of Ranking Spy is also clearly limited. For up to 10 keywords of a domain, the rankings can be queried. This can be the own website or that of a competitor.
If you want to perform more queries or analyze keywords, you can opt for a paid package. The smallest package with 1,000 measurements per month starts at around 10 euros.
Ranking Spy allows queries for up to 3 different search engines. Among others, Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Ask.com, or Yahoo are offered.
Conclusion keyword tracking tools: mandatory for every ranking analysis
A ranking analysis is an important component of search engine optimization. Regular ranking checks and continuous keyword monitoring are used to monitor the search engine rankings achieved so far and to derive optimization measures. Therefore, both are indispensable functionalities of a ranking tool and essential for anyone who wants to run an SEO company professionally and improve rankings.
Even though there are numerous free ranking tools, a professional tool is preferable for your ranking analysis. This is because the multitude of important functionalities offered by paid tools can be crucial for the success of your measures. The costs of around 30 to 100 euros are therefore an important investment in the long-term success of your online activities.