This week we were in Lady Green speaking to someone who was learning SEO.
He was discussing some of the paid ranking tools and how overwhelming they are and we suggest stripping everything back so that they understood the theory before jumping into a full-fledged tool.
If you are just getting started in SEO, only tracking a few keywords for a small site you may want to start with Google sheets – rank google checker. This will allow you to track your keyword rankings over time without any fancy software.
There are many other options around but sometimes the number of options that these tools have can confuse an SEO newcomer.
First, you need to create a new sheet and title it whatever you want.
Next, in cell A1 type “Keyword” (without the quotations). This is going to be our first column header.
Now, in cell B1 type “Rank” (again, without the quotations). This is going to be our second column header.
In the cells below these headers (A2 and B2), start typing in the keywords that you want to track. For this example, we’ll use “SEO tips”, “SEO tools”, and “SEO trends”.
Once you have your keywords entered, it’s time to set up the SERP tracker information.
There are many tools that can automate this but sometimes it’s good to strip everything back.
Google Search Console
If the Google search console is set up (previously Google webmaster tools), then select your website and click on search traffic performance.
From here you can select the pages, devices, queries etc that you want to track SERPS for.
For this example, we will just look at desktop results in the UK for the query “SEO tips”
After this, we can set the date range as this week, last month or over a 3-month aggregate.
Once you have this data you can plug it into the spreadsheet.
Continue to add columns for each day, week or month. As you enter this data in you will start to understand it more and when you are ready can take the plugin into a paid tool.
You can also use the export tool if you want to save a bit of time.
Google Ranking with Incognito
If you don’t have Google Seach Console as it’s not set up or you are looking at a competitor’s site you can use Google incognito window. It’s not perfect but will give you an average idea of their rankings.
To do this open a new window in Chrome and go to File > New Incognito Window.
Then Google the selected keywords and enter the data into the spreadsheet.
Tracking with Google Sheets is it worth it?
There are plenty of paid tools out there that will do all this for you but if you want to track your rankings in Google for free then using Google Sheets is a great way to do it.
However, a paid tool can track so many different metrics and data we only suggest using this manual method as you are learning or for personal projects.
Just like the new investor paper trades the stock market to learn how it works; as you are learning SEO you can track your rankings on Google using this method.
Need Help Tracking Rankings?
SEO always starts with understanding where you are today so that you can make a plan to get where you want to be. If your struggling to get a handle on your data and need some one-off or ongoing support feel free to reach out to us.