I still find keyword position tracking useful enough for my own purposes – so I use a service called Microsite Masters to handle the tracking for me.
Wait, Isn’t Keyword Position Tracking Dead?
The concept of keyword position tracking isn’t as big of a deal as it used to be, at least in my experience. The main reason it’s not as big of a deal, as described in plenty of SEO articles out there, including this one, is that sites like Google personalize the search experience so much now. Search engines like Google are putting people in their own little search bubble unless the people explicitly tell Google not to put them in a bubble by turning off search history and other settings. And we know that most people won’t turn those settings off, so most people are in their own little search bubble, whether they know it or not. But I could write a whole slew of articles on that topic alone, back to the topic at hand.
Microsite Masters is pretty slick, and I’ve been using it for a few years now. It’s simple to use and helps me paint a good picture of how I might be ranking for various keywords that I’m targeting across all of Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Yahoo and Bing
The funny thing is that I don’t use it as much to see what’s going on with Google rankings, even though it can be useful for that. I use it more to see how I’m doing on Yahoo and Bing, since that is where I’m getting most of my converting traffic on my niche and authority affiliate websites. When I see rankings climb for targeted keywords in Yahoo and Bing, I know I’m doing something right with my content and website structure, and I know to keep doing what I’m doing. If rankings aren’t getting where I want them, I know I need to change my content publishing plan to target or use my keywords more effectively.
And that’s all I really ask of any keyword position tracking service. It’s simple really. Just give me a rough, yet consistent picture of general fluctuations in keyword rankings over time and I can use that data to make decisions as I move forward with each website. Microsite Masters delivers here.
Trust the Data?
The data for rankings that I see in Microsite Masters matches up quite well with traffic fluctuations in my analytics reports, so I feel that the data is dependable. If I’m getting slammed with good traffic that is converting, sure enough when I look at Microsite Masters reports the website that is converting is also shown to be ranking on the first page for my targeted keywords. For that reason alone I still feel confident in using keyword position tracking to get a feel for the overall performance of my websites in organic searches for specific keywords.
Where I find keyword position tracking most useful is during the conducting of SEO “experiments” on my sites. I like to tinker a lot with stuff like meta data, internal linking, keyword usage, content hierarchy to find what improves rankings, and it’s easy to get a two-week to one-month picture of how my rounds of changes affect my rankings.
One thing that I like is that for local keywords you can input a zip code and location – you will see the rankings for your keywords in the target area.
Desktop and Mobile Targeting
There is also an option when inputting keywords to select whether you want to track desktop or mobile searches. This can be very useful for getting data on how well your website is performing in the organic searches for either platform.
Lots of Other Features
I’ll admit, Microsite Masters has a lot of features I don’t use. If I just do a run down the sidebar menu, here’s all the stuff I can do:
- Project Wizard – Create a new project easily by utilizing their Project Wizard – it’s easy to enter a new website and keywords.
- Project Management – Manage my groups of projects – I navigate through this a lot as I have my projects broken down into three project groups
- API – Higher level accounts can access the Microsite Masters API to work with data
- Create Reports – You can export reports into PDF or CSV format for websites or keywords – with higher level accounts you can schedule reports to be sent out automatically
- View Scoreboard – This is a useful feature that gives you a quick overview of your best and worst performing keywords – this can help you find areas where you are doing well (opportunities) or where you need work to improve (roll up your sleeves)
- View Rank Alerts – You will receive alerts if keywords hit certain threshold targets, which can be useful for keeping an eye on the most important keywords you are targeting
- Review Notes – This feature allows you to input notes regarding specific changes you have made to your website, and associate costs with those changes. Microsite Masters will then show you impacts that the changes have made to the site
- Import CSV – If you have a lot of websites and keywords to input into Microsite Masters you can create a spreadsheet with all of the details and import it into the system as bulk data. This might sound basic but it can save you a lot of time on initial setup if you have a lot of sites/keywords to track.
- Manage Projects Access – This is where you can create other users within your account and assign them to only be able to see projects within certain project groups. This is great for teams or working with clients.
- The Rest – The rest of the links on the sidebar are for visiting the knowledge base and support forums, submitting a support ticket, or finding the social pages for Microsite Masters.
If you want to have an online-based service for tracking keywords I can recommend Microsite Masters. They have a good system going that just works. It will build up a good amount of historical data to analyze over time, and it makes it easy to visualize the results of SEO experiments.
Using a service like Microsite Masters also prevents you from having to run software on your local computer to check position tracking – which I found cumbersome in my experience due to having to work with proxies and search limits and stuff like that.
It’s nice to just be able to log in, see where my sites are sitting, get an idea of current trends, and get to work on improving my sites. It’s the efficiency and convenience that I appreciate the most.