Ranking checks mean checking the placement of your own page for certain keywords on Google or other search engines.
From an SEO point of view, we can differentiate between two groups of ranking checks that can be used as a basis for search engine optimization:
We also call the latter rank tracking. However, both forms of the placement check can be carried out manually or with a tool.
Often you just want to know briefly whether your site is ranking for a certain search term. Then a manual ranking check is completely sufficient. You don’t necessarily need a tool for this.
You can enter the following into Google:
This tells Google to reduce the search results for a particular search term to your page only. If your page then appears in the search results, your page will also rank in (any) place in the search results for every other user.
Even later, it would be sufficient to enter the term yourself in Google and check whether your website appears (usually first in the back) results. But of course this is a bit tedious and with more than 3 keywords not necessarily in the sense of meaningfully used working time. But at least you will see the result immediately.
A tool can of course support you massively in this area. Above all, if you want to check your results more often, a tool is essential. But why should you do that?
In addition to the obvious fact that automatic placement checks require little cooperation on your part, they also have an additional, very great benefit for your SEO project.
If you already know whether your site is ranking for a search term, it makes sense to have your search terms checked regularly. The big advantage here is that you not only have a snapshot, but above all can understand the course of your rankings. Why is that important?
Seeing the course of your keyword rankings makes sense, because the search terms for which you want to be found often jump back and forth and can be an indication of something that you should optimize.
Examples of causes of unsteady keyword rankings are:
With regard to the latter point, Google simply wants to test regularly and briefly whether your site is better received by visitors than the competing site for this search term. In this case, it is normal and good that your website rankings for this term will fluctuate. But you should definitely improve on all other points.
You cannot see whether and how sharply Google uses you in the evaluation for these criteria through a single placement, nor through a placement check per week. But you can recognize it through regular checks, which run daily, for example.
A good ranking check tool shows you a detailed view of the rankings of a keyword over time as a diagram.
What does this mean for you as an SEO manager? If you are looking after a customer for whom only two keywords are relevant, and you are also sure that your SEO measures will be successful, a manual check is sufficient. Often it is even enough to see that the respective page is taken seriously by Google at all.
But as soon as the SEO competition for a search term increases, you not only want a snapshot, but will also see the course of your rankings depending on it. A ranking tool is essential for this. In addition to the high level of convenience, it offers you a basis for drawing conclusions as to whether there is a need for action on your part and your website should be optimized, or whether there are even fluctuations across all keywords, which in turn are quite normal for Google.