Keywords appear to be a vital part of SEO. SEO practitioners (myself included) encourage customers to focus on more important metrics than keyword ranking, but the reality is that ranking well in Google for keywords with significant search volume will (usually) result in site traffic.
Keeping track of keywords obviously costs money. Whether you spend your time manually reviewing ranks or your money on a keyword rank tracking system, you have to limit how many keywords you track per page and per website. Hence, the issue arises: how many keywords should you track?
Are you prepared for this? It wouldn’t be an SEO article if the following statement wasn’t included: “It depends.”
First, Do Keyword Research
Regrettably, keywords do not appear in a vision or appear out of thin air. However, you cannot simply assume you know which keywords people use to search and for which you should rank. So, you must always begin with keyword research.
There’s lots of material out there on how to execute keyword research properly, but I’ll list some of my favourite methods and best practices below.
Which Sites Have What Rank?
I’m not the first person to suggest beginning keyword research by examining the terms for which you presently rank. I prefer to visit Google Search Console (GSC) as soon as I have access to it. Even if there is proof that Search Console data is erroneous, it comes directly from the search giant, thus we cannot disregard it.
From this starting point, conduct keyword research! Again, I won’t lay out this procedure in this piece, but I can direct you to a few excellent resources we’ve previously developed. Seeking additional Search Console assistance. Check read this article for tips on how to advance your keyword research.
Select Landing Pages
After identifying the keywords for which you wish to rank well, assign them to the proper landing pages. Mostly certainly, you will have picked your target pages when conducting keyword research.
The quantity of organic landing pages will have a direct bearing on the answer to our primary issue of the optimal number of keywords to track.
How many keywords should be monitored?
You have determined which pages you wish to optimise as organic landing pages, but how many keywords should each page be optimised for?
At a minimum, one; some sites may have a singular focus and respond to a single question. It is easier for sites to rank if they focus on a single topic, thus you should focus on two or three reworded variations of your major keywords per page. Targeting more than four keywords is challenging due to the limited space available in the title and meta description elements. Using a set range of keywords per page, we can predict the number of keywords that will be tracked.
- Determine the number of organic landing pages selected.
- Increase this number by the range of keywords per page (1-4) to get your range, or
- multiply this number or increase the number of organic landing pages by the mean of the range, which is 2.5.
For instance, suppose you’re creating landing pages for a services website with five unique offerings and three blog entries. Between these pages and your homepage, you should expect to track between 9 and 36, or an average of 22 keywords.
Obviously, guidelines are intended to be broken. Our client in the manufacturing industry offers ten distinct goods. We track 62 keywords for their website, excluding their blog-specific terms.
Other locations may not be as straightforward. Due to its backlink profile and industry authority, we’ve worked with a big news site that frequently ranks first for exceptionally high-volume keywords. We actively watch over 200 keywords on their behalf, the majority of which do not correspond to a static landing page such as a product or service page.
Conversely, if you’re managing a website for a 20-year-old digital marketing organisation staffed by some of the industry’s greatest nerds, you may wind up with over 500 keywords on your tracking list so you can monitor all the blog entries you’ve published over the years.
How To Monitor Keyword Positions
Although I did mention the potential, you generally won’t want to manually track keyword rankings by searching Google for your site every day (from the same computer, using a private browsing window, at the same time of day, etc.).
There are numerous methods accessible for keyword tracking, which is fortunate.
We adore our northern Vancouver neighbours! Their powerful tool enables you to configure keyword tracking for desktop and mobile, specific regions, several languages, and an abundance of other options. They also preserve HTML screenshots of the SERPs for the keywords you track, allowing you to view how your site and competitors’ sites appeared in Google’s search results.
Another one of our favourites is Ahrefs, a digital marketer’s Swiss army knife. Instead of defining which keywords you wish to actively follow, Ahrefs provides daily updates of all keywords for which your sites rank. You may not be able to track that competitive keyword you’ve never ranked for, but it’s still tremendously thorough.
Google Search Interface
This is an excellent no-cost alternative, but you get what you pay for. We have already seen how you may utilise Search Console to determine your current Google search rankings. Nevertheless, the site simply displays your average keyword ranking over time for a certain keyword. Hence, if you spent weeks ranked 80th for a phrase and then suddenly rose to second, your 28-day average rank will be in the 70s.
Obviously, there are dozens of possibilities available; these are just a few that I recommend.
What to Look for in Rank Monitoring
You’ve completed keyword research, allocated terms to landing pages, and subscribed to your preferred tool on a monthly basis… therefore what? Should you be concerned with every change in the rankings, no matter how minute? (No.) Should you be concerned if every term a page ranks for drops 50 positions? (Probably.)
Setting up position change alerts is the simplest approach to remaining on top of your rank adjustments and having peace of mind for your site(s). For instance, STAT permits the creation of notifications based on position movement. My most frequently used alert is “If the number of keywords in the top 10 drops by 5 percent.” Significant differences exist between first- and second-page results.
Yet, notifications cannot catch everything. We SEO specialists at RZK Digital monitor clients’ keyword rankings.
Clearly, fluctuations are to be anticipated. Google is notoriously temperamental, and you may observe a one-day surge or a back-and-forth oscillation in your rankings.
Discover Your Goldilocks Zone
I’ve provided you with a framework for calculating how many keywords to track, but anyone in digital marketing will tell you that our rules are written in chalk until someone comes along and washes them away.
You may find that you prefer to track significantly more or significantly fewer keywords than I suggest. Perhaps you do not track ranks at all! As long as the tracking you perform is beneficial to you and your client, the exact quantity is irrelevant.
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