There’s 5 SEO tools that I trust to show me what keywords my site ranks for. Each of them also does a great job of tracking so I can see my page’s SEO progress.
Now you don’t need to use all 5 of these tools that I will show you, but depending on how much analysis and reports you want to see, some of these will do a good enough job, while others will do more than enough, so I’ll explain each tool’s additional benefits (they all show you rankings and track them), and you will then decide which one/s you need.
- The first 2 are free to install, and I personally believe they are mandatory for SEO.
- The next 3 are optional because they cost money, but I use the last one on this list because it saves me the most time.
Here’s how to check your keyword rankings on Google. The 5 tools that show you:
- Webmaster Tools (WMT). Free.
- Bing Webmaster Tools (BWMT). Free.
- SEMRush. Has a trial, but then costs $99 a month (includes other benefits).
- Moz. Also has a trial, but then costs $179 a month (also includes other benefits).
- Jaaxy. 30 day trial, then has a $49 a month plan (I prefer to use this one).
I’ll be going over each one’s benefits and explaining how they do the job.
1) Google Webmaster Tools (The tool which checks keyword rankings on Google). Mandatory.
Price: Free. It’s also known as WMT or the Google Search Console.
How do I set it up? You have to sign up for an account and then link your page with the program. WMT is absolutely necessary to have, even if you don’t plan to use it because it allows Google to view your page better and helps you control how often Google visits it. Here is how to set it up.
Does it check and track rankings? Yes, but it has limits, and here they are:
It will only show you the positions you pages have on the Google search engine.
You cannot manually input a keyword into WMT to check it’s position, you will only be shown the highest ranked keywords your site shows up on and this list updates, so you will be seeing different lists every month or so.
How does it work? When you connect this program with your page, it literally let’s Google check it out entirely, rank that page faster (if you use the fetch program) and then display to you where it’s positioned your website on Google’s search engine. It will provide you with a list of up to 1,000 keywords your site ranks/positions for on Google.
It’ll tell you the number of clicks your pages got for the keywords it displays, as well as the amount of impressions the keyword was displayed on the Google search engine.
Here is an example:
Like I said, WMT is necessary and I have it installed on EVERY website I have that I do SEO with. Here’s how one of them looks:
You can also organize how this data appears, but by default, it’ll show the highest positions and highest clicks specific pages on your site get.
2) Bing Webmaster Tools (BWMT, or Bing Search Console). Mandatory.
How do I set it up? You basically have to go through the same set up process with your site as you did on Google’s WMT, here is an official page to sign up. People like to ignore search engines like Bing and only focus on Google when it comes to SEO, but I have to say that this is a mistake and getting a quarter of your traffic from this search engine alone makes it worth registering your site with this program so you can see how it’s doing.
It’s also a simple set up process and it helps Bing rank your page better.
Does this tool check and track rankings? Yes but on Bing and Yahoo only. It also has the same limits as WMT in that you can’t manually input a keyword to see what spot it’s positioned on Bing. You’re just provided an overall report of which terms are up on Bing and doing well.
How does it work? This is basically the equivalent of Google WMT, but all the SEO benefits and applications are on the Bing/Yahoo search engines. I strongly advise that you also use this program. I always do.
Here is an example:
2 very important things:
First, just so you know, your pages will get picked up by both Google and Bing even if you don’t use these 2 programs, but having them installed helps you see the site’s progress, and it also expedites ranking in many cases on these search engines, so not using these things would be very foolish.
And second, how your page ranks on Google may not necessarily mean it’ll show up the same way on Bing. In fact, I often find that my pages get picked up and displayed differently on each search engine. These 2 tools will help me identify that information.
3) SEMRush. Optional.
Price: They allow you to view your website’s general positions and track it, but it is limited and you would need to buy their upgraded level which is $99, but it buys you more than just this keyword tracking ability.
How do I set it up? You can head over to the SEMRush website right now, enter your URL and see it display 10 keywords for your site and how it’s ranking. However, you would need to sign up with the site first, you would not get completely accurate data until you upgrade and and you wouldn’t be shown all the other information either until that upgrade is done.
I personally do not use this program because it is expensive, but some like to use it’s tools if they engage in local marketing work as well as tracking a competing page’s traffic, which this tool does do, BUT it doesn’t provide accurate results, because that type of specific information is only ever known the actual competitor.
Does this tool track and check rankings? Yes. But remember, for the free trial, you’re given general results (they are also outdated sometimes), so you won’t be shown how many clicks your page got from Google, you’ll be shown an estimate of it.
The other 2 programs above will give you a more accurate breakdown of that type of info.
How does it work? SEMRush basically analyzes your page and cross references it with Google to see how it’s doing on that search engine. Then it takes the most common keywords it sees your page ranking for and gives you a report on that.
But that’s just one of it’s functions and there are a lot more if you upgrade. It’s a good service, but it likely more for advanced SEO companies and individuals.
Here is an example of how SEMRush works for this subject:
As you can see, besides showing me the Google position of my page, it also displays data on other SEM related things.
4) Moz. Optional.
Price: It’s basically like SEMRush, it has it’s own free reports and similar limits unless you upgrade to the $179 a month, which also offers additional things you can use. I personally do not use Moz, but it is well known as used by SEO people.
The only issue is, they make you sign up and give your credit card info right away, whereas with SEMRush, they let you try it out more beforehand.
How do I set it up? You first have to sign up to use it. Then you can access the program.
Does it check and track keyword rankings? Yes.
How does it work? Basically the same way as SEMRush. It’s also an advanced program like it.
I don’t have an example to show you here, because I don’t use this program, but like I said, it’s one of the recommended and used ones.
5) Jaaxy. Optional, but my preferred one.
Price: 30 searches and then $49/month. There is also a $99 upgrade.
How do I set it up? Head over to the Jaaxy page and start a free trial. In fact, you can start right here.
How does it work? Jaaxy is one of the only programs I know off that allows you to track individual rankings. It won’t display a whole report for you like the other ones, but you can manually input a keyword into it’s search bar, with your website URL, and it will tell you what position it is on in Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Now of course, you can make the argument that you can head over to those search engines and do that yourself, but if your site is new or is hard to find, it’ll take you a long time to look up and then track the positions, and that time adds up a lot. With Jaaxy, I have a whole history of keywords I’ve looked up on it.
In addition this program also shows you a bar of the keyword and how the position of it for your page has risen or fallen, so that’s a good way to see if you’re making improvements or not.
But additionally, this feature of the program is actually one of many others that it offers and I find when it comes to looking up keyword data (before I decide to use it on my page), that Jaaxy offers the best reports on this. It also provides many other things, but the point is, I wouldn’t be using this tool and paying the $49 a month if I wasn’t benefiting from it, which I very much am and I think you will too.
Jaaxy in my opinion, is very important for preliminary keyword research and then intelligently applying the data to your page so the content positions higher, then using the above 2 free programs (WMT and BWMT) to analyze how it’s doing on all the major search engines. It is very often thanks to the research I do through Jaaxy that allows me to get 1st page rankings.
Here is an example of the specific area of this program where it checks, and tracks search engine positioning:
A summary of the 3 of the 5 programs I prefer to use:
- Google search console.
- Bing search console.
- And Jaaxy.
Those are the 3 which are more than enough for me to apply and get results from.
What do I do if my rankings suck?
There are MANY ways you can improve that issue and I list 15 awesome methods here for that. What I would say is that before you even use these 5 programs, to read that article and to understand the most important ways to get high positions on Google and Bing, and then to use these types of tools to aid you in finding the right terms and then tracking the progress of their rankings.
If you have any questions about these 5 programs I listed or do use one or more of them and want to add if you recommend them or something better, I don’t mind 🙂