Google constantly updates and refreshes its algorithm so your website’s rank will often fluctuate – sometimes from day to day or week to week. This can even happen within just one day, your site can rank in several different positions for the same keyword. Ranking changes within a day are usually just a couple of positions up or down, but over the course of a month, your ranking can fluctuate dramatically for a single keyword (15th to 3rd).
In addition to algorithm updates, your website’s ranking in Google can also vary due to where the searcher is based and Google’s personalised search based on their history. Ranking variation depending on location is called localisation, where Google ranks pages differently based on the country or even city being searched from. For example, someone searching for “lawyers” in Leeds will see a completely different set of results to someone who is searching in London.
Whereas personalisation is when Google alters the results it sends back for a specific keyword based on the searcher’s history. This usually happens when the searcher is signed into a Google account or using Google Chrome. It will mean that if the searcher has visited a site many times before, it will appear higher in results for a keyword than for someone who has never visited the site before when searching for the same keyword.
Therefore, with algorithmic updates, localisation and personalisation, working out your average ranking for keywords over a specific range of time becomes more valuable than where your website is ranking at a specific time from a specific location. Google Search Console lets you see what keywords your website is ranking for and the average position in results. It’s a free tool that’s quick, accurate and comprehensive.
How to Check Your Website Rankings with Google Search Console
- First step, sign into Google Search Console or create an account.
- Add your website or click on it if you’ve already added it.
- Scroll down to Search Traffic and then Search Analytics to see your data.
This will show you several key pieces of information which are described below:
- Metrics: Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Position (explained at the bottom).
- Data: Select Queries to bring up the keywords people find your site from.
- Filters: Select United Kingdom as the country and search type to the web.
- Dates: Choose a short date so the results are more up to date.
- Totals and Averages: Shows the combined totals and the average for all keywords your site is ranking for in a chosen timeline.
- Queries: Shows the specific keywords that your site is ranking and being searched for.
- Clicks: Shows the number of clicks your website has had in the results of a specific keyword search.
- Impressions: Shows how many times your website has appeared in the search results for a specific keyword.
- CTR (Click-Through-Rate): Shows the number of clicks divided by impressions multiplied by 100. The higher you’re ranking for a keyword, the higher this will be.
- Position: Shows the average ranking for your website for a specific keyword. This means it is not the exact ranking but it does give a good indication of where your website is generally ranking.
Note: Your impressions, clicks and CTR are all approximations and not an exact number. These numbers may also differ from Google Analytics due to the technicalities and time lag between the numbers being calculated and being displayed in your account.