There are various ranking factors that influence whether a website appears higher on the SERP based on the content relevance to the search term, or the quality of backlinks pointing to the page.
- Organic Rankings
- Paid Rankings
- Different search engines – different rankings
- Good rankings are a good source of traffic
- What can influence my rankings?
- Rankings as part of an SEO Audit and Performance Monitoring
- Keyword Rankings in the Searchmetrics Suite
In SEO, organic rankings are particularly relevant, as they help generate traffic without any monetary investment. The organic ranking area refers to the area in which websites are listed by the search engine on the basis of various ranking factors, in descending relevance. Often there are paid ads in front of this area. However, these are also marked as such and thus recognizable by the user. You can analyze Organic Rankings for all long tail and weekly organic Keywords in the Research Cloud > Organic Rankings. And for all project keywords in the Search Experience > Organic Rankings. The Organic Rankings are framed in green in the screenshot.
As mentioned above, paid rankings (ads) are often displayed before organic rankings and are therefore also very useful for generating traffic. As the name says, you'll have to pay to rank in the paid rankings area. For example, to appear in Google Paid Rankings you can buy ads from Google Ads. The analysis of the paid rankings is possible in the Research Cloud > Paid Search. The estimated CPC per keyword, as well as the traffic value can be displayed in many lists in order to be able to estimate how high the monetary expenditure would be for an advertising placement. From this, it can also be concluded how much expenditure could be saved if the keyword were to be ranked organically instead. The Paid Rankings are in the red box.
Different search engines – different rankings
The ranking of a website or URL for keywords or keyword combinations varies from search engine to search engine. A domain may rank for a specific keyword in the top 3 on Bing, but not even appear on the first page of Google search results for the same keyword. Of course, the same is true for all search engines - Bing, Google, Yahoo, and all other search engines use their own method of calculating rankings and therefore rank sites differently.
Different countries - different rankings
Rankings can also differ when using different language or country versions of the same search engine, such as Google. Search analysis software like the Searchmetrics Suite is a good way to gain insight into and track differences in search engine rankings.
The location, which Google can estimate from the IP address, is crucial in a search query.Searching for the keyword "bakery" will bring different results in Berlin than the same search in Hamburg. In this way, Google enables users to quickly obtain results that are as relevant as possible. In such cases it is especially worthwhile to keep an eye on local search engines and optimize for them. In your Searchmetrics project you can store local search engines.
In addition to the IP address, the Google page used also provides information about the origin of the search. For example, search results for Google.de, Google.at and Google.ch can differ even though all results are in German. Of course, this also applies to endings such as .com, .it or .fr. It can therefore be advantageous to use a top level domain through which one's own page is mainly to be found.
Different people - different rankings
Rankings also differ from person to person. Google, for example, uses information from cookies, search history or user behavior.
If users are on Google+, for example, the rankings are influenced by the popular pages of the people connected in the account. If a user often books flights via a certain website, this will be displayed higher up in future searches for flights. Also, pages previously clicked by the user, are decisive for the ranking in the next search, since similar search results will appear higher up the next time. In addition, the devices used are also crucial. Safari users, for example, are more likely to see products or apps that are compatible with Apple in the top search results than Firefox or Chrome users.
The example below is from Search Experience > Organic Rankings in the Searchmetrics Suite. The example shows the ranking of keywords for "amazon.com" for Google USA. In the project settings additional search engines and countries can be added to the project for subsequent evaluation.
Good rankings are a good source of traffic
The goal of good ranking in search results is to get as much traffic as possible from the organic search channel. The higher the page rank in the search results, the higher the likelihood that the searcher will click on that result. This explains the direct link between high ratings and increased traffic.
This relationship between rankings and clicks (and traffic) is strongest among the top three search results. However, changing layout of the search results pages is constantly changing with the inclusion of Google Knowledge Graph data and the integration of Universal Search elements (SERP features) such as videos, maps, and Google Shopping ads. These changes could mean that the top three organic rankings are no longer the top three SERPs. This has been demonstrated in few heat maps and eye tracking tests.
What can influence my rankings?
Search engine optimization is a method of permanently influencing search engine rankings. Google and other search engines calculate their search results for keywords using very complex algorithms. The individual ranking factors and their weighting in ranking calculations are highly protected intellectual property that belongs to the search engines and is not publicly disclosed.
It is assumed that the following factors are closely related to rankings:
- number of backlinks
- sitemap and internal linking
- use of keywords in text elements such as meta titles, meta descriptions, text, etc.
- term optimization of content, based on comparison with other documents on the same topic (proof and relevant terms, topic/content clusters, WDF*IDF)
- URL structure
- trust assigned to the page
- page load time (site speed)
- time on site and bounce rate (here: how much time a visitor spends on a page before returning to search results)
- CTR in the SERPs, i.e. how often users click on the result
- and presumably many other factors such as page traffic, authorship, page relevance, etc.
Rankings as part of an SEO Audit and Performance Monitoring
Ultimately, rankings are the proof that the search engine optimization has been successful or not. For this reason, the ranking of keywords identified as relevant should be monitored regularly as part of the SEO auditing process. Using a fixed set of keywords containing relevant terms is also an effective method for monitoring rankings. Therefore, it is recommended in any case to create a keyword set and store it in a project. Take a look at the project management!
This is an important task, as the loss of rankings allows you to draw conclusions about the quality of the page. At the same time, an increase in rankings also indicates a well-run and successful optimization. If a website drops in ranking for certain keywords, this is a signal to SEOs and webmasters to react.
It is not enough just to respond to emerging problems. For a website to be sustainably successful, it requires constant work and attention. Even if important rankings seem stable today, they can change quickly in the short term, especially when dealing with highly competitive keywords.
Keyword Rankings in the Searchmetrics Suite
Keyword ranking tables show the ranking of your URLs for specific keywords.
Organic Rankings in the Research Cloud
The Organic Rankings table in the Research Cloud shows all the URL rankings for specific keywords based on the entered domain.
There exist two types of keywords: organic long tail keywords and weekly organic keywords. The long tail keywords are more detailed and rare than the weekly organic keywords. Because they are more targeted, they often have lower search volume, so their KPIs are calculated monthly. Long tail organic keywords contain some more metrics than weekly organic keywords, including the difference between Traffic Index Potential and Traffic Value Potential.
On the other hand, weekly organic keywords are a set of keywords that generally have a high search volume. URLs and keywords can be compared using various metrics related to position, search volume, traffic, and CPC, which are reviewed weekly. With this data, you can prioritize keywords by estimating improvement efforts and the potential to add value through optimization.
There are several KPIs in both tables that are important for evaluating the keyword relevance. First of all, the position of the keyword becomes clear. This is very important, because the higher the URL ranking for a keyword, the more likely it will be found by the user and the more traffic they will get from that keyword.
Organic Rankings in the Search Experience
In addition to the above mentioned KPIs, SERP feature integrations of individual keywords are also displayed in the Search Experience.