Welcome to part nine in this search engine positioning series. Last week we discussed important topic of link building. In part nine we will be covering monitoring and various areas you should consider and tools you may want to use.
While this area isn't directly related to attaining higher rankings it is definitely equally important. Once you've got good rankings your competitors are going to work to beat you out. You have to keep on top of it to insure you maintain your top positions.
Over this series we will cover ten key aspects to a solid search engine positioning campaign.
The Ten Steps We Will Go Through Are:
- Keyword Selection
- Content Creation
- Site Structure
- Internal Linking
- Human Testing
- Link Building
- The Extras
Step Nine - Monitoring
After days, weeks, or perhaps even months of researching, optimizing, proofing and link building you've got your website into top positions. First thing's first: congratulations! It's no easy task to get your site where you got it and you deserve a break. Take a week off and don't look at your site, at very least this'll let you come back at it again with fresher eyes - at best it'll give you time to spend with those who missed you during your obsession with your site and rankings. But don't take too long ... your competition is right on your heals.
As important as first eight steps were to getting you rankings, so to is this step that will help you keep those rankings. There are three basic yet critical steps to monitoring process. They are:
- Monitoring your rankings
- Monitoring links
- Monitoring changes in search engine environment
Monitoring Your Rankings
There are a number of ways that you can monitor your rankings. You can run searches manually, you can use software to check your rankings or you can use online services to check your rankings. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.
Advantage - You will be able to visually confirm results and also you will remain in full compliance with search engine's rules governing use of their systems including use of automated rank-checking software.
Disadvantage - This method for checking rankings can be extremely time consuming is checking for multiple phrases across multiple engines. If you are targeting 20 phrases and want to check your rankings across top ten engines and know when you're places as far down as position 50 you will have to check up to 1000 different pages for your site.
Rank-checking Software Advantage - This method for checking your rankings is extremely efficient. With software such as WebPosition Gold you simply enter keywords you are targeting, engines you want to check for results on, and how deep you want it to go. After that it's a matter of running program and doing some other work or grab a coffee while you await results.
Disadvantage - This software often violates search engines rules regarding use of their systems by running a large number of searches. If you are going to use this type of software please set software to run courteously (a setting you will find in options) and register for Google's Web API which will allow you to legitimately run 1000 automated queries per day.
Online Services Advantage - It is much faster than checking manually and doesn't have cost associated with it that software does. An example of an online rank checking tool can be found at http://www.mikes-marketing-tools.com/ranking-reports/. Disadvantage - It is still far more time consuming than automated software and over a few months you will have made up money spent on software in time saved by using it. Also, I'm a bit paranoid when it comes to entering detailed info regarding my SEO sites and targeted keywords. I'm not a fan of anything that requires me to give my targeted phrases and URL to another marketing site. But maybe that's just me.
Monitoring your links is equally important to attaining them. When you were first starting your SEO and link-building you probably checked to see how many links your main competitors had and built more. So what makes you think they haven't been building more links since then.
It's a good practice to schedule weekly checks of how many backlinks you have detected by major search engines and also check to see how many your main competitors have. If you document results on an ongoing basis you will be able to note whether theirs are growing or not.
While you should always be generating more inbound links for your site whether you see your competitors doing so or not, knowing when they are and where they are can give you a solid advantage in reacting to this new threat. Remember, as hard as you worked for your positioning, so too with others.
There are software and online services to check for links however only one I would recommend has nothing to do with its link number abilities. As noted in previous articles, Top Optimizer Pro is link-building tool I would most highly recommend. On top of giving you number of links your competitors have it will tell you what anchor text is, what PageRank is of those links, and more. It will even help you find link partners.
Monitoring Changes In The Search Environment
The last thing you will have to monitor is for changes with search engines themselves. First of all, with changes such as MSN's upcoming shift from providing results based on Inktomi to providing their own results, you will want to know when this happens and what to expect when it does. Additionally, you will want to know when changes are occurring in search engine algorithms, when major ones take place, and what those changes are.
This is why there are full-time SEOs. To monitor all of these things can be very time-consuming however assuming that you have time and inclination here are some resources to help you keep on top if it all: