Most website owners want to know where they rank for a specific search term on Google or Bing. Meaning, when a potential customer searches Google for “sunroof parts” (or whatever), where is your website?
While the value of knowing where your site ranks is attenuated a bit by personalized search (Google changes search results for each person using the site), it’s a valuable metric when you’re trying to figure out how your site is doing relative to competition.
If you want to know where your site ranks for a search term, here’s a quick and easy process for figuring that out.
Step 1. Open A Private or Incognito Browser Window
In Chrome, you want to open a”New incognito window.”In Safari it’s called “New Private Window,” and in Explorer it’s “Private Browsing.” Whatever your browser calls it, you want to be in a mode where you can’t be tracked. This is important, because search engines personalize results.
If, for example, you’re doing daily checks to see where your website ranks for “sunroof parts,” Google and Bing will start changing the results they show you to reflect your selections. They’ll show you what they think you want to see, rather than what they show a typical user.
Therefore, you can NOT get an accurate estimation of where your site ranks without being in a private/incognito window. If you search more than 2 or 3 times, Google will start to personalize. So, it’s best to check one or two search terms, close the browser, then re-open a new one.
Step 2. Enter The Search Term And Do Not Allow Google To Know Your Location
When you enter your search term, you may see a pop-up box asking to know your location. This is so Google can provide results from nearby companies or websites. If you are looking to see how you rank generally, then click “block.” If you operate a local business and do not anticipate getting traffic from people outside your region, click “allow.”
Step 3. Try A Different Device
Google and Bing serve slightly different search results to people based on the device they’re using. So, if you’re trying to see where your site ranks for people searching on a phone, you need to search with a phone. Just be sure to check in an incognito window, and to close and re-open that window after one or two searches.
Step 4. Try Out Google Search Console and See What It Says
Last but not least, there’s a tool called Google Search Console that will tell you where your site ranks for particular queries. While it’s not 100% reliable (we see lots of variance in the data Google shares in the Console, vs. what we find with 3rd party tracking or manual checks), it’s as good as anything you can pay for.
NOTE: There are paid tools for rankings tracking, but we don’t recommend them. Most of the time, tracking rankings is a waste of time and money. It’s usually better to pay attention to Google Analytics than to some 3rd party tracking tool.