The easiest way to perform ongoing SEO monitoring is to use a tool that was purpose built for the job. A tool like AuthorityLabs.
AuthorityLabs makes it easy to keep tabs on your own rankings, as well as your competitors’. It is simple to set up, just add a domain and some keywords to track, and you will start seeing data after just thirty minutes or so. Best of all, every new account begins with a full-featured, thirty day free trial (no credit card required), so you can try it out and see if it will meet your needs.
The first screen inside of AuthorityLabs, once you have an account set up and you first log in, asks you to input a domain to track. You can add more than one at a time, so if you have a list of competitor domains you can include those as well. If you are including competitors, you can use the ‘Add to Domain Group’ feature to group that set of domains together. Just give the group a name before you click ‘Track Domain(s)’.
Once your domains are saved, you will be prompted to add keywords to track. Paste a short list into the box, or use the bulk upload feature to add your keyword list. If you want to track your competitors’ rankings across those keywords, then you only have to do this once. You can sync keywords across all domains in the competitor group.
To do that, click the ‘Domains’ link the the upper left-hand corner of the screen to get to the overall domain list. You should see your domain group there. Click the sync button next to the group name to enable keyword syncing across that set of domains. Once that has been turned on your keywords will be added to each domain, and adding or removing keywords from one domain will apply to all domains in the group.
Once you have your domains and keywords squared away, you’re ready to go. Once data has started populating in the account, you can click the compare button next to the group name to display a ranking comparison report for all the domains in the group. This report makes it easy to see where you stand versus your competitors across all of your main keywords.
If you need help figuring out which keywords you should be tracking, check out the keyword research course we put together at keywordcourse.com. That will take you step by step through a thorough research process. You might also consider using the Now Provided report inside of Authority Labs. That report looks at a number of SEO data sources to give you a list of the keywords driving traffic to your site. It is essentially a replacement for the reporting you could get from Google Analytics before Google made its search pages secure and stopped providing keyword data.
Pro Tip: Another way to use the grouping feature is to create separate groups for different types of competitors. For example, imagine a business that provides both commercial and residential cleaning services. There may be some overlap, but for the most part the keywords and competitors for the commercial side of the business are going to be different from the keywords and competitors for the residential side. To account for that, and get an accurate picture of the competitive landscape, set up two groups (Commercial, and Residential) to monitor rankings in each area.
The easiest way to keep up to date on competitive data (and your own rankings) is to automate your reports. With AuthorityLabs you can set up a weekly or monthly data export for all of the domains you are tracking. Other tools (which we will get into in the next section) typically offer similar options.
The recommended frequency of reporting depends somewhat on the level of activity among your competitors. In more active and fast-changing fields (like retail, entertainment, consumer apps, small business software, etc.) marketing tactics, promotions, offers, and organic rankings may change significantly on a weekly or even daily basis. In more established industries like construction or financial services changes may be more gradual, requiring less frequent check-ins.
No matter the frequency you choose, it’s a good idea to coordinate the timing of all your reports and set a regular time to review them. Otherwise you will probably find, as we sometimes have, that they pile up in your inbox until you are caught off guard by a major traffic change and have to scramble to figure out where it came from.
If you start to see the numbers shifting in the wrong direction, that’s your cue to investigate further. Maybe there is a new entrant in the marketplace. Maybe a competitor has shifted tactics to something more successful. Going back through the sections we have outlined and looking at their website and marketing efforts will probably provide the insight you need. Once you know what is going on, you can prepare your response.
In the next, and final, section, we will move beyond search data and look at automated monitoring of the competition’s other public activities including social media, news, and stock related performance (for public companies).
END OF PART SIX