This is a sponsored post written by SE Ranking. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.
We track rankings every day to stay up-to-date on their dynamics.
Doing so helps us assess the results of our work and lets us provide proof of progress to clients. But most importantly, it enables us to react immediately to sudden position decreases.
Fortunately, abrupt ranking drops are an extreme situation that doesn’t happen that often.
Most of the time, we get information on our rankings but there’s not much we can do about it. That is, we fail to move past analyzing the data on to driving actual results.
This post will show you how to get real value from your SEO routine and turn mundane ranking checks into actionable insights.
1. Group Keywords by URL to See the Actual Ranking Distribution
As a rule of thumb, we sort keyword positions by the particular landing pages we’re promoting.
That way, it’s visible which keywords got top rankings for the page, which resulted in the 10-20th positions, as well as those that failed to rank.
This method works well as it allows you to assess the results of your own work and define where extra efforts should be directed.
However, if you group queries by the actual URLs they’re ranking for, you’ll see the flip side of the ranking/page relations.
For each URL, you’ll see what keywords it ranks for, its position, and what keywords require special attention.
Let’s see what actionable insights you can get out of this information.
Find Pages That Rank Without Your Efforts
The pages you’re promoting aren’t the only ones that can come up in search.
To spot such pages, group keywords via your rank tracker tool by URL and pay attention to the pages that rank for one or two queries. Most of the time, these are pages you didn’t expect to see in search.
Here’s what it looks like in the Keyword Rank Tracker tool from SE Ranking:
In order to decide what to do with these pages, analyze whether you need them to rank for the given keyword in the first place. Sometimes aiming to rank a page for an extra keyword can be harmful.
In fact, it can be just a simple mistake like an irrelevant keyword on a page.
Let’s say you have an ecommerce website, but the query that should lead searchers to the category page (with lots of items for sale) brings them to a particular item page instead.
Consequently, the users don’t get the expected information from the page and leave the site.
Another example: a non-target URL can compete with a target page that’s ranking for the same query (we’ll discuss the pitfalls of this scenario a bit later).
So, if the page got ranked in search for the wrong query, de-optimize it by deleting the keyword from the content and meta tags.
If the query is appropriate, then it makes sense to continue optimizing it further to get higher positions.
Find Keywords That You Don’t Rank For
With your queries filtered by URL, pay attention to those in the “Not found” folder. These are queries that none of your pages are ranked for and you need to decide what to do with them.
What are your options?
Either delete them (you don’t need them but you’re still paying for their position checks) or figure out why you don’t rank for them (they’re irrelevant to the website, you don’t have a matching page for them, etc).
Also, you may have had pages that ranked for some of these queries before. In fact, you can check this by clicking the gray link icon – you’ll see the URL that’s ranked for the given keyword as well as the last date when it ranked.
The date may even tell you why you lost the position. How?
You can check the page in the Web Archive for this day to see whether there have been content changes on that page on that specific date.
Find Keywords That Several of Your Pages Simultaneously Rank For
In some cases, we can have several pages ranking for the same query at the same time.
According to our research, for about 15% of the queries we see in Google’s top 30, there are two or more pages belonging to the same domain.
The thing is that we usually optimize a particular page for a keyword. This target URL works as a landing page that converts users with a specific intent that fits the query.
And if more pages are ranking for the same keyword, the “target” page can rank lower than the “wrong” one.
Plus, Google ranks non-target pages higher for more than half of the queries (based on our analysis of 500,000 queries with a set target URL).
What are the risks in such situations?
If the keyword brings users to the wrong page, it won’t convert as well as the correct one, and all your optimization efforts will be nullified.
How can you discover an extra page that’s ranking for a query?
To do this, always point out the target URL for each keyword you want to rank high for.
There’s an option that allows you to do this in SE Ranking’s Keyword Rank Tracker. It will show you if several of your pages outrun each other in a search for a given keyword:
You’ll see a red figure indicating the number of times the target URL was outranked by a non-target page. You’ll also find the URLs of non-target pages and the dates when they ranked higher than the target URL.
Once you’ve found all the queries with such issues, take a look at the pages that are ranking for them.
Your basic options are to promote all of the pages, de-optimize some of them, or delete the wrong page and redirect to the right one.
2. Use Competitor Data to Uncover Keyword Potential
In addition to tracking your own rankings, you can monitor positions of your competitors.
For example, in SE Ranking you can add up to five competitors and track their rankings for the same queries as yours.
Meaning, you’ll see the full information on your competitors’ search visibility for the queries you’re interested in. You can compare the dynamics and identify the keywords requiring extra efforts.
What Insights Can You Get From Such Analysis?
Remember when we learned how to find keywords none of your pages rank for? You should check your competitors’ positions to assess the potential of these keywords and what pages are already getting ranked for it.
Thus, you’ll be able to decide whether you need to compete for the given keyword.
Because you have access to the full history of your rivals’ rankings, you can check if they saw any position jumps recently.
If there were such, go to the Web Archive to see if they resulted from page redesign. Or check their backlinks because they could have obtained a valuable link right before the increase.
By doing so, you’ll know what strategy can bring you the same positive result.
3. Capture the Difference Between Desktop & Mobile Results
Desktop and mobile search results can be significantly different. This difference depends on the niche, but to see if it impacts your business, you need to know your rankings for each channel separately.
After Google announced “mobile-first” indexing, the mobile versions of websites became a determining factor in the overall search success.
If you have a responsive design, you need to track your mobile SERP rankings separately because they define your total search performance.
And, in case your mobile positions are much lower than that of desktop, you should focus on boosting them.
Using Keyword Rank Tracker, you can compare your desktop and mobile positions side-by-side. The queries for which you have a big difference in positions are the ones needing your special attention.
Also, the gap in rankings can result from different user search intents. Meaning, Google can think mobile and desktop users need different things as they’re searching for the same query.
To check whether that’s your case, use SE Ranking SERP Tracking tool (SERP competitors in your account). This tool tracks the top 100 search results for each of your queries.
Analyze the top 100 for both mobile and desktop search: which URLs recur in both SERPs, and which don’t?
What’s special about the content of mobile results? Perhaps the mobile SERP displays only videos or some other form of mobile content for a specific target query.
Knowing what you missed by comparing your site to others, you can enhance your mobile positions.
4. Track & Tag Good Domains for Link Building
In the SERP Tracking tool, you can see all the websites ranking for your queries. This data can be used in your link building strategy.
With the entire map of the SERP for your queries in front of you, you can define the websites you want to link out to you.
These are business catalogs, blogs, directories, media outlets – all informational resources in the search results for your product queries.
Informational resources ranking for your keywords are your top-target websites to get a backlink. Such links serve not only link-building values but also earn you extra presence in the top SERP results.
Within the SERP Tracking tool, you can tag the websites you are interested in to see their dynamics and stay on top of everything.
When acquiring links, tag websites depending on their response:
- The ones that agreed to publish your link or, at least, mention you.
- Those that refused publication.
- Those you haven’t reached out to yet.
And don’t forget to check the SERP regularly to spot any new potential link publishers.
5. Monitor SERP Features for Your Queries
Google’s first result page often features lots of elements that complement the usual suspects – the top 10.
The featured snippet, images, maps, news, videos, ads – all of these elements can attract traffic that would otherwise go to the organic results.
This, in turn, effectively distorts the allocation of traffic. So if you managed to get ranked at the top for important queries – check if there are any SERP features.
For example, a featured snippet is ranked at position zero and its CTR is higher than any other links on the page.
This means that you’ll have less traffic from queries that have the featured snippet among its results than from queries with no instant answers in SERP.
So you need to track the appearance of SERP features for the keywords that matter the most to your SEO efforts.
If a local pack for your target query appears in search – register your company in Google My Business. Add optimized media content to your target pages to push them into Google Images and Videos.
For getting into a featured snippet, shape and optimize your content accordingly.
But you should bear a couple of things in mind here.
- Your chances of appearing in Google’s instant answer snippets are much higher for pages ranking in the top 10.
- Over-optimizing a page for a particular SERP feature could harm your rankings. Be mindful about adjusting your content and meta tags when attempting to get into any of these boxes.
Rank tracking data is a rich source of insights that, if used wisely, can help you with lots of things:
- Find pages that rank without your knowledge and can harm the conversion rate of your target pages for the same keyword.
- Discover and delete keywords that you track (spend money on) but don’t rank for them.
- Find queries that several of your pages are competing for at the same time.
- Use your competitors’ rankings data to check if a certain keyword is worth fighting for and what works.
- Track both mobile and desktop rankings to comply with mobile-first indexing requirements.
- Find, select, and tag websites for building links via the SERP Tracking tool.
- Monitor SERP features for your most important queries.
SE Ranking’s Keyword Rank Tracker helps to solve all these tasks and more. Give it a try for free.
Featured Image: Image by SE Ranking. Used with permission.
In-Post Photos: Images by SE Ranking. Used with permission.
Speed and performance of Web dev, SEO, and marketing agencies websites
- The research shows most agencies failed when it comes to the performance of their website.
- Search engine ranking is a multi-factor game, and performance, while it matters for many reasons, is just one piece in this puzzle.
- Nebojsa Radakovic shares insights.
Ever since Google announced that page speed would be a ranking factor in its mobile-first index in 2018, the need for speed became one of the most important aspects of web dev trait. A lot of businesses jumped onto the speed train.
Sure enough, one year later, Google reported that sites are faster, and abandonment rates are down since making page speed a ranking factor.
With performance being one of the top-selling points of a modern-day web dev architecture Jamstack that we are so into, it was only natural to take a deep dive into the industries that tackle website performance and see how we stand against our peers.
TL;DR: Key findings
Don’t have the time to read through the research? Here are the key findings:
- 27% of websites from our 20K sample still run on HTTP
- 65.7% of the websites are built with WordPress
- Only 2.7% of websites have good performance scores
- 2.9% of websites provide good user experience to their users, ie Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) occurs within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading
What data was I interested in, and why?
Lighthouse performance metrics. There are a couple of popular speed testing tools, but most people use Lighthouse. While it may not be perfect because it provides a mix of both lab and field data about a page, I’ve used Pagespeed Insights API as described in James McNulty UpBuild post here, although updated to show core web vitals.
CMS. WordPress or not. 37% of all websites are powered by WordPress. Being the most popular web dev solution, it would be interesting to see and compare different solutions in terms of speed and performance.
Where did I get my URLs from?
Gathering URLs is a time-consuming work. But I managed to get 20k URLs (20397 URLs to be exact). I’ve cross-referenced results I got from scraping the first-page organic results of a set of keywords (like SEO agency, web dev agency, etc.), results I got by using tools such as Phantombuster to scrap review websites, and results I got from hiring virtual assistants on Upwork and Fiver.
There are a couple of issues I had to take care of first. Amazingly 27% of websites from my 20K sample still run on HTTP. That’s not good at all. On top of that, I had a bunch of URLs coming up with NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error message in Chrome. Once those were taken care of, I ended up having results 13945 URLs instead of 20K.
Of course, the most popular CMS is WordPress, with 65.7% of websites from my sample using it. For 18.8%, I was not able to detect any CMS. 2.58% run on Squarespace, 1.6% are built with Drupal, 1.41% are on Wix, and so on.
The results should not come as a surprise given that WordPress powers 37% of all the websites on the Internet or 63.6% of all the websites with known CMS.
Performance scores – How scores are color-coded by Google
The metrics scores and the perf score are colored according to these ranges:
- 0 to 49 (Red): Poor
- 50 to 89 (Orange): Needs Improvement
- 90 to 100 (Green): Good
You can read more about it here.
As far as the performance scores for all websites are concerned, 77.1% of the websites are in the poor range, which means there is a lot of room for improvement.
Pretty much the same story when we check only WordPress websites, 83.9% are in the poor performance range.
Core Web Vitals
By now, you probably are well aware of Core Web Vitals. Their importance is twofold:
- Google considers them essential in a webpage’s overall user experience, and understanding them can help you improve the quality of experience you are delivering to your users,
- Google plans to make a page experience an official Google ranking factor with Core Web Vitals being an essential part of it.
The current set for Core Web Vitals focuses on three aspects of the user experience: loading (described with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric), interactivity (described with First Input Delay (FID) metric), and visual stability (described with Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) metric).
For this research, numbers follow the performance scores. For example, check out the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) results.
Being that I’ve tested only 20k URLs (actually 13945), let’s not generalize conclusions. However, the general ‘feel’ is that the ones required to think of speed and performance failed the test.
Performance, while it matters for many reasons, is not and should not be the end goal. It depends not only on the tech used but also ‘features’ you’ll have on a website, which pretty much depends on the industry/theme your website is in. And balancing performance and functionality successfully depends on the value a feature brings to your business versus the reduction in speed that results.
The thing is, whatever tech you use, you can end up with good scores (some easier than others). The real question is, how important are the scores for your client, their business, and their audience?
Nebojsa Radakovic is an SEO wiz with 20 years of experience. He is also an extreme sports enthusiast. He can be found on Twitter @CookieDuster_N.
Top 10 Tools to facilitate web development
- Web development is very essential for guiding you past the traditional methods of website development and approaching to other more unique and efficient prospects in the IT field.
- Building an app or website is real but sometimes can be better facilitated through the testing and implementation phases of web tools.
- Entering the new age of the digital world is just impossible without proper deployment, scaling, and database management. And this where the best web development weapons are on standby.
Web development tools are necessary to adapt and integrate in the development environments since they help you create a webpage, gather metrics, discover layouts and designs. Web development is all about evolving and stepping up the game you are currently very proficient in. Along with that it doesn’t demand much money, require enormous sources or expect big money. The only thing development tools are incorporating is your boosted ultimate website performance. What is simply left is finding the right assistant on this journey. Here are the top 10 we have picked for you:
1. Chrome DevTool
If you are searching for a web assistant that would ensure your safety and optimize development, Chrome DevTool is sincerely recommended in this case. Taking into account that this is the most popular cross-platform browser of all, you should be certain that such a Chromium-based development technology will allow you to inspect, debug, and guide you through the browser.
While varied development tools are primarily focused on setting up websites, creating online stores, and launching blogs, Chrome DevTool is highly helpful in inspecting and tweaking. Although it is a bit hard to navigate through so many tabs and functions, Chrome DevTool offers you numerous panels for boosting productivity, analyzing load performance, and enhancing better user-friendly experience:
- Elements panel
- Console panel
- Sources panel
- Network panel
- Performance panel
- Memory panel
- Application panel
- Security panel
Such a division gives you a more fixed structure on elements and commands that you can apply depending on the existing page you are willing to diagnose. In order to access Chrome DevTools, you won’t even need to pay for anything, as it is built into the browser itself. Here is how you can open it.
Good software development company’s support can facilitate your user experience with its comprehensive and all-inclusive approach even more. VironIT offers you a list of the new age web development tools and services to create a highly adaptable website or attractive web application.
If you wonder what kind of development tools are combined in one software, it might actually vary from AR&VR development (augmented and virtual reality) to IoT Software development (data visualization and analysis). Such a useful package of cross-platform tools in one place makes it easier for you to write, maintain and promote better development and react to possible vulnerabilities. In addition, it guarantees you rapid functionality of apps, programs, websites and its well-organized software designs.
There is nothing more efficient than a versatile service providing the fast and most secure web frameworks. You share the main goal.
3. React JS
- It is also error-free since all technical mistakes can be spotted during compilation.
- It is easier to write templates, especially when you are familiar with HTML.
You have no clue what the new age of web development means if you don’t try out GitHub. This web platform enables you not only to manage the web applications by coordinating the tools and its usability, but also to deploy regular teams and campaigns to the completion of these same applications or projects. GitHub accesses you a lightweight, branch-based workflow that helps you experiment with taking over new tasks and managing the existing workflow.
- It helps you make changes, reviews without affecting other involved branches.
- It offers a smooth documentation process that often complements the quality coding process.
- It can modify pages’ content and style remotely via the web or locally on your computer
Why GitHub? The suggested privileges of breaking down barriers within a team when the project is implemented and keeping everyone focused on having the best performance. In the same way, it can let your business flow run smoothly and consistently at any point in time.
5. Novi Builder
You can’t even imagine what excellent sophisticated features you have been holding back when you were not a member of the Novi Builder community. This easy-to-use development tool offers you facilities for HTML drag and drop builder, access to all existing and future templates including free of charge themes. Also, it provides you with 20 must-have plugins and elements, such as Social Plugins, Contact form, Sliders, Countdown, Google Maps, and more.
The functionality and designs are exactly built for beginners developers who want to evolve and rise up on their IT working ladder. It is a great chance for deepening your understanding of website creation and ensuring solid knowledge of application development.
Along with the above-mentioned features, here is what else Novi Builder has to offer:
- It offers advanced code editor support.
- It supercharges your projects just from scratch
- It can install an app and make it live in several hours at low cost
- It empowers and modifies your existing HTML website with additional application integration facilities
Unlike the rest of the feedback tools, this one doesn’t misuse or distort gathered information. It does exactly the opposite by testing development phases and saving your existing project from bugs. If you are quite hesitant it takes too long to collect BugMuncher feedback, you should remember that it is not about your colleague’s professional suggestion, a customer as a prime source of feedback. They can deliver you the most constructive criticism that would help you hone your business’ website or app development.
Moreover, ready-made blocks of code and flexible layouts needed for HTML, CSS can be easily customized and used in accordance with your project’s requirements. The greatest Bootstrap’s features of all are:
- Extensive list of components
- Solid guarantee of the project’s responsiveness
- Useful icon library
Notepad++ is your great assistant in text editing, syntax highlighting, plugin maintaining and this list of handy features can actually go on. Although it is available on Windows only, it can still be supported by GitHub, a primary distribution party.
Additionally, Notepad++ supports 27 programming languages. If you go to the Binary Translations page you can easily choose the language you need. Alternatively, you can open User Language Define System to help you define the definition of keywords or regular expressions. Moreover, if you are advanced at coding in languages like C++, Batch, and HTML, Notepad++ is just an ideal service for you. Imagine that:
- You can find every instance of a word and perform actions on it.
- You can access the replace function and get a change reference for each word.
- You can also save time by typing the keyboard shortcut and skipping the appeared code next time or previous time.
Doesn’t it sound amazing to apply a word-search and text-editor tool like this with just a quick installation and some default language setting? You should definitely try it out.
9. Source tree
We wouldn’t bet on the wrong horse if we said that most of you are intermediate or even advanced developers who’d rather focus on coding than interacting with the Git repositories. SourceTree is a free web development tool available for Mac and Windows and perfect for database visualization and management. However, Source tree equally claims to serve both powerful experts, as well as absolute beginners. Yet, understanding the interface specs is easier than you can even think:
- Bookmark windows represent database you are aligned with
- Toolbar lets you take action without any command line
- The sidebar is where you access the information about your current project
- Repository history and code diffs share control to monitor previous changes
From now any coding changes will be demonstrated in real-time and with the aggregated view on all of your work.
10. Lambda Test
Now, you are completely forearmed to successfully lead the war of web development. Getting an application done or an advanced code supported has never been easier. Try these top tools out and you will not regret it.
Why behavior analysis is important online business
- A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.
- In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners.
- Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles.
- MD of SEO Discovery shares a guide to help you understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.
In today’s digital age, the customer journey is getting complex day by day and if you are doing online business then it’s vital to understand your customer journey. A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.
In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners. According to Statista, 88.05 percent of online shopping orders were abandoned in March 2020 worldwide, which means over 88% of people added selected products into the cart and left without buying for various reasons. This is a massive business opportunity loss for ecommerce players.
Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles. Without adequate knowledge of analytics, your marketing won’t work because you won’t know what worked and what didn’t work. All the marketing suits come with analytics tools to help perceive the behavior, engagement metrics, and demographics of the visitors coming to a website. The most common web analytics tools are Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Kiss Metrics, and Mixpanel. They generally come with the following features and capabilities:
- Real-time analytics
- Mobile analytics
- Attribution modeling
- Ecommerce tracking
- Funnel analysis
- Cohort analysis
- Cross-device tracking
- In-page analytics (Session recording, click tracking, heatmaps)
- Goal conversion tracking
- Event tracking
- A/B testing
Every feature has its own data sets which can be compared to help you make informed decisions. Today we are going to understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.
What is a Cohort Analysis and why is it important?
Cohort analysis is a subset of users grouped by shared characteristics. It simply allows you to compare the behavior and metrics of different cohorts over time.
Cohort Analysis Example – Finding Engagement Drop
Let’s suppose you have an online food ordering website/app and using acquisition date (when users started their first sessions) cohorts you can find out when in the customer lifecycle your users tend to drop off.
The best way for visualizing this data is to chart out the retention curve, portraying retention over time.
This retention curve clearly reflects the most important insight – around 75% of the users stop using the website after the first day. We can see a downfall in the engagement. Hence, it’s evident to improve the overall experience and abet customers through daily offers/coupons to boosting retention.
Cohort Analysis Comparison – Organic vs Direct
The below cohort analysis indicates that organic traffic has a better retention rate than direct.
Visitor behavior analysis and its importance
It’s a process of tracking user behavior on a website and there are some great tools in the market that give accurate information. Tools like Hotjar, MouseFlow, Crazy Egg record visitor sessions to see how visitors are navigating on the website. They also offer click tracking and heatmaps to analyze the most engaging and ignored (skipped) elements on a page.
If you look at the above heatmap, you would notice that no one bothered to click on “PORTFOLIO” in the top menu, which means people aren’t interested in see the portfolio. Maybe we have to replace it with something more interesting (like Case Studies, Achievements, and more) which grabs a visitor’s attention. These kinds of insights help you add/remove elements to improve page engagement.
Using filters, you can further segment your audience to dig deep and pull out actionable insights, see those filter below:
In Google Analytics, behavior flow gives you a visual presentation of how people are navigating on your website. You can apply segments to get a deeper view of their behavior and it also enables you to apply different dimensions on top of these segments to get actionable insights.
The power of these analytical tools lies in the fact that it allows you to view which customers leave and what’s making them leave your website/app – so that you can fix it. You can also hire a professional digital marketing agency that can help you find these hurdles and remove them to enhance your overall engagement.
Mandeep Singh is the MD of SEO Discovery. He’s mission is to provide affordable digital marketing services to startups and SMEs. He’s an official member of Forbes Agency Council. You can find him on LinkedIn.
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