Keyword Ranking

Date created: Dec 07, 2023  •   Last updated: Dec 24, 2023

What is Keyword Ranking

Keyword ranking refers to the position of a website or webpage in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for a specific keyword or search term. It measures how well a website or webpage ranks compared to its competitors when someone searches for a particular keyword. When a website ranks higher in the search results, it's more likely to be seen by users. This can lead to increased organic traffic and visibility. That’s why businesses should pay attention to their keyword rank and strive to improve them.

Keyword Ranking Formula

ƒ Average(Keyword Rank)

How to calculate Keyword Ranking

Assume you want to rank on the keyword "Mousetrap". Over a period of 30 days, your keyword takes the second spot for 15 days, then moves to the top spot for 10 days before falling to 5th spot for the remaining 5 days. Keyword Ranking for the past 30 days is = ((15 X 2) + (10 X 1) + (5 X 5)) / 30 = 2.16

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More about Keyword Ranking

When the Internet was opened to the public back in the ‘90s, keywords were the metrics used to sort through and find relevant information. These search terms provided context as to what a particular page was about.

Keywords became so important that some marketers even stuffed their content with as many keywords as possible to rank higher in search engine results. 

However, as search engine algorithms became more sophisticated, keyword stuffing was recognized as an ineffective and spammy practice.

Today, search engines like Google and Bing prioritize high-quality content that provides value to users. This shift in focus has led to the rise of other ranking factors such as user experience, backlinks, and social signals.

Nonetheless, keyword rankings remain important in any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Let’s explore the role of keyword rankings in SEO in modern marketing today.

How Important are Rankings for Keywords?

Keeping track of keyword performance remains vital in today’s SEO-driven world for the following reasons:

Targeted traffic

Keyword rankings narrow the focus of your website's traffic. This makes sure that the visitors you attract are specifically interested in the topic or products your website offers.

When you incorporate specific keywords in your content, you provide value to your readers. 

Moreover, you give your site more opportunities to produce content for related topics and rank for other industry-relevant keywords. This targeted traffic is more likely to result in conversions and drive meaningful engagement on your website.

Competitive advantage

When you monitor your rankings, you can see how your website or webpage compares to your competitors in the search results.

If you notice that a competitor is consistently outranking you for certain keywords, it may indicate that they have a stronger SEO strategy or more optimized content. Identifying these areas of weakness lets you make adjustments to improve your own rankings and stay ahead of the competition.

Enhanced user experience

Investing in keyword rankings often goes hand in hand with improving user experience. To rank well, search engines prioritize pages that provide valuable, relevant, and engaging content. This encourages businesses to create high-quality content that meets users' needs.

Nowadays, search engines focus more on search intent, meaning they look favorably on websites that provide content that aligns with what users are searching for. 

Through keyword rankings, businesses can gain insights into what keywords are driving traffic to their site and create content that caters to those specific search queries.

Increased conversions

Conversions are the most coveted actions for businesses, and keyword rankings play a role in driving them.

When your website appears at the top of the search results, visitors perceive your content as highly relevant and trustworthy. This boosts their confidence in your brand and increases the likelihood of them taking desired actions, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form.

Long-term sustainability

Although search engine algorithms continue to evolve, keyword rankings remain fundamental in SEO. Lay down a solid foundation for your organic visibility by optimizing your website for relevant keywords. 

Remember, keywords continue to serve as a primary tool for search engines to understand and rank your content accurately.

How To Determine What Keywords To Rank For

Since search engines prioritize high-quality content that provides value to users, it's important to choose the right keywords to rank for. Here are some strategies to help you determine what keywords to focus on:

Understand your target audience

The first step is always to know who you’re writing for. You need to dive deep into your target audience's needs, interests, and preferences.

More than their demographics, figure out their psychographics: their values, beliefs, and motivations. This will help you understand what they are searching for and what keywords they are likely to use.

Consider search intent

Again, search intent is the primary focus of search engines today. You must align your content with the intent behind users' search queries if you want to rank well.

To determine search intent, analyze the type of content that currently ranks for your target keywords. Are they informational blog posts, product pages, or comparison articles? This analysis will give you insights into the type of content you should be creating to rank for those keywords.

Then, tailor your keyword selection to match the intent of your target audience. 

For example, if your goal is to drive sales, but the search intent behind the keyword is to get information, you may need to adjust your keyword selection to include more transactional keywords or focus on creating informative content that can lead to conversions.

Conduct keyword research

Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, do comprehensive keyword research to discover relevant keywords related to your industry, products, and services. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz Keyword Explorer to identify popular search terms and their search volume.

These platforms provide valuable insights into search trends and competition for specific keywords. For example, they provide a keyword difficulty score, which indicates how competitive a keyword is.

The best strategy is to find high-volume, low-difficulty keywords to target in your content. These keywords should have a significant search volume but are not highly competitive. As such, you pose a chance of ranking for them.

Analyze your competitors’ sites

To find more keyword ideas, you can also analyze the keywords that your competitors are ranking for. This can give you valuable insights into what keywords are driving traffic to their site and the keywords you might be missing out on.

Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs allow you to analyze your competitors' keywords and see where there may be opportunities for you to rank. 

Explore long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are those that are more specific and longer compared to normal keywords. They typically have lower search volume but higher intent, meaning that users who search for long-tail keywords are more likely to convert.

Including long-tail keywords in your content strategy can help you target a niche audience and capture highly relevant traffic. These keywords often have less competition, which makes it easier for your pages to rank for them.

You can still use keyword research tools to find long-tail keywords. Additionally, you can brainstorm and think about specific questions or phrases that your target audience might use when searching for information related to your industry.

Another way to target long-tail keywords is to take a look at the “People Also Ask” section on Google SERPs. This section provides insights into the questions and queries people have related to your target keywords.

Test and refine your keyword selection

Once you have selected a list of keywords to target, you must continuously monitor and evaluate their performance. Track your keyword rankings one by one to see how they are performing in search engine results.

Take a look at the data and make adjustments as needed. 

If certain keywords are not generating the desired results, consider replacing them with alternative keywords that are more effective in addressing search intent.

How to Check Your Ranking For Certain Keywords

Keyword research tools, like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz Keyword Explorer, can help you identify popular search terms and their search volume. These tools often provide features to track your keyword rankings as well.

Let’s take a closer look at each one and how they can help you check your ranking for certain keywords.


The largest search engine provides several tools for site administrators to track their keyword rankings. One of the most commonly used tools is Google Search Console. 

This tool allows you to monitor your website's performance in Google's search results. It gives you data on clicks, impressions, and average position for specific keywords.

Another tool in the Google system is Google Analytics. While it doesn't directly track keyword rankings, it provides valuable data on organic search traffic and the keywords that are driving that traffic to your website.

You can also use Google Trends to gain data into the popularity and seasonality of specific keywords over time. This can help you identify trends and adjust your keyword strategy accordingly.

Lastly, Google Keyword Planner is a powerful tool for keyword research. It’s mostly used for ads and campaign planning. Nonetheless, you can still use it to check the ranking for certain keywords. Simply enter the keyword you want to check and select the targeting options that match your audience. 

The tool will provide data on the search volume, competition, and suggested bid for that keyword, which gives you an idea of its popularity and potential ranking difficulty.


SEMrush is another popular SEO tool that provides comprehensive keyword research and tracking capabilities. With its keyword magic tool, you can generate a list of related keywords based on a seed keyword. This is great for finding new keyword ideas to target in your content.

SEMrush also offers a rank tracking feature that allows you to monitor your keyword rankings over time. You can track the performance of your keywords in search engine results and analyze their changes in position. 

With this data, you can keep track of how well your selected keywords are performing and make any necessary adjustments.

Additionally, SEMrush provides a competitor analysis feature that allows you to compare your keyword rankings with those of your competitors. This can give you valuable insights into where you stand in relation to your competition and identify opportunities for improvement.


Keyword Explorer is a part of Moz’s suite of SEO tools that gives you access to more than 1.25 billion keywords to drive traffic to your site. You just have to enter a keyword, and the tool will pull up suggestions and targeting priorities.

The system boasts over 95% search volume accuracy, which comes in handy when understanding the potential traffic of your target keywords. You can also filter keyword suggestions and rankings by country, which is helpful if you want to target a specific geographic location.

Answer The Public

Answer The Public positions itself as the search listening tool for market, customer, and content research. What makes it unique is its ability to generate questions and phrases that real people are typing into search engines.

When you enter a keyword, the tool presents a visual representation of questions, prepositions, and comparisons related to your keyword. This format makes it easy to understand and identify patterns in what people are searching for. 

You'll get a list of who, what, where, when, why, and how questions associated with your keyword.

It also uses real-time search data to provide up-to-date insights. This means you're getting information on what people are currently asking about your topic or industry.

Things You Can Do To Improve Your Keyword Ranking

Improving your keyword ranking can be complex, but there are several strategies you can implement to increase your chances of success. Here are some things you can do:

Optimize your website content

Make sure your content is informative, engaging, and relevant to your audience. After all, high-quality content is more likely to rank higher in search results.

Incorporate your target keywords naturally within your content, including titles, headings, and body text. Maximize meta descriptions and alt tags by including relevant keywords.

However, be careful not to overdo it since over-optimization can be seen as keyword stuffing and lead to penalties from search engines. Penalties can range from a drop in rankings to being completely removed from search results.

Enhance your site’s user experience

A faster-loading website provides a better user experience and is favored by search engines. In one survey, 25% of web visitors reported that they would abandon a website if it took more than four seconds to load.

Optimize your website's loading speed by compressing images. Currently, WEBP files are one of the most efficient image formats for web optimization. Additionally, reduce unnecessary plugins and scripts that may slow down your site.

Moreover, with more people using mobile devices to browse the internet, search engines prioritize mobile-friendly sites in their rankings. Use a responsive design to make sure that your pages look good no matter what device the user is viewing it on.

Build quality backlinks

Backlinks are links from other websites that point to your site. Search engines view backlinks as a vote of confidence in your content, which indicate that other websites find it valuable.

To get quality backlinks, the first thing to do is to create valuable and shareable content. Make it so that other websites will naturally want to link to it. You can also reach out to influencers or industry experts and ask them to share your content or link to your site.

Additionally, guest blogging on reputable websites in your industry is a great way to earn backlinks. You can contact the website owners and offer to write a high-quality article in exchange for a backlink to your site.

Maximize social media

Although social media doesn’t directly affect keyword rankings, it can indirectly contribute to your SEO efforts. Share your content on social media platforms to increase visibility and drive traffic to your site.

Moreover, you can use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, and LinkedIn to build your authority in your niche. When people see you as someone who consistently provides valuable content and industry insights, they will want to learn more about you and visit your website. This can lead to more backlinks and improved keyword rankings.

Leverage local search

Using geographic keywords can also improve your keyword rankings, especially if you have a local business. These are valuable because they provide additional keyword ranking opportunities while also targeting a specific audience in a particular location.

Incorporate location-specific keywords in your content, titles, and meta tags to target local customers. Optimize your Google Business Profile by providing accurate and detailed information about your business.

Furthermore, consider getting listed in online directories and local business listings relevant to your industry. This can help improve your visibility in local search and attract more customers.

Use structured data markup

Structured data markup, also known as schema markup, provides additional information to search engines about the content of your website. 

When you create one for your site, you’re providing a roadmap for search engines to understand and interpret your content more effectively. This can lead to enhanced search results, such as rich snippets and knowledge panels, that can attract more clicks and improve your keyword rankings.

Implement structured data markup using various schemas, such as JSON-LD or microdata. This markup can help search engines understand your website's organization, products, services, reviews, and other relevant information.

Optimize your website for featured snippets

Featured snippets are the highlighted answers that appear at the top of some search results. To increase your chances of being featured, structure your content in a way that directly answers commonly asked questions related to your target keywords.

This way, when search engines crawl your site, they can easily identify and extract the relevant information to display as a featured snippet.

Use headings, subheadings, and bulleted or numbered lists to organize your content and make it easier for search engines to understand the structure of your page. Also include the question in your content and provide a concise and clear answer immediately after.

Additionally, include relevant images, charts, or tables that support your answer and provide visual context.

Conduct regular website audits

Perform regular audits of your website to identify and fix any technical issues that may affect your keyword rankings. This includes checking for broken links, resolving duplicate content issues, and monitoring for proper indexing and crawlability.

If it’s your first time conducting an audit, you can start by using online tools like Screaming Frog or WooRank to analyze your website's SEO health. These tools can help you identify any link, content, or other technical issues that may be impacting your keyword rankings.

Once you have identified the issues, take the necessary steps to fix them. This may involve updating your website's code, optimizing your meta tags, or improving your site's load speed.

Monitor and respond to user feedback

Pay attention to user feedback, both on your website and through social media channels. After all, they’re the ones you’re trying to reach and engage with. Monitor comments, reviews, and messages to gather insights about user preferences and areas of improvement.

Respond to user feedback promptly and professionally. Address any concerns or issues raised by users, and thank them for their feedback. Engaging with users shows that you value their opinions and can help build a positive reputation for your brand.

Wrapping Up

Keyword ranking gives you insight into the potential traffic a particular search term can generate for your website. It’s an important aspect of keyword research to make sure that your efforts can yield the best results.

Nonetheless, this is just one of many factors to consider in optimizing your website for search engines. Remember that SEO is an ongoing process, so it's important to continually monitor and adjust your strategies as needed.

Keyword Ranking Frequently Asked Questions

How does Google rank keywords?

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Google ranks keywords based on a complex algorithm that takes into account various factors. These factors include:

  • Content relevance and quality

  • Website authority

  • User experience

  • Search query relevance

Google also considers the user's location and search history when determining keyword rankings. There’s no exact formula for how Google ranks keywords, as the algorithm is constantly evolving. However, just make sure to follow best practices in SEO to boost your chances of ranking higher in search results.

How long does it take to improve keyword rankings?

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It can vary depending on many factors, including the competitiveness of the keywords and the authority of your website. In some cases, you may see improvements within a few weeks. Others, though, have experienced waiting for several months or even longer to see significant improvements in keyword rankings.

The key is to be patient and consistent with your SEO efforts. Just focus on laying the right foundation and continuously optimizing your website.

Is it important to rank for high-competition keywords?

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While high-competition keywords can drive significant traffic, targeting lower-competition, niche keywords can be more effective for specific audiences. That’s not to say, though, that you shouldn’t target high-competition keywords altogether.

Targeting high-competition keywords can be beneficial if you have a well-established website with strong authority and resources to compete. However, for smaller businesses or those in niche markets, focusing on lower-competition keywords can be a more realistic and effective strategy.

When you target niche keywords, you can reach a more specific audience that is more likely to be interested in your products or services. These keywords may have lower search volumes, but they can still drive valuable organic traffic to your website.

You can start by writing content for high-volume, low-difficulty keywords to get your SEO campaign off to a strong start. As you build your website's authority and improve your rankings for these keywords, you can gradually target higher-competition keywords. This way, you can gradually increase your visibility and attract a larger audience to your website.

How many keywords should I target on a single page?

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There is no fixed number of keywords that you should target on a single page. However, we recommend having one primary keyword, which serves as the main focus of the page, and a few secondary keywords that are related to the primary keyword.

The primary keyword should be used in the page's title, headings, and throughout the content in a natural and meaningful way. Then, you can use secondary keywords sparingly. They’re just there to support the primary keyword and provide additional context to the content.

Take note that keyword density is not as important as it used to be in SEO. Instead, focus on creating high-quality content that answers users’ queries.

Do keyword rankings differ on mobile and desktop?

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Yes, keyword rankings can differ on mobile and desktop devices. Many factors come into play, such as user behavior and device-specific indexing. As such, keyword rankings may vary between mobile and desktop search results.

For optimal visibility on both platforms, you should prioritize mobile optimization. This involves creating a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes. Make sure to optimize page load speed and provide a seamless user experience on mobile devices.

Consider the differences in search intent for both devices as well. Most mobile users are looking for quick and immediate answers, so your content should be concise and easy to read. Desktop users, on the other hand, may spend more time researching and exploring in-depth information, so your content should be longer and more comprehensive.

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