Monitoring Search Engine Positions
(C) Michael Rasmussen
All Rights Reserved
Since search engines are the first stop for people on the Internet
looking for goods or services, the position your website appears in
search results is an important factor. If your URL shows up far down
the results list, the chances of the consumer never finding you
increase incrementally. Once you achieve a high search engine
position, it is essential that you make sure you maintain the high
ranking you have worked so hard to achieve.
This means you must come up with a strategy to monitor your search
engines positions. This strategy is crucial to the success of any
marketing campaign. Think of your search engine positions as your
online portfolio. Would you let your stock portfolio be ruled by
chance and market fluctuations, or would you keep close tabs on your
stocks so you could buy and sell when the time is right? This is the
way you must consider your search engines positions.
Be aware that at first, after you have launched your search engine
campaign and done all the right things to increase your rankings,
you will most likely see a continual upward climb. What you need to
be on the lookout for is the moment that upward climb reaches a
plateau. When this happens, your search engine position campaign
moves into stage two, the monitoring and protecting stage.
In stage two, do not be concerned about the short-term fluctuations
in your positions. These are similar to the subtle rising and
falling of stocks in a portfolio. Short-term movement is an integral
part of the whole process. It’s the long-term changes that you must
watch for and prepare to act on immediately.
Analyzing the long-term trends of search engines positions is
imperative. The way in which search engines rank websites may change
at the drop of hat. If you are unaware of these changes – many of
which are subtle yet can be deadly to your ranking – your position
may drop to the bottom of the list before you can get your bearings.
To prevent this kind of precipitous drop, you must create a system
to monitor your positions on a monthly basis. Devise a chart to keep
tabs on your top ranking positions or your top pages, and make sure
to watch "the market" closely.
Each search engine uses a formula to compute website rankings. When
a search engine changes this formula in any way, it may raise or
lower your ranking. Some search engines use a number of different
formulas, rotating them so that a formula doesn’t become overused or
outdated. Depending on which formula is being applied, your search
engine position may suddenly drop or rise in rank significantly.
Therefore, you must check your positions frequently in order to
catch when a search engine changes formulas and what effect it has
on your positions.
You must also deal with your competition – a crucial factor you must
always be vigilant about. Your competitor’s position may suddenly
rise, automatically lowering your position. Or their position may
drop, pushing your position higher. Each month, expect position
changes due to the continual changes that are occurring in your
competitor’s position, and be prepared to adjust your marketing
strategy to compensate for decreased rankings. Monitoring these
fluctuations will also give you vital information about how to
improve your website to increase your position in search results.
Of course, you must discern what the most popular search engines are
in order for your monitoring efforts to be effective. Right now,
there are ten popular search engines that direct most of Internet
traffic to your sites. The challenge you face is that these top ten
may change from month to month.
This means that your must not only monitor your search engine
positions, but you must also keep track of the ranking popularity of
the search engines you are monitoring. Find out which search engines
people use most frequently every month and be sure to live in the
present! People are fickle about their favorite search engines, and
it takes constant vigilance to follow their dalliances. The search
engines they loved when you first launched your campaign may be old
news in the next few months. You must adjust your list of engines
according to the whims of the Internet users. Check out http://www.searchenginewatch.com/reports/netratings.html
for a current list of website favorites.
Another factor to monitor carefully is a sudden drop of your
positions in all search engines. This is not the same as monthly
fluctuations – this is a neon red warning sign! It could mean a
number of different things.
It all your search engine positions have plummeted, it may indicate
that search engines spiders – those sneaky programs that seek out
your site and rank their positions – have found some type of problem
with your website. If you have recently changed the code, for
instance, the spider may become utterly confused and consequently
drop your positions disastrously. If a spider creeps up on your
website when it is down for adjustments or changes, you may actually
disappear from a search engine index entirely. Or a search engine
may drastically change its formula, and suddenly all of your website
come up as irrelevant. If that search engine is a current favorite,
it may create a domino effect, causing all of your position to drop
in all search engines.
Some search engines rely on the results from other search engines,
and it is vital that you know which engines these are and keep track
of all the engines they influence. The biggest problem here is that
search engines will sometimes change affiliations, and this can
create a major shift in the geography of the Internet. For example,
recently Yahoo decided to display only results gleaned from Google.
So you must not only monitor your own positions, but you must keep
abreast of seismic shifts in the landscape of the Internet as a
Finally, pay attention to your keywords. Keywords are the foundation
bricks of the entire search engine system, and they demand
individual scrutiny in your monitoring efforts. If you have found
that a number of your positions have plummeted, it may mean that a
page of your website has become invisible or inaccessible to search
engine spiders. Or the competition for that particular keyword or
phrase has recently rocketed into outer space. In either case, you
must act quickly and efficiently to regain lost ground.
Your search engine marketing campaign is an investment. If costs you
time and money on a continual basis. Protect this investment as
diligently as you would your financial portfolio. In the same way,
track your positions from an objective perspective, and monitor your
positions on a regular basis. Make sure your time and effort reap
rewards by keeping your eye on the big picture – your long-term
Michael Rasmussen is a successful Internet Marketing Consultant and
author of many top-selling eBooks. Michael has been marketing online
since the early days and he knows what it takes to make money and
succeed online. Stop by his Web site and subscribe to his Free
monthly newsletter full strategies and techniques for successful web
site promotions that can help YOU!