SEO’s life monitor: Why you absolutely must know about your SERP tracker’s rank update frequency

Today is about an important question every SERP tracker user needs to be aware of: How often does the rank tracker you use actually check your rankings on search engines and update your account with that data? Is it once every 24 hours? Once a week, perhaps? Let’s find out together!

For starters, this is a subject which is (oddly) rarely discussed and is often missed by even seasoned SEO experts, even though it’s as important as checking a SERP tracker’s price and features. The frequency of rank checks is actually an integral part of a SERP tracker’s main function and, in today’s SEO environment, was never a more crucial issue.

The fundamentals of Google search rankings

To understand the importance of getting fresh updates, we need to first go over how Google indexes their search results page (the SERP) and how often it’s being updated. Google’s spiders regularly ‘crawl’ the web and collect information from across hundreds of billions of web pages and organize it in Google’s search index. Rankings are basically the order of the search results we get. The main determining factor of how rankings are ordered is Google’s ranking algorithm, called PageRank, which is constantly evolving and is updated frequently. PageRank also happens to be one of the main factors that determine how often a webpage is being crawled and updated in the rankings. As a result, Google’s SERP is a constantly shifting entity, and their spiders are constantly evolving.

The ancient Moche people of Peru have predicted the rise of Google’s spiders more than a thousand years ago, as depicted in this wall hieroglyph in Huaca de la Luna, north Peru. Their evolution cannot be stopped and the only question that remains is who will win the race for world dominance and the subjugation of mankind – Google’s Spiders or Amazon Prime’s drones? What do you think? Let us know in the upcoming singularity!

The frequency of crawls

Now comes the big question: how often does Google crawl your website and update its search index? The answer is, it depends on several factors, and it changes on a site-by-site basis. It’s an automated process, so algorithms determine which sites to crawl and how often. Google crawlers rely on user-provided sitemaps and key signals such as content freshness, keywords and changes to a website (i.e. updated or dead links) to index the pages they crawl. According to Google, they also pay special attention to new sites. Google offers website owners some limited control over how their spiders crawl their site via webmaster tools, and users can even request a re-crawl or cancel crawling of their website altogether. And in case you were wondering if can cna pay to have your site crawled more frequently, here is the answer by their own admission: “Google never accepts payment to crawl a site more frequently — we provide the same tools to all websites to ensure the best possible results for our users.”

Rank ‘freshness’ and knowing your rank as it changes

Whenever your website gets crawled and re-indexed by Google, its rankings change. Popular-authority websites with good click-through ratios and time spent on site get crawled very frequently. Some instances showed that ranks changed in a matter of mere SECONDS if the website was heavily crawled by Google! A good example of Google’s hyperfast indexing is when there’s a breaking news story and Google search results are updated almost instantaneously around that subject. A smart SEO expert helming a frequently crawled authority website can receive organic traffic just by posting relevant content to highly relevant or viral stories. On the other side of the spectrum, there are websites that are rarely crawled, and those rankings might change just once every few weeks or months.

Which brings us to the importance of knowing your current rank that has been fetched from Google’s search index by your friendly neighborhood SERP tracker. Websites that update their content often, such as E-commerce websites, blogs, and news outlets, are heavily dependent on knowing their updated, relevant ranks as often as several times a day. Anyone actively optimizing even a small website will eventually have the website crawled and indexed by Google at least once a day and must be aware of how their ranks are effected by their SEO strategy. {{In order to accomplish the high level of rank monitoring that is required by even a modest SEO campaign, you MUST have an industry-standard SERP tracker that checks your ranks at least once per day.}}

Getting crawled as often as possible is an integral part of SEO and requires you to produce fresh content. If you want your website to be crawled more frequently, you can easily look up a few relevant SEO guides that break down the requirements and technical aspects of it.

Google is an enormous, constantly shifting entity employing spiders that crawl the web nonstop, ranking pages based on its ever-changing ranking algorithm. Google’s eye sees all that has been crawled and beyond. May it gaze upon your website favorably!

Maneuvering around Google’s update bombs with fresh ranks

Google’s ranking algorithm updates have become notorious for their tendency to strike out of the blue and knock out websites’ rankings as devastatingly as Ali knocked out Foreman back in 1974. Google’s algorithm updates have been known to shake the foundations of the SEO community and change the ranking map in one fell swoop of the spider’s crawl. One surefire way to handle this uncertainty is by simply being aware of your ranks and noticing as quickly as possible if any major changes take place.

ABT – Always be tracking. Don’t let that become your website!

Here are just a few of the recent Google updates that we covered:

Why Google’s latest change is another nail in the coffin for manual rank checking

Google’s Mobile First approach: Why knowing your mobile ranks is now more important than ever before! (+ 5 tips on improving mobile visibility)

You can now see Google keyword search volume with PRT! (the big search volume scandal)

How Google’s most recent Penguin update will affect your SERP tracker

Which leads us to the next feature:

The 3 daily rank updates-on-demand feature

PRT is able to check your ranks on demand up to 3 times a day! Getting rank updates on demand is as fresh as ranks can get.

Are your ranks fresh like the bread on the left, or week old and stale like the one on the right? PRT’s Ranks are fresh AND gluten free.

This feature is actually one of PRT’s best and most powerful and an absolute game changer for certain applications in SEO. If you reach the level where your website is crawled frequently, this can be an amazing gauge to see how Google’s indexing works and review the instant effects your SEO strategic moves are having on your rankings. Authority websites that get crawled a lot rely on the ability to retrieve their ranks on demand, and it’s an integral tool in their SEO strategy. SEO experts employing strategies that spot trending keywords and viral subjects are absolutely dependent on this feature.

It is also a future-proofed ability, even for smaller websites, as Google is always getting faster and more efficient. It is reasonable to assume that even static websites will eventually get crawled on a more frequent basis.

Why update frequency is sometimes not specified at all and sometimes presented in a downright misleading way

As manual rank checking became counterproductive and eventually obsolete, SEO experts outsourced rank tracking to external tools, leading to today’s saturated market full of tools of varying degrees of quality. It is only natural that not every tool on the market can be the best. Not all SERP trackers can check your ranks daily (and some can but won’t). The reason why some tools on the market are ambiguous about this subject is that rank checking takes a huge amount of system resources to accomplish!

Some SERP trackers on the market actually update your ranks just once per week, offering this service at a low cost and making it seem like you are getting a good deal. The hasty shopper might miss the small print about update frequency and end up thinking they’re getting a good deal, while in fact they will be paying for a stale, week-old rank each time. Others are simply inconsistent and update ranks in chunks instead of one single wave. By checking ranks weekly or in inconsistent batches, other SERP tracking tools can save a considerable amount of resources and money, and their less-experienced users will be none the wiser. But, even in these cases, we have the question of relevance – some static websites get crawled as rarely as once every few weeks. Websites that don’t actively optimize their content and just want to keep a passive eye on their rankings can actually benefit from the lower-end service and cheap price of SERP trackers that update just once a week.

In summary, seeing your up-to-date ranks straight from Google’s oven and not stale, week-old, out-of-date data is important, regardless of whether your website is frequently crawled or not. SERP trackers MUST be reliable overall, and not just when it comes to the frequency of updates. The three questions you need to ask about the main functions of your current or future SERP tracker are:

  1. How freshly updated and relevant are the ranks your SERP tracker actually shows you? Not checking for rank update frequency is like investing in a gaming computer and not fully checking its technical specs.
  2. What is the accuracy rating of the rankings I get?
    Does your rank tracker show you your actual Google rank as it’s currently listed in their search index, or is it off by a few places? You won’t believe how many rank tracking tools on the market can have accuracy as low as 60%. A rank tracker’s accuracy rating is a big subject in itself, and we will go further in depth about this in an upcoming post.
  3. How many different types of platforms and local ranks can the tool track for me? This is where the plot thickens and the necessity of a SERP tracker further solidifies. Not only do you need fresh ranks, but also rankings of the correct types and differentiation between those types. You can read all about it here:
    All the rank tracking types you will need for SEO in 2018

Pro Rank Tracker is a SERP tracker that provides users with ranks Automatically updated every day for all of our users, plus manual updates on demand (number depends on the plan). As an industry-standard tool that focuses on SEO-centered features (instead of redundant tools), one of our core principles is giving you fresh 100% accurate ranks. Try us for free today, and start seeing your current updated ranks that are never more than a day old! (No credit card required.)

Also, if you enjoyed this post, please like, share and subscribe from the right-side column and get fresh updates not just for your ranks, but also on the latest stories and news from the SERP-tracking world!

Additional Sources:

https://www.google.com/search/howsearchworks/crawling-indexing/

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1061943?hl=en

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/34439?hl=en

 

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