The Ultimate SERP tracking guide 2018: How to add the right keywords for SERP tracking

Adding keywords to your SERP tracker for rank tracking is the most basic function, and it should also be the easiest and most intuitive. SERP tracking requires that you know which keywords to track, and what types of ranks are relevant for each keyword, based on the type of website you are promoting. As you know, SEO is much more than a single-keyword, single-rank on Google, and all the different types of ranks that need to be tracked for just one campaign can make a UI cumbersome and overly convoluted. When you get into tracking several SEO campaigns, the problems can grow exponentially. PRT’s system was specifically designed to simplify this process, to make it efficient and clean, to fulfill the industry’s requirements as SEO becomes more and more localized and personalized.

If you’re new to SERP tracking or to PRT’s system and don’t have a clue about SERP tracking, we have a handy tool called the Add Wizard that will help you add keywords for tracking at the most basic level. (Read all about it HERE). If you already know your SEO ABCs or you are an advanced user, this post is about adding the right quality keywords for tracking by using PRT’s new quick, easy platform in a few simple steps.


The Advanced Add Page – this is the page where the magic happens and you add keywords for rank tracking (the main function of a SERP tracker). We designed our system so that everything you need is in ONE single, easy-to-use page, and not scattered across multiple pages like some tools on the market:

Tracking Type – This is where you choose the types of ranks you want to track. Let’s quickly go over what you can do here regarding adding high-quality keywords and the various rank types that can be tracked:

Organic – These are results that are not geo targeted. This option gives you the rank most people from that area will see when they search for a particular keyword. This is obsolete in most cases and is very limited. It is only good for specific situations and to get a general impression of a rank to vaguely feel the market. To get the real expert picture of how a keyword ranks, you need to track it more accurately and at least track one local desktop rank plus one mobile rank. Also, note that this is the bare-minimum requirement – the average SEO campaign will require you to track around 5 different rank types per keyword! More on that next.

Organic Local – This is the contemporary, correct application of rank tracking – it tracks the rank based on a relevant location for the business being promoted. Everyone’s search results are geo targeted these days, with extreme accuracy sometimes. This makes the user’s experience of search engines much more relevant, and it also makes SEO that much more refined because now SEO is all about local and mobile. For example: Two people, each searching “gluten free pizza delivery” from New York, might get different results if they’re in two different neighborhoods just a mile apart. Assuming you’re promoting a pizzeria, it’s likely only ranks near the business will be significant to you. To promote any website properly and get the most accurate results, you must monitor the relevant local ranks for that business.

Mobile – This option tracks the mobile rank of a keyword. It’s the most common application of rank tracking, and it’s become the most important since Google started their ‘mobile first’ approach to ranking. Google ranks search results for mobile differently than for desktop. Mobile ranks are geo targeted to a person’s location when the search query is being sent to give them relevant results based on where they are. Mobile ranking results also depend on how well optimized a website is for mobile. Mobile searches outnumber desktop searches, and the ratio will only grow in favor of mobile, so tracking mobile ranks alongside desktop ranks is a must if you care for your overall organic search-engine visibility.

Become an advanced SERP tarcker user in this possibly simulated reality

Device Type – If you choose to track mobile ranks, you also need to specify a device type. Ranks may vary slightly based on the device type the search is being performed from (which will only get more refined as Google’s algorithms progress). So, choosing a device type will get you even more relevant and accurate results. Optimizing for specific devices is still in its infancy, so unless your strategy is that exceptionally advanced, a good cover-all option for the average SEO campaign is to choose all the devices by clicking “select all devices”.

Snack Pack – Snack pack ranks are unique in Google’s SERP. They show up as markers on a on a map with just their business name displayed, which is why you need to specify the business name when rank tracking Snack Pack. You only get to see the top three ranks in the main search results page. Anyone who has ever searched Google has encountered them:

They are different than regular local ranks and are influenced by slightly different ranking factors than local and mobile ranks. The businesses being shown in Snack Pack also have their ratings displayed, which makes SEO for Snack Pack that much more tricky with this added feature. SERP tracking is about getting to know all the SERP elements, including Snack Pack, so if your business caters to a local clientele and gets good reviews, you need to care about this important element and track those ranks. The Snack Pack click-through ratios vary on the type of keywords being searched. For some searches, the users will almost exclusively choose the Snack Pack links and ignore all other search results, especially if the business has high ratings. And PRT doesn’t charge you additional credits to track Snack Pack, unlike other SERP trackers! With PRT, it’s a bonus rank you can track along with your regular local rank!

Local Finder – If a person searching Google clicks “More places” on the Snack Pack box, they will be taken to an extended Snack Pack box showing ALL the business results for that search query in the same format: business name + rating (note that here, too, you must specify a business name below), and of course the ranks stay relevant here as well,  as the businesses listed top100 get the most attention:

Once it gets to the extended Snack Pack box, geo targeting plays the major role in rankings. Some users might choose a business based on a near location, while others might value higher ratings – either way, you also need to know where your business stands in the extended Snack Pack rating.

YouTube Video – While many don’t place YouTube and Google in the same category, they are both search engines, each with its own unique ranking algorithm. As a result, each has its own unique SEO requirements. YouTube just happens to be the biggest video search engine in the world with about 1.3 billion unique users and about 5 BILLION daily views, so it’s no wonder SEO for YouTube is a highly sought-after skill. With PRT you can easily track your YouTube ranks and see how well your videos perform with your strategy (a completely unique chess game to that of traditional search engines).

Amazon Rank – Pound for pound, Amazon is the biggest, strongest e-commerce website on the planet, with CEO Jeff Bezos at one time surpassing Bill Gates as the world’s richest person (a recent surge in Amazon stock pushed Bezos’ fortune to over $90 billion!). Just as with YouTube, people don’t often put Amazon and Google in the same category, but Amazon is also a search engine with its own unique ranking algorithms. In fact, it’s the biggest e-commerce search engine in the world, surpassing even Google (for e-commerce searches). With a business that has a larger revenue than Luxembourg’s GDP, it’s easy to tell why the ability to track Amazon ranks is highly valuable for anyone marketing there.


Here we input the actual data that needs to be tracked – the URLs, keywords, YouTube and Amazon links and Snack Pack businesses:

Manual – Use this option if you want to add a new URL for tracking

File Upload – This is an easy method to upload data directly using a prefilled XLSX file. You can download a template and fill it in according to your needs. It’s very convenient and straightforward, and once you upload it, all the data will be added to the system. This is especially great if you have large chunks of data you want to bulk add in one swoop, or if you’re migrating data to PRT from another SERP tracker:

Migrating to a new SERP tracker: The best solutions to importing and exporting your ranking data

Existing URL – Use this to add data such as additional keywords, search engines and rank types to URLs that you are already tracking in PRT.

Exact Match – This feature allows the ability to track deep URLs (specific pages inside a website). Not many SERP trackers on the market can do this. This is good for certain SEO approaches where you need to see, for example, how certain cornerstone content pages are doing in relation to other pages or domains.


Search Engines – This is where you choose which search engines to rank track on:

Besides the regular search engines, you can track local Google/Bing/Yahoo! Sites as well – the local versions of the main search engines differ in ranks from their main versions. For example, Google.com simply means Google US, so if you want to get the most accurate and relevant ranks from France in addition to the US, you would also need to add the French versions of these search engines like in the pic above.

Notice you can also track Google Video specifically (which are unique ranks that are different than Google’s regular ranks you see on the main SERP) and also Yandex, which can be a very valuable search engine for almost every business and should not be underestimated (more about Yandex as a valid search engine). PRT offers one of the widest scopes of search engine coverage on the market, with each being tracked to 100% accuracy (see our full SE list).

** Important Note: Google/Yahoo!/Bing/YouTube are different than Amazon ranks, they are essentially entirely different animals and require different algorithms to track. Therefore, you can only add one of those at a time – either a traditional search engine/YouTube (Google, Yahoo! Bing, YouTube and Yandex can be tracked together, so no need to separate those, you can add them all at once ) or Amazon. Also note that a YouTube URL can be tracked in all search engines (for example – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJQP7kiw5Fk), but a non-YouTube URL (example: alexa.com) can’t be tracked on YouTube and can only be tracked on the traditional search engines.

Local Tracking and Near vs. Exact Location tracking – Now this is where it gets truly interesting, and I will get to these more in depth in the upcoming article about the subject. But here is the gist of it: Exact Location gives you the most pinpointed, accurate result, true to a geo-targeted SERP a person gets from that location, while Near gives you the rank most people from a certain area will see. Both are very accurate measurement tools, each for different SEO strategies and approaches.

Near

Exact location

Language – This feature tracks a Google rank based on the selected language of Google’s UI for this term. Why specify a language? Many users see their Google UI in their own native language (often by Google’s default), and the UI’s language may influence the search results a person gets. Choosing a specific language will make your result even more precise and relevant for your target audience. This is especially great if you target audiences in non-English speaking countries or just non-English speakers as a whole.


Organize with Groups and Tags – After adding the data, you can immediately assign groups and tags to keep it neat and organized (more about the importance of keeping your data organized HERE).

Note – To help you organize your data even more, you can add notes to the data that you add and review it later. Besides helping in organizing, this can be great for workflow management.

Summary – After adding all the data, you can “Click to view which term combinations will be added‏”. This will give you a complete summary preview of the content you’re about to add to PRT, including a credit counter to see how many credits the data will use:

 

This is what high-quality rank-tracking coverage looks like: precise, condensed, and takes into account several ranking elements

 

Using this option will help you make a “clean add” without mistakes or the need to come back to edit the data – but even if you have to, it’s very simple and fast (you can read more on that HERE).

Finally, after confirming the data, our Ranking Discovery Tool will automatically show you keywords that your website already ranks for top100 in any of the SE’s we cover:

You can choose to add those discovered keywords for tracking and enrich your SEO.


A SERP tracker needs to cover all relevant bases in today’s SEO environment. If your current SERP tracker lacks any of that, or if adding keywords for tracking takes a valuable chunk of your time, the UI is unintuitive, and it means it’s time to try out PRT and see how simple and sensible SERP tracking can be. Believe it or not, it can be a fun experience seeing how productive you can become, not to mention the satisfaction of seeing your ranks fluctuate and rise to higher positions!