On-Page SEO

Keyword Ranking

Shahid Maqbool

By Shahid Maqbool
On Jun 9, 2023

Keyword Ranking

What is Keyword Ranking?

Keyword ranking is a metric used to measure the visibility and performance of a website or web page in organic search results for a particular keyword. It measures how high or low the website ranks for those keywords.

For example, if a website ranks first for the keyword "best pizza in town," it means that the website appears at the top of the SERP when someone searches for that keyword. 

Why is it important?

Keyword ranking matters because it impacts how many people find and visit your website. Higher-ranked sites show up first in search results, so more people click on them.

If your website ranks #1 for keywords related to your business, it will get a lot more traffic from search engines. More visitors means more potential customers and more opportunities to get sales or signups.

Tracking keyword rankings lets you know if your SEO efforts are working. You can see which keywords send you the most visits over time.

Knowing your top-ranked keywords also shows you what search terms you should target more. Focusing on the right keywords will get your site and pages ranked higher in results.

How does it work?

When a user searches for a query, the search engine analyzes the query and returns a list of web pages that are deemed most relevant to it.

The order of the pages in the SERPs is the keyword ranking. The first result at the top has the highest rank for that keyword, then the second result, and so on down the pages.

This order is based on the search engine's algorithm, which takes into account various factors such as relevance, authority, page content, structure, quality and quantity of backlinks and user experience.

To understand this concept, you have to know the parts of SERPs first:

  1. Paid search results: These are sponsored listings that appear at the top of the page and are identified with the word "Ad" next to them. Advertisers bid on specific keywords to display their ads to users who search for those keywords.

  2. Organic search results: These are the non-paid listings that appear below the paid search results. They are ranked based on their relevance to the user's query and other factors like website authority and user engagement.

  3. Featured snippets: These are snippets of information that appear at the top of the organic search results and provide a quick answer to the user's query. They are often displayed in a box with a summary of the information and a link to the source.

  4. Knowledge panel: This is a box that appears on the right side of the search results page and provides additional information about the search query. It may include details about a person, place, or thing, as well as related images, videos, and links.

  5. More to ask: This is a section that appears below the featured snippet or knowledge panel and provides a list of related questions that users often search for. Clicking on these questions expands the answer and may lead to additional search results.

  6. Related searches: This is a section that appears at the bottom of the search results page and provides a list of related keywords and phrases that users may be interested in searching for. Clicking on these keywords leads to a new search results page for that specific query.

Usually, the first few search results at the top get the most clicks from people. Websites lower down on the results page get less traffic.

When people talk about "keyword position," they mean what number a website shows up in the main search results list. This main section in the middle has the first 10 results per page and is the most recognizable to the majority of people.

To elaborate, the following is how the rankings are divided in SERPs:

  • Results #1-10 are located on the first page.

  • Results #11-20 are located on the second page.

  • And so on...

For SEO, the top 10 main search results are very important. These 10 spots only show regular web search results, not ads or images.

The better the ranking, the more traffic the webpage is likely to receive.

How to find the ranking position of your keyword?

Use a Tool

To find your keyword ranking position, you can follow these steps:

  1. Choose a keyword that you want to rank for on your website.

  2. Use a keyword rank-checking tool like Semrush, Ahrefs, or Ranktracker to track the ranking position of your chosen keyword.

  3. Enter your website URL and the selected keywords into the tool.

  4. The tool will display the current ranking position of your website for those keywords.

  5. Monitor the changes in your keyword ranking over time to see if your SEO efforts are making progress.

Google Search Console is not the best rank tracker tool, but it has more insights and data. You can easily find keywords that you are not even ranking for but are getting a lot of impressions.

You need to find those keywords and then do keyword mapping to target them.

In Google Search Console, follow these steps to check the current ranking of your own website for a particular keyword:

  1. Go to Google Search Console and sign in to your account.

  2. Select your website from the list of properties.

  3. In the left-hand sidebar, click on "Performance" under the "Search Results" section.

  4. In the Performance report, you'll see a list of queries that people have used to find your website. Enter your keyword in the search bar at the top to filter the data specifically for that keyword.

  5. The Performance report will display various metrics for your keyword, including the number of clicks, impressions, click-through rate, and average position. The average position represents the ranking position of your keyword. It is important to note that Google Search Console provides an average position, which is an estimation and may not be the exact position for each search result.

  6. Explore the Performance report for more insights, such as the pages that receive the most impressions and clicks for your keyword. This information can help you identify opportunities for optimization and improvement.

Check manually

  1. Open a private browsing window in your web browser to avoid any personalized search results.

  2. Go to Google and search for the keyword you want to check.

  3. Scroll through the results until you find your website.

  4. Note the position of your website in the search results.

  5. Repeat this process for each keyword you want to check.

The manual method can be time-consuming, especially if you have many keywords to check. However, it can be helpful if you want to get a quick sense of your website's rankings without using any tools.

Furthermore, I prefer manual checks for all local clients as the results are more accurate when conducting local checks specifically for local clients.

Best practices to improve keyword ranking

Here are some of the best practices that can improve keyword ranking.

Assess search intent

Understanding search intent is critical for keyword ranking because search engines aim to provide the most relevant results to users based on their queries.

To assess search intent, you need to analyze the type of content that currently ranks for your target keyword. 

For example, if the search results show mainly product pages, it suggests that users are looking to purchase something related to the keyword.

If the results show blog posts or articles, it suggests that users are looking for information or education on the topic.

To optimize your content for search intent, you should analyze the top-ranking pages for your target keyword, create content that satisfies the user's intent, and optimize your page's metadata, including the title and meta description, to reflect that intent.

Conduct keyword research

Keyword research involves identifying the most relevant, high-volume keywords related to your business.

This can be done using tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Longtailpro. Once you have identified your target keywords, you can optimize your website and the content around them.

Optimize your on-page content

On-page optimization means improving the parts of a web page so it ranks better in search engines for certain keyword phrases.

This includes making the page title, meta description, headlines, and main text focused around those phrases. The goal is to make high-quality content that helps the people visiting your site.

Build high-quality backlinks

Getting links from other popular and relevant websites is important for making your site look more trustworthy in search engines' eyes.

Some good ways to do this are:

  • Make helpful content that other sites will want to share

  • Write guest posts for blogs in your field

  • Ask leaders in your area to link to your site

The goal is to get well-known and credible sites related to your business to link back to you. This will make search engines see your site as more of an authority too.

Use internal linking

Internal linking involves linking one page on your website to another. This helps connect the content on your site. It also shows search engines the structure of your content and which pages are most important.

When adding internal links, make sure they flow well in the text. The links should be relevant to the topic at hand.

Monitor and adjust

You should check your website's search engine positions for important phrases regularly. This way you can update your SEO plan when needed.

Keep looking out for:

  • Changes in how search engines rank pages

  • What your competing sites are doing

  • Shifts in what users are searching for and how they act on your site

You can also use analytics tools like Google Analytics to track user behaviour and identify areas for improvement.

Check competition

Competition is a crucial factor that affects how easily your website can rank for a specific keyword.

To check it for a particular keyword, you need to analyze the websites that currently rank on the first SERP for that keyword. 

You can use various tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to perform a competitive analysis. This will give you insights into the top-ranking websites, their backlinks, content, and overall SEO strategies.

By studying your top competitors closely, you can find weaknesses in your own website. Look at what they are doing better than you when it comes to important ranking factors.

Keep in mind that the level of competition for a keyword can vary depending on the industry, location, and search volume, so it's essential to regularly monitor your competition to stay ahead.


Keyword ranking is a critical metric for SEO that can help drive traffic and conversions to a website. Higher keyword ranking means more people see and potentially click on your content.

To move up the rankings, focus on:

  • Making helpful web pages

  • Getting reputable sites to link back to you

Doing these well over time can improve where you place in results. This then leads to more visitors finding you and potentially becoming customers.

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