AuthorityLabs Mon, 15 Aug 2022 17:50:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 AuthorityLabs 32 32 Using Rank Tracker Data In Google Data Studio Tue, 16 Jun 2020 10:20:37 +0000

When you’re an SEO practitioner, data is your friend. Over the past decade, the team here at AuthorityLabs has strived to simplify the way we visualize, consume, and analyze keyword ranking data. Rank Tracker customers understand the power of SEO performance reporting across devices, locations, and domains. Now we can add Google Data Studio to the equation.

As our customers grow and become more sophisticated in the way they use data, we want to be a part of that journey. 

That’s why we’re excited to announce that we are dedicating significant resources to our Google Data Studio connector. With this initiative, we have launched our first iteration of the connection that will allow you to take your Rank Tracker data and build more complex reports, expand your report design functionality, and make it easier to blend the data we provide with your other important data sources.

Table of Contents

What is Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio (GDS) is a free dashboard and reporting tool that allows you to design, visualize, and share your data. With GDS, you can create graphs and charts, combine various data sources into one centralized report, and collaborate with colleagues or clients on business strategy.

Google Data Studio

GDS is appealing to use because the interface is well organized and accessible. Meanwhile, the feature set and customization settings are rich and comprehensive. Despite being a free tool, you don’t feel limited by the power of the platform. 

Additionally, interactivity is a key value add to the reports. Your stakeholders can drill down into the data and surface insights that matter specifically to them. If you’re trying to tell a story and get buy-in for your agenda, GDS can deliver a powerful punch.

Learning Google Data Studio

While it’s a simple tool, if you’re the type of person who wants to learn best practices out of the gate, there are a ton of videos, courses, and how-to articles out there to take you from beginner to expert in no time. Check out our resources at the bottom of the article for links. 

If you’re looking for a basic tutorial on how to get started learning GDS, Google offers a free course:

Use templates from the Google Data Studio community

One of the reasons that GDS is so accessible comes from the almost open-sourced nature of the platform. You can easily share your reports and allow other users to make a copy, then connect their own data. There’s a growing free gallery of Google Data Studio templates provided both by Google and from the community that you can use immediately.

google data studio templates gallery

The community has built report templates for a vast number of analytics purposes: SEO, marketing, sales, advertising, etc.

Google’s Full Community Report Template Gallery

Using these templates and customizing them for your own business or clients starts to look pretty easy, useful, and appealing.

How do you connect Rank Tracker to Google Data Studio?

So now that you’ve got a great sense of the capabilities of Google Data Studio, how do you get set up and pull your Rank Tracker data in there as a data source?

Note: The new Google Data Studio connector is available to AuthorityLabs Rank Tracker customers on the Pro Plan or higher.

We’ve put together a handy little step by step support guide for you to follow:

Connect Rank Tracker to Google Data Studio

To keep things simple: 

1. Reach out to the AuthorityLabs team and contact support. 

We’ll provide you a link to the connector that will bring you to this page:

rank tracker setup google data studio

2. Copy your subdomain, which can be found at the top of the page after clicking on Account > Settings.

subdomain from Rank Tracker

 3. Your API key can be found on the Account Overview page.

Rank Tracker API key

4. In your browser, after clicking on one of your domains, you’ll see a set of numbers at the end of the URL – this is the domain ID.

domain id for rank tracker

That’s it for set up! Now you can start working in Google Data Studio with your Rank Tracker data.

Get your Rank Tracker Google Data Studio template

Before creating your own report, you can connect your data to our pre-built template and generate a report that includes most of the key Rank Tracker data out of the box:

google data studio authoritylabs rank tracker report

Get the Rank Tracker Template Report

After you get access and connect your Rank Tracker account, you can copy the report template:

copy gds report

Choose AuthorityLabs as your new data source:

choose authoritylabs data source

And click Copy Report:

copy report

Now that you’ve got your report, you can start to tweak the design, data points, charts, or start from scratch.

How to tweak the design of your Google Data Studio template

There are a variety of ways to adjust the design of your report whether you want to use it for your own business with your own brand or as a report to share with clients. While you can get granular in how you design the color, font choice, elements for each portion of the report, GDS offers preset layouts and themes.

See how you can easily adjust the design of your report, add your business name, or even a logo in the video below:

How to add your own data points to the Rank Tracker template report

In the Rank Tracker template, you can easily add a variety of data points to your report. The template includes whether the SERP has a video snippet, but you can include these other options:

  • Answer Box
  • Images
  • Brand
  • Blog
  • Local Pack (and ranking)
  • Shopping
  • News

You can also add a filter that would allow your stakeholders to interact with the report and search by keyword.

Check out how you can modify your report template in the video below:

How to blend with other data sources

Aside from the rich features and straightforward UI, Google Data Studio appeals because it offers the ability to take data from two completely different sources and mix them together in the same report. 

Sure there are a ton of complex BI tools that provide the same functionality, but they’re typically either significantly more expensive or require development resources. With Google Data Studio, you can seamlessly blend your Rank Tracker data yourself.

Imagine that you wanted to apply search volume data to the keywords that you’re ranking for in Google Search Console. You can take both data sources and create a filtered table without any SQL knowledge. 

What if you wanted to see if there were Featured snippets were impacting your Google Ad keyword sets? Blend it into a GDS report.

Here’s a step by step process of how you can blend the data and create your own report.

Want to see the Rank Tracker Data in action? I created my own Google Data Studio SEO report that combined GSC and Rank Tracker data:

organic seo rank tracker example report

Additional Google Data Studio resources

Interesting in learned more about Google Data Studio

There are a ton of pre-made reports and articles that you can start to work with. Connect them to your own data sources or them customize them and share them back with the Google Data Studio community:

Google Data Studio experts to follow on Twitter:

Google Data Studio provides a ton of opportunities for SEO experts and we’re excited to make our Rank Tracker data available to AuthorityLabs customers.

Have you tried out the new connector yet? If so, what do you think? Share your report in the comments!

Try out the Rank Tracker and Connect Using Google Data Studio

Want to try out the new Google Data Studio connector for yourself? Get started today with the AuthorityLabs Rank Tracker, sign up for the Pro Plan or higher, and build your Google Data Studio report.
google data studio authoritylabs rank tracker report]]> 3
Expert Roundup: Search volatility and how to manage clients through it Fri, 01 May 2020 10:47:45 +0000 Search right now is essentially that scene in every natural disaster movie when the seismograph changes from drawing a calm and steady line to spiking back and forth.  Quakes are being felt all around the SEO industry, and as the COVID storm rages on, it doesn’t necessarily show any signs of stopping. 

Volatility doesn’t necessarily have to mean confusion and uncertainty about why rankings are the way they are. Our SEO experts helped dig into 3 main themes that are likely to be impacting rankings and gave insights on how to deal with it—and assist clients in dealing with it as well. 

Businesses can experience volatility for only what it is—rapid changes—and be armed with strategies to adapt to these changes and manage the clients they do it for. 

3 main causes for volatility

Changing search behavior

The global pandemic has caused nearly every customer on the planet to re-evaluate their needs and priorities. Businesses that offer any sort of in-person experience that is no longer viable, for example, will naturally see a stark decline in organic traffic. 

We asked experts which industries they’ve been seeing volatility in, and they echoed this sentiment on the effects felt by industries that provide irrelevant (or outright banned) services. 

Claire Carlile: Travel and tourism, hospitality, restaurants, attractions – not a good time for these industries.

Niki Mosier: I think it goes without saying, but the event industry has experienced a lot of volatility right now. I have a client in the event space that runs photobooths and they have been hit pretty hard right now. 

Lily Ray: The biggest declines can be seen across sites that provide content related to in-person experience, such as traveling, lodging, conferences, festivals, or flights.

The numbers don’t lie. In investigating these claims, Google Trends line graphs paint a grim picture of what these sites have been going through over the last few months. “Concert tickets” rapidly bottomed out around the same time that many large gatherings announced their cancellations, and “hotels” is at its lowest point in 5 years. 

An answer that is perhaps equal parts more simple and more complicated is that Google algorithms are simply not designed for how sharply search behavior has changed over such a short period of time. 

Keywords that formerly had a benign meaning or a low search volume reserved for more niche cases have now been assigned an entirely new context. 

Shifts in business offerings

What would already be enough in searcher behavior change to send shock waves across SERPs is compounded by businesses also drastically changing what they’re able to offer, or how they’re able to deliver it. 

Businesses that are fortunate enough to have a product in high demand in this situation are now faced with making real-time changes to their inventory and alerting customers when items are out of stock. 

Some businesses are offering something totally new to customers. This typically comes from a strategic attempt to offer something virtually that was previously only available in person, or offer a no-contact way of delivering the product or service they sell. Lily Ray notes that these businesses seem to be experiencing volatility in the opposite direction, recording sudden increases in traffic to their site. 

Lily Ray: From what I’ve seen, the volatility is largely being felt across the board. Even for industries that are not directly impacted by the coronavirus, the volatility in Google’s search results in recent weeks is enough to change traffic patterns across most websites. The categories I’ve noticed with the largest positive fluctuations tend to be the ones that offer an online product, whether it be telecommunication, fitness, home and garden, therapy, ecommerce, recipes, or other sites that offers users the ability to consume content or transact online. 

And if a business isn’t doing something similar to any of those examples, you can bet they’re producing new content with an added COVID-19 context to keep up with where user attention is, just like everyone else is doing. 

Any changes to your site can affect your ranking on any normal day. After all, that’s why you hired your friendly neighborhood SEO to make changes to your site in the first place. With these changes increasing in frequency and perhaps becoming more drastic than your simple maintenance, that’s cause for indexing and ranking fluctuations. 

YMYL stakes are higher

Sites in industries that normally fall under YMYL may be ousted because the normally high stakes associated with consuming this type of content has become even more risky in the current pandemic. 

For those of you catching up, YMYL refers to “Your Money or Your Life.” 

As Alex Valenica explains it, “Websites that sell products or provide services or information that can impact the happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users are categorized by Google as YMYL – which stands for ‘Your Money or Your Life.

Google holds these types of sites to the highest standard because the stakes are incredibly high when it comes to this type of content.

Some industries that fall under YMYL include ecommerce, financial services, healthcare, and legal.”

As search engines and social networking sites build their own subsites, widgets and features to pull in coronavirus information from their chosen sources like the WHO and the CDC, sites that previously ranked for YMYL content simply may not be making the cut anymore. 

If the search intent behind keywords that previously landed a user on your top-ranked site for cough suppressant has changed to now indicate that they’re potentially dealing with something more sinister related to coronavirus, you’ll likely see a significant drop to make room for higher authorities. 

What are some fundamentals of a successful strategy to mitigate volatility?

Armed with clues on which factors may be influencing the current search volatility, what’s a SEO, a marketer, a business owner, ANYONE to do? 

True SEO experts have said all along that there isn’t a way to “game” the algorithm, and if you find one, you can’t expect your success to be long lived. 

Search engines like Google routinely become more sophisticated to find what is truly the best offering for each searcher. So as searchers’ needs have drastically changed, it makes sense that when we asked our experts for some fundamentals of a strategy that could mitigate search volatility, their answers weren’t centered around the tactical skills most professional SEOs use in their day-to-day jobs—they were centered on adjusting your offerings at the core. If you aren’t offering what searchers now want, you won’t be able to convince Google to rank you. Here’s what they had to say:

Claire Carlile: Explore the pivot – can an offline experience go online?  Are there alternative options for service delivery?  Mitigation might be possible in some circumstances.

Niki Mosier: It might not be a traditional strategy but the most impactful thing I’ve seen help clients impacted right now is to be flexible and to be creative. Looking at local businesses, especially restaurants who have been hit really hard right now, I’ve seen so much creativity like delivering cocktails and “Decorate Your Own Cupcake” kits. 

Lily Ray emphasized that this business pivot is one of the only viable options to generate immediate revenue in one of these adversely affected industries, and if you can’t realistically perform this pivot, you may have to hunker down and prioritize long game tasks like content to poise your business for its comeback. 

Lily Ray: If your company does not have a means of shifting its services to an online model, or otherwise finding a way to profit during this period of stay-at-home orders and quarantines, the best thing you can do is weather the storm. Get your website and your digital strategy in a place where it can compete once life has returned to relative normalcy. Also, if content marketing is part of your digital strategy, stay on top of the latest trends, and target your messaging according to changing consumer behavior, questions, and demands. It’s important to look not only at monthly trends, but to hone in on what’s happening weekly or daily as it relates to the questions people are asking online. Paying close attention to these trends can allow your business to craft content at the moment searchers need it most, and potentially see big surges in traffic as a result.

How you can use search data to pivot your business

First, you need to find out which problems in your industry searchers are trying to solve. Google’s weekly trends can be a good place to start to spark your brainstorming on where priorities lie. 

We’ll bet you notice some patterns in the weekly trends. People having trouble managing their own health and wellness services they usually go out for. People wanting companionship and entertainment. People attempting to access virtual versions of classes and gatherings that are no longer viable. How can these adaptations inspire changes at your own business?

Get more granular and begin searching for keywords associated with your industry. This will give you actionable insights for which services aren’t relevant right now, which are emerging dark horses that you can align with, and which subtopics you should expand on. 

Let’s look at a high-level example of what you could do. Say you own a fitness business and “gym” is a keyword you find success with for organic traffic or rely on heavily for paid search. When you investigate that in Google Trends, you can see interest in physical gyms is tapering off. 

However, in the “Related Topics” section for “gym,” you find that people are searching for the equipment itself. You may infer that people are attempting to create their own home gyms. Can you sanitize and rent out the equipment in your gym that isn’t being used? Could you produce content around the top 5 items that will make the most well-rounded home gym? Could you offer workout plans that don’t require equipment?

Taking what you know from the overall weekly trends around customers wanting virtual versions of services, you can try out another related keyword. Here you see a sharp uptick, and you know you’re gaining traction in honing in on what searchers want from your business. 

“Home workouts” is another viable keyword to inform a business pivot, but it’s also a cautionary tale in tracking these keywords over time. What is trending in search today may not be trending in search tomorrow. It’s up to you to look at where the trend changes and infer what happened there. For example, people may be losing gusto for home workouts and need to be pulled in with a “stickiness” tactic or a reward. 

Again, don’t forget to take a look at the “Related Topics,” which will tell you exactly which subject areas to drill down into as your explore that pivot option. 

After you’ve used Google Trends to come up with a few basic ideas of where search intent is shifting within your industry, it’s time to build out the keywords associated with that into a more exhaustive list. 

Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or Keywords Everywhere to get a list of associated keywords and keyword variations with their relevant information like CPC and competition. This will help you drill down into more specific directions for a business offering pivot, as well as inform how you message it on your website and other content so it has the best chance of being surfaced on a search engine. 

Now that you have your keywords associated with new business offerings you’re looking to explore, import them into a tool like AuthorityLabs Rank Tracker to track how they perform over time. This will allow you to stay on top of searcher priorities that are gaining traction and prune pivot ideas from your potential strategy that are losing steam. 

How have your discussions with clients shifted?

You having a good handle on the forces behind search volatility is one thing, but helping your clients to understand it is another. 

One common thread in managing clients that our experts mentioned was flexibility. Whether that’s shifting spend from one channel to another, cutting hours, or simply empathizing, here’s what they had to say about how their conversations with clients have shifted: 

Claire Carlile: I work with many small and medium sized business clients, almost exclusively in travel and tourism, I’ve cut my hours with them dramatically, or completely.  I do the minimum for a couple of them, just to make sure they ‘tick along’ and that nothing ‘breaks’ whilst they are experiencing this downtime. 

Lily Ray: I’ve been telling clients to rest assured that we are seeing major shifts in search results across a large variety of industries, which are resulting in huge fluctuations in traffic and visibility. In many cases, these changes will be temporary. Google’s algorithms are adjusting for rapid changes in consumer behavior, but it’s impossible to say what that behavior will look like in the next several months. This is why staying on top of your SEO and content strategies are extremely important – what worked 3 months ago might not work as well during this next unpredictable phase.

Niki Mosier: Discussions with clients have definitely been a bit all over the place. We’ve had some clients pull paid ad budgets and shift to SEO. We’ve had some clients have to pause spend completely but with the hope to come back when things return to “normal”. The most important message I’ve tried to get across to clients is that we totally understand this is a very strange and scary time and we are here to help them in anyway we can. We have added additional educational programming and made it free to all attendees during this time. 

How can you pitch new clients or reduce churn in current ones?

As these conversations shift and some clients naturally tend to shy away from making investments in SEO, either by stopping it to cut costs or not wanting to start something they’ve never done in the first place, SEO’s are being challenged to convince clients of the ROI potential. 

One idea is to pivot your lead generation to industries and businesses that are most ready to hear it: the ones who are actually having an uptick in traffic because they provide something relevant to the current anomaly. 

Claire Carlile: I’m pitching new clients, I’ve picked industries that are seeing an uptick in traffic and sales during this period, and have made a move into e-commerce for SMBs.  Many of these are businesses that have NEVER invested in SEO, and they’re realising that the opportunities for them online are immense at this moment in time, and potentially well into the future if they make an investment at this point!

Another strategy to pitch new clients or prevent churn in existing ones is explaining the role of SEO as a pillar of a marketing long game. If you continue on with creating digital assets for a few months without integrating SEO best practices, you’ll find that “starting SEO” will be extremely challenging and will most likely not have the rapid effect you’re hoping for. When things return to normalcy, you may be far behind competitors who maintained their SEO or content in preparation for that day. 

Lily Ray: The use of online search engines is going to persist – and maybe even expand – regardless of the outcome of events that take place in the world over the next months and years. Pausing an SEO strategy puts your business at a disadvantage when things return to relative normalcy, especially given that it can take months to see the results of a successful SEO strategy. Consider SEO to be a foundational part of your marketing plan that will help your business to be front and center when consumer behavior eventually transitions back to a relative state of normalcy.

Niki Mosier: I’m explaining to the clients that if they have the budget now to invest in SEO, it will only help them when things return to “normal” to have continued to improve their SEO foundation or to work on new SEO initiatives like content if they aren’t currently. 

Final thoughts

Understanding the factors that are influencing search volatility is the first step to being able to take action amid search volatility. 

As our experts are seeing in the field, searcher priorities are shifting away from certain types of offerings and moving full force toward others. Using the search data available to you, either for yourself or for clients, will allow you to identify opportunities for a successful new business strategy that’s poised to flourish in these strange times. 

Strong SEO is at the heart of both understanding the importance of keyword data in informing you of customer needs, as well as getting in front of potential customers when they attempt to find solutions for these needs on a search engine. 

Armed with an understanding of how SEO props up any successful marketing strategy and our experts’ advice on how to message it to new and current stakeholders, weathering the coronavirus storm just may well be within reach for any business willing to adapt.

Get in touch with our experts

Lily Ray

Director, SEO

Follow on Twitter and Facebook

Claire Carlile

Digital Marketing

Claire Carlile Marketing


Niki Mosier

Sr. SEO Account Manager

SEO Practice Lead



search volatility]]>
How to Find Out if Syndicated Content is Impacting Your SEO Fri, 24 Apr 2020 10:08:00 +0000 You’ve decided to syndicate your content. Your syndication partners have agreed to add rel=canonical tags back to your original content, so you’ll never have to worry about syndicated content appearing in search or syndication partners outranking your original content, right?

Not necessarily.

Recently, Glenn Gabe reported an issue where both original content and syndicated content were indexed and appearing in search even though canonical tags were used correctly on the syndication site—and the content was identical on both sites.

So if you’re going to allow other sites to syndicate your content, it’s not enough to just make sure they include a canonical link that points back to your site. You also need to make sure that the sites syndicating your content aren’t outranking your site and stealing your clicks.

Monitoring Content Syndication’s Impact on SEO with AuthorityLabs

If you’re concerned that content you’ve syndicated on other sites might be outranking your original content, you can use AuthorityLabs’ Rank Tracker to monitor rankings on both sites and see who’s coming out on top.

Related: 15 Unique Things You Can Do with AuthorityLabs’ Rank Tracker

For example, I wrote a post for Zapier a few months ago that was syndicated on Fast Company. If I wanted to make sure that Fast Company’s syndicated version wasn’t outranking the post on Zapier for its target keywords, I could set up tracking in AuthorityLabs for the individual URLs of both posts, then sync those domains to see the rankings for both posts side-by-side.

Start by adding the URL for the original blog post by clicking “Domains” > “Add Domain.”

add domain to authoritylabs

For this domain, we’re going to use the URL of the original blog post:

track a single blog post in authoritylabs

Under “Group Name,” we’ll create a new group for monitoring syndicated content:

track syndicated content rankings in authoritylabs

Click “Track Domain(s)” to save your changes, then add any keywords you’re targeting with that post.

track keywords in authoritylabs

Finally, click “Add Keywords” to start monitoring rankings for those keywords for that specific URL.

Next, repeat the process above using the URL of the syndicated post:

track syndicated blog post in authoritylabs

When you’re finished, find both posts on your AuthorityLabs dashboard under your new syndicated content group, then click the sync icon to sync rankings for those domains. This will let you view rankings for all of the keywords you’re tracking on both sites side-by-side.

sync domains in authoritylabs

It takes a few minutes for AuthorityLabs to gather than ranking data and set up the report. When it’s finished, you can click the magnifying glass icon.

view synced domains in authoritylabs

Now, you have a report showing how each URL is ranking in Google, Bing, and Yahoo for its target keywords. As you can see, both posts are ranking in all three search engines for their target keywords, but luckily, Zapier’s post outranks the syndicated post on Fast Company in each search engine.

content syndication impact on SEO

However, if that wasn’t the case—if Fast Company was outranking Zapier—it would be time to consider if syndicating your original content is helping or hurting your site and business.

If you want to track the rankings for your site and your syndication partners, sign up for a 30-day free trial of AuthorityLabs.

Should You Keep Syndicating Content if it’s Negatively Impacting Your SEO?

If the content you’ve syndicated to other sites is outranking your original content, your knee-jerk reaction might be to stop syndicating your content. But there are a few things you should consider first:

  1. Is your syndication partner sending lots of referral traffic to your site? If the amount of traffic you’re generating from referrals from your syndication partner is equal to or greater than the traffic you could anticipate getting with higher rankings, it may be worth continuing to let the site syndicate your content.
  2. Does your site have a poorer user experience than your syndication partner? If your site loads slowly, is crammed from top to bottom with ads and auto-playing videos, or has other UX issues, it’s possible that your syndication partner is outranking you because of those issues. Conduct an audit of your site and resolve poor experiences.
  3. Is syndicating your content boosting your brand awareness or driving new business? If your blog isn’t very popular on its own yet, there is some value in syndicating your content on more popular sites. It’s worth asking your customers how they heard about your business and seeing how many of your conversions came from syndication referrals.

If you’ve validated that you don’t have technical or user experience issues that are impacting your rankings and are confident that you’re not getting the benefits of increased traffic, brand awareness, or revenue through your syndication efforts, it’s probably time to stop syndicating your content and start focusing on building your own audience and improving your SEO.

You Can Use This Approach to Monitor Stolen Content, Too

Sometimes, two versions of your content appear in search not because you’ve syndicated your content but because someone else has scraped and published your content.

When this happens, you can submit a DMCA takedown request to try and get the content removed. However, this gets time-consuming if your content is getting stolen often. 

So while it might not be ideal, sometimes it’s worth saving yourself the time and just monitoring the rankings of the site that’s scraped your content to make sure it’s not threatening to outrank your own content. Then, you can resort to a DMCA takedown request only when it looks like the stolen content is competing with your original content for clicks.

Content Syndication Impact on SEO Cover Image]]>
How (and Why) to Monitor Your SERP Competitor Rankings Tue, 10 Mar 2020 11:59:04 +0000 Ranking data is one of the few metrics businesses can measure to monitor how they stack up against the competition in organic search. After all, your competitors are unlikely to give you access to their Google Analytics accounts to see their organic search traffic volumes, and while there are a few tools that provide traffic estimates, the data is just that—an estimate.

Keyword rankings, on the other hand, are available for anyone to monitor and offer rich, accurate data for measuring SEO performance. By monitoring your SERP competitor rankings alongside your own, you can 1) see where your competitors have an advantage over you for your most important keywords and 2) use that data to make your site more competitive in search.

Table of Contents:

Why Should You Monitor Your SERP Competitor Rankings?

One of the biggest keyword tracking benefits is that it helps you identify what works and what doesn’t. But being able to track how your site increases and decreases in rank based on the SEO changes you’re making is just one piece of the puzzle. You can increase your learnings exponentially if you also watch how changes to competitive sites result in ranking fluctuations.

For example: say you notice that a competitor jumped in rankings for a key purchase-intent keyword. If you’re monitoring their rankings as well as your own, you’ll see that jump and can investigate what changed:

  • Did their number of backlinks increase?
  • Did they update an old page or post?
  • Did they redesign their site?
  • Did they improve their page load speeds?

Competitive rankings alert you to SERP changes that are worth paying attention to. By using that data as a catalyst for investigation, you can identify the tactics and strategies your SERP competitors are using to compete with and/or outrank your site in organic search.

And that’s just one of the many benefits that competitive rank tracking provides. Tracking your competitors’ rankings also helps you:

  • Gain vertical-specific SEO insights. Not all sites are ranked the same. For example, in some verticals (like news), content freshness is a more heavily weighted ranking factor. In others (like health), authority and credibility are key. By tracking rankings within your vertical, you can start to get a sense of where Google is placing the most value.  
  • Discover new SERP competitors. If you see rankings decline for several of your competitors at once, it’s a signal that you need to check the search results—you may have a new competitor to contend with. By identifying new competitors early, you can take action to better compete against new players in the SERPs.
  • Catch algorithm updates early. If you know your site lost some rankings, you might suspect an algorithm update. But if you can see that your site and several of your competitors’ sites lost rankings overnight, you can feel much more confident that an algorithm update may be to blame.
  • Identify volatile SERPs. Some SERPs change constantly. By monitoring the rankings for your own site and competitor sites, you’ll get a better sense of when ranking changes require action and when they’re just a symptom of an ever-changing SERP.

How to Monitor SERP Competitor Rankings with AuthorityLabs

AuthorityLabs is a rank tracking tool that lets you monitor both your own keyword rankings and those of your competitors on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. It checks rankings for the keywords you’re tracking every day using a browser with no personalization so you’ll know exactly where your site’s pages and your competitors’ pages are ranking in organic search results.

There are two primary ways to track competitor rankings with AuthorityLabs.

Related: 15 Unique Things You Can Do with AuthorityLabs’ Rank Tracker

1. Track Rankings for Competitive Sites Individually

The first way to track SERP competitor rankings is to simply set them up like your tracking keywords for your own site:

Click “Domains” > “Add Domain.”

add domain to AuthorityLabs

Enter a competitor’s URL in the “Domain URL” box.

tack competitor rankings in authoritylabs

Choose “Desktop” to track your competitor rankings on desktop search, or choose “Mobile” to enable mobile rank tracking.

track desktop and mobile rankings in authoritylabs

Create a new group for your domain by typing in a group name and clicking “New Group.” If you’re not sure what to name your group, just enter your competitor’s business name.

group keyword rankings in authoritylabs

Click “Track Domain(s).”

track domain in authoritylabs

Now, you’ll need to add one or more keywords that you want to monitor your competitor’s search rankings for. After you’ve added at least one keyword, click “Add Keywords.”

add keywords to track in authoritylabs

Once you’re finished, you’ll be taken to the report that will show you where your competitor ranks in Google, Bing, and Yahoo search for each of the keywords you entered. Just wait a few minutes for the system to gather the data. Then, you can check this report daily to see any ranking increases and decreases for that competitor.

authoritylabs' rank tracking report

2. Track Your Rankings and Your Competitor Rankings Side-By-Side

If you plan to track the same keywords for multiple competitors or see how your rankings for key queries compare, you’ll probably want to use AuthorityLabs’ group and sync feature instead.

To enable group and sync:

Click “Domains” > “Add Domain.” In the “Domain URL” field, add the URLs for your own site and any competitor sites you want to track.

track competitor rankings in authoritylabs

Choose “Desktop” to track rankings on desktop search or “Mobile” to track rankings on mobile search.

competitor rank tracking on desktop or mobile

Create a new group—something like “Competitor Comparison”—by typing in a group name and clicking “New Group.”

group competitor ranking data in authoritylabs

Click “Track Domain(s).”

track multiple domains in authoritylabs

Now, you’ll need to add one or more keywords that you want to monitor. When you’re finished, click “Add Keywords.”

add keywords to authoritylabs

Give the system a few minutes to collect and sync the data. When it’s finished, you’ll see a chart showing each keyword you’re tracking and the ranking positions for those keywords for your own site and each of your competitors’ sites.

serp competitor ranking comparison - google search

You can also use the checkboxes at the top of the page to toggle rankings for Google, Bing, and Yahoo on and off.

serp competitor ranking comparison report

Which Keywords Should You Track for Competitor Sites?

While AuthorityLabs’ group and sync feature makes it easy to track all of your target keywords for both your own site and competitors, having too much data can sometimes be just as bad as not having enough.

To get the most value out of your competitive rank tracking, you should focus on:

  • Branded keywords: If a competitor is increasing rankings for search terms that include your brand or product names, you’re going to want to know as soon as possible so you can check the SERPs and find out why. If they’re ranking highly with a comparison post (i.e. your product vs. theirs), you may need to create a similar post on your site.
  • Purchase-intent keywords: Purchase-intent keywords are some of the most important in SEO because they’re used by people who are at the bottom of the funnel and are either seriously considering a purchase or are ready to buy. You’ll want all of the insights you can gather about how competitors are increasing their ranks for these terms.
  • Keywords for high-converting pages or posts: If there are specific pages or blog posts on your site that convert at a much higher rate than others, those pages are just as important to track as your main landing pages. You’ll want to know if someone is overtaking your rankings for those pages and, if so, how they’re doing it.

And if you want to take things a step further and get even more competitive intelligence, the marketing consultants at Artios recommend checking the rankings for the set of keywords your tracking every day for 10-30 days, recording the results, and then plotting those results on a graph:

competitive rankings graph

This exercise shows you which sites and competitors are ranking higher and lower than you on average, as well as how consistent your own and your competitors’ rankings are for your target keywords.

Start Tracking Competitor Rankings with AuthorityLabs

By tracking your competitors’ keyword rankings alongside your own, you can gather the data you need to build high-performing SEO strategies. 

Monitoring your SERP competitors’ rankings lets you identify what competitors are doing that’s causing their rankings to increase, as well as determine what works well within your vertical—data that will help you build an SEO strategy that moves the needle.

To get started tracking your competitors’ ranking with AuthorityLabs, sign up for a 14-day free trial.

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Local SEO: How to Attract Local Businesses in 2020 Wed, 04 Mar 2020 11:11:43 +0000

Due to the amount of data at our fingertips, these days searchers are looking for local business information in a more unique way than ever before. That means SEO’s have to up their game and change the way they rank businesses locally. 

To help piece together the local puzzle, Local SEO experts Greg Gifford, Darren Shaw, and Kelcey Drapp shared how they attract local customers to sites in our latest webinar.

If you’re a local business or an SEO trying to put the pieces together, watch the webinar below and learn how you can properly rank local businesses in 2020

To make sure we fully covered the bases of local SEO, we also reached out to experts Blake Denman and Brian Barwig to weigh in on the subject. See what tips they have to share about local SEO below.

In terms of site structure, how should a site be best set up to rank internationally? What are some of the fundamentals the site needs to have?

Blake Denman

There are 2 different types of local search rankings, traditional localized organic search and Google Maps. For localized organic search, traditional SEO is going to work, like on-site SEO, links, content, structured data, site speed, etc. The other factor that can influence these rankings are reviews (not just from Google My Business). 

For Google Maps, unfortunately, keywords in the business name are going to trump almost every other ranking factor. If your LEGAL business name contains your city name or a keyword, then you have an advantage against your competitors.

If you add a modifier or change your business name to include a keyword or city name, you are not abiding by Google My Business guidelines and your listing can get suspended. Outside of keywords in your business name, reviews are going to really help or hurt your Google Maps rankings.

It’s not just the quantity of reviews you have but the content that is being said in those reviews. 1 positive, thorough review that naturally includes keywords is better than 5 positive reviews with little to no content. Making sure your Google My Business listing is completely filled out can also help with map rankings. Making sure you use the correct primary category and additional categories are foundational.

Having 3-5 additional categories, as long as they are relevant to your business, is fine and won’t dilute your rankings. Don’t know what primary category to use? Do a search for your most competitive keyword on Google and look at the category being used in those 3 Google Map results (next to reviews). Don’t sleep on great photos and videos, these can really help not only your rankings but can help drive new business.

After you’ve finished with your Google My Business listing and have a review building strategy in place, traditional ranking signals like on-page SEO, links, content, structured data, site speed, etc. are going to help, too. The other factor that might have some impact on rankings are citations (local listings). We take care of primary data aggregators and ~40 other top citation sources.

Outside of those, we look at what third-party sites are ranking for a client’s keywords and make sure we’re trying to build reviews to those/that site as well.For Google Maps, unfortunately, keywords in the business name are going to trump almost every other ranking factor.

Brian Barwig

The 3 main drivers of local rankings today are proximity to the location, relevance, and prominence.

This means, the more a business’s content and GMB information lines up with what the search intent is, the more likely they are going to show in the Local Pack. Beyond those 3 factors, there are several items which can contribute to improving those factors.

These are creating local content, building local links, attaining reviews, and being certain to fully optimize all aspects of the Google My Business listing. The Local SEO algorithm is different than the traditional Google algo, though it has similarities, notably creating good, relevant content, and attaining links. 

How do you assess what a site needs based on the country or location it’s targeting?

Blake Denman

With the type of businesses we work with, we don’t really focus on this area, yet. The only thing I can mention is when we write content for clients, we keep it conversational. If we were to read the content out loud, does it sound like a natural conversation? If not, it needs to be redone.

Brian Barwig

The impact of Voice Search is being overblown in my opinion. Create good, relevant content for your visitors, build good, local links and potential customers will be able to find your website.

What are some of your favorite content strategies to help rank a site internationally? 

Blake Denman

If the business ACTUALLY has a physical location in each location they want to rank on Google Maps with, then they should have the physical location listed on Google My Business. It makes sense to have 1 listing in certain edge cases such as; If the single listing ranks prominently in the other locations due to little to no competition and that listing has a good number of reviews, then that would be the only scenario I would recommend 1 listing.

If it’s a physical storefront (retail), you will always want a listing for each physical location.

Brian Barwig

I think it is always a good idea to have a listing for each location in which you operate, as long as you have an employee staffed at the location as well. If the location is not staffed, this goes against Googles Guidelines.

A business has a much better opportunity to rank in the Local Pack and Local Organic if they create pages on their website for each city. In addition, creating a GMB profile for each location will add more signals to Google that the location is real, thus giving the business a better opportunity to rank.

Create relevant city content for each page and for each location. If the business can attain links to the page and reviews to the GMB listing, even better. 

How do you develop domain authority and trust when you’re trying to reach several different locations? 

Blake Denman

In Google Maps, that’s going to be contingent on a lot of different things happening at once and is only likely to happen if there is little to no competition. For local organic search, write content about those other locations, create local pages for those cities. Become a hub or resources for those locations.

Don’t use the same content on these pages, they need to be unique and not doorway pages. It takes some work but it works pretty well if done correctly.

Brian Barwig

This is a more difficult question to ask as there hasn’t been much published data or studies on this topic from what I have seen. If possible, and the business has locations in the cities, create a GMB profile and location pages on the website.

Build local, relevant links to the location pages on the business website (sponsored links are good for this). If the business does not have physical locations in other cities they want to rank in, create unique city/location/landing pages fore each city they want to rank in. Build local, relevant links to those pages.

I did some research and wrote about this about a year ago ( ).  

The Contributors

Blake Denman

President & Founder RicketyRoo Inc 
Creator, Very Good Local SEO

Blake Denman is the President & Founder of RicketyRoo Inc and Creator of Very Good Local SEO. Blake has more than 13 years of local SEO experience, speaks at digital marketing conferences about local search, is a contributor to the Moz Local Search Ranking Factors Surve, and is overall an ok person. He’s also pretty bad at writing bios about himself :).

Brian Barwig

Local SEO

Brian has been in the Local SEO game for over a decade. He helps all sorts of small businesses gain traction in Local and has extensive experience with law firm SEO and insurance agents. 

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