Keywords are one of the foundations of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. They bring traffic, which you can hopefully convert into leads and sales. But how do you know you have chosen the right terms and phrases for your SEO campaign?

The answer is keyword monitoring.

This article shares the different ways you can learn how to track keywords and understand their pros and cons. We also share handy tips to make the process more accurate, convenient, and helpful.

Track Your Keywords in 3 Ways

You can explore various methods to determine your keyword ranking in search engines. We will talk about some of the most common options and their pros and cons.

1. Manual Browsing

One of the easiest and most straightforward ways to track keywords is by manually searching for the phrases in the search engine. You can do it in two steps:

  • Avoid search engines from detecting your previous activities. Otherwise, your browsing history, cookies, and previous searches can potentially affect the outcome. Clear the cache and open an incognito window before you begin tracking.
  • In the search bar, type the keywords you wish to track. Then go over the list until you find your URL. Remember that the page indexed for this word might not be what you intend for the selected term. If this happens, it indicates that you have not optimized the content correctly.
Pros Cons
  • It is easy to do.
  • The method is cheap since you do not need tools.
  • It does not provide a clear picture of the keyword performance.
  • This technique is sensitive to other browsing activities.
  • It is time-consuming.

2. Digital Marketing Agency

If you want to save yourself the hassle of tracking keywords (mind you, this takes a lot of time), you can hire a digital marketing team to do it on your behalf.

This one is even better when you want to go beyond monitoring keywords. For example, you would like to take your SEO efforts to a higher level by understanding the impact of your content on search engine ranking.

According to Digital Authority Partners (DAP), an experienced team can break down your strategies into various elements that affect optimization. These include technical, on-page, and off-page elements.

Further, it can:

  • Identify issues and barriers that prevent some of your keywords from ranking well
  • Help you explain the results so you can make smarter marketing and financial decisions
  • Audit your pages to determine why they do not rank higher
  • Analyze your competitors’ strategies and adjust your plan accordingly
  • Invest in reliable keyword research tools so you do not have to
Pros Cons
  • You can count on other people’s expertise to help you get, track, and analyze keywords.
  • Your business can avoid spending money on so many keyword research tools.
  • The team can handle all other SEO aspects affecting your ranking.
  • It can get expensive, so choose a team willing to work on your budget.

3. Keyword Research Tools

One Google search for “keyword research,” and you will see dozens of platform options. And they come with different features and price points.

In reality, you can use them similarly:

  • Input the keyword, domain, or subdomain.
  • Allow the tool to generate the information for you.
  • If you are using Google Search Console, you can see the performance of various keywords at once.
  • The dashboard may provide you with different information. These include search volume, keyword difficulty, position, changes in keyword position over time, and how you fare against your competitors.
Pros Cons
  • Many of these platforms can present the information visually, making the data easier to understand.
  • They can store information, so you can see your progress over a certain period.
  • You have greater control over this part of SEO management. 
  • The free platforms usually have severely limited features. Google can only track your performance on its search engine. 
  • Unless you know the basics of keyword management, you may struggle to interpret the results and take the next steps. 
  • While most work the same way, they still have unique features. You may end up subscribing to two or more keyword research tools. Therefore, they are not cheap in the long run.

How to Track Keywords More Effectively and Improve SEO

Keyword monitoring is just half of the story. The other is knowing what to do with the data to boost your SEO strategies

However, digital marketing is a lot of work, so you should learn to streamline many processes, including tracking keywords. 

Make it more efficient with these tips:

1. Identify the Goal

Even keyword monitoring should have an agenda. Else, the exercise is futile—a complete waste of time—because you do not know what to do next.

Here are a few questions that can help you determine your objective:

  • Do you want to know how your keywords perform over time?
  • How do you compare with your competitors?
  • Which words are doing well, which ones are not, and what words need more push to get the first position in the search results?
  • Do your selected keywords match with user intent?
  • Where do your keywords appear? Is it national, regional, international, or local?
  • Would you like to know your click-throughs, impressions, and conversion rate?

2. Set Up Alerts

Alerts do not provide accurate information about how your keywords perform. But they can tell you how often people search. They can also:

  • Help you track subtle changes in the search volume, albeit the outcomes are subjective. It all depends on how many searches the keywords you are tracking are getting over a certain period. 
  • Know what your competitors are publishing. You can use the data to update your content according to trends, industry updates, and changes in user intent.

To set up Google Alerts:

  • Go to Google’s Alert page. Make sure you have a Google account.
  • Add your keywords or brand name in the “Create an Alert About” box. 
  • Click the Pencil icon to customize the alert. You can indicate the frequency, source, language, region, and result type. 
  • Start receiving alerts in your email. 

3. Know the Search Engine Updates 

Lastly, pay attention to algorithm changes because they can significantly impact your keyword monitoring. For example, the helpful content update, which is taking a while to roll out, can lead to massive fluctuations in search engine rankings

When you are aware, you can:

  • Add more context to the keyword-tracking results and immediately avoid feeling disheartened and frustrated
  • Take the necessary steps to bounce back fast (usually, search engines will give you guidelines on how to improve your SEO and content marketing strategies)
  • Wait for the complete rollout, know how your keywords rank, and then adjust your efforts accordingly. 

Summing Up 

Keyword tracking serves as your SEO plan’s north star. You are more likely to be on the right track if the outcomes align with your expectations, metrics, and goals. 

You have different ways to monitor keywords, each with pros and cons. It is up to you to settle for only one, a combination of two, or all. But if you want to be more efficient, hiring a digital marketing firm to do it for you is the best choice.