How to See Where You Rank on Google

Your website's Google search ranking is important, here's how to monitor it

If you’ve invested time and money creating a website, you've likely followed a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that includes researching keywords and optimizing individual pages for search terms used by your target audience. To find out if all this work is paying off, find out where each of your web pages ranks on Google.

Google Prohibits Programs From Checking Ranks

If you do a search on Google about how to check your search position in Google, you’ll find a lot of sites that offer this service. These services are misleading at best, and many of them are incorrect. Some can even put you in violation of Google's terms of service (which is never a good idea if you want to remain on their site).

Don’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.

Many tools that claim to check search rank don’t work. Some have been blocked by Google because they sent too many automated queries, while others produce incorrect and inconsistent results.

Check to See if SEO Is Working

If Google doesn’t allow programs to go through the search results for you, how can you find out whether your SEO efforts are working? Here are some suggestions:

Go through the search engine results manually

This method is the most tedious way to discover where your page is showing up in a search. It's not 100 percent reliable, as different Google servers can deliver different results (which is why you should perform it using an "incognito" search). But it does work, and Google allows this type of access.

Google search for a page rank term in Incognito Mode

Use analytics software

Web analytics software reports the URL each visitor was on before they made it to your page. That URL is known as the referrer. Any that come from Google have the page number they were on when they found your page.

Go through your server log files

If your web server logs are in the combined log format or some other format that includes referrer information, find which pages people came from to get to your page. Results from Google show where your page showed up in their search.

Use Google Webmaster tools

If you go into the “search queries” section of Google Webmaster tools for your site, you'll see all the keywords people used to find your site. When you select a keyword, Webmaster tools includes the search result position.

Figure Out Rankings for a New Site

All the above suggestions (except going through the results manually) rely on someone finding your page using search and clicking through from Google, but if your page is showing up at rank 95, chances are most people never get that far.

For new pages, and indeed for most SEO work, focus on what is working rather than your arbitrary rank in a search engine.

Think about what your intention is with SEO. Making it to the first page of Google is an admirable goal, but the actual reason you want to get onto the first page of Google is that more page views mean more visitors. So, focus less on the ranking, and more on getting additional page views in other ways, such as posting more desirable content, getting more backlinks, or optimizing for local search.

Here are some things you can do to track a new page to see if your SEO efforts are working:

Make sure your site and new page have been indexed by Google. The easiest way to do this is to type "site:your URL" (e.g site:www.lifewire.com) into Google search. If your site has lots of pages, it may be hard to find the new one. In that case, use Advanced Search and change the date range to when you last updated the page. If the page still doesn’t show up, wait a few days and try again.

Google website page search

Check your analytics

When you know your page has been indexed, watch the analytics for that page. You'll be able to track what keywords people used that led them there. This process helps you optimize the page further.

Refine your marketing and SEO efforts

It can take several weeks for a page to show up in the search engines and get page views, so keep checking periodically. If you don’t see results after 90 days, consider doing more promotion for the page or optimize the SEO for the page.