If your website can’t be seen by a prospect when they search for your products or services then you’ve lost that piece of business. Checking where your website appears in searches is checking its rank.

An important note about ‘Personalised Search’ and Rank checking

Unfortunately monitoring your sites’ ‘ranking’ for target search terms is problematic at best. Google ‘remembers’ your personal search history and uses this in its website ranking but just for you (Google Personalised Search), so checking your own site’s rank can distort what you see compared to others (and in particular your clients).

Making Rank data more relevant

The raw rank data is also best plotted against other information to make it more meaningful such as:

Searches
Some commercial rank checking tools can extract Google Keyword Planner data so you can assess what likely number of searches your site is appearing in.
Google WebMasters Tools also provides a version of this information as ‘Search Queries’.
You want your site to rank well for terms that are searched frequently to increase its exposure to ‘passing traffic’

Ranking URL
Its important to understand which pages are being shown in search results as these are more likely to be the first client contact with your website. Also be cautious about editing a page that is already attracting searches for fear of compromising it. Remove it at your own sales peril, or at least add a 301 redirect to another suitable page.  Often your home page will be the page found in search results, but an SEO ‘healthy site’ will successfully rank other pages as well.
The page that visitors enter your site on is referred to as the Landing Page.

Visitors
Good Rank checking software can import website statistics and so report the number of visitors to your site for the given keyword

Where can I rank ?
Depending on the number of searches, ranking positions of less than 20 will still attract visitors, but as the number of searches reduces off it becomes more important to be ranked with the top 5 results. This is also the issue with mobile searches where searchers are unlikely to use more than just the first few results.

Google Places
Another important ranking factor is the presence of a Google Maps/Places/Plus as this will often displace all but the first few ranking sites off of the first page.

Rank Checking Tools
Over the years I have used a range of SEO products to check rank and the other basic website metrics but continue to be impressed with Rank Tracker by Link Assistant

If you are on top of your website’s ranking then check out the SEO Review wrap up page