How to track your SEO rankings with Google Analytics

One of my favourite SEO and WordPress blogs is by Joost de Valk, and on the 5th january ’09 a brilliant guest post by Andre Scholten explains how a Google Analytics filter can enable you to track your Google rankings.

So here is the post:

Track SEO rankings?

Well, you can’t specifically track the exact position of the keyword that was clicked like you can do with AdWords. But it is possible to determine the page he was on. A ranking tool can tell you over and over again that a certain keyword is around position 15 in Google while Google Analytics claims he is on page 1 (position 1 to 10). This effect can come from ‘personalized search’ or ‘local results’ that can influence the Google rankings dramatically. People see other results than you see with your ranking tools. And therefore you need Google Analytics to do the real ranking.

Setup the filter

To get the rankings in your Google Analytics reports you have to create a new filter:

analytics google ranking

The title of the filter contains a 3, that’s because filter 1 and 2 take care of filtering out everything else than Google Organic traffic. So yes: you also have to create a new profile to apply these filters on to be sure you don’t screw up your main profile.

This filter only works for Google. if you want it to work for Yahoo and Live Search also, make sure you change the filters 1 and 2 so they accept Organic from all three of them. Then setup the filter like this:

analytics ranking

The ranking results

After a while the “User Defined” report will look like this (ignore the language):

rankings example

What you see are not the actual rankings, but the number of the first result of the page the keyword was on. So when you see 20, it means the keyword was on the third page, and a 50 means the sixth page. (Yahoo and Live Search will report 21 and 51 in stead of 20 and 50).

When you don’t see a number but only “(page: ): it means the keyword was on the first page. So perhaps it is better to change “page:” to “minimal position;”, I leave that up to you.

If you want to filter the list of keywords on keywords with at least a page 2 position you can use “(page: d{2,3})” in the filter field below the list. The d stands for digits, and the 2,3 for the amount of digits you’re looking for.

Enjoy.

The credit for the post is found on Joost’s blog.

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