In the ever-evolving landscape of SEO, keywords hold an unwavering significance. While SEO professionals consistently emphasize the need to focus on broader metrics, it’s undeniable that securing a prime position on Google’s search results for keywords with substantial search volume can drive valuable traffic to your website. Nevertheless, the endeavor of tracking keywords comes at a cost, be it in the form of time invested in manual tracking or expenses incurred for a keyword rank tracking solution. The question inevitably arises: How many keywords should you track to optimize your SEO strategy effectively?

Starting with Sound Keyword Research

Unquestionably, keywords don’t simply materialize out of thin air or present themselves through divine revelation. You cannot rely on assumptions to decipher what keywords are being used for searches and which keywords should be your primary focus. This is where thorough keyword research becomes the foundational step in your SEO journey.

Which Pages Are Already Ranking?

Before delving into the world of keyword research, it’s prudent to begin by identifying what your website already ranks for. Google Search Console (GSC) emerges as a potent tool for this purpose. Despite its acknowledged data unreliability, GSC remains a treasure trove of insights, as it is data furnished directly by the search giant itself.

In the GSC Performance section, you can access a table of queries for which your domain ranks. Conveniently, it defaults to showing the queries that have garnered the most clicks over the past three months, providing a clear indication of the keywords that Google deems your site worthy of ranking for. By clicking on the ‘Pages’ tab, you can also discern which pages are ranking for these keywords. Armed with this information, you are now equipped to embark on your keyword research journey.

Choosing Your Landing Pages

Once you have identified the keywords you intend to target, it’s essential to assign them to the most suitable landing pages on your website. Most likely, you will have already pinpointed these target pages during your keyword research phase. The number of organic landing pages earmarked for optimization will directly influence your decision on the number of keywords to track.

Determining the Ideal Number of Keywords to Track

The pivotal question remains: How many keywords should you track per landing page? The optimal range lies between one to four keywords, all of which revolve around a single central topic. It’s imperative to employ these keywords and their various reworded iterations in your content and header tags. Focusing on one topic per page is conducive to SEO success, given the limited space available in title and meta description tags.

With the range of keywords per page established, you can proceed to estimate the total number of keywords that you should track. You have two options for this:

  1. Multiply the number of organic landing pages by the range of keywords per page (1-4).
  2. Multiply the number of organic landing pages by 2.5, which is the average of the keyword range.

For instance, let’s consider a services website with five unique offerings and three blog posts designated as landing pages. Taking into account these pages and the homepage, the reasonable expectation would be to track between 9 to 36 keywords, with an average of approximately 22 keywords.

However, it’s important to remember that these guidelines are not absolute, and exceptions exist. For example, a manufacturing client offering ten unique products may necessitate tracking 62 keywords for their site, excluding blog-focused keywords. Alternatively, a major news publishing site with a robust backlink profile and industry authority might actively track over 200 keywords, many of which do not directly correlate to static landing pages.

Implementing Efficient Keyword Rank Tracking

Although manual keyword tracking by daily Google searches is an option, it’s impractical and unsustainable. Fortunately, a plethora of keyword tracking solutions are available, catering to various needs and preferences.

STAT

This robust tool offers comprehensive options, including keyword tracking for desktop and mobile, specifying locations and languages, and archiving HTML snapshots of search engine results pages (SERPs) for tracked keywords. STAT provides valuable insights into how your site and competitors perform in Google results.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs, a versatile tool, offers daily updates on keywords that your tracked sites rank for. While it may not allow active tracking of specific keywords, it provides an extensive and holistic overview of your website’s keyword performance.

Google Search Console

A free option, GSC helps identify your website’s average ranking for specific keywords over a period of time. It offers valuable insights into your existing keyword rankings, but it lacks the detailed features of paid tracking tools.

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Effective Keyword Rank Tracking Strategies

As you begin to track your selected keywords, it’s essential to employ an efficient strategy for monitoring and interpreting rank changes. Here are some key considerations:

  • Position Change Alerts: Setting up alerts based on position changes can provide invaluable insights. For instance, you can create alerts for significant movements, such as a 5% fall in the number of keywords in the top ten positions.

  • Regular Monitoring: Consistent monitoring of keyword rankings is essential. We recommend checking your rankings at least once a week to detect any significant fluctuations.

  • Expecting Fluctuations: Recognize that fluctuations are inherent to SEO. Google’s algorithms are known for their capriciousness, resulting in occasional rapid shifts in rankings. Be prepared for such variations.

Finding Your Ideal Keyword Tracking Number

In conclusion, while we’ve provided a framework for estimating the number of keywords to track, it’s important to understand that these are not rigid rules set in stone. Your specific requirements and preferences may lead you to track more or fewer keywords than the recommendations outlined here, or you may choose not to track rankings at all. What truly matters is the value that your chosen tracking approach brings to your SEO strategy and the benefit it delivers to you and your clients.

As you navigate the intricate terrain of SEO, always remember that keywords are your compass, guiding you towards your desired destination in the digital landscape. Effective keyword tracking ensures that you stay on course, adapt to changes, and continue to excel in the ever-competitive world of online visibility.