What is Keyword Monitoring?

How did you end up on this page?

Chances are, you opened your browser and typed in something like “keyword monitoring” or “what is keyword monitoring.” Once you hit search, a bunch of pages showed up, including the page you’re reading right now.

That’s because we optimized this page around specific keywords and keyword phrases. Like “keyword monitoring” and “what is keyword monitoring”. And once the page was live, we made sure we kept monitoring the performance of this page based on keywords like those two.

So how does this keyword monitoring work exactly? Why is it important, how is it done, and what tools can you use for it?

You’ll find all those answers, and a few more, in the short article below. Ready to find out?

The importance of keyword rankings

In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), keywords are the drivers of success. More specifically, where you rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for those keywords determines your success.

Because you can rank for a million different keywords, but if all those rankings are between place 90 and 100, you won’t get any traffic (or money) out of them.

To gain results in SEO, you need to rank on the first page of Google for those keywords. Because that’s where all the people searching for your keywords are. After all, whoever really clicks past page one on Google?

So how can you get your website to rank on the first page for those keywords?

Through great SEO work, of course. From link building to improving your site’s speed, to having lots of valuable content on your site.

But whatever strategies you apply to improve your site’s organic performance, you need to ensure that you monitor your progress every step of the way to see if your efforts are actually paying off.

And that’s where keyword monitoring comes in.

What is keyword monitoring?

Keyword monitoring is an essential part of any type of search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

Without it, you’re sure to lag behind your competitors and miss out on a wealth of organic traffic. Or, best-case scenario, your traffic is increasing but you have no clue where it’s coming from.

Keyword monitoring helps you measure your progress and success, so you can act accordingly. It not only tells you what position in the search engines your page holds for a specific keyword, but it tells you how many clicks and impressions your keyword receives as well. Or how many people, on average, search for that specific keyword every month. And those are just a few examples of the many metrics you can track through keyword monitoring.

And all this data allows you to make more informed business decisions. Through keyword monitoring, you will, for example, notice when your page drops ten positions overnight. This allows you to dive deeper into the data to analyze why this might have happened, so you can act accordingly and get your page back up again.

How to monitor keyword performance

So how does one go about monitoring keywords? Well, the easiest way is by using keyword monitoring tools. We’ll name a few examples further down below.

But first, let’s have a look at how this keyword monitoring actually works. The answer? Web scraping.

And before you think: Web scraping, isn’t that illegal and wrong? Think again.

Even industry-renowned tools like SEOmonitor or SEMrush are actually just web scrapers. After all, they don’t get their keyword or image ranking data through a Google search or Google image search API. They get it by sending their robots to retrieve the data from the Google results pages and presenting this data inside their own platform. To collect large-scale data, keyword monitoring tools can also use scrapers like SERPMaster.

You see, you can create a robot (also called a spider or crawler) that can crawl through the search engine results pages to collect all the information on that page. It can then extract that data and present it somewhere else, like in the dashboard of a keyword monitoring tool.

Now you can build one of these web scrapers yourself. And if you’re a bit technical and, ideally, know the basics of coding, then this doesn’t have to be that difficult. But if you want to crawl a site like Google – which actively tries to stop robots as specified in the Webmaster Guidelines – it isn’t that simple.

And even if you do manage to get around Google’s bot prevention, you would still have to find a way to automate the process and retrieve all the information (and just the information) that you want and need.

So that’s where keyword monitoring tools come in.

Keyword monitoring tools

Now there are many different tools available. Some of them offer fairly basic functionalities of just tracking the performance of a few keywords, while others allow you to track and measure thousands of keywords as well as a wide range of performance metrics.

Yet other tools are more general SEO tools that offer keyword monitoring as one of their separate functions.

Some of the best keyword monitoring tools on the market today are:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • SEOmonitor
  • Ryte
  • AccuRanker

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