Where does your Site Rank on Google?

If you have been involved with optimizing or promoting your website, you would have often searched your prominent keywords in search engines like Google to check where your site ranks. If you have to deal with more than 20 to 40 keyword phrases, checking your site ranking in the first 30 results, across 10 major search engines can be a daunting task.

Checking your site ranking of this magnitude can be very painful, especially if you wish to do it every month, unless you are using rank-checking software. Google and most other search engines discourage the use of automated software to check site rankings. Most search engines clearly mention this in their Terms of Service. Understandably, they would like to provision their server resources and bandwidth for human visitors and not waste their resources feeding content to software based queries.

If a rank-checking software like WebPosition Gold is setup to check ranking for 50 keyword phrases in the first 5 result pages, Google would have to deal with 50 x 5 = 250 software driven search queries. If the ranking were checked every month, Google would have to deal with 3,000 search queries per year for every site owner running automated rank checking software. Imagine the search volumes the search engines deal with even if a fraction of the billions of websites use the rank-checking software.

Most webmasters are aware that checking site rankings using software is disallowed. However, they do not have many ‘legal’ options to check where their sites rank. It is unrealistic to expect webmasters not to check their site rankings using software. Even if webmasters check the website ranking manually, Google does not really save server resources spent on such search sessions. Webmasters on the other hand also waste a lot of time, energy and resources (and often) dial-up bandwidth in evaluating the website ranking.

Website Ranking Report (in 0.74 Seconds)
Now imagine a scenario, if you could type in 100 keyword phrases along with your site URL in a special Google interface, and in a jiffy, Google shows up where your site is ranked for each of your keywords along with a count of number of pages ‘competing’ for each keyword. All this in Google’s famous 0.74 seconds! Looks too good to be true? Read on…

If Google and other search engines were to offer this rank-checking facility, it would greatly help webmasters in checking their site ranking and would take away a lot of pain associated with the task. As you would read further down this article, the webmasters would not be the sole beneficiaries. The search engines too would gain tremendously.

What should Google do?
Google should provide a rank-checking facility focused towards the webmasters, as a separate search interface, perhaps in their advanced search section. A proposed interface is suggested below:

  • Check your site ranking on Google
  • Site ranking result page

Google could offer two methods of rank checking. One as an interface proposed above and a second one through web API’s, which can be queried through rank-checking software.

Does Google have an Ability to offer Website Ranking Check Facility?
Since the database index is available to Google for querying in any manner, Google has the capability of querying its database and completing such a search in a single stroke, as against dealing with 100’s of queries to get to the same result. Sure they would have to write new codes and interfaces to offer this but the effort would be well worth it.

Who Benefits from a Web Ranking Search Facility?
There are several categories of Internet users who can benefit from a website ranking check facility. The following are the prominent gainers –

Benefits for Webmasters, Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing Companies
It would save webmasters precious time, bandwidth and resources.
Results would be faster than anything they would have experienced in the past.

Some webmasters set a monthly (sometimes weekly) scheduler in the software to run periodic reports. If the website rank checking facility is freely available, they do not need to set an auto scheduler in their software. They can use the facility on as-needed basis, saving unnecessary resource wastage.

Benefits for Search Engines
Google would save significant bandwidth and server resources by handling such queries as a single search. Since, Web API search queries generated by software can be easily isolated from their main search traffic, Google would have more accurate data of real human traffic. This will give them more accurate information for evaluating traffic patterns and planning their future business strategies.

Google can prevent serving AdWords to the Web-API based software queries and get higher yield on serving AdWords to human visitors.

Google would be able to claim and publish traffic figures of higher integrity gaining industry and advertiser trust.

Google will have a focused audience of webmasters, SEO/SEM companies querying ranking on their human interface versions. Google can leverage this highly focused audience to sell AdWords to premium advertisers, such as SEO/SEM Companies, PPC companies, web development companies, web hosting companies, E-commerce solution providers, payment gateway providers, software companies or any company wanting to sell products to site owners.

Traditionally, the Search Engines and SEO companies have been in opposing camps. This one step can win Google friends in the SEO industry and build brand loyalty.

Benefits for PPC / AdWords Advertisers
Google advertisers using AdWords are forced to maintain a minimum click-through ratio (CTR) to keep their campaigns live. Unfortunately, AdWords are also served to non-human software-based queries, since Google cannot differentiate between software and human queries. This dilutes the advertisers’ CTR throwing their campaigns into ‘stopped’ modes while also portraying an incorrect picture of their CTR. If software driven queries were isolated, advertisers would get the benefit of continued campaigns and a higher yield by serving AdWords only to humans.

Benefits for Rank-Checking Software Makers
Website Promotion software companies will find it easier to simplify their rank-checking software modules and improve rank-reporting efficiency by tying up their software codes with the Web APIs for rank checking.

Website Promotion software companies have to constantly update their search code to keep in tune with the changing search engine interfaces and sponsored listing locations to report ranking in natural results. An access to a Web-API can help them get free from this constant code updates.

Benefits for Search Engine Analysts and Statistics Companies
It is needless to point out that Search Engine Analysts and Statistics Reporting companies would have access to a more accurate industry data, which will help them in a more accurate industry analysis.

Search engines are unlikely to succeed in warding off webmasters from frequently checking their website ranking on their search properties, no matter how many stringent rules they have in their “Terms of Service”. Perhaps the age old saying holds good –If you can’t beat them; join them

Google, are you listening?