Keeping track of Google algorithm updates is a time consuming job and one that you should try to make as straight forward as possible – there are much more effective ways to spend your time than monitoring whether Google had made a big change. Having said that it’s still important that you understand when a change has happened so you can do the analysis at the time rather than just seeing the impact in your month end reporting and then trying to figure out when the change happened.
Some people say that ranking data is becoming less important and Raven Tools are no longer going to show the data in their system. The problem is that without ranking data it’s very hard to diagnose technical site issues, spot algorithm changes and perform an effective SEO campaign. Google has removed lots of keyword data via “not provided” and the recent update of Chrome while Apple has removed more with iOS6 so in 2013 we are anticipating that good ranking data will be more important than ever in a large scale SEO campaign.
Below are 5 really easy ways for you to monitor Google algorithm changes via aggregated ranking data & some nice free/paid tools.
Searchmetrics Essentials is a cost effective (although not free) method of tracking the overall visibility of any domain on a weekly basis. The data updates on Wednesday night or Thursday morning usually and gives a great insight into the winners and losers any particular week. We call Thursday “Searchmetrics Day” and it’s the first thing we look at in the morning.
Mozcast has some great data but personally I find the weather references a bit confusing. Being from the UK I tend to think that sunny weather will be hot but they report it as being colder. Basically the hotter and stormier it is, the more the rankings have changed that day.
They also have a live widget which I have included below.
Weather provided by MozCast
Serps.com is a more straightforward way of looking at this and calls it volatility – the higher the volatility the more rankings have changed. Add this one to your bookmarks and you have an easy way of checking whether something has occurred.
Serpmetrics.com talks about flux and has data across three engines on the same chart. Useful to see updates in Yahoo & Bing that you might not otherwise have seen.
Your own ranking data
We always suggest tracking at least 100 keywords on a regular basis and the list should include keywords you are actively optimising for and a set that you are not working on just for control purposes. If you track these daily using something like Advanced Web Ranking (who just turned 10 years old this month) then you will have a really good understanding of exactly which day your rankings changed. By knowing which day things changed it makes it a lot easier to diagnose the algorithm tweak that affected your site.
Finally, last but not least, SEroundtable.com where you can find documentation and discussion on pretty much every update Google has made – this is the first place Google sometimes confirms updates with too.