Monitoring Search Engine Positions

Monitoring Search Engine Positions
By: chrono stock



Monitoring Search Engine Positions





Since search engines are the first stop for people on the

Internet looking for goods or services, the position your

website appears in search results is an important factor.

If your URL shows up far down the results list, the chances

of the consumer never finding you increase incrementally.

Once you achieve a high search engine position, it is

essential that you make sure you maintain the high ranking

you have worked so hard to achieve.



This means you must come up with a strategy to monitor your

search engines positions. This strategy is crucial to the

success of any marketing campaign. Think of your search

engine positions as your online portfolio. Would you let

your stock portfolio be ruled by chance and market

fluctuations, or would you keep close tabs on your stocks

so you could buy and sell when the time is right? This is

the way you must consider your search engines positions.



Be aware that at first, after you have launched your search

engine campaign and done all the right things to increase

your rankings, you will most likely see a continual upward

climb. What you need to be on the lookout for is the moment

that upward climb reaches a plateau. When this happens,

your search engine position campaign moves into stage two,

the monitoring and protecting stage.



In stage two, do not be concerned about the short-term

fluctuations in your positions. These are similar to the

subtle rising and falling of stocks in a portfolio.

Short-term movement is an integral part of the whole

process. It's the long-term changes that you must watch for

and prepare to act on immediately.



Analyzing the long-term trends of search engines positions

is imperative. The way in which search engines rank

websites may change at the drop of hat. If you are unaware

of these changes - many of which are subtle yet can be

deadly to your ranking - your position may drop to the

bottom of the list before you can get your bearings. To

prevent this kind of precipitous drop, you must create a

system to monitor your positions on a monthly basis. Devise

a chart to keep tabs on your top ranking positions or your

top pages, and make sure to watch "the market" closely.



Each search engine uses a formula to compute website

rankings. When a search engine changes this formula in any

way, it may raise or lower your ranking. Some search

engines use a number of different formulas, rotating them

so that a formula doesn't become overused or outdated.

Depending on which formula is being applied, your search

engine position may suddenly drop or rise in rank

significantly. Therefore, you must check your positions

frequently in order to catch when a search engine changes

formulas and what effect it has on your positions.



You must also deal with your competition - a crucial factor

you must always be vigilant about. Your competitor's

position may suddenly rise, automatically lowering your

position. Or their position may drop, pushing your position

higher. Each month, expect position changes due to the

continual changes that are occurring in your competitor's

position, and be prepared to adjust your marketing strategy

to compensate for decreased rankings. Monitoring these

fluctuations will also give you vital information about how

to improve your website to increase your position in search

results.



Of course, you must discern what the most popular search

engines are in order for your monitoring efforts to be

effective. Right now, there are ten popular search engines

that direct most of Internet traffic to your sites. The

challenge you face is that these top ten may change from

month to month.



This means that your must not only monitor your search

engine positions, but you must also keep track of the

ranking popularity of the search engines you are

monitoring. Find out which search engines people use most

frequently every month and be sure to live in the present!

People are fickle about their favorite search engines, and

it takes constant vigilance to follow their dalliances. The

search engines they loved when you first launched your

campaign may be old news in the next few months. You must

adjust your list of engines according to the whims of the

Internet users. Check out

http://www.searchenginewatch.com/reports/netratings.html

for a current list of website favorites.



Another factor to monitor carefully is a sudden drop of

your positions in all search engines. This is not the same

as monthly fluctuations - this is a neon red warning sign!

It could mean a number of different things.



It all your search engine positions have plummeted, it may

indicate that search engines spiders - those sneaky

programs that seek out your site and rank their positions -

have found some type of problem with your website. If you

have recently changed the code, for instance, the spider

may become utterly confused and consequently drop your

positions disastrously. If a spider creeps up on your

website when it is down for adjustments or changes, you may

actually disappear from a search engine index entirely. Or

a search engine may drastically change its formula, and

suddenly all of your website come up as irrelevant. If that

search engine is a current favorite, it may create a domino

effect, causing all of your position to drop in all search

engines.



Some search engines rely on the results from other search

engines, and it is vital that you know which engines these

are and keep track of all the engines they influence. The

biggest problem here is that search engines will sometimes

change affiliations, and this can create a major shift in

the geography of the Internet. For example, recently Yahoo

decided to display only results gleaned from Google. So you

must not only monitor your own positions, but you must keep

abreast of seismic shifts in the landscape of the Internet

as a whole.



Finally, pay attention to your keywords. Keywords are the

foundation bricks of the entire search engine system, and

they demand individual scrutiny in your monitoring efforts.

If you have found that a number of your positions have

plummeted, it may mean that a page of your website has

become invisible or inaccessible to search engine spiders.

Or the competition for that particular keyword or phrase

has recently rocketed into outer space. In either case, you

must act quickly and efficiently to regain lost ground.



Your search engine marketing campaign is an investment. If

costs you time and money on a continual basis. Protect this

investment as diligently as you would your financial

portfolio. In the same way, track your positions from an

objective perspective, and monitor your positions on a

regular basis. Make sure your time and effort reap rewards

by keeping your eye on the big picture - your long-term

marketing campaign.


Charles Preston is President of Click Response a website marketing firm that focuses on better ROI for small businesses and affordable search engine optimization solutions. Search engine optimization and compelling marketing copy is the key to small business success online.



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