I recently talked about rank checking and about why we sometimes see different search results in different browsers. We also briefly looked at rank checking software and learnt how connecting to different data centres can cause your results to change.
There are various methods for checking your rankings. The traditional approach of typing keywords into Google to see where they’re positioned was very time consuming, and so various tools were invented including add-ons for Firefox and Chrome.
Anybody that frequently uses tools to check their rankings should make sure they double check their results manually. You may notice big differences in your positions. There are a number of different reasons why this can happen.
When you manually search Google, Google’s default setting is to return 10 results at a time. You can change this by clicking Settings > Search Settings from the search results page. You’ll notice that you can set Google to return up to 100 different results at a time.
If you display more than the default ten at a time, the order of your results can change. When you display more than ten, Google will often list together multiple results from the same website, which would otherwise have been displayed on separate pages or hidden from view. You may also find that different numbers of results are returned, as I discussed back in June.
In order to limit the number of calls to Google, some rank checking software will be searching 100 results at a time. If your rank checker works like this then, then it is possible your results will not be very accurate. I recently searched for a phrase which ranked on page 4 of Google.co.uk when tested using a rank checker. When I verified this result manually, the same website was listed on page 2. I changed Google’s settings to display 100 results at a time, and most websites ahead of the one I was testing displayed two or three results rather than just one, causing the site I was testing to drop down through the rankings.
Anybody performing automated rank checks in order to see how their search engine optimisation is performing should periodically verify how accurate these results are by manually checking their results the old fashioned way, using the website and setting Google to show only ten at a time.
Apollo features an inbuilt rank checker and has safeguards built in to prevent this from being a problem.