Ranking checker warning!



We’ve been noticing over the last few months an increasing trend of ranking checkers giving incorrect results.

Clients have been contacting us thinking that they’re ranking has dropped off and some that have even been told that their site has been de-indexed.

After investigation we quickly established that their ranking had not moved or in most cases had actually improved. The way we checked this was to simply perform a manual ranking check.

We have for over a year now not reported on ranking. This was for two reasons. Firstly, due to our price point we are not able to manually check rankings for all of our clients and secondly, it’s good practice for clients to check their ranking independently.

So why are ranking checkers not accurate?

To answer this first we have to address how they work. When you type in a search term against a URL a ranking checker will ping the search engines, doing automatically what we all do manually. It will search page 1, page 2, page 3 and so on until it locates your listing and then when it finds your listing it will report back to you. So what’s the problem? The issue is twofold:

1. Google do not like this practice as it creates additional bandwidth requirements across their network. So, if they see an IP address doing it a lot they may block it for a period of time from searching Google. This is when a ranking checker may report that a URL is not indexed, leading people to think they have been de-indexed when they have not.

2. Google are trying more and more to tailor search results based on an individual users browsing habits. So, if you are searching for the same search term continuously but not clicking on any links Google will presume that you’re not finding what you want, then on future searches it will mix up the search results in order to try and connect you with what you are looking for. This results in users thinking their site has dropped in ranking. Clearing your cache before each ranking check will resolve this.

So, what is the solution?

If you still want to use an automatic checker our advice would be to perform a maximum of one ranking check per week making sure you clear your cache beforehand. Otherwise, our suggestion to see true results is to clear your cache and then perform a manual check.

I hope you have found this helpful!

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See the video below. This is Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Web spam team talking about SEO.

 
 

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