KnowMyRankings.com is a simple and elegant tool for anyone who wants to know how their website ranks in Google searches. If your small business or law firm has a website and you want to know whether people can find you online, sign up for a free trial.
There are two things that set KnowMyRankings.com apart from other services.
(1) Although your page rank is an obvious thing to want to know, it is surprisingly difficult to get a straight answer about where you stand. KnowMyRankings makes it easy.
(2) KnowMyRankings is created and run by Andrew Berls, a software engineer and web developer of some renown around these parts. (Well, he’s well known at the global headquarters of Bruceb Consulting, anyway.) Andrew and his partner Mike Holubowski have developed KnowMyRankings to accompany the launch of their consulting firm, Sutro Labs.
Recently we talked about search engine optimization – the process of designing a website, creating content for it, and taking the steps online to make the website rank more highly in Google searches. It’s arduous and it can be expensive. Big companies spend a lot of money on employees and outside consultants to improve their page rank.
If you’re a small or medium sized business and you’re just getting started – how do you find out where you stand? Perhaps you’ve hired someone to overhaul your website, or you’ve started blogging, or you’re gamely trying to figure out how to link your website to Facebook or Google Places because you heard it might help. It is difficult to get feedback about whether any of it makes any difference!
Here are some of the things you need to know about your Google ranking.
Let’s start with an obvious point that’s easy to overlook.
Your website is not “number five on Google.” That’s not the way Google works.
Your potential clients are doing a search for keywords. They’re typing in “Sonoma County computer consulting” or “Oakland bankruptcy attorney” or “Santa Rosa bail bonds.” Your goal is to place highly in Google search results for keywords that you hope lead to your business.
When you go to KnowMyRankings.com, you will be supplying the URL of your website and the keywords that you want checked. It’s up to you to predict what people will type into Google when you want to be found. You won’t be sitting there to help them find you when they do their search. People are not good at searches. You have to choose keywords from the perspective of a potential client.
After the free trial, KnowMyRankings charges by the number of keywords that you’re checking. You might be able to think of five or ten or twenty searches that you think ought to bring up your site. KnowMyRankings will show you whether you’re in the top 100 Google results for each one.
HOW GOOGLE CREATES SEARCH RESULTS
Not all Google searches produce the same results. When you do a search from your own computer for the keywords you’ve chosen, you might find that your website ranks quite highly – and your results might be completely different from the same search done from somebody’s else’s office.
Google prides itself on the number of different factors it evaluates when it comes up with search results. The rankings might change depending on whether you’re logged into your Google account or whether Google knows about your Facebook or LinkedIn profiles. That’s why your own site will rank highly when you do a search on your own computer – Google knows it’s important to you.
Search results are influenced by the geographic location of the computer when the search is done: local results are prioritized. The results change based on what browser is being used. The page rankings move around mysteriously after deep data diving black magic Google juju. There’s no such thing as a page ranking.
Yeah, screw that. I feel the same way you do. Forget the nuance – you just want to know where your website ranks.
HOW KNOWMYRANKINGS WORKS
Every day, KnowMyRankings will plug your keywords into a Google search at several hundred locations around the U.S. It takes the results, averages them, reduces the whole process to a single number, and shows it to you as your page rank. The searches are done in a way that minimizes as many variables as possible.
It is – and I mean this in the best possible way – good enough for you to have an idea of where you stand and whether your efforts are helping you move up over time.
CREATING GOOD KEYWORDS
If you’re a small or medium business, have realistic expectations. Searches for general terms are going to be dominated by large companies in large cities. Bruceb.com is not going to turn up in the general results of a Google search for “small business computer network.”
For most businesses and law firms, your keywords should include a regional term that narrows the search. I want people to find Bruceb.com when they do a search for “Santa Rosa computer consulting” or variations on the term. Those are the terms that you want to measure with KnowMyRankings.
WHEN YOU WANT MORE DETAILS
Your page rank is a very, very basic thing to know. Search engine optimization goes far beyond that, trying to influence the Google juju in many ways that can be quantified and analyzed and measured. It is big business, highly specialized and very complicated.
One of the basic tools used for SEO is Google Analytics, a free service from Google that tracks website traffic and slices and dices it in a thousand ways. Where does your traffic come from? How long do visitors stay on each page? What search terms did they use that led to your site?
It’s valuable, it’s insightful, it’s free, and it is insanely, mind-numbingly complicated. I’ve stared at my Google Analytics dashboard off and on over the years and I can’t make heads or tails of what to do with the information. If you can figure out how to (1) log in, (2) meet the requirements for Google Analytics to do its work, and (3) understand what it produces, great! Put it to good use. You’re on your way to SEO heaven.
Good luck out there! May your website rank ever higher.