In this overview, we explain how to understand the results of a completed Local Rank Tracker report (Rank Tracker).
Once complete, a Rank Tracker report will look something like this:
Here, we explain what's shown in each section, and how to understand the report data:
1) 'Rank Tracker' tab
When you first open the Rank Tracker report, the 'Rank Tracker' tab will be selected — this focuses on the most valuable ranking data for your keywords on the search engines that we monitor (Google, Google Mobile, Google Maps, Bing, and Bing Local).
a) ‘Average Google Position’ chart
The ‘Average Google Position’ chart is a single metric to understand ranking performance at a glance. As the name suggests, it measures the average position of all your ranking keywords across Google organic results (on both desktop and mobile) and Google local results.
To see what your average position was at any given time, you can simply hover over the dots in the chart.
The score here (indicated below in the red box) tells you what your current Average Google Position is and what the increase or decrease is compared to the previous report run.
You can also see what your results are combined by clicking the Aggregate toggle.
To hide the chart from this report and any external PDFs that you might share with clients, click the ‘Hide Chart’ button.
b) 'Rankings by Position' chart
You’ll see the 'Rankings by Position' chart, which is a summary of the ranking positions for all of your keywords on all selected search engines.
This chart groups rankings into bands, and displays how many rankings you have in position #1, #2-5, #6-10, etc.
Best Rankings Only
The chart only displays the best ranking position for each keyword on each search engine. So, if you rank in more than one position for a keyword, the chart only plots the best position, except if you appear in both the local pack and organic results.
For example, if you rank 2nd in the local pack, and 5th and 25th in organic results with one keyword:
- The chart will plot both the local pack rank (2nd) and the best organic rank (5th)
- It will ignore the 25th rank
Bar chart columns
We gather new ranking data every time your report runs — each of these 'runs' is plotted on the chart as a column, therefore each column represents a unique set of ranking results gathered on a specific day.
Please note: If you re-run your report multiple times in one day, the chart uses the ranking results from the latest run on that day.
The colors on the chart represent different ranking bands. For example, the dark green section shows all rankings at position #1, and the orange section shows all rankings between #21-50. The breakdown of the rankings that are represented by each color can be found on the right-hand side of the bar chart.
Hover over each bar column to see a popup that will show the number of keywords that were ranking in each band at the time when the report was run.
Checkboxes: At the top of the bar chart, you’ll see checkboxes for each search engine — if you’d only like to see results for Google, for example, you can uncheck the other search engines, and the chart data will update instantly.
Date filter dropdown: If you’d like to expand the timeline of the chart, or zoom in to focus on the last month, you can change the date period using the date filter dropdown menu. By default, the date range is set to six months.
Show / hide 'Rankings by Position' chart: If you’d prefer to hide the chart, and don’t want it to be displayed on external reports that you show to clients, you can click on the small, gray chart icon that's displayed to the top right of the bar chart (see red box below).
b) 'Rankings by change' table
Under the 'Rankings by Position' chart, you’ll see the 'Rankings by Change' table, which summarises the change in rankings across all search engines, and for each specific search engine.
'Compare Date' dropdown: This 'change' data compares two report run dates, showing the change in ranking positions between these dates. You can select which dates to compare using the date dropdown.
All Search Engines: The green, red, orange, and blue boxes highlight different changes, as follows:
- Green box: This shows how many keywords have improved in ranking
- Red box: This shows how many keywords have dropped in ranking
- Grey box: This shows how many keywords have stayed in the same ranking position
- Blue box: This shows how many keywords have new rankings (i.e. they didn’t rank in the top 50 results when previously checked)
Under the boxes is a breakdown of the data by each search engine.
Hide Breakdown: If you don’t want to view the 'Rankings by Change' breakdown, simply click 'Hide Breakdown' to hide it from view — this also hides it from view on external reports you show to clients.
c) Rankings Table
The Rankings Table displays all keywords that are being monitored in the report, and shows their ranking for each search engine.
We will now explain what each column on the chart displays, and how to understand it.
'Star icon' column: If you have priority keywords that you would like to focus on, you can 'star' them, which means they always display at the top of the Rankings Table (see red box below).
'Keyword' column: This displays all keywords that are being monitored in the report. We display the keywords in order of their ranking, with the highest-ranking keywords at the top of the report. You can sort the keywords alphabetically by clicking on the column heading.
'Count' column: 'Count' refers to the Keyword Query Count, and this column displays the average number of times people search Google for this exact keyword, and from this location, per month. We get this data from Google Adwords, and this figure is updated every 60 - 90 days.
The higher the count, the more times the keyword has been searched for, and (potentially) the more value it has to you; more searches = more opportunities to reach customers.
Please note: This feature is only available on our SEO Pro subscription plan.
Search engine columns: You’ll see a column for each search engine that has been selected in the report’s settings.
Under each column are sub-sections for 'Rank', 'Change', and 'Type':
‘Rank’ column: This shows where the keyword ranks on this search engine. A keyword may rank more than one time, so you may see more than one ranking position here.
Please note: We monitor the top 50 ranking results on each search engine.
We use several symbols and numbers to help you identify the ranking, as follows:
Letters: If you see A, B, C, D, etc. this means that we found your business displayed in the Local Pack on Google or Bing.
Numbers: If you see a number, then this is the overall ranking position on the search engine.
See below to find out how we calculate your ranking when there are local pack and organic results.
'Change' column: This displays whether the keyword has changed ranking position since the last time the report was run. There are several symbols we use here:
- Gray circle: No change in ranking position
- Blue plus: New ranking for keyword found
- Green number with ‘up’ arrow: Keyword has gone up in rankings by a given number of positions
- Red number with ‘down’ arrow: Keyword has gone down in rankings by a given number of positions
Here's a breakdown of other information you may see within the rankings table:
Loc: These are 'local' results (e.g. Local Pack) that appear in Google and Bing. To appear in these results, a business needs to have a local listing on a search engine — e.g. Google Business Profile, Bing Places.
Org: These are organic ranking results for the URL (website address) that you provided.
3rd: These are search results that mention your business name but aren't your website. Typically, these results display for brand-name searches for a business; if a business has a listing on a third-party site (e.g. Yelp.com, Facebook), then their Yelp or Facebook listing will appear in the search results on Google. We are able to identify these rankings by scanning the results for the business name.
Car: These are 'carousel' type results, which can appear at the top of Google for certain types of searches — most commonly universities, theatres, museums, attractions, and other public arts and leisure searches. These results do not contain a website URL, and can only be matched by business name.
KP: You may see 'KP' under 'Type' in your Rank Tracker report — this stands for 'Knowledge Panel'. For more details on this, read our FAQ.
To see what the different results look like in search engines, read our FAQ on this.
How we calculate rankings
In the above example of a search result, we have outlined what each number / letter would mean in the Rankings Table. If the organic results in the example were above the local results, then the local result at 3C would then be 5C as it is then the 5th result on the page and the third in the local pack — this is because we track positions of local results within the local pack, as well as the overall ranking position on the page. So you should see a letter next to all local results from both Google and Bing.
Please note: This only applies to the results in the main search engines, not the Maps or Local versions.
2) 'Keyword Groups' tab
Here, we break down the sections of the 'Keyword Groups' tab — this part of the Rank Tracker report allows you to group keywords together. When you first come to this section, it will be blank as you will need to create your own groups to view any data.
a) 'Keyword Groups' section
Here are the steps to take if you are looking to compare keywords grouped together. To create a keyword group, simply click the green 'New Group' button on the right-hand side (see below within the red box).
You will then be taken to a new page to create a grouping of certain keywords.
Keyword Group Name: Here, you can set the title of the keyword group. It's best to make this obvious — for example, here we have used 'Apple Brand keywords', and selected all of the relevant Apple keywords.
Search: You’ll only need this if you have many keywords, and want to find specific keywords to group together.
The 'Select All' and 'Deselect All' buttons help to make this process as quick as possible — once you have selected all keywords for the group, just click the 'Create Group' button.
Once you have created at least one keyword group, you will see them under this section:
b) Keyword Groups 'Rankings by Position' chart
This chart shows how many keywords are ranking in each position (#1, #2-5, #6-10, etc.) for all of the search engines. We only use the 'best' ranking for each keyword, and we only consider 'organic' and 'local' result types — not third-party results.
On the left, you will see your keyword groups. Clicking on the relevant groups will change the bar charts to reflect the groups chosen.
On the right-hand side, you will see checkboxes that allow you to select or deselect different search engines, as well as the 'Filter by Date' option, which allows you to compare to previous report runs — similar to the Rankings Table.
c) Keyword Groups 'Rankings by Position' table
This table displays all the keywords that are included in your report. It shows the ranking position for your most recent report, grouped into ranking 'buckets' (#1, #2-5, #6-10, etc.), and aggregates results for all of the search engines (Google and Bing), so that each keyword will have one ranking position per search engine.
If you click the small arrows by each ranking number, it will reorder based on which column you have selected.
You can also click the CSV button to download an Excel file of this table.
3) 'Tracker Chart' tab
This area of the report lets you see more granular details of each keyword, and how it has changed over time. Here, you can track an individual keyword to see how it has changed over time, and compare across the different search engines.
a) Keyword Tracker Chart
This chart shows the rankings for an individual search term over time, showing the keyword’s history.
At the top of the chart, you’ll see the 'Select Search Keyword' dropdown menu which will have all of your keywords (see below within the red box).
On the top right-hand corner of the chart, there's an option to filter by date, so you can select the timeframe you’d like to see for this particular keyword.
You should now see different color-coded lines throughout the graph that represent each search engine — a key to show what each line of the graph represents is displayed on the right-hand side.
Any search engines that you don’t want to see on the chart can be hidden by clicking that search engine in the list. To bring the line back to the chart, simply click on the search engine’s name again.
b) Keyword Tracker data table
As you change the settings for the chart above, the details for the ‘Rankings by date’ table will change too.
This table shows the report date and ranking for each of the search engines.
4) Aggregate Ranking Chart
This section has a chart and table that show you how many search terms you have ranking in key positions — i.e. how many search terms you have ranking in position #1, positions #2-5, etc.
It will only show the best result for each search term. For example, if you feature multiple times for a search time, it will illustrate the top result only. This is especially helpful if you are tracking more than one URL.
Please note: This does not include 'extra' ranking results, which might be shown on the main results table — for a full overview, please see the Rankings Table on the Rank Tracker tab.
a) 'Aggregate Ranking' chart
This chart works in the same way as the other charts in the report. Here, you can change the search engines, as well as the date range.
b) 'Rankings History' table
This table displays the ranking history of the top results of all keywords. If you click the small arrows by each ranking number, it will reorder based on the column you've selected — this table can help you check historic results to see what was ranking on that date overall.
5) 'Competitors' tab
You will not see this tab unless it has been set up. If you are unsure, read our guide on How to create a Local Rank Tracker Report, and scroll down to Section 5C, 'Competitors' (see below within the red box).
Once this is set up and the report has been re-run, you will see something like this:
At the top right-hand side, you can select and compare two different dates, if required. You can also filter the search engines by clicking the button for each search engine at the top left-hand side — this changes the data that you will see in the table.
A list of keywords will be visible on the left-hand side, and your rankings will be displayed alongside your competitors. These ranking results are displayed in the same way as the 'Rankings Table' on the 'Rank Tracker tab, so please refer to this above, if needed.
To learn more about how to boost your visibility using Local Rank Tracker, enroll in BrightLocal Academy for free today.
Or if you want to learn how to improve your local SEO reports for clients check out our free How to Create Relevant and Engaging Local SEO Reports course which will teach you all you need to know!