How to Monitor Your Rankings with @MordyOberstein of @rankranger #vcbuzz

How to Monitor Your Rankings with @MordyOberstein of @rankranger

Monitoring your rankings used to be pretty straightforward: You pick your keywords and keep an eye on your search engine page movements.

These days it is much more complicated. You have to deal with Google’s advanced technologies (personalized and localized results) as well as keep an eye on extra search elements (featured snippets, image & video carousels, etc.)

How to set up an effective position monitoring strategy in 2020 and beyond? Let’s discuss!

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About @MordyOberstein

@MordyOberstein is chief marketing officer at @RankRanger, a leading SEO & marketing platform.

Mordy has helped the company grow its brand identity, make new industry connections, and explore new avenues of content.

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become an SEO? Please share your career story!

It’s kind of a long story & boring story. But I came in on the content side. I was working writing for an educational software company where I was 1 of the only native English speakers. So my role quickly morphed from edu content to ALL content in English.

So I was doing social media & writing web pages and I’m like… I don’t know what the hell I’m doing! So I started to research how to write web content & I quickly discovered SEO.

After doing more content generation for another comp one thing led to the next & @rankranger was looking for a content marketing person.

So I started out writing feature pages but I was like I can do so much more than this. I have a bit of a research background & the SEO stuff started to click.

And I was like I would really like to get into Google’s brain a bit and 5 years later the rest is history!!!

Q2 How has rank monitoring changed since you joined the industry?

I think we’ve come to realize that rank tracking is just a starting point.

More than that, rank tracking is a long term game. You see this all the time with the algorithm updates. Your site gets a boost or sees a loss but that can all be reversed with the next update.

I don’t think we’re there yet, but I think we’re starting to see rank thought less in terms of “wins” per se but also from a stability perspective. How stable are my top rankings? Being #1 is not saying much if you’re fluctuating all over the place.

Of course, the perhaps over-energetic use of SERP features has been a big catalyst for change. Not only are you competing for user attention but you may very well get pushed down below the fold.

In other words, I think we’ve become aware that position needs to be qualified from multiple perspectives. Though, I’m not sure we as an industry have done so to the extent we can.

Q3 How is @RankRanger solving the new emerging challenges?

I would boil it down to 2 overall approaches.

To start, it’s about qualifying your rankings. What’s the true power of a win, of ranking at the top of the SERP?

That ranges from anything from knowing when you rank #1 as a Featured Snippet vs a traditional result to knowing what SERP features appear on the page.

I don’t think people realize the degree to which rankings need to be qualified. What other features is Google showing along with your top-ranking URLs? Not only that but how do those features qualitatively change things?

Certain features are more eye-catching. The best ex is the Video Box… people love video content. So you need to think about the features holistically.

You have to be able to look at the actual SERP, which is something we’ve offered forever, it’s just way more important than ever.

This also means seeing when you rank above the fold. To date, we’re the only tool that tells you when you rank above the fold (& for various screen sizes)

This might be the best ex of qualifying rank. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen URLs ranking #3 or #2 or even #1 that are not above the fold! Do you really want to bet on users scrolling to see your site?

The 2nd aspect we’ve focused on is understanding the overall stability of your wins. I’ve done a few studies on rank stability at this point and each time I just see rank getting more and more unstable depending on how you look at it.

And this applies to organic ranking per se and your URLs showing inside of SERP features. One of the best tools that has come out of considering this sort of thing is our SERP Feature Monitor.

It helps you qualify how stable your SERP feature wins are (whether it be a Local Pack or News Carousel, etc.) and how stable URLs are inside various SERP features overall.

For us it’s really been about qualifying what’s happening on the SERP and understanding how stable your “wins” are. Of course, you have to go well beyond rank tracking and we’ve done a lot over the past couple of years to turn our platform into a full-service tool so that you can run competitor analysis, keyword research, etc.

Which is why it’s super important that whatever tool you use tells you when you rank #1 as a traditional result and when you’re #1 as a Featured Snippet.

Yes, but check with your tool to make sure they track it that way, not all have moved over.

Q4 What is the future of rank monitoring and SEO in general?

I think this comes down to getting a sense of how Google views us (our sites) and our ability to see how Google views things topically.

To the former I think tagging your keywords in your tool & looking at categorical tag performance is going to become more & more important.

Doing so will give you a good idea of how Google understands your site’s INDENTITY. Does Google see you relevant for A, B, AND c or just A & B.

You can do the same on a location basis as well. What markets are you relevant in? What markets does Google think you align well with. This can be particularly important for running international campaigns.

It all speaks to Google profiling sites, trying to use machine learning to understand who a site is and what it’s core intent profile is.

At the same time we need to better understand how Google sees intent on the SERP. Currently, there is no good way to do this at the automated level.

We’re still thinking of intent being informational or transactional, etc. when it’s far more nuanced than that.

As time goes on and the tools move forward with machine learning we might get something better. From what I’ve seen… what’s out there now is so overly simplified I don’t think it has much value.

I have not formally studied it, but anecdotally it can be quite large. Similar to CTR above the fold vs below the fold

Q5 What are your favorite digital marketing tools?

Well @rankranger of course! 

I do a ton of content production so a lot of what I use relates to that. 

I’m a big user of Snagit & Camtasia.

For our weekly podcast we use Audacity.

I use Aweber for mailings but MailChimp as well.

I used to Hemingway Editor a lot but I find it’s too “closed-minded” sometimes.

Gonna toot our own horn, I use our Schema Markup Generator a lot (it creates markup code) and our tags preview tool for creating metadata (both are free, by the way).

Do I need to say I use Search Console and Google Analytics a lot as well?

Our previous SEO chats:

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