Manually checking a keyword ranking in Google
Update 2013: We now have a free rank checker tool that makes manually checking a keyword rank a breeze! Check it out!
From time to time it’s useful to be able to spot check where your site ranks for a specific keyword. When you have more than a few keywords to track, this is of course where rank tracking software like SERPs comes in handy, but sometimes you just need to check a few rankings right now.
The problem with rank tracking manually, is that you need to override the defaults that Google will use to show your search results. With Google Search Plus Your World, as well as localization, Google will personalize your search results dramatically. There are a number of ways around this personalization that I use to spot check a ranking.
For checking non-local Keywords – Use firefox Google UnPersonalized
For non-localized type keywords (ie “widgets”, not “Portland widgets”), this firefox plugin from Yoast works great. Just click the country code you wish to install. Easy. You can now set that UnPersonalized search engine in your list of search engines in Firefox. I pretty much keep Firefox around just for this one use-case.
For Local & International keyword checks – use Google Global
The killer Chrome Extension Google Global is a great way to spot check keywords when the location needed is outside where you’re searching from. You can easily switch countries from the drop down menu:
And if you need to set a specific location (zip code or city) you can set that manually in the settings page:
This Chrome option isn’t nearly as quick as the firefox search engine extension, but it’s much more powerful. When checking a keyword with Google Global, you need to first search for the keyword at google.com and then click the Google Global extension button to switch to a new country or city settings, which is a bit cumbersome.
So there you go! Now you can spot check Google keyword rankings and see exactly what your clients might see in their location.