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User Guide: Getting the Most Out of Rankalyzer

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Success in SEO requires more than just basic keyword tracking. Rankalyzer is a competitor monitoring tool designed to give you a strategic edge by monitoring SERP rankings, detecting competitor website changes, and tracking backlinks—all in one platform.

This article will guide you through setting up and fully utilizing Rankalyzer’s capabilities to maximize your SEO efforts. Whether you’re an agency, content publisher, or SEO professional, this guide will help you make the most out of Rankalyzer.

Setting Up Rankalyzer

Creating an Account

Step-by-step guide to setting up an account

1. To sign up, use the form to enter your keywords, SERP location, and email address. If you have not yet signed up, click here to sign up for the free plan.

Sign up form to join Rankalyzer

2. Alternatively, you can sign up with just your email address using the other forms available on the main website.

Email sign up box to join Rankalyzer

3. Once signed up, you will receive an email with a login link. Use this link to access the platform, or log in via the main website using the login link in the top menu.

Key initial configurations

1. Keyword List:

    • After signing up, you will see your list of keywords.
    • If you did not add keywords during the signup process, you can add them now.
    • Click on the “Add Keywords” button to enter your keywords, device, and tracking location.
    • You can also copy and paste a list of keywords.

2. Report Timeline:

    • Note that it will take a week to receive your first report because two time references are needed to compare changes.
    • Rankalyzer crawls the SERP and the webpages once a week.

Adding Keywords

Best Practices for Selecting and Inputting Keywords for Tracking

1. Valuable Keywords:

    • Select your most valuable keywords across a range of intents, whether transactional or informational.

2. Avoid Similar Keywords:

    • Avoid inputting similar keywords that are likely to generate the same SERP listing, as the data will be the same for both keywords.

3. Page-Level Keywords:

    • Select keywords on a page-level, meaning one keyword for each page you are targeting.

How to Tag Keywords

1. Current Limitations:

    • Currently, there is no specific way to tag your keywords by client or category.
    • If this is a feature you are interested in, please submit a feature request by emailing [email protected] with your suggestion.

Tracking Competitor SEO Changes

Understanding the Dashboard

When you log in, you will see the main dashboard, which comprises a list of the keywords you are tracking, along with data such as search volume, country, device, data history (the amount of change data available), and the number of changes in the top 10. Here, you can add, remove, and search for keywords in your dashboard.

Monitoring SEO-Related Website Changes

SERP Monitoring

To view the SERP, select your keyword and you will be presented with the top 30 results, along with an indication of the changes for each ranking page and the changes in rankings. By default, the date range is set as the week between the last 2 crawls of the SERP, but this can be changed by selecting your desired date range.

Rankalyzer’s SERP monitoring dashboard

Website Change Monitoring

To view the website changes for your specified time period, either click on the page listing in the SERP or the specific changes next to each listing. You will be taken to a dashboard where you can see all the website changes for the page.

Navigate through the different tabs to explore changes to meta, headings, body content, pagespeed, schema, and backlinks. Each tab offers insights into specific areas of SEO that could be impacting your rankings.

Rankalyzer’s website changes dashboard with different tabs for the specific changes

Meta + H1 Changes

The first tab shows changes to meta titles, descriptions and the H1.

Rankalyzer’s dashboard showing meta and h1 changes

Subheadings

The second tab shows changes to H2 to H6.

Rankalyzer’s dashboard showing subheadings changes

Body Changes

The “Body” tab highlights changes to body text and images, including filenames, alt text and image titles.

Rankalyzer’s dashboard showing body changes

Screenshot

The screenshot feature allows you to make visual comparisons of the page by dragging the cursor across the screen.

PageSpeed

You can compare Google PageSpeed insights scores for performance, SEO, accessibility and best practice in the “PageSpeed” tab.

Rankalyzer’s dashboard showing pagespeed changes

Schema

In the “Schema” tab you can track changes to JSON schema markup on the page.

H4L Backlinks

The final tab presents the page’s new and lost backlinks in the last 30 days. Please note that backlink data gets refreshed only once per month.

Utilizing Weekly Insights

Weekly Onsite Reports

You will receive a weekly report via email, containing key competitor insights for a selection of your keywords. This includes a list of your competitors with the most onsite changes as well as position changes. You will have the opportunity to easily click through to your dashboard or specific onsite changes directly from the report.

Rankalyzer’s weekly report for onsite changes

Monthly Backlinks Reports

If you have backlinks included in your subscription, you will also receive monthly reports containing backlink insights for a selection of keywords. This report focuses on a list of pages with the most new and lost backlinks.

You can click through to the backlink reports for each page or access the main dashboard directly from the email report. If you would like to include backlinks monitoring in your subscription, upgrade here or through the billing. page in your account.

Rankalyzer’s monthly report for backlinks

Tips for sharing insights with stakeholders or clients

    • Try to find correlations between competitor ranking changes and website/backlink changes (see section below for tips on this)
    • Based on these correlations, create an action plan for your client/stakeholders with proposed website changes or backlink targets
    • Basing your recommendations on the effect of competitor activity on their rankings strengthens the case to adjust your own content and backlink approach.

Analyzing SERP Performance

SERP Tracking Overview

Tracking the SERPs for your keywords is an essential part of using Rankalyzer. This feature allows you to focus on monitoring competitors relevant to your keywords. With SERP tracking, you can see the positions of your competitors on a given date and observe their position changes over a specified date range.

If your keywords are already in our database, you will be able to see historic SERPs and associated website changes for your competitors. If not, we start collecting SERP and website change data the day you add those keywords.

Correlating SEO Changes with SERP Movements

Correlating website changes with SERP positions is a fundamental part of using Rankalyzer. For a given keyword, view the SERP and identify competitors with significant position changes over time.

  • Start with weekly movements: Look for large weekly shifts and then expand the time frame to observe more significant movements over longer periods.
  • Identify corresponding website changes: For competitors with large position shifts, check the page change labels next to each competitor in the SERP to see what changes were made.
  • Analyze website changes: Note significant changes such as updates to meta titles, H1s, body content, and backlinks.
  • Consider algorithm updates: Understand that some position movements may be due to algorithm updates rather than specific website changes. Keeping abreast of algorithm updates helps distinguish between the two.

Case Study: seriouseats.com for “best air fryer”

The screenshot below illustrates how to correlate SERP movements with website changes. For the keyword “best air fryer,” over a 6-week period, seriouseats.com moved up 7 positions from 12 to 5. During this time, significant page changes were detected, including updates to the title, description, H1, subheadings, body, schema, pagespeed, and backlinks.

Rankalyzer’s dashboard showing SERP for keyword “best air fryer” over a 6 week period

Leveraging Backlink Monitoring

Setting Up Backlink Tracking

If backlink monitoring is not included in your plan, you will need to upgrade. You can do so here or through the billing page in your account. Upgrade to backlink monitoring by checking the backlinks option and subscribing to the new plan.

Once you’ve upgraded your plan, Rankalyzer will start reporting on new and lost backlinks once per month for the top 30 ranking pages for each of your keywords. You will be notified by email each month when the new backlinks report is ready to view, or you can view it directly in your dashboard by clicking on the backlinks section.

Analyzing New and Lost Backlinks

How to access the backlinks data

1. Monthly Backlinks Email: You will receive a monthly email highlighting some of the top competitors with new and lost backlinks. You can click through to view the detailed report on the platform.

Rankalyzer’s detailed monthly report for backlinks

2. SERP Dashboard: If a competitor page has had any backlink changes in the past 30 days, a clickable “Links” button will appear next to their URL in the changes column of the SERP dashboard.

Rankalyzer’s dashboard showing SERP with arrows to the “links” button

3. Change Monitoring Dashboard: Here, you can see the actual data which can be accessed through the “Backlinks” tab in the change monitoring dashboard.

Rankalyzer’s change monitoring dashboard showing showing website changes for a competitor

Tips for acquiring high-value backlinks

1.  Analyze Backlink Quality:

      • Gather all backlinks from the data.
      • Use third-party tools like SEMrush or Moz to check domain authority.
      • Determine if the page is a potential match for your website or client.

2. Shortlist Relevant Websites:

    • Filter the backlinks to identify relevant, high-authority websites.
    • Focus on sites that align well with your industry or niche.

3. Collect Contact Details:

    • Find the contact information for each shortlisted website.
    • Use tools like Hunter.io or the website’s contact page to gather email addresses.

4. Craft Personalized Email Pitches:

    • Write tailored outreach emails for each website.
    • Highlight the mutual benefits of linking to your content.

5. Send Outreach Emails:

    • Use your preferred method to send the emails, whether manually or through an outreach tool.
    • Follow up if necessary to increase the chances of getting a response.

Optimizing Content Strategy with Rankalyzer

Discovering Competitor Content Strategies

From our experience, the key to getting the most out of Rankalyzer is to analyze competitor content changes over long periods of time. This way, you can gather enough data to see how high-performing competitors maintain their top rankings, while also keeping an eye on any new competitors edging into higher positions.

Tips for Discovering Competitor Content Strategies

    • Utilize the date range feature to compare content changes for specific time ranges.
    • Pay attention to new entrants into the SERPs and analyze their content changes.
    • Meta title, H1, and body changes usually have the most impact on rankings.
    • Expand the time frame if competitors jump up significant positions without corresponding content, to catch previous content changes that might be responsible.
    • Significant subheading changes (H2-H6) can indicate major changes to the body content.
    • Analyze image and alt text changes as they can also impact rankings.
    • Track changes in schema markup to understand how competitors optimize for rich snippets and other SERP features.
    • Monitor page speed and core web vitals improvements that competitors make, which can impact rankings and user experience.

Refining Your Content Approach

Once you have analyzed your competitors and their effect on the SERPs, it’s important to create an action plan for your content strategy.

Tips for Using Insights to Improve Your Content Strategy

    • Gauge how often your competitors refresh their content; this will provide a benchmark for your own content schedule.
    • Pay attention to the type of content updates being made and allow that to inform and guide your own content recommendations.
    • Use competitors’ activity as inspiration, rather than copying them, for your own unique approach.
    • Test content changes and see how they affect your rankings; use Rankalyzer to correlate the changes to any position changes.
    • Implement structured data based on competitors’ schema changes to enhance your chances of capturing rich snippets.
    • Optimize technical SEO by noting improvements in competitors’ page speed and core web vitals and applying similar enhancements to your site.

Creating Custom Reports

Creating detailed reports is crucial for demonstrating the value of your SEO efforts and the insights gained from Rankalyzer. While Rankalyzer does not generate custom reports directly, you can use the exportable data and various dashboards to create comprehensive reports externally.

    • Select Relevant Data: Start by choosing the most pertinent data for your goals. This could include keyword rankings, competitor SEO changes, backlink updates, and SERP feature appearances.
    • Utilize Dashboards: Use Rankalyzer’s dashboards to track different date ranges, competitors, and SERPs for different keywords. This allows you to gather a comprehensive set of data tailored to your needs.
    • Export SERP Data: Export the SERP dashboard data to get insights on position changes and indicators of specific page changes for competitors. Use this data as the foundation for your reports.
    • Format and Customize: Use tools like Excel or Google Sheets to format the exported data into visually appealing and easy-to-understand reports. Create charts and graphs to represent the data clearly.
    • Add Commentary and Analysis: Simply presenting data is not enough. Add your expert analysis and commentary to explain the significance of the data, what trends you’re observing, and what actions you recommend.
    • Include Visuals: Use screenshots from Rankalyzer’s dashboards to visually represent the data. Visuals can help grasp complex information quickly and clearly.

Sharing Insights and Recommendations

Best practices for communicating findings to clients/stakeholders

Effectively communicating your findings and recommendations to clients or stakeholders ensures that they understand the value of your work and can make informed decisions. Here are some best practices:

    • Schedule Regular Meetings: Arrange regular meetings to go over the reports. This could be monthly or quarterly, depending on the stakeholder’s needs and the nature of your work.
    • Use Clear and Concise Language: Avoid jargon and technical terms that might be confusing. Use clear and simple language to explain your findings and recommendations.
    • Provide Actionable Insights: Ensure that your recommendations are actionable. Clients/stakeholders should know exactly what steps to take next based on your analysis. This could involve content updates, technical SEO changes, or new link-building strategies.
    • Show the Impact: Whenever possible, show the impact of past recommendations. Use before-and-after data to demonstrate the effectiveness of your strategies. This builds trust and shows the value of your services.
    • Templates and Examples: Use templates and examples to standardize your reporting and communication process. This ensures consistency and makes it easier to prepare reports. Include sections for key metrics, insights, and recommendations.

Example Template for a Presentation:

1. Introduction:

    • Overview of the period being analyzed
    • Brief summary of the main findings

2. Keyword Rankings:

    • Current rankings for target keywords
    • Ranking changes over the reporting period

3. Competitor Analysis:

    • Key competitor movements
    • Significant SEO-related website changes by competitors

4. Backlink Overview:

    • New and lost backlinks
    • Insights into competitor backlink strategies

5. Recommendations:

    • Specific actions to take based on the data
    • Prioritized list of tasks with expected impact

6. Q&A:

    • Open the floor for any questions or clarifications

Conclusion

Rankalyzer offers a robust suite of tools to help you monitor and adapt to changes in SEO. By tracking competitor SEO changes, analyzing SERP performance, and monitoring backlinks, you can stay ahead of the competition and refine your strategies for better results. We highly encourage you to explore all the features Rankalyzer offers and provide feedback to help us continue improving the platform. For further support or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Unlock the full potential of your SEO strategy with Rankalyzer today.

Article by
Sean Begg is Founder & CEO at Rankalyzer & Position Digital. He loves writing about SEO, link building and digital PR.

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Sean Begg is Founder & CEO at Rankalyzer & Position Digital. He loves writing about SEO, link building and digital PR.

Rankalyzer allows you to see exactly how your competitors are optimizing their sites and the direct effects on their keyword rankings. Armed with this insight, take decisive action, refine your SEO strategy, and drive better SEO results today.

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