Search Ranking test

What does it do?

Checks the placement of this website in selected search engines for specified terms. High placement is usually one of the ultimate aims of Search Engine Optimization.

Example results

Example of search ranking test results

Why is it important?

  • Over 80% of website traffic originates from search engines.
  • In general, those who find your website through a search engine are pre-qualified as potential customers (before finding your website they requested what you are selling).
  • Good search engine placement immediately gives visitors some confidence that your website is good (or ‘best’) for that term.

Sitebeam can test your ranking in a large number of search engines across the globe.

How is it measured?

Each search engine is checked for the list of specified terms. Sitebeam looks at the results and counts what position (rank) the currently tested website has, if any. A score is then calculated for each search engine result (from 1-10), and an average for all results is used for the overall score.

If no search terms are specified, Sitebeam will test the name of your website by default. Generally, you should specify keywords manually as this will provide more meaningful results.

Clicking on the link for each search result (the name of the search engine) will display the page that Sitebeam analyzed to get the results. This page may have changed since the report was run, or appear differently to you depending on your physical location.

Technical explanation

The analysis of search engine position is usually relatively straightforward, although in some cases it is not always clear what a ‘#1’ ranking website is. For example: Here the relevant search engine results are shown in red (1, 2, 3 and 4). The blue results are intentionally ignored:

Example of Google search results page

a. Sponsored links. These typically change every time the search is repeated, and always have a shaded background colour behind them with “Ads” written in the corner. Most commonly they appear at the right-hand side of search results, sometimes also appearing at the top of results as shown here.
b. Local results. These results are shown based on where Google thinks you are currently located in the world. By definition these results change for every user, and are unpredictable.

This test also ignores multiple links to the same site, for example:

Another example Google search results page

Sitebeam’s underlying principle is: Only include repeatable results that everyone sees, and never include duplicate results.

Potential problems

See Search engine results appear to be wrong.

How to improve this score

See Improving SEO.

How to use this test effectively

This test is an excellent measure of how well a website is performing for desirable keywords. Bear in mind the test is of no value if you’re testing the wrong keywords or search engines. Be honest, and aim for practical terms that people who are interested in your services will genuinely search for. See Improving SEO.

Don’t assume that your websites must always score a perfect 10 for this test. See Perfectionist fallacy.

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