Keyword Monitoring: What Is It and 3 Ways to Use It

What Is Keyword Monitoring?

Keyword monitoring is the process of tracking specific search queries and phrases on digital platforms.

For example, you might monitor Instagram and TikTok for any mentions of your brand or direct competitors.

A common misconception about keyword monitoring is that it only entails tracking your website’s search rankings – a.k.a. rank tracking or keyword rank monitoring.

But in addition to rank tracking, keyword monitoring also encompasses trend tracking and social monitoring.

In this article, I’ll explain each of these processes and the importance they play in your overall marketing strategy. And give practical examples using keyword monitoring tools.

1. Keyword Position Monitoring

Keyword position monitoring means tracking your website’s search rankings for specific keywords.

A pet-sitting business in Nashville might track their rankings for the keyword “pet sitter Nashville”.

This is an important SEO task because changes in search rankings impact website traffic.

A website that ranks at the top of the Google search results gets much more traffic than websites on the second page.

The search results for most keywords frequently change, so it’s important to stay on top of these shifts.

If you aren’t tracking your rankings, it might take weeks or even months to notice that they have dropped.

By this point, you would likely see a significant drop in organic traffic which could have all sorts of repercussions. The Nashville pet sitter, for example, would miss out on new revenue since potential customers would have a harder time finding out about their services.

Luckily, we can avoid this by using a rank tracking tool.

But before we get into tools, let’s break down the specific advantages of monitoring search rankings.

What Does Keyword Position Monitoring Help You Do?

Tracking your search rankings is essential to measure the success of your SEO strategy. Especially if you’re a marketer working at an agency or in-house with people to report to.

In one dashboard, you’ll see an overview of search rankings for selected pages. This allows you to be more efficient since you don’t need to manually check each page’s ranking.

Additionally, position monitoring helps measure the impact of search algorithm updates. Whether they impact your website positively or negatively, the rank tracking dashboard will quickly update with fresh results to help you act fast.

Rank tracking is also helpful for identifying content to refresh. For example, if a blog post dropped from the first position to the 12th over the course of a year, it’s a sign you might need to update it to make it more relevant to users.

Recommended Tool: Ahrefs

Among other tools, Ahrefs offers a Rank Tracker—an easy-to-use tool for monitoring keyword positions.

(If you want to follow along with these steps, set up a project first.)

Start by adding keywords to track. You can do this manually or by uploading a CSV or TXT file. Note that you can always come back and add extra keywords.

No need to worry if you don’t have a keyword list. Just scroll down to “Keywords your website ranks for” and select the ones you want to track.

Then, add your competitors manually or by selecting them from the list.

When the tool finishes analyzing keywords and competitors, it will generate a rank-tracking dashboard.

In the “Overview” section, metrics such as Share of Voice allow you to understand the percentage of clicks that go to your pages compared to the total number of clicks for all the keywords you’re tracking.

Below, you’ll find your tracked keywords. When the project is first set up, there won’t be any insights into ranking changes. However, as the SERP changes over time, the dashboard will begin to show which pages have improved, declined, or remained the same.

An important advantage of Rank Tracker is that you’ll never miss out on critical updates. The tool will automatically send you regular email reports to keep you up to date on ranking changes.

2. Trend Tracking

Trend tracking is the process of analyzing and monitoring the popularity of different topics in specific industries.

Marketers and PR teams leverage trend tracking tools to discover new topics relevant to their audience and anticipate their needs.

Also known as social listening tools, trend tracking solutions analyze audience behavior on numerous digital platforms – from social media to search engines.

This provides a 360-degree view of consumer conversations about your brand, your top competitors, and the industry you’re in.

Why Is Trend Tracking Important?

In the context of SEO, trend tracking can lead to great ideas for keyword research.

You can spot topics that are gaining popularity with your audience and use them to discover new keywords.

This allows you to align your website content with your audience’s interests. And keep a pulse on shifting trends.

Instead of investing time and resources into covering topics that get little engagement, you’ll see better results by focusing on things that are top of mind for your target audience.

Similarly, trend tracking helps create relevant content for social media and other channels.

Brands also leverage social listening to stay on top of their competitors’ strategies. If you’re a designer of vegan shoes, and your top competitor goes viral for launching pineapple leather products, you’ll be alerted to changes in their product and marketing strategy.

Recommended Tools: Google Trends, Glimpse and Ahrefs

One of the most popular trend tracking tools is Google Trends.

While this tool is great for real-time insights, it does have its limitations. Because it only uses Google search data, it gives a limited overview of trends.

For more detailed insights, use a tool like Glimpse. It generates trends by combining data from all over the internet, covering industries such as fashion, food, and consumer goods.

When you install the Glimpse Google Chrome extension, it will enrich the Google Trends data with extra insights.

If you look up “pineapple leather”, for example, the results include the monthly search volume over the past five years. (Scrolling down will take you to a section with long-tail keywords and other insights like interest by geographical region.)

However, if we turn off the Glimpse extension, Google Trends does not return any results because it does not have enough data.

Glimpse also allows you to explore trends related to different categories, such as shoes. Each keyword includes growth metrics to help you determine its long-term potential.

Also, there’s one tool that can show you the forecasted search volume for a keyword: Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

3. Social Monitoring

Social monitoring is the process of tracking conversations related to your brand on digital platforms.

It’s concerned with discussions where your brand, products, or direct competitors are mentioned. This allows you to proactively respond to issues or discover happy customers and give them a shoutout.

Important: Although social monitoring sounds similar to social listening, they are different things. Social listening tracks broader industry trends to inform future business decisions, while social monitoring tracks specific conversations.

The easiest way to monitor brand mentions on social media is to check your notifications and hashtags. However, many customers need more than these options. Plus, manual monitoring is time-consuming, and you could still miss out on important conversations due to human error.

In this case, social monitoring tools are a great way to keep track of mentions across different platforms.

Why Is Social Monitoring Important?
Social monitoring protects your brand reputation.

If an unhappy customer shames your brand on social media, it’s important to respond quickly before the bad review turns into a PR nightmare. With a social monitoring tool, businesses discover negative mentions as soon as they appear.

Additionally, it allows you to spot customer questions, answer their queries, and build a closer relationship.

Tracking your competitors is another way to leverage social monitoring. This helps you understand where they fall short and capitalize on their weaknesses. You can also simply use their mentions to insert yourself into the conversation like Peace Out Skincare did in the example below.

A skincare influencer (@glowforyourskins) shared a list of their top morning routine products. While Peace Out Skincare didn’t make the list, their social media team still used this opportunity to bring attention to their brand.

Social monitoring also surfaces happy customers raving about your products on social media. Reposting their experiences boosts social proof, capturing more of your target audience and turning them into customers.

Recommended Tool: Mention

Mention is a tool that monitors conversations from over a billion web sources, including forums and social media.

When creating an alert, type in your primary and secondary keywords, as well as any keywords Mention should exclude.

Then, select the sources Mention will collect data from.

During setup, you can also implement geographical restrictions, link your social media, and add your profiles from review websites.

Once the setup is complete, Mention will compile your alerts in a list. Use filters such as time period, source, and influence score to narrow the results. (Influence score is a number between 0 and 100 that determines the importance of a brand mention.)

Keep Learning About Keywords

Keyword monitoring is the gateway to improving your visibility across the web, maintaining your good reputation, and keeping up with trends.

Now that you know how to use different tools to monitor keywords, expand your knowledge with Ahrefs’ free keyword research course. From analyzing search intent to finding long-tail keywords, the course covers foundational concepts to elevate your SEO skills and grow traffic.

Aida Knezevic is a versatile content marketer working primarily with B2B SaaS companies. Having launched her career at a major content marketing agency, she has helped leading companies in fintech, digital marketing, and many other verticals achieve growth using SEO blogs, case studies, thought leadership, and other types of content.