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Discovery Thursday: SEMrush Position Tracking Tool

Mike Isaac
Discovery Thursday: SEMrush Position Tracking Tool

Welcome to yet another edition of Discovery Thursday! Here is where we will show you various reports and features within SEMrush that you may not be taking advantage of.

Everyone has SEO or PPC campaigns to run, whether they are big or small companies. This means that smaller companies tend to focus more on a specific geographical location as larger companies tend to look from a national standpoint. The way that SEMrush currently works is if you search any domain, keyword or URL in to the search bar at the top, you will be presented with all of the data we have in our system for that query at the national level for the database of your choosing.

So what do you do when you need find rankings for a specific location? Here is where you can use SEMrush’s Position Tracking tool.

Located under the Projects section, the Position Tracking tool is a powerful resource that allows for marketers to monitor their rankings for their keywords from both an organic and PPC standpoint. The way this tool works is you enter a set domain (in this case the domain associated with your project), a set list of competitors you would like to compare it to (you can add up to 10), a set list of keywords you would like to track, a specific location you would like to track (this can go from the national level all the way down to the city level), as well as a device type. After you specify this information to the tool, you will receive updated rankings every 24-48 hours automatically.

This will track your rankings from the day you set up this project moving forward.


First, you will start with the domain you will want to track. By default, the project will be for the root domain of the domain entered for the domain. If you choose Advanced settings, you give yourself the options to track by subdomain, URL or subfolder. Once you make this specification, here is where you will enter your location as well as device type. You can select for any country, state or city. If you prefer to only track at a national level or state level, you will leave the other boxes at “Please select…”.

After making this specification, you can then choose your device type, whether it be rankings for desktop. phone or tablet results. Next you have the option to select what competitors you would like to compare your domain to. You can either add these domains in manually or choose from a suggested list or competitors. These suggestions will come based on what competitors SEMrush has found from both the Organic Competitors Report as well as the Advertising Research Competitors Report. 

The last part will be to enter the keywords you would like to track. If you have the list of keywords you would like to track, you can enter them into the sandbox to the left, decide if you would like any tags included for those keywords, then click the blue “Add to Project” button below. However, if you are not sure what keywords you would like to include in your project, you have a few options.

By choosing the “From SEMrush” option, you have the option to receive suggestions based off of Organic or Paid Positions reports within SEMrush for however many keywords you specify. You also have the option of receiving Phrase Match Keywords or Related Keywords for a given phrase you specify. The “From GA” option will connect to your Google Analytics account and provide suggestions based on what you are ranking for. Also, you can choose the “From File” option to upload an already created list of keywords if you have one.

Once you have made all specifications to your project, press the “Start Tracking” button and you will have successfully created your Position Tracking project.

PLEASE NOTE: It can take up to an hour to receive initial results for your project. It will take from 24-48 hours to receive full results for your Position Tracking campaign. This is a custom crawl we are conducting for your website based on your specifications. 


After you have received your first update on your website, you are ready to start using the Position Tracking tool. When you first open this tool, you are brought to the Overview tab. At the top, you will notice a couple of filters you can use to alter your results. Starting at the top, you can change your results from Organic or Paid using the Type selection at the top.


To the right, you have the option to include or exclude local ranking results from your report using the pin icon. Next to this icon will be a tag icon if you wish to filter your results by tag. The last calendar icon will allow you choose your date range you would like to see data for. You can choose from the moment you set up your Position Tracking project to the most recent crawl.


The blue bars at the top allow you to choose what domains you are currently analyzing. Your project allows for 10 competitors to be tracked, however, you can only analyze five domains at a time.

Below the domain selection bars will be a line graph displaying your data. Here, you will see how your website stacks up to your competitors through multiple metrics including:

  • Visibility Trend: A percentage scale from 0-100% measuring CTR for a domain. A score of 0% means the domain is not ranking within the top 100 results for any keywords. A score of 100% means the domain ranks #1 for all of the keywords within the Position Tracking campaign.
  • Estimated Traffic: Estimated traffic is based on CTR (Click-Through Rate, that shows a probability that the user will click on a domain’s search result depending on this domain’s position in the SERP), multiplied by the keyword’s Volume and divided by 30 (number of days in a month). This is a sum of estimated traffic for all your keywords from this tracking campaign.
  • Average Position: Average Position refers to the average ranking of all keywords in your campaign. The graph will display how your average position has changed within the given time period.

Along with these metrics shown in this graph, you can also see the actual rankings for your domain along with your competitors for each keyword through the Rankings Overview tab. In the tab to the right, Rankings Distribution, you can receive quick data on how your rankings or your competitors rankings are distributed throughout this project. You can change out which domains you would like to see data for through the blue bars listed at the top of this report (you can only analyze five domains at a time).

If we move into the next tab at the top of this report, Rankings, you will see all of the keywords for this project along with each domains ranking for each keyword. You can specify what timeframe you would like to analyze through the calendar icon to the right.

By clicking on any numerical position for a domain, you will see a popup notifying you of when the last update was conducted, the keyword, the landing page URL associated with the ranking, as well as a button to view the SERP that shows this ranking. Between each date range, you will notice a trend column that will display how the trend of the keyword’s ranking has changed over the given time frame.

The Landing Pages report will break down rankings by landing page. You can see how many keywords each page is ranking for along with the estimated traffic coming from the given landing page, the average positioning of those keywords as well as the total average monthly search volume of those keywords for the specific landing page. This can serve as valuable information to see what landing pages your competitors have that are providing them with the most traffic.


The last report, Competitors Discovery, will provide you with a list of possible competitors you may want to add based on who else is ranking for the same keywords you have entered within this project. The first piece of data shown in this report will be a competition map. For more on how to understand these Competition Maps, please review the following blog post.

At the top, you will notice a Depth option that allows you to to include how many top positions you want to include within your results. Also, if there are any domains you would like excluded from this report,  you can add then to this Blacklist box. To the right, you can choose to see a list of competitors by using the Competitors selection, or you can click the Winners & Losers button to show who has made the biggest jump or biggest loss in rankings. Below this map will list all of the competitors associated with the domain, sorted by visibility. You can also review the estimated traffic coming from the keywords they are ranking for along with the amount of keywords and average position of the keywords.

This tool can serve as a powerful research resource to track any SEO or PPC campaigns being ran by digital marketers. Whether you are running one of these campaigns yourself or are tracking someone else’s progress, this tool will make sure you will not miss a beat and will always know where yourself and your competitors are ranking.

Have you used the Position Tracking tool before? Have you found other uses for this tool other than what was already mentioned? Has this article helped you gain more insight into using this tool? Please let us know in the comments below!

If you still have questions about any of this information, please feel free to reach out to our Customer Success Team at: (855) 814-4510 or by email at [email protected]. You can also contact us on Twitter by using the #semrushcare hashtag.

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Mike Isaac is the Customer Success Content Manager at SEMrush. He has been working at SEMrush for over 3 years and is constantly pushing out new content to keep users engaged. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
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