This article will walk you through the setup steps of a Position Tracking campaign. For example, we'll pretend we operate a website that sells watersports gear and we want to track our visibility for keywords related to wakeboards, life jackets, and waterskis.
To start a Position Tracking campaign, you first need to start an SEMrush project. Use the domain of the site you want to track, because the domain can’t be changed later after starting a project. To start a new project, select the plus icon beside the Projects button next to the search bar.
If you have an existing project without a Position Tracking campaign set up, you can set up a Position Tracking campaign for that domain. Or, create a new project and set up your Position Tracking campaign first.
From the projects dashboard, select “Set up” from the Position Tracking box. You’ll open up the 4-step set-up wizard, which will walk you through the configuring process.
In order to track your website’s keywords and ranking pages, you need to configure your Position Tracking campaign with information about your domain, competitors, and target keywords.
Step 1: Domain Settings
In the first step you’ll see the root domain of your project listed by default. If you open the Advanced settings drop down, you’ll see that you also have the ability to track a subdomain, URL, or subfolder on your website.
To get the most data possible, you’ll want to start by tracking the entire root domain. But don’t worry! You can change these settings at any point after starting your campaign.
If you know that you want to focus on a specific area of your site, you can enter the subdomain, URL, or subfolder of your focus to narrow the campaign’s scope. However, all rankings on subdomains, URLs, and subfolders will be stored in your historical data anyway.
Therefore, it’s best to start by tracking the root domain and experiment with looking at subdomains and URLs after your campaign has begun.
Step 2: Location and Device
The second step of the wizard allows you to specify the location of the search results you want to track. Start with the country, and if you want to get more specific, enter the region (state for U.S) and city of the results to focus on. Selecting a country is a required step, but adding a region or city is optional. For local businesses or any location-specific campaigns, this step is vital for focusing the tool to track results in the areas you’re actually targeting with your website.
Next you can choose the type of device to track results on. Search results are different across desktop devices, mobile phones, and tablets so select the device used most by your audience to track your positions on the search results that they will see. To cover all three device types, you would need to create three separate projects with Position Tracking campaigns targeting each device.
Please note: After setting up your campaign, you will not be able to change location or device type, so double check your settings in this step before moving on. However, if you set up a campaign on the local (city) level, you will be able to switch between viewing local and national volume data in your campaign.
Step 3: Competitors
In the next step of the wizard, you can add up to 20 of your competitors to your campaign. SEMrush automatically generates a list of suggested organic and AdWords competitors for your domain. These suggested competitors are generated from our Organic Competitors and Advertising Competitors reports under Domain Analytics.
You can add any of these to your campaign with the blue plus icon beside their domain in the list, or add any other competitors by typing in their domain in the bar above the suggestions and selecting “Add to list.”
The tool will track rankings for each competitor added in addition to tracking your own domain. After your campaign begins, you can add or remove competitors at any time, so there’s no pressure to include every relevant competitor in the setup.
In fact, there will be a tab called Competitors Discovery in the tool to provide you with even more suggested competitors based on the keywords in the project. The suggested competitors in the Competitor Discovery tab will ultimately be more accurate because they’re based on who competes for traffic from the specific keywords you’re focusing on.
Step 4: Keywords
Finally, you can enter your target keywords in the wizard! Add keywords manually, from SEMrush reports, from Google Analytics, or from a .txt or .csv file.
When adding keywords from SEMrush, you have the option to add lists of keywords from an Organic Positions report, Advertising Positions report, Phrase Match keyword report, or Related Keywords report.
Importing from Google Analytics will add your list of keywords found under Acquisition - Campaigns - Organic Keywords to your Position Tracking campaign. When uploading the .csv file, make sure to include all of your keywords in the first column. Any info in other columns will not be imported.
When you add keywords to your sandbox, you have the ability to tag groups of keywords before adding them to the project. The more specific you are with the tags you apply to the keywords in your campaign, the easier it will be to analyze your rankings for different keywords as your campaign progresses.
In this example, we’ve created a campaign tracking 328 keywords in five distinct tags:
- Watersports gear
- Life jackets
- Beer coozies
You can apply multiple tags to a single keyword if the keyword fits into more than one category. For example, the keyword “wakeboard life jacket” could have both the “wakeboards” and “life jackets” tag.
Review your list of keywords in the box to the right before starting your campaign and choose if you want to receive weekly updates by email with the small checkbox above the green “Start Tracking” button. These updates will give you a summary of how many keywords your domain has ranking pages for in the top 3, top 10, top 20, and top 100 results on Google. Once you hit the “Start tracking” button, your campaign will begin gathering data.
Next chapter: Position Tracking Overview report.