Show Keyword Ranking Changes and Analyse Movements using SISTRIX

Keyword Ranking will show you how a domain’s rankings have changed over a period of time, either for good, or bad. Find lost keywords, new keywords, track domain moves and investigate Visibility Index changes and find the effects of Core Updates through easy to use filters that will save you time. The Ranking Changes feature works with sub-domains, directories and even URLs, on all domains, including those of your competitors.

Where can I see the ranking changes for my website?

The section called “Ranking Changes” is part of the SEO Module in the SISTRIX Toolbox.

To find it, type your domain (or host, directory or URL) into the search bar 1 and then click on the corresponding entry in the menu on the left of the screen 2 .

How to view and sort ranking change data

The options at the top of the screen will help you set and refine your results, so we’ll begin with a quick explanation of these table features.

Option menu for the feature Ranking Changes
  • Options: select different options for the table (see below).
  • Mobile/ Desktop: choose between mobile or desktop data.
  • Export: export the table as a CSV file. To do this you will need to use some credits.
  • Shortlink : share the table on Social Media.

A click on the “Options” button will let you select further features for the table:

Options for the table Ranking Changes in the SISTRIX Toolbox
  • Date #1: defines the start date for the comparison period.
  • Date #2: defines the end date for the comparison period.
  • Expert Filter: opens an advanced (AND / OR) filter process for the table.
  • Select Columns: lets you select optional table columns and save column preferences.
  • Save filter: if you made a filter combination you find useful, you will be able to save it for the future, saving some time.
  • Load filter: select one of the filter combinations you saved or delete it.
You can also change the dates directly above the table by clicking on the pencil icon . Change date for a table in the Toolbox

Above the table you will also find useful filters that will help you refine the data and help you get answers to your questions.

Use the quick filter “Search keyword3 to see all the results that contain a specific text. You can also sort them in a more detailed way by clicking on the green button “Filter now1 . This second button will open a list of filters on the right side of the screen, that you will be able to combine. This way the Toolbox will provide you only with the results you need for your analysis.

The most important filter in this section is number 2 where you are able to select the type of ranking changes you want to see for the specified period of time.

Ranking changes options

The Ranking Changes table will bring you the following results:

  • Ranking increased: all the domain’s rankings that have improved between Date#1 and Date#2
  • Ranking decreased: all the domain’s rankings that have worsened between Date#1 and Date#2
  • New Keywords: all the keywords for which the domain didn’t rank within the Top-100 results at Date#1 but is now ranking within the Top-100 on Date#2
  • Lost Keywords: all keywords for which the domain ranked within the Top-100 results at Date#1, but is no longer ranking in the Top-100 on Date#2
  • New Top-10 Keywords: all the keywords for which the domain ranked between page 2 and 10, or not at all on Date#1, but have reached the Top-10 ranking positions on Date#2
  • Lost Top-10 Keywords: all the keywords for which the domain ranked on page 1 at Date#1, but rank on page 2 or lower, or not at all in the Top-100 on Date#2
  • New Top-20 Keywords: all the keywords for which the domain ranked between page 3 or lower, or not at all on Date#1, but have reached the first 20 ranking positions on Date#2
  • Lost Top-20 Keywords: all the keywords for which the domain ranked on page 1 or 2 before Date#1, but rank on page 3 or lower, or not at all on Date#2
  • All changes: all the ranking changes that occurred between Date#1 and Date#2

How to interpret the ranking change data

The default table that shows the ranking changes for a domain (or a path, subdomain or URL) is made up of different columns. Every header can be clicked in order to sort the table according to that specific characteristic.

1 Keyword: the keyword for which the domain is ranking.

2 Date #1: ranking position for that keyword on the start date.

3 Date #2: ranking position for that keyword on the end date.

4 Change: Change value between the start and end dates.

5 URL: the URL which is ranking for that keyword

6 Search Volume: search-volume for the keyword

7 Competition: how much competition is there for this keyword (on a scale of 0 to 100), based on a SISTRIX calculation of numerous criteria

8 Snippet Preview : a preview of the Snippet for that specific keyword in the SERPs and of its most important characteristics

9 Show Keyword History : ranking history for the domain and keyword combination

10 Show SERPs : shows the current SERPs for the given keyword

In front of the URL, the Toolbox also shows other symbols that can help in your analysis: accelerated mobile pages will have the AMP symbol near them, while encrypted HTTPS URLS are preceded by the icon . Finally, the icon will open the URL in a new browser tab.

SISTRIX Toolbox: example of Snippet Overview

As shown at 8, the icon will give you more information about the URL Snippet: you just have to hover the mouse on it to see how Google shows the result in the SERP.

Besides the ranking keyword, the start-date position and the ranking change up to the end-date is shown.

Underneath this, the Toolbox warns us via flags and tick-marks whether the snippet title and text have been both shortened (like in this example), and indicates other characteristics of the result and of the SERP in which it’s ranking. This information can help in optimising your URL snippet further which may improve click rates.

Note that the notice “SERP has Image Box” doesn’t mean that the Website you’re analysing is actually ranking in the image box, but refers to the general result page. This applies to every notice that begins with “SERP has”.

The different types of Ranking Changes

As previously mentioned, if you select the filter “All changes” the Toolbox will group all the ranking changes occurred within the domain in one table, as in the following example.

The so-called “Lost Keywords” are those symbolized with the sign “>100” 1 , while the “New Keywords” are labelled as “NEW” 4 .

You can recognise the “Ranking decreased” by the red square, which contains the amount of positions lost from the domain for that keyword in the Google’s SERPs 2. For example, the domain screwfix.com ranked for the keyword “irrigation” on position 6 on the 11th November and on position 8 on the 18th November, so it lost 2 ranking positions.

The “Ranking increased” follow the same rule, using a green box to show the number of gained positions of the domain for that keyword 3. In our example, screwfix.com gained 2 ranking positions with the keyword “irrigation pipes”, jumping from position 4 to 2.

Practical examples

There are many ways to use the ranking changes feature in practice. Here are three case studies showing analysis after a Core Update, analysis after a relaunch and analysis of a competitors content directory.

How to analyse a visibility loss

If the visibility of a website drops suddenly, it could be useful to take a look into its ranking changes in order to verify whether the whole domain was affected or just a part of it. From that point, you will be able to project the right SEO measures to improve the situation.

Visibility drop for the website mercola.com

For example, the visibility of the domain mercola.com dropped after the launch of a Google Core Update.

Lost keywords for mercola.com in the SISTRIX Toolbox

If we open the ranking changes and focus on the lost keywords for that period of time, we see that all of them come from the subdomain articles.mercola.com. It’s then easier to find out that this content was not deleted and so probably didn’t have the right standards to perform well on Google after the Core Update.

Analyse changes after a content move

Where content is being moved within a domain, the Ranking Changes tool can be used to see the effects. Perhaps there are 301 redirects missing. Perhaps a new CMS has had a negative impact, or perhaps a robots.txt file update has been forgotten. An example can be found with whsmith.co.uk who relaunched their website in May 2019. By using the ranking changes tool we can see that over 5000 keyword rankings were lost from the Top 100 after the relaunch period.

By filtering the list we can focus on important keyword rankings that have good search volume.

whsmith lost keywords filtered

Using this list we can click to access the URLs (click on the icon) to see if they are still active or redirected. You can also download the list of URLs for use in other tools, and use the list of lost keywords in a list, which could be used to find successful domains ranking for those keywords.

whsmith 404 page

In this case there are many URLs that were not redirected. While new content may be available on the site, it’s important to redirect the old content so that Google can find it and so that external links and bookmarks still function.

Find competitor content that is gaining rankings in Google

Thanks to the Ranking Changes analysis of your competitors you will be able to spot which content is winning the users’ attention and, therefore, performing better on Google.

Quick tip: Find your true competitors in Google search by reading our tutorial “Analysing the Opposition: Who are my competitors?”

For example, if your website is focused on hairstyle and haircuts, it will probably have strong competition on Google, and one of your direct competitors could be the domain latest-hairstyles.com.

Top-10 ranking changes of latest-hairstyles.com in the SISTRIX Toolbox

If you take a look at its Ranking Changes, more specifically at its new Top-10 keywords, you will see that the directory /colour/ is gaining better positions on the first results page, as it focuses on new colour ideas for hair dye.

This type of information tells you that the competitor my be adding content, or offering it in the right way. It would be a good idea to learn from the content.

If you wish to know more about analysing a major visibility loss, you can find it in this tutorial.