Update October 22, 2014
We improved ranking history since we published this article, including where you find it on the site. There are still some helpful points in this article, but we’ll carry over the newest updates at this link.
A domain’s ranking history reveals plenty about its future improvement. Volatile domains could be slapped down repeatedly and never recover from Google updates. Steady climbers, by contrast, could be excellent examples of great content to mimic. Find these details using either of these two simple methods:
How to find Ranking History
- Start with a keyword search OR
- Start with a domain
Start with a keyword search (Option 1)
Enter a keyword into the SpyFu search bar. When its overview page opens (full of stats for this keyword), scroll down to the Ranking History section.
This chart includes the top 10 ranked domains on this keyword during the last month. You can add domains to the chart using the “add” button at the top left.
We started with the keyword “couch to 5K,” and you can see how a domain like coolrunning.com or c25K.com ranked on it since 2006.
Or, start with a domain’s organic keyword list. (Option 2)
If you are working with a domain and want to see how it ranked on a few different keywords, search it in the search bar (just like you did with the keyword) and then scroll down to its “Organic Ranking History” section.
Better yet — click its “Ranking History” tab toward the top of the page.
The tab opens the ranking history for this domain, and it lets you filter the results.
Tip: Use the “show keywords that match” filter (above the chart) to narrow down your results to similar keywords. In my opentable.com example, I can limit the results to keywords that match “Italian food” so that I don’t have to weed through thousands of keywords outside of the more targeted keywords I’m researching.
These results show the domain’s rankings on this keyword over time. See below for details on adding a page/URL.
This history is important because you can see how Google’s updates have affected a domain’s rankings over time. If you can single out the history of one page (product, category, article, etc.) you get some rich insights into a more specialized piece of content. Think of how this comes in handy when you can track rankings for a YouTube page or your business’ Yelp page. Add a URL to a keyword ranking search, and you’re part way there.
At the beginning of the instructions, I said that you could click the “add” button at the top of the chart. Here, instead of a domain, type in a specific page’s URL and be sure to click “add.”
Now that you’re focusing on a specific page (instead of the full domain), that can raise questions about how its ranking dropped so fast from one month to another.