Andrew Shipp
Apr 25, 2019 | 8 min read

Today, site owners and SEO experts alike must keep a watchful eye on the visibility of their websites in search engines. Doing so can help assess the effectiveness of their overall SEO efforts and avoid a disaster. As a rule of thumb, the higher the visibility score is, the better.

So, how can you learn what your site’s search visibility score is, and what factors can impact it? Let’s take a closer look to find out.

What is search visibility and how is it calculated in SE Ranking?

Search visibility is the share of impressions a website gets in a given search engine for a given search query. Putting it in other words, website search engine visibility shows the percentage of users who will see the site upon entering a particular search query into the search box.

With SE Ranking, you can check your website’s SEO visibility in such search engines as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and even YouTube.

For example, let’s say you’ve added a project (website) to our SEO platform along with the keywords you’ll use to track its performance. Now, hypothetically speaking, some keywords managed to get your site into the top 3 results, while the rest weren’t as successful and were only capable of getting it into the top 10 or 20 at best. Through a special algorithm, the system assigns a different number of points to each search query depending on the site’s SERP position.

It’s rather straightforward, really: the higher the ranking is, the higher the score. On top of that, the system also takes the query’s search volume into account where the same rule applies: the higher the search volume is, the higher the score.

All the assigned points are then inserted into a special formula that calculates the site’s current visibility on Google or another search engine that’s been added to the project. Here’s what it looks like:

where
S is the search visibility;
F is the search volume;
A is the adjusting ranking factor.

The adjusting factor is determined depending on the keyword position your website gains in a search engine based on a certain search volume:

Top 3 positions: A=1;
4th position: A=0,85;
5th position: A=0,60;
6, 7 positions: A=0,50;
8, 9 positions: A=0,30;
10th position: A=0,2;
11th position and so on: A=0.

Basically, to make it dead-simple, you want your site to strive for 100% visibility and steer well clear of 0%.

Keyword and keyword group search visibility

In addition to the website search visibility, you can also track visibility of specific keywords and keyword groups. It means you can learn which share of impressions particular keywords get in organic search results. Just like website visibility, you can track keyword visibility across all the search engines you’ve added to the project.

For keyword groups, search visibility is calculated in the same way as website search visibility, so the formula explained above applies. For separate keywords the formula is dead simple.

S=A*100%

The meaning of the letter is the same as described above: S stands for search visibility and A is the adjusting ranking factor.

Why track website search visibility?

Performing regular website visibility checks can help you with the following:

  1. Compare the visibility of your site for specific keywords with that of your rivals. That way, you’ll be able to evaluate your position against your direct competitors and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  2. Use the visibility score to get a list of the top players in your niche. This data will help you weigh your chances of getting into the top search results, and understand what sets the top players apart in your niche.
  3. Closely study the analytics behind your site’s positions to evaluate actual SEO results. This is an absolute must if you want to analyze the position change dynamics and understand its impact on the site’s visibility score in Google or any other tracked search engine. By keeping a constant eye on your website’s visibility, you’ll be able to properly assess the situation in time, predict traffic jumps and falls, and even explain why more or fewer people are visiting your site.

Let’s look at an example of the last scenario. Suppose your site moved up in the search results for several keywords, and dropped a few positions for another set of keywords.

To help me illustrate my point, here’s a specific example of a keyword that has a search volume of 9900 searches per month that dropped a single ranking position:

And another example of a keyword that has 90 monthly searches, but went up in rankings:

At first glance, it may seem that these results are positive rather than negative. However, if the search volume of the first 10 keywords is below 1000 searches per month, while the other 5 keywords see thousands of searches per month — then the site’s search engine visibility will take a significant hit. And, consequently, the number of conversions will decrease along with the amount of organic traffic.

From the example above, you can clearly see why tracking your site’s visibility isn’t an option, but a necessity. Now, let’s take a look at how exactly you can track your website’s search visibility using the all-inclusive SEO software, SE Ranking.

Analyzing search visibility with SE Ranking

To determine a site’s search visibility, you must first create a project, add all the necessary keywords, and select the search engines where you wish to track them. Once that’s ready, you will have three ways of viewing website search visibility in SE Ranking.

1. Visibility of all sites added to your account. Upon logging in to your account, you can immediately see a chart that summarizes all of your active projects. While the search visibility of each site is displayed separately, it’s important to keep in mind that the data shown on the Dashboard takes all tracked search engines into account. For example, if you’re tracking a site’s search positions in Google and Bing, the system calculates the overall visibility in both search engines without providing separate data. Note that this chart shows a rather general calculation that’s insufficient for an accurate analysis of search visibility dynamics.

Overall search visibility graph

2. Website search visibility breakdown by search engine and region. To get valuable and actionable search visibility insights from SE Ranking, you should check the visibility of each site separately. To view the visibility chart for each search engine tracked in a project, select a website, go to Rankings Detailed, and click the “Search visibility” graph preview.

Website search visibility

The graph will show your website search visibility dynamics for the selected search engine. To see the data for a different search engine, pick it from the drop-down list or choose to view data for all search engines. In the latter case, you’ll see graphs and tables with detailed information for every tracked search engine on a single page one by one.

Additionally, you can see website visibility for all the search engines added to a project in a single chart by going to RankingsOverall.

Overall website search visibility

3. Separate keywords and keyword groups’ search visibility. In the Detailed section of the Rankings module, you can also find data on search visibility of separate keywords and keywords groups. To do so, press the Columns button and add the respective parameter to the Rankings table. You’ll then see the data for the selected search engine in the set region.

Keywords and keyword groups visibility data

4. Competitor search visibility. You can also view the visibility chart of your direct rivals by selecting a project and going to CompetitorsVisibility rating. You can view aggregated data on their search visibility in all the search engines you track, or check out the graphs for each of the search engines separately.

Competitors' visibility

When evaluating the search visibility of your own site, you can also throw the visibility data on your competitors into the mix to get a more profound understanding of the overall search dynamics.

Setting up the visibility chart display in the SE Ranking

The chart you see at the top of the page on the Dashboard has four options (Average position, Traffic forecast, Search visibility, and % in TOP 10), but it can be configured to display the search visibility chart by default. To do this, go to the Dashboard setting and select the select “Search visibility” graph to be shown by default.

Dashboard graphs settings

The search visibility data on your site combined with that of your main competitors allows you to set clear priorities regarding the keywords you want to rank higher in search, as well as track visibility dynamics, and, consequently, adjust your SEO strategy. All this can be easily done using SE Ranking tools.

Here’s to your websites getting higher rankings and seeing improved visibility! If you’re not yet using SE Ranking to tackle your day-to-day SEO activity — try it now! Trial access is completely free of charge.  

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10 comments
  1. Wow! I haven’t checked all the opportunities to analyze website search visibility on the platform before but now will definitely do. Thanks for this!

    1. You are most welcome! SE Ranking has tons of useful features for you to explore so be sure to try them out!

  2. Have been a customer for many years and really like and appreciate all the changes you guys have been making. This particular ‘visibility’ calculation has always been a problem for me though. We have a very specific niche, so search volume doesn’t really mean anything to us, and thus this calculation is unusable. I wish you guys would have a ‘pure’ visibility calculation without using search volume. If you think about it your are not really calculating visibility here, you are calculating potential for traffic which is different. I think you are doing dis-service to your customers in smaller niche markets where keywords just don’t have tons of search volume.

    1. Thank you for your comment and feedback, Bryan! Will make sure our DevTeam takes this issue into consideration, but this metric largely depends on the popularity (search volume) of the keywords you use to promote your sites.

    1. Thanks for your question, Jamila! Enter a search query to analyze means type in a keyword that you want to get more information on. When creating content it helps to know what your target audience is typing into Google to find your product/service. For example, if you are selling chocolate cakes, then you should enter the keyword “chocolate cake” into SE Ranking’s SEO/PPC Competitor Research tool to find out how many people search for this exact keyword (or search query) each month, how much it costs to target this keyword in your Google Ads campaigns, and so on. Hope this helps!

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