SEO Agency NYC

How to Read a SERP Report

Every SEO strategy must be built around tracking positions of key search phrases from groups like branded, root, vanity, competitive, high traffic, high converters, and so on. SERP Tracker Tools help track these specific positions as a marker for your SEO performance.

What are the Most Important Metrics in a SERP Tracker Report?

In a nutshell – the average position for your keywords vs your competitors is the ultimate goal and making sure that KPI is constantly moving UP.

How are SERP Reports Built?

SEO Tools, like SEMRush, Moz, and AHrefs use Google’s Search API to scan for website positions for different keyword phrases. These large tools routinely run their public keyword databases as well as specific searches for the keywords you want to track. Sometimes, when you add a keyword, if it’s common/popular or tracked by another domain, then SEMRush may already have data. Both Public and Private queries are searched for every 24 hours or so, depending on the product.

SEMRush SERP Keyword Rankings Distribution

What Data is in a SERP Tracker Report?

  • Average Position
  • Average Visibility
  • Average Traffic
  • Keyword Volume
  • CPC
  • Competitor Data

Where is the Data Collected?

SEO Tools like SEMRush collect their KPI data from a number of different sources:

KPI Source Accuracy
Tracked Position Google API 95%
Competitor Position Public Keywords / Google API 90%
Keyword Volume Google Ads, Internal Query counter (Browser Extensions) 50%
CPC Google Ads 75%

But Why SERP Report Tools and not GSC?

Inside Google Search Console (or Bing Webmaster Tools) tracks every single keyword phrase combination that received an impression. The GSC Public UI can only show 1000 searches at a time and many phrases are just irrelevant to your overall SEO Strategy and so dropping or gaining visibility isn’t worthwhile tracking. 

SERP Trackers allow you to focus on the keywords that matter

Google Search Console (GSC) vs SERP Tracking Tools:

  1. GSC has too much data
  2. GSC tracks every variant of every possible phrase
  3. GSC stops tracking keywords that lose impressions

KPIs In a SERP Report

The key to measuring your SEO Strategy is understanding the KPIs in each SERP Report. SERP Reports Give you the following SEO Key Performance Indicators:

Terms Meaning KPI
SERP Search Engine Rank Report Position for that keyword
Average Position Average Position for a keyword, page, site, sub-domain or domain Average Position for your site in Google – this ideally needs to move up and to 0 and stay there.
Ranking Distribution How many keywords are in each position group Track how many top 3, top 10, and top 30 keywords you have
Volume The average amount of searches per month Keyword Popularity
CPC Average Google Ads Cost Per Click  CPC which determines the ROAS/CPA

How to Read a SERP Report

Here’s an example of a SEMRush SERP Report:

This is the average position chart and it shows the average position when Google Updates were made, demonstrated by a small G icon like this.

The three landscape reports are best viewed from Average Position back. Average Position is perhaps the most “accurate” of the 3 landscape metrics. This tells you the average position across your keywords (as demonstrated in GSC or Bing Webmaster Tools). 

Estimated Traffic comes from Google Ads as well as SEMRush’s own database. This number is sometimes accurate but more often than not it is wildly inaccurate. Estimated Traffic is the estimated number of clicks each keyword should get for its position.

Visibility tells you how visible the website is by taking the amount of estimated traffic and predicting the click-through rate for each keyword at each position. It’s very indicative and the actual number should be read from the search engines themselves and not SEMRush.


SeMrush can also show competitor domains using their public ranking database.

Top SERP Tracker Tools

Tool Monthly Price Free Basic Edition? SEO Expert Notes
SEMRush $119.00 Industry Leader
Moz $99.00 Industry 2nd Place
AHRefs $99.00 3rd Favorite


More Posts

YouTube B2B SEO Strategy

SEO Strategies for YouTube

As you’ve probably read many times before, YouTube is the world’s second-biggest search engine. And so – YouTube SEO makes a lot of sense for