It’s natural for a business to want to keep their finger on the pulse of their website’s ranking. After all, rankings are what SEO are all about. This has led to the rise of automatic rankings checking services, which offer regular updates and alerts. It all sounds very handy, but it can come with negative side effects for your business.
A lot of businesses use automatic ranking checkers to keep up to date with their website’s search engine health. It’s understandable to want to be able to access your site’s ranking at any given moment. What is slightly less understandable is the fact that the search engines, or at least Google, don’t want you to.
It’s all in the small print. Although a lot of the rules about websites and search engines are unwritten, the rule on automatic ranking checks is clearly set out in Google’s terms of service. The relevant rule is section five, point three, which sets out that users agree not to access Google services except through a Google interface. It specifically mentions automated tools used to access any Google services, which neatly covers automatic rankings checkers.
Webmasters could be forgiven for thinking that Google wouldn’t really care about automatic checks. After all, there appears to be no reason for such a thing to be against the rules. This would be true if Google webmasters hadn’t brought up the topic in chats with SEO professionals as well. Google has mentioned automatic rankings checkers issues in public statements. Although it’s not the most obvious of rules, it’s obvious that the search engine giant has it in there for a reason.
Google’s many rules, both written and unwritten, can be a source of confusion for the average site owner. Particularly when it comes to search engine optimisation, it can be hard to know whether you’re treading the line or stepping over it. Many SEO techniques rely on following the right lines correctly. There are plenty of ways for newcomers to fall into traps, which is one of the many reasons to access professional services when it comes to the search engine optimisation of your site. You can talk to our experts at SEO Consult about formulating a plan that treads the right path.
The number of automatic ranking check tools out there muddies the issue even further. There are even reputable companies using automated checker tools. It is likely that many companies are unaware of the clause forbidding such tools, and this has led to a misperception that using the tools is completely fine.
This is a confusing area, particularly as it’s hard to see exactly what is wrong about tools that check your ranking for you. On the surface, automatic checks do absolutely no harm. However, if Google does decide to pursue the search engine’s terms of service, a site accessing rankings through these tools could be penalised. For the sake of a little extra time to check it manually, it’s not really worth it. Ranking checking is one more complexity in the complicated world of search engine optimisation.