There's plenty to learn from the past rankings on a keyword search.

A keyword's history will show you the top domains currently ranking for it, along with a look back at how their rankings on that term have evolved over time. You can also track past rankings of other domains on that keyword--domains that might not appear in top results anymore.

That itself can give you some answers about what it takes to rank for a keyword so that the past details can help you going forward.

Here's how to find past rankings with the SpyFu Ranking History tool (for keywords).

Enter a keyword into the SpyFu search bar (from the SpyFu main page). When its overview page opens (full of stats for this keyword), scroll down to the Ranking History section.

This chart shows 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 “audiobooks,” and you can see how a domain like audiobooks.com (obvs) and librivox.org have booth ranked for this keyword (sometimes off and on) since 2008.

What's Happening to Ranks?

As you track these domains and see their ups and downs, note the markers on the timeline. We've marked Google Algorithm updates to give you possible ideas about what is potentially affecting the site's position.

Change your Domain Groups

By default, the first domains you see tracked on the chart are the current ranking domains. You can add a domain/page to the list so that it's compared with that default group, or you can switch your group altogether.

Use these options to make the change.

Biggest Gains: This updates the chart with domains that most recently saw the biggest jumps in their rankings. It tracks the past history of those domains on this particular keyword.

This can be helpful for spotting newer content (or refreshed content) on the keyword--important to see if you are hoping to move into this space.

Biggest Losses: This updates the chart with domains that most recently took the biggest hits to their SERP positions.

This is helpful to watch for overall shifts on this keyword. Are many domains losing ranks from the first page? Or are these sites that did not put much work into their content? These lessons can help direct what you do on the keyword.

Adjust Your Timeframe

What you learn from this tool might change depending on the timeframe you track. For example, some changes can seem small from month to month but a domain that slips a bit every month will show dramatic changes over one year.

You can change the duration of the timespan (6 months vs 2 years) using the settings at the top of the chart. Change the dates that the timespan cover by using the slider at the bottom of the chart. Drag it to the year that you'd like to measure.

Export and Print

This visual element can be helpful for presales, especially when you can show a potential client the results of your past work OR some risks that they're facing. Our export options make that smoother for you.

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