Portent (2024)

Keywords are a seemingly inescapable aspect of the SEO world. SEO professionals (myself included) encourage clients to focus on more meaningful metrics besides the humble keyword ranking, but the fact remains that ranking well in Google for keywords with significant search volume will (usually) result in traffic to your site.

Of course, keeping track of keywords isn’t free. Whether you spend your time manually checking rankings or your money on a keyword rank tracking solution, you have to limit how many keywords you track per page and per website. So, that begs the question, “how many keywords should you track?”

Are you ready for this one? It wouldn’t be an SEO article if it didn’t have the following sentence:

“It depends.”

Start With Keyword Research

Unfortunately, keywords don’t materialize out of thin air or come to us in a vision. Even more, you can’t just assume you know what keywords people use to search and what you should be ranking for. That’s why you should always start with keyword research.

There’s plenty of information out there on how to perform keyword research successfully, but I’ll outline some of my preferred steps and best practices below.

Which Pages Rank for What?

I’m not the first Portentite to recommend starting keyword research by looking at what you already rank for. I like to go straight to Google Search Console (GSC) as soon as I get my hands on it. Despite the evidence that Search Console data is quite unreliable, it does come straight from the search giant itself, so we can’t ignore it.

Hop into your site’s GSC Performance section to see a table of queries that domain ranks for.

Portent (1)

Conveniently, this section defaults to show which queries got your site the most clicks over the past three months. This gives you a great idea of what Google thinks your site deserves to rank for and, if you click the Pages tab, which pages are ranking.

From this starting point, go forth and research keywords! Again, I’m not going to break down that process in this post, but I can point you to a couple of great resources we already created. Portent’s Founder, Ian Lurie, wrote this timeless guide fordoing keyword research that doesn’t suck. Want more help with Search Console? How about a walkthrough from former Portentite George Freitag? Finally, check out this post on how to take your keyword research to the next level.

Choose Landing Pages

Once you’ve identified the keywords you want to rank highly for, assign them to appropriate landing pages. In all likelihood, you will have already identified your target pages while performing the keyword research.

The number of target organic landing pages will directly influence the answer to our main question about the appropriate number of keywords to track.

How Many Keywords Should You Track?

You’ve decided which of your pages you want to optimize as organic landing pages, but how many keywords should you optimize each page for?

Aim for one to four keywords around a single topic per page. Use those keywords and their reworded variations in your content and header tags. It’s easier for pages to rank if they focus on one topic because there is limited space in the title and meta description tags, and you won’t be able to fit all of them. With a range of keywords per page determined, we can estimate how many keywords we’ll track.

  1. Take the number of organic landing pages you’ve chosen
  2. Multiply that number by the range of keywords per page (1-4) to get your range, or
  3. Multiply the number of organic landing pages by 2.5, the average of the range.

For example, let’s say you’re working on a services site with five unique offerings and three blog posts that you want to target as landing pages. Between these pages and your homepage, you should expect to track 9-36 or about 22 keywords on average.

Of course, rules of thumb are meant to be broken. We work with a manufacturing client that offers ten unique manufacturing products. Without including their blog-focused keywords, we’re tracking 62 keywords for their site.

Other sites might not be as cut and dried. We’ve worked with a major news publishing site that often ranks 1st for extremely high-volume keywords due to its backlink profile and industry authority. We actively track over 200 keywords for them, most of which don’t directly correspond to a static landing page such as a product or service page.

Or, if you’re dealing with a site for a 20-year-old digital marketing agency run by some of the biggest nerds in the industry, you might end up with nearly 500 keywords on your tracking list so you can keep an eye on all the various blog posts you’ve published over the years.

How To Track Keyword Rankings

Although I did mention it as a possibility, you’re probably not going to want to manually track keyword rankings by doing a Google search every day (from the same machine, using a private browsing window, at the same time of day, etc.) and looking for your site.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options available for keyword tracking.


This robust tool allows you to set up keyword tracking for desktop and mobile, specific locations, different languages, and tons of other features. They also archive HTML snapshots of the SERPs for the keywords you track so you can see how your site and your competitors showed up in Google results.

Portent (2)


Another favorite of ours is Ahrefs, a true Swiss army knife for digital marketers. Rather than specifying which keywords you’d like to actively track, Ahrefs updates daily with all keywords that your tracked sites rank for. You may not be able to keep tabs on that ambitious keyword you’d like to rank for but never have, but it’s still incredibly comprehensive.

Google Search Console

This is a great free option, but you get what you pay for. We already saw how you can use Search Console to identify what you’re already ranking for in Google search. However, the platform only shows your average ranking for a given keyword over a period of time. That means if you spent weeks ranking 80th for a term but suddenly jumped to 2nd, your 28-day average ranking will be in the 70s.

There are, of course, dozens of options out there; these are just the few that I recommend.

What to Watch for in Rank tracking

You’ve done your keyword research, assigned terms to target landing pages, and signed up for a monthly subscription to your tool of choice… so now what? Should you sweat over every movement in the rankings, no matter how small? (No.) Should you be worried if all the keywords a single page ranks for plummet 50 positions? (Probably.)

The easiest way to stay on top of your rank changes and have peace of mind for your site(s) is to set up position change alerts. For example, STAT allows you to create custom alerts based on position movement. My most used alert is “If the number of keywords in the top ten falls by 5%”. The difference between a first- and second-page result is significant.

Still, alerts aren’t going to catch everything. We SEO practitioners here at Portent check in on our clients’ keyword rankings at least once a week, making sure nothing has fallen precipitously and celebrating with our clients when we see a huge win.

Of course, fluctuations are to be expected. Google is notoriously capricious, and you may find your rankings undergoing a single-day jump or a back-and-forth oscillation.

Portent (3)

Find Your Goldilocks Number

I’ve given you a framework for estimating how many keywords to track, but anyone in digital marketing can tell you that our rules aren’t so much set in stone as they are written in chalk until someone comes along and hoses down the sidewalk.

You may find that you prefer to track far more or far fewer keywords than I’m recommending. Maybe you don’t bother tracking rankings at all! As long as the tracking that you do is valuable to you and your client, the exact number doesn’t matter.

Portent (2024)


What is the best use of portent? ›

Portent is one of the best wizard abilities in D&D 5e. It lets the wizard roll 2d20 at the start of each day and then replace up to two attack rolls, ability checks, or saving throws they perform or witness with one of those rolls.

Does portent affect advantage? ›

Basically: the Portent die is the one that gets used without regard for what was actually rolled. This means it overrides advantage, disadvantage, Luck feat, Elven Accuracy feat, and similar effects.

How does portent work? ›

Portent is a Divination School Wizard feature that offers you glimpses into the future. You gain two random Portent Dice that you can use as a Reaction to substitute into Attack Rolls and Saving Throws rolled in range.

Does Silvery Barbs work on portent? ›

Player uses portent a saving throw to pass. Enemy has silvery barbs, can they use it on that same roll to force the player to reroll? My understanding is yes, since you're still making a roll, just using a pre-emptively rolled result.

What is the example of Portent? ›

A portent is an omen of something momentous, which can be good, but is more often negative. You can use portent to mean a magical foretelling or symbol, but you can also use it to talk about something real, the way you could describe big, dark storm clouds as a portent of a thunderstorm.

How many times can you use Portent 5e? ›

The Portent ability only has three limitations: 1) the target must be a creature the Wizard can see, 2) you can replace a roll only once per turn, 3) the decision must be made before the roll.

Does Portent overcome legendary resistance? ›

Legendary Resistance means they automatically succeed the saving throw, there is no dice involved. So there's nothing that can be changed with Portent.

Does Portent use modifiers? ›

1) As I understand RAW, Portent only substitutes the die roll. So, any modifiers still get applied to it. 2) As I understand RAW, only ONE die roll is substituted. If the target has advantage or disadvantage - the first roll will be replaced with the Portent roll.

Do you add ability modifier to Portent? ›

Portent makes you replace only the d20 roll, not the final outcome. The description of ability checks in the rules says (PHB, p. 174): To make an ability check, roll a d20 and add the relevant ability modifier.

Can you use Lucky on Portent? ›

So you can use Lucky or Portent, but not both. Rules as written, no. Portent has to be declared and used before the roll happens, not after it happens. The Lucky Feat is used after a roll happens, if I was the DM I'd rule that Portent prevents the Lucky Feat from being an option because a roll never happens.

What does Portent of things to come mean? ›

A portent is something that indicates what is likely to happen in the future. [formal] The savage civil war there could be a portent of what's to come in the rest of the region. Synonyms: omen, sign, warning, threat More Synonyms of portent. Synonyms of.

Do portents of restoration stack? ›

Restoration portents do not stack nor do they consume adrenaline when used. Only one portent may be used at a time, although there is no limit to how many portents could be carried in inventory.

Why do DMs hate Silvery Barbs? ›

With Silvery Barbs you force a reroll to see if they fail. This is the same effect as casting a save or suck/die spell again on your next turn.

Do DMs ban Silvery Barbs? ›

One of them, a first-level spell called Silvery Barbs, is being widely hailed as egregiously power-creepy and often cited as outright broken, to the point where many DMs are outright banning the spell from their tables.

How does diviners portent work? ›

Portent allows you to "replace any attack roll, saving throw, or ability check made by you or a creature that you can see with one of these foretelling rolls. You must choose to do so before the roll..." (Compare with Lucky, which allows you to "reroll a die" when "you roll a 1 on the d20.")

What is the significance of Portent? ›

an indication or omen of something about to happen, especially something momentous. threatening or disquieting significance: an occurrence of dire portent.

How do you use Portent in a sentence? ›

There are ominous portents in that decision, deliberately taken. This net has been a sign and a portent on the fishing horizon for the last two years. They are the portents in the sky ahead. That is an encouraging portent for the future.

What is the meaning in Portent? ›

: something that foreshadows a coming event : omen, sign. 2. : prophetic indication or significance. 3. : marvel, prodigy.

What is the Portent advantage in D&D? ›

Portent allows you to "replace any attack roll, saving throw, or ability check made by you or a creature that you can see with one of these foretelling rolls. You must choose to do so before the roll..." (Compare with Lucky, which allows you to "reroll a die" when "you roll a 1 on the d20.")

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Terence Hammes MD

Last Updated:

Views: 6473

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Terence Hammes MD

Birthday: 1992-04-11

Address: Suite 408 9446 Mercy Mews, West Roxie, CT 04904

Phone: +50312511349175

Job: Product Consulting Liaison

Hobby: Jogging, Motor sports, Nordic skating, Jigsaw puzzles, Bird watching, Nordic skating, Sculpting

Introduction: My name is Terence Hammes MD, I am a inexpensive, energetic, jolly, faithful, cheerful, proud, rich person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.