Your Site is Your Best Keyword Tool

Your Site is Your Best Keyword Tool

Austin, Texas –

Plenty of SEOs are hooked on the Google AdWords Keyword Tool as a source of keyword ideas, but we all know that the numbers can only be taken as a suggestion for what’s going to happen when we chase after those phrases. There are, of course, plenty of paid alternatives that can give us more insight, but you already have access to an even better keyword tool that won’t cost you any extra money:

Your own site.

How to Use Your Site as a Keyword Tool

We’re not suggesting that you stop using other tools, which are typically the only way to dive into a niche you haven’t played with yet. But your existing site is the only tool that can really tell you which keywords are flat-lining, and which ones might be worth going after.

Here’s how to make it happen:

  1. Log into Google Analytics
  2. Click “Traffic Sources” in the left sidebar
  3. Click “Search Engine Optimization
  4. Click “Queries”

This screen contains your information pulled in from Webmaster Tools. In some ways it is more useful than the “Organic” heading under Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic, because it lists the number of impressions, not just the number of visits. Even more importantly, it also lists your average position in the search results.

Why is this so useful? Well, the further you get down the search results, the lower your click through rate is going to get. If your average position is 400 and your number of impressions is 4,000, it’s not all that bad if you’re only getting 5 clicks. So while the “Organic” heading is only going to tell you that you have 5 visits from a keyword, the “Queries” page is going to tell you that you have 4,000 impressions despite sitting on the 40th page of the search results.

Those are numbers worth paying attention to.

Here’s one way you might go about sorting through this information to find keywords worth paying attention to:

  1. At the bottom of the screen, adjust “Show rows:” to 500
  2. Click “Average Position” at the top of your keyword list in descending order, so that your worst rankings are at the top.
  3. Start scrolling down, and pay attention to the numbers in the “Impressions” column.
  4. Keep your eye out for keywords with a high number of impressions despite bad rankings, and record these keywords.

Alternatively, you can sort by “Impressions” and scroll down while looking for keywords with especially bad rankings, but I’ve found that the noteworthy keywords stand out more when you’re sorting by rankings. (Most of the poorly performing keywords will say either 5 clicks or 0 clicks.)

Now, this method won’t tell you very much about the keywords you are already targeting. However, it will point out keywords in your niche that you haven’t been targeting. If you’re already getting a high number of impressions for a keyword, despite a poor ranking, there’s no doubt the keyword has a great deal of traffic potential.

How else can you use your site as a keyword tool?

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