Thorough Keyword Analysis Yields Search Results Dividends
by: Ben Hill
There are two primary arenas in which to analyze keywords: organic search and pay-perclick (PPC) search. Analyzing your organic search efforts can be best broken down into two pieces: keyword identification and search engine result pages (SERP) analysis. With keyword identification, we are identifying important keywords so we can analyze them. Three resources that I recommend to identify important keywords are: Google Analytics’ Top Organic Keywords, Alexa’s High Impact Search Queries, and SpyFu’s Top Organic Competitors.
With Google Analytics’ Top Organic Keywords you can keep tabs on which keywords send the most organic traffic to your site. Alexa’s High Impact Search Queries tells you which keywords send the most organic traffic to your site despite heavy PPC competition for those keywords. SpyFu’s Top Organic Competitors is just that—it tells you who your top organic competitors are so that you can better strategize your keyword efforts.
Not only do you need to identify important keywords, you also need to measure how well your site is doing in the search results for those keywords. This is where SERP analysis comes in. I recommend a tool called Web Position for SERP analysis. With SERP analysis, you input all the keywords you are interested in analyzing. A program such as Web Position then performs searches on each of those keywords and reports back how many times your site was listed in the search results for each keyword and also the position in the search results of each listing. SERP analysis is a great way to really measure how you’re doing with search.
If you have spent any time in the world of search, you have undoubtedly heard the word “keyword” thrown around a good bit. Hopefully, your website is chock-full of relevant keywords and, if you are doing a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, you are spending your dollars wisely on the most effective keywords. A keyword is exactly what it sounds like—it is a word or even a phrase that is “key” or significant to your business.
The other main arena for keyword analysis is PPC. Key metrics for PPC keywords are: impressions, click-through rate (CTR), and cost per click (CPC). The number of impressions is the number of times people saw your ad. CTR is the rate that people clicked your ad when they saw it. CPC is calculated by dividing your spend by the number of clicks. The number of impressions serves as a context for interpreting CTR and CPC. If there were only 2 impressions, then CTR and CPC won’t carry much weight. The goal is for CTR to be as high as possible and CPC to be as low as possible. These metrics are analyzed for each individual keyword to assess its performance. Google AdWords has a very user friendly interface for analyzing these metrics.
Two additional Google AdWords tools I recommend are the Keyword Tool and the See Search Terms report. The Keyword Tool helps you brainstorm keywords using a few different methods, but Google AdWords does the heavy lifting for you. The See Search Terms report can be used when you are using broad-match keywords in your Google AdWords campaign. This report will tell you which other keywords (besides the keywords you have purchased) have caused your ads to appear. You can then decide whether or not to also purchase those keywords.
While keywords may be simple in concept, they can be complex in terms of managing and analyzing. We have only scraped the surface of keyword analytics here. What’s more is that often keyword performance is very fluid—meaning it can fluctuate month to month. This is due to all of the variables that exist such as what your competitors are doing, advertising competition on various keywords, algorithm changes by search engines, and so forth. As a result, thorough and useful keyword analysis takes time and effort, but it is well worth it. Excellent keyword analysis yields significant search results dividends.
Tools of the Trade:
Google Analytics Top Organic Keywords allows you to keep tabs on which keywords send the most organic traffic to your site.
Google Adwords See Search Terms Report tells you what terms have caused your ads to appear.
Alexa’s High Impact Search Queries looks at the terms directly, regardless of competition.
SpyFu’s Top Organic Competitors identifies your competition.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool helps you brainstorm keywords.