From some time now we have been unable to see and understand the keywords that bring visitors to our web pages. In the past we could see where the keywords came from, what they were, how many times they were clicked, and most importantly which landing pages on our site.
Typically in Google Analytics, this is the sort of output you see. Where the searcher has been arriving from a non-Google search engine the search term is available. But as the site I took these analytics from gets most of its organic traffic from Google you can see that the number of Not Provided searches is by far the largest. So, looking at this report, I have no idea which keywords brought traffic to which landing pages.
Why Keywords And Landing Pages?
It’s important to know which keyword is doing well for particular pages on your site. You can check your ranking for the terms that currently bring traffic but whose landing page could be further strengthened for that term. Or you can find long tail terms that could warrant new page to cater for them specifically. In Google Analytics the information required to make these decisions is lost to us.
Google Webmaster Tools
If however you sign up for a Google Webmaster Tools account, you will find your keywords in there. They aren’t kept for very long but you can download them before they get overwritten if you want to.
The data inside Google Webmaster tools is incomplete and not current (you can only see as far as two days ago), but since you can see the landing pages that the keywords worked for, it’s a whole lot better than nothing.
You can definitely use the data to make decisions about new posts or the improvement of existing posts. So if you are not doing this right now you need to start.
- Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools
- Verify your site
- Wait a few days for the data to start coming in
- In Google Webmaster Tools visit the Search Traffic / Search Queries report
- Click on keywords you find listed there to reveal their landing pages
- Use the information to find new blog posts to write or to fine-tune and update the ones you already have
How This Works For You
As you repeat this exercise your site will naturally grow around the keywords that Google thinks should go together. That’s a huge plus for your site’s traffic and potential authority around a topic. In a way – this simplified view of keywords that we now have access to is a blessing. It makes your job a simple one, but with the promise of awesome improvements for your traffic.
For example in the report shown above, if I click the term what is a byline, it does not take me through to a page on my site with the title What Is A Byline? It takes me to a page with a title and content nothing to do with defining a byline.
But for some reason, my site is ranking for this term and when people click on my link they don’t get their question answered. So it would be a good idea for me to write a post entitled What Is A Byline? and give examples of such. Once I have done that, no doubt the Google Webmaster Tools reports will start giving me loosely related phrases for keywords that my new post inadvertently ranks for.
You have to be careful that you do not create pages that are all addressing the same question or topic. This is a form of duplicate content. Google doesn’t want to see 10 pages that all answer the same question on your site. But if you Google Webmaster Tools reveals keywords that are clearly not relevant to the page for which they rank, you can address that with a new post.