A faster way to evaluate keywords

One of the biggest challenges with SEO is the lack of immediacy: Make a change in your PPC account and see results in the next hour. Adjust a piece of content, add a new keyword and see the results...well, hopefully soon. How do you know what's working without having to wait?

The answer is analytics.

Analytics help you make smart decisions about your SEO strategy quicker, in particular, your keywords. They can show you what's working, what's not, and what can be improved sooner rather than later.

Analytics and keywords are best friends forever
You spent hours doing research to figure out the best keywords for your business/website. Now, you have the opportunity to see if they are actually working. What should you be looking at?

Conversions vs. traffic: Any good SEO company will tell you that while it's great to get traffic to the site, if no one is converting it doesn't really qualify as success. Within your analytics, take a look at which keywords are converting and which ones aren't. For the ones that aren't, ask yourself:

  • Do they match your site messaging?
  • Do they actually describe your product or service?
  • Is the page simply missing a call to action?

Compare the two side-by-side and you may realize that the keyword simply isn't right for your business.

The long tail: If you've ever ran a search query report in Adwords you realize how little you really know about how people search. Some of those searches are just bizarre! The upside is they sure can tell you a lot.

Here's an example of a long tail keyword from Grasshopper.com's analytics: "National association of realtors grasshopper gotvmail."

This is a really long keyword phrase but look how much info it's giving us:

  • Realtors use our product
  • People still search using our old brand name
  • They probably couldn't find the content they were looking for to start with

That's a lot of great information! We can now gear content, messaging, and marketing efforts to the realtor industry using this data.

Landing pages: Your keywords needed a home so you built them landing pages. Are those pages earning their keep?

The nice thing about analytics is it's able to show you where organic visitors landed by keyword:

  • Which landing pages are the most successful for each keyword?
  • Which are driving visits but no conversions? 
  • Are your keywords driving traffic someplace other than where you intended?

Checking out where your visitors are going for a particular keyword can give you a lot of insight into what you need to do next. Perhaps you should adjust the messaging, add new content, or maybe there's a page in there you didn't even realize was doing so well (nice surprises are the best.)

Knowing which landing pages work for each keyword can also help you figure out where to drive links.

Location, location, location: Do you know where the majority of your customers are coming from? Where your purchases are coming from?

With local and personalized search becoming more and more prominent, geo-targeting is increasing in importance.

Analytics can tell you where customers are coming from, allowing you to focus your SEO strategy and your keywords where it matters. National company? Create landing pages for various cities, states, communities, etc.

Go forth and analyze!
Analytics are a major factor in a successful SEO campaign. From keywords to content to link building, analytics will help you make quick and smart decisions.

Casie Gillette is the search marketing manager for Grasshopper Group.

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Comments

Casie Gillette
Casie Gillette May 4, 2011 at 7:58 AM

Thanks for the comment Nick. I definitely agree with you on the intimidation factor. If you don't know where or what you are looking at, it can be overwhelming.

Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis May 4, 2011 at 6:48 AM

Excellent advice! Analytics should be a site owner's best friend. I think a lot of site owners are still a little intimidated by the amount of available information, but they don't have to be. Focusing on a few key points (like which landing pages are the most successful with which keyword) can provide a lot of insight.