Finding Great Keywords With Google Analytics

  |  March 7, 2011   |  Comments

Your golden keywords are already performing for you. You just need to find them.

How would you like to quickly find high performing keywords that you can use immediately for your marketing campaigns? In this column I would like to show you a quick method for finding golden keywords that will perform. The key is that they are already performing for you. You just need to identify them and have an analytics tool already installed and tracking.

Let's start by using everyone's favorite free analytics tool, Google Analytics. As I said, Google Analytics needs to be set up and have been tracking for a period of time before you can get any information of value. So if you haven't set this up, take the time to do this first. Let it run for a period of time to gather useful data and then you will be ready for this tip. If you have another analytics tool installed already you will likely find this same approach will also work.

OK, so let's pull up your Google Analytics account and log in so you can see the report for your website. This can be found under the Traffic Sources section as seen below.


Now find the tab that says "Site Usage." The keywords that show up under this tab represent the keywords that have brought you traffic. If you sort by the number of visits, you will see a list of keywords with the highest volume of traffic. This of course represents the highest traffic generating keywords. Now look at the column that shows your bounce rate and sort on that column. The bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who came to your site and either stayed or left immediately.


If you have a high bounce rate next to some keywords, that means that you pulled in traffic from that keyword but those visitors didn't see any content that interested them. Conversely, if you have a low bounce rate next to your keywords, that would suggest that the visitors found your site engaging and stayed for a while. This is a good indication that the keyword that brought them to your site is a high performing, relevant keyword. Make a note.

Now, let's take this a step further and identify the keywords that are really performing well for you. Before we do this, let's make sure you have your conversion goals set up correctly. To do this, identify what on your site might constitute a conversion. It's alright to have more than one. This might be a thank you page that shows up after a customer purchase or a contact request.

Now that you have your conversion page decided, go to the Goals section by clicking on the word "goals." If you haven't already set up your goals, then you will see a window like that below. Click on the link at the bottom that says "Set up Goals and Funnels."


You will have the option of filling out up to four goals. These could be a URL destination, or time on site, or pages per visit as seen below. Set one of your goals up based on how you wish to measure success and then name the goal. If you have just set this up, you will need to wait for a period of time to start seeing results, but at least you are now tracking conversion which is very important regardless of this exercise.


To learn more about setting up Google Analytics around goal conversions, you can read this article.

Now let's go back and look at your keyword report like we did previously. As you can see below, we have a list of keywords that have brought traffic to our site. You will also notice a tab for goals. If you click on this tab you will get a list of keywords that not only brought you traffic but also those that converted for you.


These keywords are gold and you should make sure you keep watch on them as they are likely to be great performing keywords in the future. Also, as you add more keywords to your campaign make sure you come back to this spot to see if your new keywords are pulling their weight.

These new keywords that you have found are important to keep an eye on, but what about related terms? You can use these keywords as seed terms and plug them into your favorite keyword tool to find other related terms that might perform just as well or even better.

Just make sure that you always have some kind of analytics tool installed and that you are monitoring it regularly. This kind of performance data is very valuable since it reports specifically on your visitors' direct behavior as they interact with your site.

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Ron Jones

Ron was president/CEO of Symetri Internet Marketing, which provides strategic SEM consulting and training. Ron was actively involved in the SEM community and spoke and trained at conferences and seminars. Ron also served on the Board of Directors for SEMPO and was one of the authors for the SEMPO Institute Fundamentals and Advanced courses.

Ron also published a book called Keyword Intelligence: Keyword Research for Search Social and Beyond. This book outlines various methods and tips for conducting keyword research but more importantly outlines many ways to use keyword research for social media, site design, content development and marketing, and even traditional marketing and branding.

Ron passed away on June 30, 2012.

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