Tracking keywords: Is it about “more keywords” or is it about the “right keywords”
The short answer to more keywords or the right is both. But that doesn’t mean big changes for everyone. Sometimes you’re already tracking most of the right keywords and there are others you’re missing. Other times you’ve got plenty of keywords in your current tracking plan but we just need to make some changes to the ones you’re actively tracking.
In our recent episode of Found Friday we focus on how to know if you’re tracking enough keywords and getting a start with analyzing and making adjustments.
Let’s review some of the strategies you can use to select the right keywords.
Segmentation is a vital part of content marketing and search success. The goal with segmentation and grouping is to look at your marketing effort from a variety of different perspectives.
Here are examples of segment categories that we recommend and build in our clients’ dashboards at DemandSphere:
- Product lines
- Audience types / personas
- Funnel stages
Once you create segments for your site, you will be able to see how your current keywords fit into these segments. You will be able to see what segments are lacking keyword depth, and get an idea of where you can focus your efforts to add more.
Once you develop a clearer picture of where you need to add keywords, there are a few tools you can use to aid in tracking more keywords and ensure they are the right ones.
Focus keywords from content
There are numerous reasons for having a blog on your website. We know how beneficial a blog can be for improving search performance. It also gives you a medium to provide added value. Your target audience will greatly appreciate this. WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms in the world. In fact, it powers 27% of the internet. The WordPress platform is very versatile and has a ton of different themes and plugins available. One of the plugins we highly recommend is the Yoast SEO plugin.
One of the many features of the Yoast SEO plugin is the ability to set a focus keyword. This is the search term you want the blog post to rank for. Once you enter your focus keyword, the Yoast SEO plugin will provide feedback on how to optimize your content for that keyword. If you already use WordPress and the Yoast SEO plugin, you are likely familiar with this process and how helpful it can be. Maybe you are not. We think it is worth looking into further and considering for your site’s blog.
If you do use the Yoast SEO plugin, making sure your focus keywords are being tracked is a great place to start. This may seem obvious, but in working with a variety of different clients, we find this is often overlooked. This is also a great time to evaluate what focus keywords you are using in your blog posts. You may want to adjust some of your focus keywords based on your site segments and update your content accordingly. Luckily, the Yoast SEO plugin makes this process quick and straightforward!
Google Adwords is a very useful tool for tracking more keywords. Contained within Google AdWords is a tool called Google Keyword Planner. It’s free for everyone and is a very powerful tool. Google Keyword Planner provides a lot of valuable information you can use to make informed decisions about tracking more keywords. You likely already have a Google AdWords account, but if you don’t it only takes a few minutes to set up. Once you’ve either logged into your account, or created a new one, you’ll want to look for two tools. The first is “Find new keywords” and the second is “Get metrics and forecasts for your keywords.” Let’s take a closer look at both.
Find new keywords
The “Find new keywords” tool does exactly what it says. It helps you find new keywords. You can enter words, phrases, or a URL related to your site or business. You will want to put some thought into what terms you enter into this tool. Its outputs are only as good as the terms you input. This is one area where having a well segmented site will really help you get started.
Words – You will want to enter single words relevant to your business or site. Keyword planner will compare words against Google’s database of keywords and may uncover some relevant keywords you are not already tracking.
Phrases – This option will help you find related phrases. Entering 1-3 word phrases generally works best. This is a great place to search using your site segment names. It will help you uncover keywords in different niches.
URLs related to your business – Oriented more towards AdWords users, this option may help you uncover some keywords you are not already tracking. Entering URLs for direct competitors is a great place to start.
After you’ve entered any combination of words, phrases, and URLs, you’ll want to select “get started.” The “Keyword Results Page” will be displayed. We will touch on the Keyword Results Page more in just a bit.
Get metrics and forecasts for your keywords
This tool is less useful for finding new keywords. However, you can use it to gather data on existing keywords and make a decision on if they are still good keywords to track. You’ll want to copy and paste a list of keywords into the search field and select “get started.” You will then be taken to the same keyword results page.
Keyword Results Page
The Keyword Results Page gives you several options to narrow the list of found keywords down. At the top of the page, you can filter for locations, language and search networks. Locations and language are automatically set to United States and English, respectively. You can adjust these as desired. Search networks relates to where you want to advertise (remember this is a tool for AdWords). Networks include Google, partner sites, and other Google properties (such as YouTube). Leaving this set to Google is a good place to start.
After setting these top-level filters, you can add additional filters for things like keyword text, average monthly searches, competition, and others. If you’re connected to Google Search Console, you can also filter this list by Organic Impression Share and Organic Average Position. You can add as many filters as you’d like to narrow down your results page.
Once you have your narrowed down list, you will want to select keywords you are not already tracking. There is no right answer for how to select keywords to track from your narrowed down list. However, you’ll want to consider factors like search volume and organic SEO competition to get keywords that will yield traffic that you have a reasonable chance of raking for. Picking keywords that have low search volume or are extremely competitive likely will not make good choices.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another free tool offered to webmasters by Google. It is also a valuable tool when looking into tracking more keywords. Every person that finds your site through search used a keyword to get there. Google Search Console will show you the most common keywords people use to find your site.
To find these keywords, you will want to find the Search Analytics module in the traditional view and the performance module in the new Google Search Console. Both will show you the common keywords people use to find your side along with the number of times the searcher clicked on a link to your side after searching. This module will also show you what pages show up for each specific keyword. It will also show data such as country and device. You will be able to compare keywords on metrics like clicks, impressions, and click-through rate.
Spending some time looking into this data can be very valuable. All results are based on actual data for your website. Whereas the Google AdWords Keyword Planner provides general keyword information, Google Search Console shows you exactly how people finding your site. If you’re not finding many of your currently tracked keywords in this list, it might be time for a bigger overhaul of your tracked keywords. However, if you’re seeing a lot of keywords you are already tracking along with keywords you are not tracking, be sure to add these keywords to your tracked keywords. Another thing Google Search Console will show you is which pages are most popular on your website. You can use this to identify your most popular segments. Use this insight create more content and add more keywords for your most popular segments.
Long-tail keywords are a relatively new concept in SEO. This is especially true as voice search becomes more popular. Voice searches tend to be more conversational in nature and generally use longer search phrases with more detail. High search volume keywords are very competitive and can be difficult to rank for. Big market keywords are already dominated by authoritative sites and are difficult to outcompete.
Adding long-tail keywords is a great way to find keywords that still have search volume but are also easier to rank with. Keywords with less competition will be easier to rank with. Creating content around long-tail keywords will require the investment for fewer resources and yield faster results. These keywords will also have a higher chance of conversion. The traffic coming to your site through long-tail keywords will be much more targeted and likely more more engaged in your site’s content. Simply put, the more specific the keyword, the greater the chance the chance of the person being converted to a subscriber or customer.
Time to find more keywords
Tracking more keywords is something we find that most clients we work with will benefit from. In all likelihood, you will to. Using the approaches and tools discussed above is a great place to start. Remember, tracking more keywords isn’t just about more, it’s also important to track the right ones. Factors like tracking tool limitations and overall team bandwidth will impact how many keywords you can realistically track. Tracking more keywords that are also relevant to your site and quality will provide you with more data. This data is very valuable when making decisions about what type of new content to make and areas to focus on. If you have questions about keyword tracking, we’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact us.