How Can I Identify Valuable Keywords to Target for SEO?

The very best ways to identify valuable keywords for SEO are to actually measure revenue on individual keywords using paid search campaigns or a CRM-based SEO tool like SEO for Salesforce.

If neither of those are possibilities, try using Google Analytics’ basic keyword reporting features. In Analytics, under the Traffic Sources section, click on keywords and you will see a list of keywords driving traffic to your site via search engines like Google and Bing. Keep in mind that this includes both organic and paid search traffic if you have PPC campaigns through Google or Microsoft (Bing & Yahoo).

To identify the most valuable keywords stick to these 3 general guidelines:

(1)  Review keywords over an extended period of time
Analytics defaults to showing data for the past 30 days, but you can manually adjust these dates. Take a look at keyword drivers over the past year for the most comprehensive view.

(2)  Remove branded terms
Filter out branded keyword phrases (i.e. those containing your company and/or product name). These keywords will likely already rank well in search engines.

(3)  Monitor KPIs
Review key performance indicators (KPIs) such as bounce rates, pageviews per visit, average time on site, and percent of new visitors for each keyword phrase. These metrics will help you identify which keywords are driving qualified visitors to your website. Often there are keywords that drive a high volume of traffic to your site, but also have high bounce rates and/or these users spend a minimal amount of time on your site.

Using the above guidelines, you’ll be able to identify which keywords are driving quality traffic to your site. Advanced Analytics users can utilize additional tools such as conversion tracking goals and events to discover which keywords are driving the most engaged users.

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About Jason Walker

Jason Walker is a Client Partner at DemandResults, specializing in SEO strategies and reputation enhancement through social media channels. His previous work includes product management for online B2B reporting tools at Shopzilla.com and SEO consulting at Demand Media.

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