Back in the day life was good. Old school Google allowed us to know which keywords were responsible for driving traffic to our website and even let us know to which pages ranked. This made creating and optimising content really easy.
With the advent of Google’s move to HTTPS, obfuscated URLs, LSI, Hummingbird and synonym matching the ability to effectively identify the exact keywords responsible for attracting traffic to the website.
It’s been like the dark ages with SEO’s stumbling around in the dark and using best guesses to figure out a keyword research and page attribution strategies.
Step in the much undervalued and often overlooked Google Search Console, A.K.A. Google Webmaster Tools. Hidden in this tool is exactly the information you need to tighten the targeting of your website and potentially gain improved organic keyword rankings, traffic and the resultant conversions.
Here’s how it works.
If you have Webmaster Tools & Analytics Access
Simply link the two together in Google Analytics by navigating to Acquisition > Search Console and following the instructions.
You can now dive into each URL and see the relevant keywords supplemented by any e-commerce data which is NICE!!!! These can be exported as Excel files for easy evaluation.
If you only have Webmaster Tools Access
In Google Search Console navigate to Search Traffic > Search Analytics and check Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Position
Select Last 28 Days and set a date range as wide as possible.
Select Countries and narrow your range to your desired country of focus.
In Queries select No Filter > Filter Queries and select Queries Not Containing.
In the Keyword box enter your brand. You don’t need to use the whole brand name as this will mean misspellings and aliases may be reported in your keyword data so I’d opt for a key set of characters within your brand name that should be common to all. If you want Brand keywords, then you can always miss this out.
Next select Pages and order by Impressions by clicking the column header in the data displayed below. Use the download button to get this data out of Search Console and into Excel. At this point I’d typically spend some time putting each URL into a new tab or structuring the document so that I can add in lots of juicy keyword data.
Select a URL to view Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Position information for that URL. Next select Queries. You should now be presented with a list of keywords with their average organic rank, clicks and impressions for that specific page.
Export this data into the relevant tab in Excel.
Rinse and repeat for all other URLs
You now have a list of lots of organic keywords that Google itself says are driving traffic (Clicks) to your website for each target page, where you rank for the keyword (Position) and which have the highest demand (Impressions). Please note that as with all things Google it’s doubtful that this will result in your having a list of every keyword that Google knows about as its always a ‘sample’ however its direct from Google and can’t be argued with.
Now it’s simply a matter of selecting the most commercial phrases based on intent, adjusting the Title Tag, Meta Description, H1 and content to support the most prized traffic driving terms.
You may also wish to get specific data for desktop or mobile traffic and even look at other channels (Search Type) such as Image of Video if you want to maximise the potential held within.
Another thing you could try is looking at CTR (Click through rates) for keywords ranked within the top 4 positions and improve title tags and meta descriptions to focus on improving CTR from these high value terms. Simply pick topics with the highest Impressions and work out your average CTR across all pages ranked in this position (by removing the Page filter). Any CTR’s for keywords that fall below this average should be your focus.
Other Sources of this Data
Using Google Search Console isn’t the only way you can identify keywords driving traffic to specific pages on your website. Others include the paid tools SEMRush.com and Searchmetrics.com (no affiliation) which quickly shows you what your pages rank for organically and on paid channels. This again can be filtered to exclude brand and can be locked down to sub domain among others.
SEMRush.com is useful as it highlights which keywords are triggering the Google Instant Answers box (or what we refer to as Position Zero) which can be another avenue you may be considering. Simply clone, distill down to a few key factual bullet points, re-write, improve/bring up to date and publish paying particular importance to any tables of data being displayed.