In addition to keyword research tools like the GoogleAdWords tool, looking at Analytics data from actual visits to your website can be an effective way to uncover potentially valuable keywords. While, of course, it’s important to look at which keywords lead to conversions, here are four other metrics that can help to gauge the value of a keyword when conversion data either isn’t available, or you’d like to supplement those figures.
Visits in Relation to Ranking
Phrases to look out for when analyzing visits by keyword are ones that bring in a high number of visits, despite a site not ranking particularly well in the search results for those phrases. For example, I noticed that a site I manage had 435 visits in a month from searches for one keyword phrase, even though it ranked at the bottom of page 3 of Google’s results for the term. To me, this signals a keyword that has the potential to bring in even more traffic if it appeared higher in the SERPs. Of course, it’s important to consider whether or not the traffic brought in by a keyword is actually valuable. Looking at the two metrics listed below can help with that.
Pages/visit is a useful figure in estimating whether or not the visits that a particular keyword brings in are valuable. If a user visits many pages of a site, it’s a strong indication that they’re happy with what they found after clicking through from their search, and could potentially be valuable traffic. Though this isn’t as definitive as actual conversions or transactions, it’s still indicative of the value of a particular traffic segment. In the example that I mentioned above, I saw that the average pages/visit for that keyword were 5.73 (compared to a site average of 7.01). To me, this indicates that users who end up on the website after searching for that term are actually interested in what they’ve found and spending some time on the site. This means that the traffic that keyword is bringing in could be valuable.
Bounce Rate and Time on Site
Two other metrics, both related to length of visit, that provide insight into a keyword’s value are bounce rate and average time on site. A keyword with a high bounce rate is probably not bringing in valuable traffic, at least not without changing the site to satisfy those visitors. Similarly, users brought to a site by a particular keyword that spend very little time on the site, are probably not valuable visitors. Oppositely, a high time on site indicates that users are happy with the site and may convert. In my example, I saw that the keyword had a bounce rate of 34.94% (compared to a site average of 31.38%) and an avg. time on site of 3:16 (compared to a site average of 03:41). Both of these statistics, to me, make the keyword worth further targeting.
Individually, all of these metrics are usefulinidentifying valuable keywords. When a phrase looks good in all of these areas, it almost certainly is a term worth targeting.
Roger Panella is an SEO Analyst at Digital Third Coast, a Chicago internet marketing company. When he’s not optimizing websites, Roger plays guitar in The Jordan Years and several other bands around Chicago. He also enjoys cooking deliciously awesome vegan food.