Which SEO keywords resonate with your audience? Check your Search Analytics.

Yesterday I got a Voxer message from my friend & copywriter Natalie Taylor from The Missing Ink:

“Wanna hear something weird? 2 new leads found me on Google this month via the same blog post about audience research! I hardly ever get found on Google!”

As a service-based business owner that runs her business mostly off referrals, Natalie hasn’t paid a huge amount of attention to her search analytics. (That means getting found twice on Google in the same month was a total surprise for Natalie, and by her own admission, a happy accident.)

Being the SEO-superhero-slash-nerd that I am, I immediately wanted to know how we could help Natalie capitalize on this.

My reply?

“So random!! Do you know what keywords they searched to find you?”

(As you can see in the screenshot, then I sent a GIF from Harry Potter of Ron saying to Harry, “How is it she knows everything?” which I sadly can’t find again.

Yes, I even use endless GIFs in 1:1 conversations. As Natalie would tell me, It’s part of my brand voice. As is, apparently, being the Hermione Granger of SEO.

But I’m hoping that I’m more of the “Order of the Phoenix” Hermione where she uses her extreme intellect for the good of humanity, not the “Chamber of Secrets” Hermione who is pretty much just a show-off. But I digress …)

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The reason for my hubris is that I had good news: I’d already set up her Google Search Console, and was able to dig into her site’s Search Analytics to figure it out.

Data is most helpful if it’s used for improving performance, not just inflating egos with vanity metrics. Here's how to use Search Analytics to figure out which keywords your audience is using to find you.

You want access to insight about your content? Here’s how to review your own Search Analytics:

 

1. Install your Google Search Console (and, if you haven’t already, set up your Google Analytics). It’s easy and it’s totally free … but neither software starts tracking data until they’re set up.


Watch this video to learn the rest or read the tutorial below.

Even if you don’t need the data right now? Take 5 minutes today to set them up so you can use the info later. Please, please, please. This data-loving nerd is begging you.Click To Tweet

2. Wait until your site has been tracking data for at least a week (ugh, patience is not one of my strengths)

3. Ok, finally you’re ready. Log-in to Search Console and head over to Search Traffic > Search Analytics.

Here’s what you’ll see (and Natalie has graciously volunteered to let me use her traffic as an example):

Ok, let’s break this down.

On the default view, that blue line on the chart is the number of times that somebody has clicked through to your website in the past 28 days. You can see that Natalie has gotten 146 clicks through to her site from Google, with 2 of the 3 top searches being searches directly for her website, themissingink.co.

(These are called “branded keywords” — it’s good to have them in your query list because it means that you have good brand awareness and people are searching directly for you … but it also means that it’s not new people who are discovering you, it’s just people who need some help finding you.)

But you’ll also see there that she’s gotten 5 clicks for the phrase “ideal client avatar,” pointing to a blog post talking about how much ideal client avatars suck, and what to do instead. Bingo!

Oooh, that’s a juicy keyword to rank for, and she must be ranking pretty high for her to get so many clicks on it. Let’s check it out!

On the top bar, let’s click on position to find out where this keyword is ranking.

This blog post ranks #6 out of 8,680,000 results. Damn, Natalie!

In fact, that blog post, Throw out Your Ideal Client Avatar (and Use This Instead)is killing it for lots of queries related to the term avatar. Want to see?

I went into Queries and refined it just to show me searches that Natalie has shown up for using the word “avatar,” and there are 46 search queries using that word.

Let’s dig into this information a bit more. For this data, I’m going to include “clicks,” and also check out “impressions” and “CTR”:

So you can see here:

Natalie’s had 11 clicks through to her website from 5 of the 46 queries that use the word “avatar” somewhere in their search term. The winning search terms: “ideal client avatar,” “customer avatar template,” “client avatar,” “customer avatar,” and “ideal customer avatar template.”

But this also means that there are 41 search results in which people are seeing a link to that blog post, but not choosing to click through.

Wondering how many people are seeing those search results? That’s why I chose “Impressions.” 443 people this month have searched for something related to the term “avatar” and have seen this blog post in their results.

443 have seen it, 11 have clicked through to her page, and 432 didn’t click through. (This could mean that they chose another result, or they could have changed their query, we can’t be sure.)

11/443 = 2.43% … and that’s her overall click-through rate, or CTR, which is the last column.

(Sidebar: You may be wondering: Is 2.43% a “good” click-through rate? And the answer is: Yes and no, because everything is relative.

The average click through rate is usually 2-4%, so Natalie’s in good company here. But the CTR can vary by where you rank on the search result page — people are more likely to click on result #1 than #5 — and whether there are any paid ads or featured snippets above your result.
In this case I consider 2.43% to be VERY good, because her post is actually proposing an alternative to what the searcher is looking for — they’re saying “I want a template,” and she’s saying, “Do this instead,” so it’s not in direct alignment with their desires, but it may pique their interest. But I digress …)

Each one of those search queries also has its own CTR calculated … because who wants to do math?


Cool story, Meg. But how can she  actually USE this information?

I’m glad you asked.

Data is most helpful if it’s used for improving performance, not just inflating egos with vanity metrics. - @megcaseboltClick To Tweet

So here’s what I would recommend to Natalie:

Review all the keywords, especially those with good position but low CTR. Decide which of those would be valuable search terms to drive traffic to this post. If she sees a search query in there that she wants to be known for, update the blog post to include that exact phrase once or twice.

  • One of the reasons I think this post is so awesome is that it’s controversial. People are searching for ICA templates, and then they find this post, where she says, “Forget that, this works better.” And I love This positioning for her, because it resonates with people who have already done their ICA research before and are looking for an alternative, like our friend Krista:
  • So I’d encourage her to aim for queries from people who are already a little jaded by the constant discussion about avatars, by targeting searches like “client avatar alternatives,” or “avatar research” as well as the terms searched the most often: “avatar customer” and “avatar intro”

We already know this post converts — the whole reason she thought it was worth mentioning is that this post led two people in one day to contact her. So it’s absolutely worth her time to drive more traffic to this page by devoting time to optimizing for more keywords. (Heck, maybe she even wants to run some Facebook ads here!)

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