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This is an instructional post for advanced use of Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to uncover insights about organic keywords driving traffic to your website.  It’s a bit long, but bear with me – the results will be valuable to you 🙂

If you’ve been using Google Analytics, then you might be familiar with all of the new changes in the past year, like asynchronous code, advanced segmentation, custom reporting, and much more.  Equally, Google has been making quite a few upgrades to Webmaster Tools as well.  They now show you things like duplicate title tags, meta descriptions, links to your site, and now search queries.

We’re going to show you how to combine the search query data from Webmaster Tools and conversion data from Analytics to uncover which of your organic keywords are performing the best, and how to determine which keywords you should focus on ranking higher.

Step 1 – log into your Webmaster Tools account.  If you don’t have one, you’ll need to sign up and paste a meta tag on your site to identify yourself.  Once logged in, go to “Your site on the web > Search queries.”  You should see a screen like the one below.

This table is showing you all of the search queries that are driving clicks to your website.  Much like paid search, you see Impressions (number of times Google showed your listing in the SERPs), Clicks (self-explanatory), CTR (click-through rate) and the Average Position.  Sort the data by the CTR column first.  This shows you your most successful keywords where folks are most likely to click on your listing.  You can even select the “+” next to the keyword and see which pages are being listed in the SERP (search engine results page).

Step 2 – favorite your top keywords by highest CTR first.  You can also favorite words that have an Average Position between 1 and 10, since these are words you rank on the first page for.  What you are really interested in here is the number of Impressions for each word.  You’ll want to use the data from Google Analytics to see how many visits you are getting from this word to determine the CTR, which is going to vary from Webmaster Tools (WMT).

Step 3 – now go into your Google Analytics account and get a keyword report by going to “Traffic Sources > Keywords.”  Be sure the date range selected is the same as  what was selected in Webmaster Tools (very important!).  Now you can see how many visits each keyword has brought to the site.  Your keyword list should come close to the list you sorted in WMT.

Step 4– determine the goal you have set for your website.  It could be a goal you set, or even a particular page that was viewed.  For Pear, we’re interested in any new visitors who came through on a particular organic search term (like “free seo analysis”) AND ran a free report (which means they viewed the /free-seo-report/* page).  Now I just went in and set up an Advanced Segment to figure this out

Now we know the following information:

  • How many impressions for “free seo analysis” from WMT;
  • The average ranking for “free seo analysis”
  • how many new visits we received from “free seo analysis”
  • how many of those visitors did what we wanted them to, which is run a free report

I can also take it one step further, and actually see how many visitors who find our site from a particular keyword, actually come BACK and engage with us further.  That’s pretty valuable, because now I can really figure out which keywords I want to put time and energy into to rank higher, and drive more traffic from.  So I create a simple funnel analysis for each of my Top 10 keywords, like this:

With this information, I can do several things to improve the CTR, or on-page conversions, such as:

  • make sure my title tag and meta description are in line with the keywords I’m targeting.  Maybe they are not stimulated by the wording to click on our listing?
  • dynamically generate the H1 tag on the home page to match the keywords the user searched for.  So if they searched for “free website seo analysis”, my H1 changes to that when they reach the target landing page.
  • I can test and modify the page to get the user to analyze their site.  That’s why we removed the email and sign up requirement.

Now you are empowered to go and do this for your website!  Your first try at this may take you the better part of an afternoon, but you can set up some automation to get the data easier next time (i.e. favorites in WMT, advanced segments in Analytics, etc.)