Search Analytics 101: Discovering Keyword Opportunities You Didn’t Think You Had

How to Discover Keyword Opportunities You Didn't Think You Had

Search analytics is an area of web analytics that deals with understanding search engine statistics. Internet marketers like you and me generally use this knowledge to improve the rankings of our pages for our target keywords but you’ll be surprised with the other awesome things you can do with it.

Some marketers have the idea that search analytics is limited to checking your rankings and seeing how much traffic you’re getting from your indexed pages. While those are perfectly legit aspects of it, search analytics can also help you discover areas of opportunity outside your list of target keywords.

Case in point: a few months back, I was playing around with my Google Analytics dashboard and I was curious to see what I had going on in the Traffic Sources>Search Engine Optimization>Queries area. I was expecting to see some stats up front about video and Internet marketing but what I saw was this:

As you can see, my blog is getting BY FAR its most impressions from web design, a keyword I’ve never really written much about, much less bothered to optimize for. However, Google Analytics is telling me that it is hands down the keyword that has given me the most visibility and a nice number of clicks in just one month. I’m even ranking 59th for it on average. Not bad for something I never really intended to rank for.

I’m also getting a lot of exposure for the keyword Fotolia, which is the name of a stock photo site where I get some of my graphics. Variants of Shaun White are also there, pointing to a post I did a couple of years back and lookie here, Michael Jordan made it to my top 10 because of a reference or two I made about His Airness in past blog posts.

Really weird stuff, huh?

Yet it makes me think about this: what if I was actually actively optimizing for these keywords? Since I’m already ranking for them, why don’t I give the pages in my blog that are relevant to these search terms a little nudge and see what happens?

What if I was ranking in the top 30 for Web Design? Will my 16,000 impressions and 200 clicks increase dramatically? In the bigger picture, will the traffic from this keyword be big enough in volume for me to convert the visits into actual business leads and sales?

I’m 99% sure that can be done — and then some. The ranking groundwork is there and a little more build-up certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Question now is, what keywords are YOU getting a lot of exposure for without your knowledge? If you’ve been struggling to drive traffic to your website, these hidden keywords may be something you can leverage to drive qualified leads to your site.

Doing some more snooping around, I went to Content>Site Content>Pages and discovered that a post titled “Web Design Principles that Make SEO Sense” is ranked in the top 15 of my most visited pages to this day and it’s the page that’s been getting that obscene number of impressions that Google Analytics reported in the Traffic Sources section. On the surface, it looks like a quiet little post, but throughout its lifetime, it has actually drawn in more visits than some of my most commented articles in this site. I don’t know about you, but this looks like a sign for me to write more web design-related posts.

Think about it: what pages in your site are getting the most visits and what keywords are driving traffic to your site without your knowledge? You could be missing out on some serious chances to capture leads and pitch some sales if you get too caught up in keywords that you planned on ranking for but aren’t exactly getting the results you expected.

In Internet marketing, it’s usually more about what the people want from you and not what you want from them. If people and search engines are gravitating towards some of your more obscure content, it probably means that there’s an opportunity for you to do some business there and leverage that momentum later on for directing people to pages where you want them to go.

It’s a bit of a cliché, but when life gives you lemons, making lemonade may not be such a bad idea.

The power of search analytics is there. You just have to pay some attention to what it’s saying and the opportunities that you’ll find may be ones that can take your business to a higher level. Try it out and let me know how it goes in the comments section below.


Andy “The Searcher of Truth” Jenkins