Keyword Research 101: How do I know what keywords to track?

Finding the right keywords to track for your site can be a bit of an art and a science. A few years ago it was pretty easy – just check Google Analytics for the keywords it says you’re ranking for, and then supplement your list from there. Google’s switch to running most of their searches through https made things a bit more difficult. Now the report looks like this, with the majority of searches listed as “not provided”:

Google analytics not provided

 

Still, Google Analytics can be a good place to start to grab at least a few keywords you’re ranking for. You can find this report under Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries.

Another good tool is Google’s Keyword Planner ( https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner ), which will give you the estimated search volume for any given keyword. Broad, generic search queries are naturally the hardest to rank for, while more specific, unique search queries are easier to rank. Branded terms are often the easiest to rank for, since they contain your unique business or website name in them.

For example, say you run an auto body mechanic shop. Your website is unlikely to rank for the generic queries “car repair” and “auto body shop”, however, when you add you business name and location to the searches, you’ll likely have better results.

Experimenting with these types of of name / location / search term combinations will give you a number of ideas for what users may be searching for – and you can use Google’s Keyword Planner to see which queries are the most popular.

Once you have a list started of keywords you’ve found rankings for, you can begin to work on increasing your rankings and track how the changes on your website affect your search rankings.

 

Happy searching!

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