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Back in April, we reported that Google was blocking organic keyword data in Google Analytics. For many inbound marketers, this was a major blow. It not only made it more difficult to understand which keywords were generating the most leads and/or sales for your business, it limited a company's ability to understand the type of content site visitors most wanted to see.
Fortunately, keyword insight isn't limited to Google Analytics. If you use other resources like Google or Bing Webmaster Tools, you can still find valuable organic keyword data.
How Can I Use Webmaster Tools For Keyword Analysis?
Both Google and Bing Webmaster Tools offer a search engine keywords report.
Although you can't get lead or sales data, this report will give you impressions, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), and average position. You can use this information - specifically the CTR - to infer a keyword's value.
Let's say you sell handmade soap and you believe that ranking well for the term 'natural soap' will benefit your visitors because you have lots of great content about it. Better yet, you believe ranking well will boost your bottom line.
The first time you come to the "Search Queries" report in Google (or the "Search Keywords" report in Bing, if that's your cup of tea) you see 'natural soap' generated:
- 1,703 impressions
- 91 clicks
- a 5% CTR
- and an average ranking of 6.5
You can put this data on a simple Excel or Google Drive spreadsheet, then start optimizing your site for the term 'natural soap.' Next month, log back in to the Google "Search Queries" and Bing "Search Keywords" report and look at these metrics again. Ideally, you should see improvements for every metric. However, the most important is CTR. If CTR has increased, it's a sign that more people believe your site to be relevant for the term 'natural soap.'
A Word of Caution
When you're analyzing this data, it's important to consider how things like search engine cache frequency, seasonality, and your competitors' actions will impact this report.
Let's say you sell Halloween candy. If you start optimizing for 'halloween candy' in November, your CTR probably isn't going up because, well, nobody cares about Halloween candy after October 31st.
If you don't take external factors like these into consideration, you might miss a great opportunity.
How Can I Find These Reports?
Before you can get access to these reports, you need to verify your site in Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. To verify your site in Google, visit the Google Webmaster Tools help forum and the Bing Webmaster How-To forum.
Helpful tip: make sure to use the same logins as you're already using for Google Analytics.
Google Webmaster Tools
- Log in at www.google.com/webmasters
- Select the appropriate site from the sites list (if you manage more than one website)
- In the left-hand navigation, select "Search Traffic"
- In the sub-menu, select "Search Queries"
Bing Webmaster Tools
- Log in at www.bing.com/webmasters
- Select the appropriate site from the list (if you manage more than one website)
- In the left-hand navigation, select "Reports and Data"
- In the sub-menu, select "Search Keywords"
Note that Bing calls impressions "Appears in Search."
Do You Use Other Tools for Keyword Insight?
Webmaster Tools are just one of many ways to get meaningful keyword insight in today's world of (not provided). Have you used Webmaster Tools? Do you use other tools to improve your keyword strategy? Post a comment below and let us know!