Find out what Keywords are Working then Beef Them Up


Making your advertising complement what you’re already doing.

So you’ve made your ad. You’ve made sure it’s showing only to the right people in the right countries. You’ve already played with the Keyword Tool on AdWords once to see variations on the keywords you started out with and get rid of some you clearly don’t want. But you’re still not getting as much traffic as you want. You may need some new, more imaginative Keywords. What YOU think is a logical search string may not actually be what people are using to find you.

First off, see how people are actually finding you right now. You want your advertising to complement what you’re already doing. Many website hosting services have some sort of analytics service. You want to check out two main things here: search terms and inbound links.

If you don’t have such a service already, I suggest StatCounter which can show you the keywords people are using to find you. It is free to use. You want to see how people are finding you now and enhance what’s already working. Usually these will be fairly normal words that make perfect sense to you. The most common strings will probably be stuff that you would use yourself like “used books in X” or “buy X books.”

What you want to look at is stuff that’s further down the list. The stuff you’d never guess people would use. Looking at my current Keywords, I see a bunch of specific titles and one odd item that jumps out at me: “ways to relax”. Yes, reading a book IS a good way to relax. Perhaps an ad aimed specifically at that might do well.

Remember, most of the trackers show you a limited snapshot of time! Check back and see if things change! Depending on the service, you may also be able to increase the period of time you can look at. Generally pay services will offer more detailed information, but a free service is great if you’re just starting out.

The other thing you want look at is inbound links. Your statistics program will show you how often people enter through a specific link. This will often be dominated by a recent blog or forum post, a MySpace or Facebook link, a news story, etc. I can see, for example, that the top referrer to my website is BookShopBlog. This generates temporary traffic and gives you an idea who your site appeals to.

If it’s NOT a post you yourself made, it’s an even better indication of who’s interested in your site. Be sure to go see who linked to you and if possible, figure out why. Sometimes its obvious since its directly related to your business. Sometimes its an utter mystery…especially if the link is to a post in a language you don’t read. I still can’t figure out why a Mexican wrestling forum linked to my store at one point. I could figure out it was a site about luchadores… but other than that, I have no idea why they found my site interesting.

An easy way to find who links to you is to go to Google and type in “links to: Your Website Address Here”. This will show you the major sites that link to you. However, this won’t show you ALL the sites.

To find those, go though a link popularity checker. This will show you more long term links. The one through MarketLeap  works very well and will let you compare the number of links to your site to other websites in the same industry. They also have some other fun free tools to play with. Get a cup of coffee or tea and spend an hour or so playing with them all.

Having looked at those, you’ve probably got some ideas for new keywords to try. Now, to the Batcave AdWords to try them out!

A post from Nora O’Neill from Rainy Day Paperback Exchange

This post is a companion piece to her series on Using Adwords

8 thoughts on “Find out what Keywords are Working then Beef Them Up”

  1. This is a great post. My only comment would be – why use statCounter when google analytics does the exact same thing (and much more)? Read my post 5 Key Google Analytics to Watch for Blog Progress and tell me what you think.

    Also – why doesn’t this blog have the “subscribe to comments” plugin installed? Without it – I’ll never know if this gets replies or remember to come back and visit this page to check.


  2. Mostly I recommended StatCounter because I’d used it before and had not used Analytics. There’s so many Google things that keeping on top of them all gets crazy. I went with one I’d successfully used in the past.

    As to the comments, if you look under the “submit comments” there’s a box that says “notify me of follow up comments by e-mail”.

    Unrelated, but one of the blog ads I’m seeing right now has a flaming monkey head. I’m not sure what in this post made Project Wonderful go “yeah, flaming monkey head, HERE!”

  3. It’s getting nit-picky when you talk about all the analytics packages to use for a site.

    The real power of this article is in showing you the concept of analyzing the keywords that people use to find you.

    There are many analytics packages. Google Analytics, Urchin (Googles high priced, pay to play analytics), WebTrends and a host of others. (those are the BIG players)

    Google analytics is free, and does nothing to affect your adwords campaign. So relax, and use it if you want.

    But what I want to comment on is how many people, including our clients could benefit from what is said here.

    Keywords determine how people know you. And more often than not, the wrong keywords are getting people to your business, which means, if the keywords they come from, don’t relate specifically to the problem your products solve, you’ve got a lot of lookie loos, doing nothing but wasting your bandwidth.

    Use a tool like Wordtracker or one of the other Keyword agregators, to build a smart list of keywords that actually RELATE to your business and your products.

    Don’t know which words to use? Use a tool such as the ‘Keyword Research Engine’ to help you find the right keywords to take to Wordtracker or Google’s Keyword Tool.

    This will help you generate a proper PROBLEM based keyword list, which will get you the highest CONVERTING keywords to optimize for.

    Then hire a proper consultant and get your keywords ranked quickly.

    Without proper keyword research, most sites are doomed.


  4. Great post, some useful information there.

    “Google analytics is free, and does nothing to affect your adwords campaign. So relax, and use it if you want.”

    I agree, Google analytics is the only tool I trust when it comes to stats for my site. Also Google webmaster tools is another great tool from Google and will show all the links pointing to your site (that Google has counted). .

  5. Along with mentioned already, I think one more thing is important thing while starting the keywords implementation, the analysis of “No of Searches” / day is important. Sometimes it seems quite logical to use certain keyword, but the number of searches / day are quite less as might be expected. You may use to figure out daily search volume in major SEs along with other useful info.

  6. I agree, its not worth getting hung up on what keyword tool is best. I personally use Awstats and Google analytic to keep up with my traffic and keywords. The great think to take away from this post though is the thought process and the theory behind the keyword selection. I don’t do much PPC, but I use analytics to track my keywords that send traffic. Then I go back and optimize my pages for the keywords that are sending traffic. Many times you’ll get traffic for a keyword you next expected. Then you go and get some links for it to increase your traffic.

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