At Boston Web Marketing, one of the most common questions that we recieve is this: “How are people finding my website.” SEO managers and search specialists may have also heard other variations as well. “What is my best keyword?” “Where are my users coming from?” “What ultimately drives my website traffic?” Answering those questions and variations of the same phrase are crucial for SEO success.
Mastering SEO tools and analytical techniques to improve your keywords, page ranking, and overall discoverability can separate the most successful online businesses from competitors trying to play catch up. Tools and techniques that can help you answer the golden question of SEO are as follows, which we’ll dive into more detail below on our blog:
- Keyword Research
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google Trends
- WordPress and CRMs
- Third-Party Tools
If you need an SEO expert to start finding out your main traffic sources, keywords, and SEO presence, then speak to our SEO specialists for an audit of your website. If you’re interested in gaining some background knowledge on SEO strategy and planning, then keep reading!
Keyword Research is the cornerstone of identifying visible search phrases
Keyword Research, or the process of identifying your website’s most visible keywords, is crucial to find out who visits your website. It also helps to identify keywords that you’ll need to be successful online.
Keywords are built across a website through text-based content, metadata on webpages, H-tags, alt text on images, video metadata, J-SON and microdata schema, and much more. By incorporating a keyword across your website thoroughly (through all the aforementioned channels and content), but without spamming, you can increase your website’s page rank. Keyword research is the process of auditing important keywords and determining new ones you will need.
For example, an antique furniture store is likely to benefit from having a mix of shorthand (short-tail keywords) and longer keyword phrases (long-tail keywords) that mention furniture, antiquities, and related terms. So in this instance, “antique furniture store” and “antique furniture in [town/city name]” are ideal keyword phrases.
An easy way to begin the keyword research process is to find mentions of your most used keywords by observing the front end of your website and landing pages. Chrome extensions like “Keywords Everywhere” and similar tools can quickly highlight your most used keywords. Next, we’ll dive into more technical ways to find keywords that rank on your site well and some that are beginning to trend.
Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Trends are excellent free keyword tools
Most, if not all, websites should have Google Analytics and Google Search Console installed. Both platforms are free and the industry-standard for measuring your website’s SEO performance.
Google Analytics can measure a variety of performance metrics including most clicked conversions, most visited landing pages, bounce rate, total visitors, and more. Specific keywords that users need to find your website are not listed on Analytics, but general measures of organic and direct traffic help to determine if your general SEO strategy is contributing to visibility. Additionally, Google Analytics helps to see if there were any time periods where traffic on your website spiked or dipped at any time.
Google Search Console is a tool that is extremely helpful in determining your most successful keywords and keyword phrases. The platform allows a user to filter out queries by impressions (when users say your website on a Google search), click-through-rate (percentage of users that saw your website on a search and then clicked on your website), and even average position. The average position provides the overall placement on Google for that search term. Search Console provides high-quality data about your website, including search performance and user experience.
Using both Google Analytics and Google Search Console help to measure SEO performance and see if keywords are driving your users to your main content pages and landing page targets. For data and keywords that aren’t on your website, since they are just emerging, Google Trends is a great tool to find new keyword phrases.
Google Trends can be accessed by anyone for free by going to this link. Users can type in a general topic and see if that topic is trending, likely to trend, or has stopped trending in recent weeks. Filters include geographic filters, keywords by most common, and fastest rising keywords/topics. Seasonal businesses can benefit significantly by filtering and downloading keyword results at the state and local level. However, some smaller towns are lumped in with major metro areas for geographic filtering.
Google Analytics, Search Console, and Google Trends are great ways to find out how users find your website, and what is likely to drive traffic. Once you have an idea of the keywords you have, or are missing, then it is time to optimize the backend of your website.
Get familiar with technical SEO tools to audit metadata and other on-page SEO
Keywords are not only in the written portions of your content, but they are crucial to add onto your website’s metadata. Page titles, meta descriptions, image alt text, h-tags, and schema data are extremely helpful in boosting keyword rankings on your website. Thankfully, there are some third-party tools and content management systems that make it easy to improve technical SEO.
All In One SEO, Yoast, and related SEO plugins help WordPress users to improve their use of characters and keywords in metadata. Simply follow the instructions to see where you can add keywords, optimize pages, and maximize the use of metadata. Third party tools, plugins, and software can also with similar projects, but the two mentioned at the start are helpful for WordPress users.
Several vendors offer third-party keyword tools, but are usually designed for SEO specialists and experts to manage. Many of these tools have technical jargon that may confuse a user unfamiliar with SEO terms. Make sure that you find a solution that makes sense for you, based on your needs and level of expertise.