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   4 min read

Understanding Search Traffic

It might seem obvious which keywords have the highest volume in your industry but where should you focus?

It is very easy to focus your Search Engine strategy on a few, obvious, strategic keywords and this is a perfectly justifiable and logical way to start your SEO efforts but it is not the whole story.

We worked with a client who had a very clear remit of focussing on 3 specific industry keywords. All the tools and analysis suggested these were the best 3 keywords and over time they were proved right. In this specific instance there happened to be some very obvious search terms which made this decision easy.

After a few years of strict focus these were the 3 best performing keywords and were at the top for the number of visits in our keyword reports. The website was displayed consistently on the first results page for these 3 keywords; it was great. Then we realised something. The 3 keywords combined only accounted for 33% of the total non-branded search visits (searches that don’t include the business name) to the website. This meant that there was another 67% that we were not focussing on.

Don’t get me wrong we did everything right and focussed in the right area because they were easily the best keywords to focus on and they were achievable (that is very important). It just opened our eyes to the potential for other keywords through which to engage with customers and as it happens a lot of these were mid to long tail keywords.The lesson is not to ignore the other keywords because together they will make up a large part of your Search Engine Traffic. In fact they are often easier to rank for too, there may be a lot more of them but if they are easier to rank highly for then it might be worthwhile.

Some things worth noting:

  • this example was taken when Google still gave us access to the organic keywords in Analytics. They no longer do that.
  • In the example above it is our opinion that the focussed keyword % is actually very high compared to the average website. This is because the 3 keywords were so obvious within the industry. If that focussed keyword % is high it would mean that the less obvious keyword % may be higher for other industries.
  • Focussed keywords might drive traffic but do they make sales.
  • If you are in a super competitive industry is it realistic to target the most popular keywords? Probably not. So perhaps focus in other areas first.

Two Point Takeaway

  1. Your “best” keywords are a great barometer of success but they are not the whole story.
  2. Dont ignore your mid-long tail keywords they can make up a huge part of your traffic and will often be easier to rank highly for in Google Search.

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