Keyword Research: How to Target Low Hanging Fruit with Google Analytics

I wanted to make sure that my client could see the ranking improvement that we had made with each keyword, so I created the following chart.  This chart shows rankings for the various keywords at the inception of our SEO campaign over a year ago, compared to the current rankings that we have been able to achieve.  I used a simple IF statement in excel to highlight the difference.

(=IF(C3-B3>0, “+” &C3-B3, C3-B3)

At this point I wanted to dive into ecommerce metrics in Google Analytics to show the revenue that each of these keywords had brought in for the last thirty days, and found something that I wasn’t expecting.

I sorted by organic traffic, then clicked on Ecommerce then sorted by revenue.

In a 30-day period, there were 13 of our target keywords that didn’t bring in any revenue. These keywords had decent search volume, which was why they were selected ahead of other keywords.  To make sure that it wasn’t a fluke, I also looked at the same time period the previous year for the same keywords. I found out of the 13 keywords that didn’t bring in revenue, 11 didn’t bring in revenue for the previous year.

Now I understand that this is just a thirty day period of time, and to get a clearer picture I would need to expand the data, but this was very interesting to me.  Here are the 11 keywords and the search volume and the rankings for those keywords.

Many of these keywords had a decent amount of global monthly searches but weren’t bringing in the revenue that our client needed to see.

I decided to look at the data from the past year instead of just a thirty day period of time.  I used the following RegEx expression to exclude many branded terms  (^(branded keyword 1|branded keyword 2|branded keyword 3| branded keyword 4)$ and sorted again by revenue.  I expanded the list to show 500 keywords and downloaded the data for Excel.  Once in excel I was able to format and make it look like this:

This chart shows visits, revenue, transactions, and search volume for non-branded keywords in the year 2011.  The rows in green highlight keywords that we weren’t currently targeting in our search engine optimization efforts, but did generate revenue.  The fourth one down from the top was very interesting to me because it only had 46 global monthly searches but was the fourth highest revenue driving keyword for 2011.

Presenting this information to the client allowed us to switch out the 11 keywords that weren’t bringing in any revenue, and replace them with the 12 keywords here in green.

I found that my client was excited about refining these keywords by targeting keywords that were already bringing in revenue.   In the SEO world, we are constantly trying to find ways to show our value to our clients.

This also helped me realize that choosing the best keywords was not all about search volume; but instead, it should be based on the keywords that visitors use to purchase products, regardless the search volume.  Focusing on keywords that convert to revenue for ecommerce sites (or goals for non-ecommerce sites) is better than focusing on keywords that have high search volume but aren’t being used to make purchases or complete goals.

How do you constantly show value to your clients in your SEO efforts?

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    • Ty Kilgore says

      I agree.  I feel like when you let clients look at the keywords that will increase their bottom line that is what matters most to them!

  1. Nicky says

    Wow good article. The real value of SEO is not getting the most traffic but getting real valuable customer that will buy. I like the system how you used it. Its a good overview and its the best way to get started. Looking for the best keywords and optimize on those keywords. Its a fairly basic way but simple is always better than complicated. 


    • Ty Kilgore says

      Thanks Nicky,  simple is always better than complicated especially when your speaking with clients!

  2. Tudor Davies says

    As many tools as there are out there, you can’t beat a spreadsheet. Their versatility makes them invaluable. I’ve used a spreadsheet since I started in the industry, I don’t think I’d ever move to an online ranking or traffic tool.

  3. Ewan says

    Ty, thanks for your article. This is something I continue to tell my clients, ‘it’s not about positions, it’s about how much cash they make you!’ I have had clients on page 1 for generic key terms which are highly searched but bring no actual spend from searchers. Analytics is such a valuable tool when it comes to showing clients just what it is we are trying to achieve for them as well as pointing us in the right direction. If we can’t show them we’re making them money then they are unlikely to continue working with us. 

    • Ty Kilgore says

      Focusing on clients keywords that bring in revenue is always better than focusing on keywords that are ranking high but aren’t bring in revenue.  This helped me realize that better.  Thanks for your comment. 

  4. Chris Savage says

    Awesome tips Ty!
    Posts like this are really useful in helping to understand some great ways to justify your cost as an SEO to your client and are really appreciated. And while getting traffic from keywords is great and all, in the end, I’m sure the client would be much happier chasing the keywords that actually bring in the conversions. Which in turn helps you keep your client longer.

    • Ty Kilgore says

      I agree. It’s always about keeping client longer.  Like I found here it’s a matter of targeting the correct keywords not the highest search volume keywords.

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