easy keyword research

"Hands-free" isn't always a good thing...

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked doing keyword research.

Let’s face it: it’s tedious, time-consuming, and overwhelming, and that’s not even the biggest problem.

The core aspect of keyword research that many webmasters get wrong is finding keywords that THEIR readers search for when looking for information about their niche subject.

There’s a huge difference between THINKING you know what your readers are searching for and KNOWING what they are searching for, wouldn’t you say?

The following keyword research method is the easiest way I’ve even found to identify such search terms.

Oh, and did I mention it’s entirely hands-off, apart from setting it up, and entirely free?

Google Site Search

Chances are you have a search box on your site, and it’s most likely used by your readers to look up the kind of information they would expect to find on your site. Also, chances are your search box is powered by Google Site Search.

If you DON’T have a search box, stop right here and install it immediately! There’s nothing more frustrating than being on a site and not being able to find the information you are looking for. Search boxes keep your readers happy and your bounce rate low.

So, now that you definitely have the search box on your blog, have you ever checked what your readers are searching for?

If not, you are missing out on a vital piece of information that could tell you exactly what kind of content your readers want to see on your site.

In other words, TARGETED keywords.

Now let’s get down to business and set up a way for you to tap into this valuable information by tracking it in Google Analytics.

How to Track Site Search in Google Analytics

Setting up this process is very simple.

Note: since the new Google Analytics interface will soon become the default one for everyone, that’s the version I’ll use in the instructions below.

1.  From “Profiles” go into “Profile Settings”.

google analytics profile settings

 

2. Scroll down just a bit till you see”Site Search Settings” and set up the parameters like you see them in the screenshot below:


site search settings

 

Note: set “s” as the Query Parameter.

Just in case you are wondering why, “s” stands for “search” and is found in any search URL.

For instance, when I do a search for “web traffic” on my blog, this is what the URL for the search looks like:

search parameter settings

4. Click “Apply” and you are all set.

I told you it would be easy, right?

Site Search Results

Depending on how busy your blog is, it might take some time to accumulate any actionable results.

My blog gets about 400 site searches per month, which is plenty enough to determine what kind of content my readers tend to search for.

Here’s where to find these stats in Google Analytics:

search terms google analytics

Marketing Takeaway

And there you have it.

Not only do you know now what content you need to write about, but also what content you might need to make more accessible to your readers, for instance in your sidebar.

Easy, perfectly targeted, hands-free keyword research – check.