Question: When looking in Google Analytics at what keywords drove traffic to the site, should I be looking at Sources-Search-Organic or at Search Engine Optimization-Queries in the Traffic Sources category?
Answer: That’s an interesting question. Ironically, in Google analytics the best place for the organic search engine optimization keywords is in the first thing that you mention. Sources, search, organic.
Now one problem there of course is that Google is increasingly reporting keywords as not provided. What this means of course is that the user is signed into his Google account and then clicks from a secure connection to Google over to your website which is unsecure. In this scenario, Google does not share the keyword data in Google analytics.
The second part of it Google analytics is the search engine optimization section, and this is an attempt by Google to integrate Google analytics with Google webmaster tools. However, to the best of my knowledge, the integration is done very poorly and usually the data does not reside in this place and Google analytics.
Instead, log into your webmaster tools account and there you will find inbound search query data. Putting together both the search query data from Google analytics and from webmaster tools you can get a pretty good idea of how people are searching for your company.
Finally, remember however this important fact. The search queries that are appearing in Google analytics or in Google Webmaster tools are only those search queries for which you are winning. If you did not optimize on a keyword, you will not rank for Google, and you will not see inbound search activity. If, for example, you are an attorney and you only optimize for attorney and not for lawyer, then you will not see inbound traffic for lawyer and you might mistakenly conclude that people do not search for lawyer.
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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