Large List of Keywords? Think Keyword Themes Instead of Individual Keywords

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To start off with, the idea here is to track organic rankings, traffic and conversion data based on keyword themes rather than individual keywords. This mainly applies to large-site SEO meaning that if you have a 5 page site targeting a handful of keywords this does not apply but can be beneficial if you find yourself in charge of a large site someday.

Good SEO planning starts with the keyword research.  During keyword research certain themes or grouping begin to surface – these are the themes I’m talking about.

Why Use Keyword Themes?

If you rank for “Blue Widgets,” chances are you will be ranking for longer tail variations of “Blue Widgets” as well, so narrowing down your reporting data to just the base keyword means you’re missing out on the longer tail and related versions of this keyword.  Additionally, if one whole section of your site is dedicated to “Widgets,” you no doubt have information for multiple different “Widgets.”  Maybe one month there’s a higher search demand for one type of widget over the other.  Grouping all related keywords will give you the bigger picture of what’s happening.

Obviously, Google’s (not provided) change makes it harder to report on data based on individual keywords, so, by stepping back and looking at the overarching keyword themes the data can be somewhat normalized.  Search, Plus Your World changed the rankings game too now that Google personalizes search results for each user.  Recently, Google announced they adjust rankings for broader terms based on a user’s location.  Who knows what the Big G will change next, but all these changes makes individual keyword rankings harder to accurately track and harder to optimize for.  So long as you are doing all the proper on-site tactics, moving to a keyword theme system of tracking will provide a more realistic approach.

How To Implement Keyword Theme Tracking

There are two ways to think about keyword themes.  The first way to go about this is to focus on the base keyword and then all variations.  The second is to group all related keywords so you’re not necessarily just looking at variations but totally separate keywords that have to do with the same subject.

Either of these options can easily be implemented in Google Analytics using custom segments.

To get this started:

  • Log into Google Analytics,
  • Click on Advanced Segments
  • Click on New Custom Segment
    • Settings for your custom segment should be Include > Keyword > Containing.
    • Now here’s the fun part. If you’re tracking variations of a keyword enter the base keyword at its simplest form, but if you’re tracking related keywords enter the base version for each connected by “or” statements.
      • You can do the above with some awesome Regular Expressions, but that would be a whole separate post.
      • Click Save Segment and you are set to report on site data based on those themes.

Conclusion

Moving to this type of tracking and reporting method will help you step back and see the bigger picture for your site.  Please comment below and let me know if you’ve found a similar way to visualize the overarching keyword theme level data.

About the Author

Chris Slowik is a Digital Analyst with Anvil Media, Inc., a leading search engine marketing company. Chris helps Anvil’s clients increase ROI through social media marketing, PPC management, and search engine optimization.

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One Comment

  1. Chris I agree with every word you say. Looking at individual keywords when you're trying to SEO a large site can be a huge waste of time. The process you outline can also be hugely time-consuming. Running the reports (even once) and collating the data in a spreadsheet provides hugely valuable data, but may take several hours. And, what do you do next month, when you want to analyze your traffic again? Do you have time to start the analysis all over again? Probably not. That's why we (Wordtracker) built our Strategizer tool. It automates the process you describe. You can quickly find your site's best keyword niches (the ones that make the most money). So, you'll no longer waste time looking at individual keywords. Oh, and we automatically provide rank tracking data for the most important niches, too. You can try Strategizer free for 7-days at www.strategizer.wordtracker.com Signing up takes less than two minutes - which is several hours faster than creating all those spreadsheets. :)