How to Find Search Terms for SEO in Google Adwords & Analytics

| PPC Management

seo search terms One of the frustrations in organic search optimization (SEO) is the lack of user-based search term data.  The main problem came when Google stopped providing search term queries in Analytics with the infamous “not provide” on most organic searches.  This came about as part of Google’s privacy policy, stating they wouldn’t provide organic keyword data for anyone logged into a personal Google account at the time of the search.

In other words, when it comes to tracking organic search terms that actually drive traffic to your website, most of the data was not provided.

However, there is a solution that involves using Google Adwords, the paid search platform.  On paid advertisements, the privacy policy does not apply.  So you can see the actual search terms people use to come to your website, as well as important data such as impressions, click-through-rates, and conversion rates on the term/phrase.

To see this data, go to your Adwords account and into the campaign you wish to view.  Click on the keyword tab.  Below you see the “search terms” tab.  Click on this to display the terms users actually typed in on their query.

adwords keywords

As you can see, we get a list of queries with the match type of exact, phrase, or broad that triggered the ad to display.  The keyword phrases listed are the actual search terms people entered on Google search or other search networks.

Now, you can also use the Search Console feature in Google Analytics to see search queries associated with landing pages.  Go to Search Console, landing pages, then click on the landing page you want to view.  It will take you to a page that shows the search queries, impressions, clicks, click-through-rates, and average ranking.  With this view, you can’t see the goals completions associated with each keyword.

analytics search query

When you have ad campaign that has enough traffic and duration data, you see the search terms that are rendering the best results on your website.  You can then take these search terms and use them as keywords for your SEO.

Likewise, the search console gives you data on the actual search queries your website is getting impressions, ranking, and clicks for.

These high volume search queries provide a lot of insight into the searches that drive traffic to your website.  However, because of the increasing number of long-tail and unique search queries today, they are best used as a base for keywords development rather than exclusive, exact targets.

Having an idea of the search queries people use to find your website remains great insight in their needs and motivations.  This is useful data that will help you rank for more high-performing keywords and concepts on your business website.