Measuring Performance from Non-Branded Keywords

Posted on November 4, 2010 • Written by Ben Smith

Keyword rankings and conversions are great metrics to use to judge the success of a SEO campaign. However, they don’t give the whole picture. No data point alone will. Analyzing data and metrics can be confusing, but today we’ll cover one particular metric that will instantly zero in on how people are finding your site.

Organic non-branded keyword traffic is one of the best at-a-glance metrics you can use to track how well your SEO campaign is going. That is non-paid search traffic that filters out keywords that are unique to your business name or specific individuals within your organization (applicable for lawyers, doctors, etc). The reason this data is useful is because if a user is searching on a branded keyword, they are probably going to find your site without you doing any SEO work.

This is easily tracked in Google Analytics. Simply go into Traffic Sources>>Keywords>>Non-paid>>Advanced Filter (at the bottom of the keyword list). In the filter, you have the ability to exclude all of the keywords that would be considered branded. Don’t forget misspellings.

This is more useful than SERP rankings because it takes into account what people are actually searching on. Ranking #1 in Google for a long tail keyword is great, but it’s not going to drive any traffic to your website if no one ever searches on that term.

Bonus Tip: Cross reference the list of non-branded keywords against Google SERPs to discover additional keyword ideas that may be just beyond your current radar. Most likely you will already be ranking fairly well with these keywords.

Bonus Tip 2: Google Analytics will provide bounce rate, average time on site and other metrics for each of these keywords. If you find a keyword you are not currently targeting and it has a low bounce rate you’ve just found a valuable keyword that converts well. With just a little more effort you may be able to push it into the top 3 in Google, which can drastically increase traffic and conversions.

Ben Smith

Written by Ben Smith

Ben Smith is a Researcher at Fruition, specializing in Google's Algorithm changes. Ben is a graduate of the University of Denver’s Mathematics program, and he enjoys learning about Google’s search algorithm updates. He's a vital asset of the Fruition team, and he one day hopes to publish a book. In his free time, you can find Ben enjoying the outdoors of Colorado.

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