Finding and leveraging money keywords is one of the true joys of being an SEO. It’how-to-find-money-keywords-using-google-webmaster-tools/s been floating my boat since 2002.
But some might be asking, “what the heck is a money keyword and how do I find one?” I’ve actually written about them before, only I used to refer to money keywords as “on the cusp” keywords. But that doesn’t sound as cool, so I’ve decided to change the phrasing altogether.
I’ve also discovered that one of the recent upgrades to Google Webmaster Tools has made it a lot easier to spot money keywords, and I’ve decided to share that process with all of you beautiful people out there that take some time out of your day to read my humble blog.
First, let’s go ahead and define money keywords for the sake of clarity. When I refer to a “money keyword” I’m referring to a medium to high search volume keyword (or keyword phrase) that is on the cusp of showing up above the fold in Google’s search results. Typically, I consider that cusp to be a ranking of anywhere between 5 and 15, give or take a few positions.
Identifying these money keywords is crucial because they can deliver significant ROI with minimal effort. Typically, a few tweaks to the page that’s ranking or the introduction of an inbound link with some exact match anchor text (even if it’s coming from an internal link within the site itself) will do the trick. And the real beauty is that moving from the cusp to above the fold for these keywords will result in exponential as opposed to linear increases in traffic, because as most of us know, click-thru rates go up dramatically as you move up into the top few slots within a particular SERP (by the way, SERP stands for “search engine results page” for those of you new to SEO).
Now that we’ve dispensed with the definition, let’s talk about how to find these valuable money keywords.
My previous method for finding these keywords involved data-mining analytics reports to find keywords that were referring a minimal amount of site referrals (let’s use 1-5 referrals per day for this example, although for more established sites, I might focus in on keywords that are referring 50-100 visits per day). I would then take that list of keywords that fit the criteria and pull current Google rankings for each one to figure out which keywords where in that sweet spot of ranking between 5-15 (although, in most cases, even the ones that ranked 2,3, and 4 were also lumped in).
This methodology has worked well for years, and I’ve incorporated into our standard methodology for SEO clients at my interactive agency. However, Google Webmaster Tools has made this process much easier. Here’s how:
1) The first thing you see when you log into your Google Webmaster Tools account and select the domain you’re working on should be a dashboard that leads off with query impression data for specific keywords:
If you click on the “More” hyperlink at the bottom of this results set you get an even more detailed view of the data as well as a full download of keywords that are getting impressions in Google SERPs:
The great thing about this data set is that it includes average position for the keyword in question, and based on the efforts that Google has taken to water down their API for natural search results and its effect on the accuracy of conventional ranking tools, I’m fairly sure that the ranking data that is displayed here is by far the most accurate you’re going to find anywhere. But wait, there’s more! If you click on an individual keyword, Google gives you an even more granular data set on where that keyword is ranking and how it performs in terms of impressions:
Based on this data, it appears that “downfall of America” is a money keyword, but in order to make sure, all you have to do is leverage Google’s nifty keyword tool to get a sense for the monthly search volume associated with this keyword:
In this case, the search volume is not a whole lot, but considering the nature of the article that’s ranking, it’s definitely a keyword that would pay dividends if it were consistently showing up in the top spot (as opposed to hovering around the second page of results in position 14 or so).
So there you have it. A quick and easy way to identify your money SEO keywords using Google Webmaster Tools. If this hasn’t convinced you to start using this Google tool on a regular basis, I’m not sure what will, but rest assured that this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the value it can bring to your SEO program.
P.S. For those of you wondering why I rank for term like the downfall of America, take moment to read the piece I wrote on the topic, and feel free to comment. I encourage folks to chime in, even if they don’t necessarily agree with my stance. Open debate and discourse is one of the things that makes this country so damn great!