How to use Your Website as a Keyword Research Tool & Why

Keyword research is probably one of the most important aspects of website optimization. Without proper keyword research we may be barking up the wrong tree with all of our efforts to get some traffic to our blogs. So how do we do keywords research, what keyword research tools do we use and how to interpret that data? I think you all know that by now, if you don’t you can subscribe to my blog and download the Keyword Research Bible or you can go to SEOmoz as they explain it in a great way. We are here to talk about our website in the role of a keyword research tool.

Why Should You Use Your Website as a Keyword Research Tool?

I thought it might be better to first explain why you need to use your website as a keyword research tool. This will put things in perspective for you. The answer should be rather obvious, people are using certain keywords to do a search and some of them lead back to your website.

First of all you need to monitor which keywords are brining in traffic for you, second of all you need to discover new keywords that are brining in traffic without you optimizing for those keywords. That happens all the time, just look at your webmasters data and you will probably see plenty of keywords that resulted in a visitor without you making any effort to optimize your website on-page or off-page for that keyword. So, this actually tells us that we can use our own website as a keyword research tool. The reason why is simple, to take advantage of the traffic you are already getting,  but could get more if you only optimized for certain keywords that are right under your nose.

How to Use Your Website as a Keyword research Tool

This part is actually very easy; the hard part was getting your attention to the fact that you can use your own website to look for potential traffic getting keywords.

The first thing you need to do is login to your Google Webmaster Tools and open up the “your site on the web” section and click on the “search queries”. There you will be given a chart presenting keywords and the amount of traffic each one of them brought to you over a course of a month with your average rank and the number of impressions and clicks.

On the image above you can see 4 keywords my website ranks for without me having a clue why, you will have those, but these are not the keywords we want as they are not related to my blog. So make sure to recognize which keywords are relevant, you don’t want to go for number one ranking for the keyword “smart light bulb” if your blog is selling “Chinese paper towels”, you get the picture, those visitors will move right along. On the image below you can however see keywords I unintentionally ranked for and recently started getting some traffic from, these are related to my blog and these are the keywords I might want to investigate a bit.

SEO plan is a keyword that shows, I only wrote one post titled Creating Your SEO Plan, but since then I started receiving some traffic for the keyword and it keeps showing on all my analytics monitoring services I have set. So this is a keyword I wish to investigate. At the moment I am ranked 18 in Google for the keyword, but that means nothing if the keyword doesn’t have a good search volume, so I go to Google Adwords Keyword Tool and look up the search volumes for “SEO plan” and it shows 1,600 searches for an exact match and 5,400 for a broad match, which gives me a chance to experiment with variations to get maximum exposure for this keyword.

In other words, this is a keyword I might want to look into. But besides using Google keyword tool or other keyword tools to find possible variations I also love to use Thesaurus, the greatest keyword tool ever invented, so in other words I might go with “SEO blueprint”, “SEO checklist”, “SEO Game Plan” or even “SEO plan template” and “SEO layout” as well as ever popular “SEO strategy”.

So you can see how easy it is to use a keyword you already have a rank for, without effort, investigate it a bit and come up with several keywords that might bring you massive amount of traffic if you optimize your website and build some links around it. I would personally use one or two variations of the keyword on my blog, but would use all of the other keywords with solid amount of search volume for article marketing and link building. As you can see, no need to pay for expansive keyword tools or rely only on Google Adwords Keyword Tool, you can use your own website as a keyword research tool with great success.

About The Author

is the founder and CEO of Practical SEO and also a passionate blogger. All of his free time he dedicates to his Practical SEO blog and giving free advice as well as participating in the blogging community.

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15 Response to How to use Your Website as a Keyword Research Tool & Why

  1. Tweets that mention How to use Your Website as a Keyword Research Tool & Why -- on December 8, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by and Zarko Zivkovic, Zarko Zivkovic. Zarko Zivkovic said: [...]

  2. Steve@Internet Lifestyle on December 8, 2010


    Very good ideas of how to use your own website for keyword research. I had been doing some of it without really “thinking” about it, but it makes really good sense with the steps you lay out.

    I think keyword research is one of the most important steps for SEO. Most of the other steps you can correct the issue and go merrily on your way, but if you waste time on keyword research and put a lot of effort into “bad” keyword choices the work just becomes a waste basically.

  3. Zarko on December 9, 2010

    Yeah, keyword research is the root of everything we do in this business, if we go for the wrong keywords we will never see “free traffic”. But, even when we use the right keywords we tend to get blind about the things right in front of our eyes, which is why I had to bring this subject up :)

  4. lawmacs on December 12, 2010

    Keyword research is important i totally agree with you Zarko i think what must of us missed as bloggers is that we actually used keywords but we don’t do the research we more do what is like keyword stuffing but to get the desired results we need to do the research first.

  5. Felicia @ No Deposit Poker on December 16, 2010

    Keyword research is the life blood for most online businesses. If you don’t pick your keyword properly, you might end up not having enough traffic even if you are proving the best content and products.

  6. Web Designer on December 30, 2010

    Keyword plays a very important role in a Website Promotion, I am very to the points in Keyword selection that why my website is on top ten ranking …

    Conroy James

  7. Anna on January 2, 2011

    From my own experience I can say that only right keywords can be effective. But to choose the right ones is a very difficult task – you have to look at your keywords as your potential visitors do. Unfortunately, not all site owners know how to do it.

  8. Conroy @ Web Design Company on January 11, 2011

    Thanks for Sharing new Idea, I don’t have Much Knowledge about this …. I must say your all posts are Very Impressive and Informative for me :) Keep writing such Posts !!!

  9. Conroy @ Web Design Company on January 11, 2011

    Hey I forget to Mention is there any tool who help as knowing the Worth of our Website or Keywords

    Conroy James

  10. Zarko on January 11, 2011

    I guess there are plenty of websites that try to determine the worth of your website, but they are all useless, there are however effective ways and even specific calculations used to set a starting price, something like 12 or 24 month estimated profit is a good starting point, but there are other things to consider, I’m not an expert on this. you should check some sites that deal with website flipping and domaining…

    As for the keyword worth… if you are referring to adsense there are lists of keywords to be found or bought, but if you simply wish to figure out how much a keyword is worth for your business you should simply look at the numbers in adwords tool and similar tools, of course, the worth for your website will depend on your ranking, so the higher the rankings the higher the worth based on the search volumes, and if your landing pages are good then your conversion rates will also be better, simple as that.

    Good targeting plus a good landing page with solid SERP placement equals great customization and profits :)

  11. David @ barcodes for retail products on March 15, 2011

    Thanks for this article. I agree with some of the comments. Choosing the right keywords for a site can be very difficult, especially if there is a wide spread of key words

  12. Nhick@Cool New Gadgets on March 27, 2011

    Nice one, been away from my webmasters tool for a while now, and looks like to time to revisit it again eh.. thanks for this very cool tips.

  13. Jean@Website Marketing Strategy on April 18, 2011

    Hi Zarko,

    Nice blog and very useful post. I definitely agree with your points. You can easily find some untapped keyword phrases right in your keyword statistics and start optimizing for them. This can be a real keyword goldmine. I’ve noticed that I can even get nice traffic from keyword phrases which don’t even have a monthly search count. Relying on only keyword search tools might not be a good idea as there are other ways to find profitable keywords as well without much effort :).


  14. Bernard Marti@logiciel antivirus on April 20, 2011

    With basic keyword search tools and manual processes for e-mail discovery, organization and analysis, enterprises are subject to excessive costs, serious risks, inefficient business processes, and in extreme cases, executive indictments. Early customers have achieved multi-million dollar savings, validating the solution’s inherent value and the significance of the emerging E-mail Intelligence category.

  15. SneakyMedia on May 18, 2011

    Nice post, you’d expect most people to have a pretty good grasp of key word research by now. But they don’t! Nice post though, thanks.

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