Google Webmaster Tools: Using it for Keyword Research

Darren Franks - January 17, 2011

In my last blog post, I discussed “Five Things to Know About Google Webmaster Tools” and certain aspects of it that I find useful for my search engine optimization efforts. In today’s blog post, I will discuss its usefulness for performing one of the most important aspects of SEO; keyword research.

In Google Webmaster Tools you are able to find keywords that you are actually ranking for right now. For example, once signed in to Webmaster Tools, go to “Your site on the web>>Search Queries>>Top Pages” to see your best performing pages and their associated keyphrases. With this new section, you will be able to determine which phrases currently get you the most impressions, CTR (click through rate) and what their average positions are within Google.

Another useful section, “Your site on the web>> Links to your site >> How your data is linked>> Anchor text” lets you see what anchor text the external links are utilizing to point to your website. Put simply, anchor text is the word(s) that you click on to open the hyperlink. Anchor text is weighted (ranked) highly in search engine algorithms, because the linked text is usually relevant to the landing page.

The general idea behind using these tools is to identify which words get you the most ROI (return on investment) so that when performing new keyword research you won’t actually hurt your current rankings. Sometimes, overzealous “SEOers” will completely alter the keyword targeting of their site and will unwittingly substitute the great words they already have for lesser ones. Just because all of your keyword research tools are telling you these words have a good KEI (keyword effectiveness index) number, it doesn’t actually mean they will perform for your specific demographic.

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