When conducting keyword research, it is important to have as much information as possible so you can pick the best word for the page you are trying to optimize. There are a plethora of tools available and some of our favorites include WordTracker, KeywordDiscovery and the Free Google Keyword Tool. These tools are great because they can show you some very important statistics about each keyword. Some stats that they show include approximate search volume and the competitiveness of the keyword. The one thing they don’t show you however, is trending. For that we recommend that you take a look at Google’s Insights for Search.
Insights for Search allows you to compare up to 5 keywords and look at trending data from as far back as 2004. It also displays significant news stories or events that happened during the time frame so you can see how these events played a role in the search data for the keywords. Trending data such as this can help you to choose a better keyword. Perhaps when cross referencing your researched terms with Insights, you will notice that a highly searched term is actually decreasing in trending data. This might cause you to evaluate a different term that is a rising search, which you may not have discovered from your other keyword research tools alone.
Insights for Search also allows you to see related search terms, regional interest and rising searches. In my opinion, the rising searches section is the most interesting. These are words that you should be focusing on because they are becoming popular very quickly. When you see “breakout” listed instead of an actual percentage, it means that the search term has experienced a change in growth greater than 5000%.
The next time you are doing keyword research for a new page or blog, also consult Insights for Search to see what other keywords you might find.
One of my favorite web sites on the entire planet is Woot.com. They sell one item every single day. There’s no way to predict what the item will be or how many are in stock or how much it will cost – just visit their site at 12 AM CST every day to find out what great sale they will promote next!
Let’s pretend that you are the senior data / web analyst for Woot.com, and my online behavior and interactions with your site(s) were representative of the average, everyday visitor. It wouldn’t be long before you cracked open Google Analytics, WebTrends, Quantcast, or your favorite measurement tool to have the equivalent of a heart-attack. Here’s my personal estimation of my lifetime statistics on Woot.com and its family of sites:
Bounce Rate: 99.5%
Average Time on Site: 0:00:20
Abandonment Rate: >99%
Conversion Rate: <0.00%
Average Order Value: ~$17.50
Visits to Purchase: 300+
Revenue Per Visit: ~$0.02
Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many folks who wouldn’t frown upon looking at those depressing statistics. I can make it even worse for Woot.com by subscribing to their RSS feed and never actually visiting any of their sites in the first place.
The interesting thing about me is that I don’t visit Woot.com to purchase items. If there is something interesting, something that I need, or some cheap gadget that I have no use for but I really have the itch to spend, then yes, I’ll make a purchase. But if you were to ask me what my top 5 reasons for visiting Woot.com would be, I would tell you that I visit Woot.com to:
1. See (not buy) what the item of the day is
2. View purchasing statistics (Geo and hourly breakdowns)
3. Read the product overview (they are VERY clever and funny!)
4. See what’s on shirt.woot, wine.woot, and sellout.woot (their network of sites)
5. If I am remotely interested in the product, read their message boards to see what people are saying about the product
Bonus Reason #6: To see if they are doing a Woot Off!
So if my usage statistics and reasons for visiting Woot.com are representative of the average, everyday visitor, what happens now? Do you sound the general alarm and have a fire sale? Redesign your entire web site? Drop your prices to a ridiculous level? Use a lifeline and phone a friend?
Or, maybe you start including the “why” factor into your data analysis.
Google Analytics, Omniture SiteCatalyst, and every other web analytics package can give you every usage statistic imaginable, but it can’t directly tell you why people search for what they search for on Google and why they are on your site. To fill in the gaps left behind by your favorite web analytics platform, you’ll need to really think about what your web site has to offer its visitors, and what they can possibly do you on site – other than whatever your site’s main objective is. If you sell products of any kind, they could be coming to your site to simply read reviews, or window-shop, or read your company blog, and not even think about purchasing an item at this time. If you are a B2B company, they could be finding out about the history of your company, your board of directors, or to read client case studies, and not to immediately request an RFP and do business with you. And, if you’re a non-profit organization, they could simply be learning more about your causes and getting fact-sheets, and not visiting with the intention of donating to your cause.
There are some tools and some ways that you can help yourself in including the “why” factor in your daily / weekly data analysis. These include (but are most definitely not limited to):
1. Visitor Loyalty reports in Google Analytics
2. Site Search usage reports (usage on your site’s internal search function)
3. “Voice of Customer” tools (4Q by iPerceptions is an excellent online survey tool)
4. Google Insights for Search and Google Trends for Websites (get a feel for visitor behavior trends)
5. Offline focus groups / user-experience studies
Whether you’re the senior web analyst for Woot.com, the National Football League, CNN.com, or marketing for Jennifer’s local flower shop or Louie’s Pizza Joint, it’s critical to include the “why” factor in your data analysis, or you’ll be working off of faulty assumptions. Always determine why people are visiting your site.