Analytics for Authors blogs have been edited to reflect the 01/16/2013 Google Analytics update.

Mark Twain wrote to a friend, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.” – and the same can be said for Google keywords.

It’s the difference between ‘swimming pool’ and ‘swimming pool installation Atlanta Georgia’, ‘recipes’ and ‘healthy whole-grain gluten-free bread recipes’, and even ‘Google analytics’ and ‘Google analytics for authors’. It might not seem like a lot, but check it out in action:

Analytics for Authors: Putting Your Keyword Data to Work

The Keywords Finding You Online

You may have noticed the list of keywords on your Traffic Sources overview page. Let’s take a closer look by clicking on ‘view full report’ in the lower right hand corner:

Analytics for Authors: Putting Your Keyword Data to Work

So you don’t have to click through many pages of only 10 keywords at a time, expand the amount of terms shown.

Analytics for Authors: Putting Your Keyword Data to Work

Keywords can be sorted by number of visits, average visit duration, bounce rate, etc.

Analytics for Authors: Putting Your Keyword Data to Work

Ideas for Using Google Analytics Keyword Data:

Consider Bounce Rate and Keyword Relationships

Are people reading one post and jetting off? Brainstorm ways to make your content more accessible.

This is especially important if you have a popular term that doesn’t go with the theme of your website:

Imagine you have a healthy cooking blog. One weekend, you went on a biking trip and blogged about the snacks you brought. Now a top keyword for your site is “best snacks for bike trips” – but it has a bounce rate of 88%. What do you do?

Here are some options:

  • Create a tag for ‘outdoor adventures’ so people can find similar content
  • Make a snack category in your sidebar for easier access and higher visibility
  • Link internally within the content to previous adventure-focused escapades posted on your blog
  • If you use WordPress, consider using a plugin like to recommend similar, previously-posted content to your readers

Compare Average Visit Durations

What terms lead people to long sessions with your website? Although they may have ‘bounced’, they spent quality time with you – what’s driving these new, engaged visitors?

Is a certain set of terms correlated with 30-second stays? Think about what demographic that term is coming from and whether you can make your content more engaging.

Syncing your Keywords and Content to your Vision
Do the keywords people actually use to find your website reflect your internal vision of what your website is all about?

Blogging can be very personal, and discovering that your top search terms don’t reflect what you are really trying to get at is a big surprise. You don’t need to keep your author blog strictly about your ‘big picture’ topic – but consider who is finding you, who you wish would find you, and whether your content and keywords reflect that.

  • Tie – but don’t force! – your topic into not-directly-related blog posts. For example, if your ‘big picture topic’ is divorce as a senior citizen and you’re blogging about traveling with your grandkids, don’t neglect to mention that you are a single grandparent. That way, the keywords reflected in that post can include ‘museums to visit with kindergarteners’ while still reflecting your overarching topic.
  • Do you use the jargon of your topic, or do you assume that your readers will ‘blip’ over specifics? You might be missing out on an important group of readers! ‘Making Dinner with my Aunt’ is a lovely topic, but ‘Slow-Cooking Carnitas with my Abuela’ is excitingly specific!
  • Riff off of topics that work. If you have a popular keyword that ties into a ‘one-hit-wonder’ post, don’t let that Googling go to waste. Create content that reflects a champion term and expands the territory forged by that earlier post.


(not provided) as a Google Analytics Keyword

As a privacy measure, search terms used by people logged-in to google aren’t visible in Analytics. Terms are also listed as (not provided) if people are using encrypted browsers or have other privacy features implemented. The bulk of your searches may be hidden like this – if you are feeling like you’ve advanced to intermediate analytics, there are many tutorials on using this data effectively.

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