Using Google Analytics Advanced Segments for Keyword Research

April 3, 2015

Google Analytics has some very powerful capabilities for keyword research that are often overlooked. Using advanced keyword segments, you can find and isolate buckets of keyword traffic (organic, paid, or both) and their destination landing pages, in mass – and that can be very useful for your optimization efforts.

Take one of my blogs, ArtNewYorkCity.com – I’ve written about shows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art quite a lot over the years. Taking all of my keyword traffic that contains the word “Metropolitan,” I can create an advanced keyword segment in Google Analytics.

Below is a list of all those keywords.

Advanced Segments Keywords

Creating an advanced segment just to home in on “Metropolitan” keywords effectively gives me the same keyword list.

Create Advanced Segment

You may be wondering why I would bother creating an advanced segment when I had the same information by filtering the list of keywords coming to my site. The reason is that it would be impossible to look at the keywords en masse without bucketing them together into a segment.

For example, it would be impossible for me to look at all the pages that got traffic from the keyword “metropolitan” at one time (see below).

Advanced Segments Landing Pages

More than half of the traffic I got on “metropolitan” came from one post I wrote early in 2008 that provided 131 visits (out of 257 total visits) – that might be valuable for me to know in order to find out how I could write more posts that build on the success I had with that particular blog post.

I also found that most of the people searching for information about the Metropolitan were, predictably, local. But had my keyword been more general, it might have revealed something quite different. Say I created a keyword segment on “Cezanne”, my favorite artist – where would that traffic have come from, predominantly?

Advanced Segments City Dimension

While the largest chunk of traffic was local (I live in Brooklyn, New York), much of it wasn’t (it was long-tail traffic from all over the world).

Going back to Figure 3, I found that the landing page getting the most traffic for “metropolitan” was http://www.artnewyorkcity.com/2008/01/27/friday-night-visit-to-the-metropolitan-provides-insight/, which appears to have a lot more contextual links, surrounded by text, than other posts I’ve written about the Metropolitan, and perhaps this style of writing is more rewarded by search engines.

Art Blog

Looking at it another way, I’m linking to paintings at a highly respected site – the Metropolitan Museum website has a PageRank of 7, and while many of the paintings I’m linking to in my post don’t appear to have PageRank (perhaps due to redirects or the way the content management system generates the website), we know they have a high trust rank and probably do pass PageRank, even if that isn’t shown by the Google Toolbar.

Using Google Analytics advanced segments for keyword research is an effective way to gain insights that you might not ordinarily be able to get without such a tool.

Feel free to try this approach and let us know how it’s working for you.

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