Ever since Google Webmaster Tools added the so called “search queries” data I’ve become a huge fan of them. I’ve listed the 10 Google SEO tools everybody should use in the past but to be honest I focus on three of them right now Google Insights, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools for SEO inspiration. The wealth of information GWB offers is like a goldmine.
The tool-set has grown over the years steadily but I was neglecting it. By now there are numerous ways to use Google Webmaster Tools for SEO. Again I will focus on three of them here and explain how to use GWB for
- Keyword Research
- Link Building
- CRO/Conversion Rate Optimization
In case you haven’t used Google Webmaster Tools yet at all I strongly advise you to read this excellent intdroductory series by Search Engine Guide.
While Google offer several outstanding keyword research tools, Google Webmaster Tools enable you to find out keywords that really matter for your actual site. Hugo Guzman has written a good post on how to find your most valuable keywords using it.
The idea is to seek out the low hanging fruit of keywords already ranking on the verge of top 5 and to push them higher via low level SEO to get a high ROI. This is a really neat concept. Usually I’d focus on the big earners, high traffic keywords and important queries. Probably everybody else does as well so by focusing on these “almost there” terms you save time an money not fighting that many competing websites.
I’m often surprised at which of my pages get the links and where from when checking “Links to your site”. Even orphaned pages (that have no connection to my main website) get inbound links. Also it’s amazing to find out that sites you have never got any significant traffic from link to you. These are often crappy scraper sites and other automated set ups but sometimes you’ll find a gem.
Then you can target these sites to get even more links. For example you can discover who links to you on Tumblr and then follow these users. While repeat links from the same do not count as much as from new ones there is only a finite number of places in a given industry so there is no problem with getting links from the site again and again. Especially authority sites that link more that once to you are a great asset.
You’ll discover these links by using other link tools be it paid ones or Yahoo Site Explorer but often you get too many links, mostly nofollowed ones via these tools to find the good or great ones.
CRO/Conversion Rate Optimization
You can find out your best and worst converting keywords. The first step of a conversion is converting a searcher to a visitor. You fail already here in most cases and it’s quite surprising which keywords and phrases get the highest CTR (click through rates). For instance we have a 100% CTR on the query [rss meta]. The searchers end up on a tiny post from 2006.
In contrast our huge resources lists often get quite low CTR. Does it mean that we should write dozens of microblogging like posts instead of one gigantic list? The 100% CTR is no anomaly, it’s just the most striking example.
Also we rank high for [seo services uk] and similar queries but the CTR is disappointing. It seems that we need landing page optimization as our competitors target the query directly in their titles and have extra pages for it. At SEOptimise users land on the homepage and don’t find the term “SEO services” immediately.
How do you use Google Webmaster Tools? Does it inspire you to take concrete steps? Do you optimize your websites based on GWT data? I often check Google Insights, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools for SEO inspiration. Whenever I need some input on what to write about I check what’s popular already and don’t rely solely on my imagination. I can check popular items on Topsy, Delicious or elsewhere but Google offers me much more accurate data for my niche and particular site.