Google Analytics Basics: How to Find Keywords that Drive Traffic to Your Site

Getting statistics that tell you what your site visitors are searching for is like finding a goldmine. For quite some time Google provided this in Google Analytics. However back in October of 2011, Google announced, that they were starting to encrypt individual visit data to protect users that were logged into any Google product such as Gmail, Google+ etc. and they’ve since extended that to many other searches as well.

Now when you go to Google Analytics and click on “Acquisition > Keywords > Organic” you will see a large number of (not provided) keywords. In other words: Google knows what these users searched but they are not sharing this data with you. Bummer, right?


Well, good news. Even though it is not possible to see keyword traffic data in Google Analytics you can still find some of this data in 30 day snapshots in Google Webmaster tools. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open Google Webmaster Tools. and select the site you would like to get Keyword stats for. If you haven’t set this up yet – do it!!

Step 2: Click “Search Traffic” then “Search Queries” in the left side navigation.

webmaster tools

Step 3: On this page you will be able to see what keywords led people to your site as well as what keywords triggered impressions. It’s not quite the same data as you would get in Google Analytics, and you can’t manipulate it the way you could if it were there, but it’s still valuable insight into what keywords people are using to reach your site.

more keywords

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? See my previous post on where your visitors are coming from, and stay tuned for more great tips next month as we delve into some Advanced Analytics topics!

Prefer an in person session? Join us in person at TKG’s Google Analytics Basics Breakfast Bootcamp on August 21st (that’s tomorrow!) . Click here to register for this FREE session! I look forward to meeting you!

Aaron's love of marketing led him to TKG as one of our newest web marketing specialists. Among other topics, Aaron will be blogging about online brand development and SEO.

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