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Keyword Performance: What is it and How to Measure?

keyword performance

Evaluate keyword performance regularly for SEO success. Monitor rankings, click-through rates, and conversions. Refine your strategy based on performance data, focusing on high-performing keywords.

Home / Blogs / Keyword Performance: What is it and How to Measure?
Raghav Tayal

Head Of Operations - Digital Web Solutions

March 9, 2024

Keywords in SEO are words or phrases that can help a piece of content rank on search engines. These keywords are the terms your target audience will use to run a search query on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Keywords are of paramount importance to SEO and PPC marketers as they help them reach their target audience faster and drive organic (or paid) traffic to a website. Tracking the performance of the keywords is essential to identify if\goals are being achieved.

Introduction to Keyword Performance: The Basics

The keyword performance metric is helpful in understanding which keywords are ranked on search engines. It helps identify how effective your SEO efforts are and how efficiently they are able to drive traffic to your website. Keyword ranking is essential as it is a clear indication that your strategy is working and that your website is able to provide valuable information to the target audience.

Common metrics that indicate keyword performance include:

  1. The search volume your keywords are generating.
  2. The keyword difficulty that you are targeting.
  3. The conversion rate your website is able to generate.
  4. The traffic your website is able to attract through organic and paid channels.
  5. The position you are ranking at on search results.
  6. The click-through rate of the least-performing keywords and the best-performing keywords.

The Importance of Monitoring Keyword Performance in SEO

1. To track SEO effectiveness

When your website is ranking for a large number of keywords at higher positions on search engines, it automatically translates to more organic traffic coming to your website, making them a key factor to track and monitor in your SEO strategy. It produces necessary keyword performance data indicating how the efforts and corresponding rankings are working out. Tracking ranking changes will help in understanding a pattern that can be leveraged to create a more inclusive SEO strategy.

2. Develop an understanding of how algorithm changes impact your website

Search engine algorithms change over time to provide better results and user experience to its users. Keyword performance monitoring can help in understanding how these changes affect your online presence and if there are any necessary steps you should take to stay ahead of the curve.

Search engines like Google are constantly releasing new updates throughout the year. These updates can be big, small, and sometimes even negligible if you are working as per its guidelines.

3. To improve your on-page SEO efforts

A drop in ranking is often due to on-page SEO issues. While these issues can be fixed, without identifying them, it can become difficult to determine where the fall in rankings is coming from.

With keyword performance monitoring, you can check various aspects of your website and identify potential areas for improvement.

4. Know about the latest market trends

Your market is primarily made of your potential customers, and understanding what they are interested in and adapting to their changing preferences can be the key to constantly having their loyalty in your favor and being a favorite for them. This is an important factor for any brand that is doing business online.

5. Keep an eye out for what your competitors are up to

While your teams are constantly working hard to come up with innovative and creative ways to drive sales and strengthen brand presence, not observing what your competitors are doing can be equivalent to living on an isolated planet. Know that your competitors always have the potential to change the face of the industry, and by monitoring their performance, strategies, and offers, you will be able to create a counter range of products or services that takes negative feedback on their offering into consideration and creates a more advanced and improved version.

Understanding Keyword Metrics And The Benefits Of Tracking Them

1. Search volume

Targeting only keywords with high search volume at all times might not be the best thing to do as there will be more contenders in the category, and it can become challenging to rank higher. It is always best to use a wide range of keywords with varying search volumes (not too low) in your content marketing and SEO strategy. Search volume will also help you identify areas for improvement to boost organic traffic to your website.

2. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Ranking high on search engines without attracting your target audience will do your business no good. It is important that your website is able to attract them to click and learn more about your business. A good CTR also indicates that your title tags and meta descriptions are able to entice your target audience into clicking. The metric is essential as it directly impacts the website traffic and success of current SEO strategies.

3. Keyword difficulty

Tracking keyword difficulty is an effective way to find opportunities that will help you rank higher on search engines. If you are choosing keywords with a higher keyword difficulty, it can get challenging and more time-consuming to rank. Choosing a keyword that has moderate to low difficulty will make it easier to rank. However, it is essential that you are not after keywords with low keyword difficulty at all times. Creating a balance between them is important.

4. Keyword Intent

Tracking keyword intent helps in identifying areas that can be improved to increase engagement and conversion rates. Understanding and delivering content to meet search intent will help you attract your target audience easily.

5. Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

Analyzing keyword performance in your CPC campaigns can help in making impactful decisions for your SEO strategy as well. A high enough CPC is an indication that a keyword is of value in terms of conversion potential and can be used to attract traffic to the website.

6. Ranking progress made

This metric will help you gain insights into what’s really working in your SEO strategy while creating room for experimentation. It also helps in understanding if your website and content are living up with the trends or if you need to make adjustments to stay ahead of the competition.

7. Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are important as they can attract a highly targeted audience and have the potential to improve the conversion rate of the website. People making a search using long-tail keywords are often clear about what they are looking for and are mostly likely in a purchase frame of mind. Including these in your SEO strategy will help you reach your target audience more effectively and grab their attention quickly.

8. Seasonal changes in ranking

As most people are looking to spend time with family and friends, they are often on the lookout for gifts, services, or products that will help them magnify the joys of this time. These keywords are particularly important for eCommerce and service-based businesses.

Tools for Measuring Keyword Performance

1. Google Search Console

The performance report generated by Google Search Console can be used to measure if all the KPIs you are tracking are meeting their goals or if there seems to be a difference.

Benefits of using Google Search Console:

  • It helps in monitoring and improving your website’s organic visibility.
  • Tactfully analyze all the pages on your website that are performing well.
  • Gain insights about indexing (for instance, pages that have been crawled but not indexed, pages that have been discovered but haven’t been indexed yet, and pages that have a ‘no index’ tag).
  • Get email notifications whenever something about your website pops up.
  • Understand keyword performance to gauge which keywords are gaining traffic and the keywords that need to be updated.

2. RankWatch

RankWatch aims to simplify how you track your keywords and gain useful insights about the performance of your keywords. It highlights all the keywords that you can use to boost your website’s search engine rankings. Aside from that, the tool can scan thousands of web pages and come up with a comprehensive report that will help you understand your positioning better and take strategic actions to grow.

Six benefits of using RankWatch

  • Complete site audit to help you understand the pages that are working well and the ones that need polishing.
  • Find keywords your competitors use and include them in your SEO campaigns to boost organic growth.
  • Keyword performance analysis with in-depth insights to help keep your business up to date with the latest trends and market search demands.
  • Identify how your competitors are using keywords to rank higher on the search engine results page.
  • Generate reports and continue to track how your website is growing by tracking target keywords.
  • Receive email alerts whenever a change in the website’s ranking is observed.

3. SEMrush

SEMrush is known for offering comprehensive reports and in-depth analysis of a website that can help SEO experts analyze if their keyword strategy is working.

Five benefits of using SEMrush:

  • It helps in identifying valuable keywords that can be used in your keyword strategy.
  • In-depth and comprehensive keyword research to identify unique opportunities and gaps in your strategy versus competitor strategies.
  • The content marketing segment of the tool helps in understanding the type of search queries that are getting posted and where your target keywords can fit.
  • The tool can highlight any on-page SEO errors or issues and help fix them with practical solutions.
  • Position tracking to determine where your pages are ranking on SERP.

4. Ahrefs

Ahrefs offers a wide range of services to help SEO marketers identify potential gaps in the market that can be covered by their keyword strategies.

Five benefits of using Ahrefs:

  • The tool can explore the website to identify organic traffic, backlinks, and paid traffic the website is attracting.
  • The tool’s rank tracker feature helps identify where the website is ranking on the search engine results page.
  • The analytics segment in the tool provides ample information about keywords that are getting the most clicks, traffic sources, impressions, and more.
  • Identify which pages have been at the top and the reasons for the drop/consistency.
  • Find websites where you can pitch for guest posting.

How to Measure Keyword Performance: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Define the goals you are trying to achieve by tracking the keywords and the pages you are trying to rank.
  2. Pay close attention to identifying your target audience and the user intent. This will help you curate content marketing strategies that are able to answer search queries (and, as a result, eventually rank higher on search engines).
  3. Set measurable goals that are easy to track and make it possible for you to keep a time stamp on them.
  4. Brainstorm relevant topics that strike a chord with your audience. Establishing a theme ensures you are able to cover topics within a niche.
  5. Consistently analyze competitor keywords to understand what your competitors are targeting and the demographics of their target audience.
  6. Identify long-tail keywords by taking into account resources like question-and-answer websites, social media, and review websites.
  7. Using keyword variations and synonyms in order to optimize content to meet various search queries (as every search query is not the same).
  8. Understand and keep track of search volume metrics and choose keywords in the range that are easier to track and attain.
  9. Filtering keywords to find the ones that are relevant to your content marketing strategy. The key here will be to look at achieving long-term milestones while meeting short-term goals.

Analyzing Keyword Performance: What to Look For

  1. The click-through rate that your keywords are able to attract. This is a clear indication of whether your keyword strategy is working or not. If the click-through rate is high, avoid making any major changes to your strategy. However, if the click-through rate has been on a decline, then carefully analyzing with the intention to find dead-weight keywords can do the trick.
  2. Measuring the conversions that the keywords can derive will help in understanding the kind of keywords your target audience is resonating with and how you can use these keywords to your advantage.
  3. Click and impressions that your web pages or ads are getting. This will help establish if the keywords you are using are relevant to the search queries your target audience is making and how you can make your organic or paid efforts more relatable for them.
  4. Conversion rate to identify if you are spending more costs on attracting your potential customers to the conversions you are making. This parameter is vital as it will help you understand if your organic or paid marketing efforts are yielding profitable results.

How to Improve Poor Performing Keywords

The following are the reasons your keyword performance could be down:

  • The quality score is down due to a poor selection of keywords
  • The keywords you have opted for do not strike a chord with your potential customers.
  • Your strategy has too many short-tail keywords and lacks adequate use of long-tail keywords and synonyms in keywords.
  • The intent needs to be met.

Here’s how to fix them:

  • Use a keyword research tool to help you find keywords relevant to your business.
  • Use long-tail keywords wherever possible. Heavily relying on short-tail keywords can negatively impact the quality score.
  • Ensure the keywords used on the website and for running ads are relevant.
  • Group your keywords in themes based on the type of service or produce they represent.

Bottomline: The Power of Effective Keyword Performance Measurement

Keyword performance is an important aspect to track if you want to create an online presence and generate revenue out of it. However, it is equally important to track metrics that really matter. Without monitoring and measuring them, you will not be able to determine if your strategy is working in your favor or if it needs to be updated to match current market dynamics. Analyzing keyword performance will give your business a competitive edge, allow you to adapt easily to market changes, and optimize content to drive more traffic to your website all year round.

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