Google Analytics – Maximizing Keyword Reports

October 25th, 2010 Leave a comment
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Imagine a far-too-common scenario where you run a test search query and notice that your ad has shifted from position 1 to the right sidebar in position 5. Before immediately shifting your bids to return to the previous position, you may want to evaluate the relative return from each position. Focusing on bid costs or conversions independently is not enough since only a complete Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) analysis will help you determine the relative merits of each position. With Google Analytics you can track the results from each keyword position by accessing the report under the AdWords section of your account. Within the interface you can see the clicks, cost per click, conversion rate and relative return from each position.

Group Keywords into Segments

Understanding high level and individual keyword data can become more powerful when you can analyze individual segments and groups of keywords based upon performance over time. You can group keywords into segments based upon their theme or performance metrics. Segments can be defined in organic, paid or overall search traffic so you can quickly analyze the various ways in which you can use the advanced segments option. With the tool you can organize advanced match keywords based upon areas of top opportunity in order to filter the keywords more effectively:

Google Analytics Advanced Segments

Understanding and Interpreting Keyword Position Reports

Within the reports, keyword positions are written according to placement, so you can see results for top (above the organic listings) positions 1 through 4, along with side positions 1 through 10. These align with the structure of keyword placements within AdWords:

AdWords Ad Positions

There are several reasons why an ad may convert higher in a given position, including the volume of clicks, the nature of the keyword (informational versus commercial), the ad text and call to action, as well as the strategies of your competitors. The combination of these factors can determine how keyword positions can influence your return on ad spend as well as your overall targeting strategy. In some cases, you may want to increase your bids on a certain keyword to target a top position, while in others, you may want to moderate bids to achieve a more moderate position.

In addition to segmenting the keywords based upon themes you can further drill down into geographical and time sensitive settings to identify the best times and opportunities for targeting certain keyword groups. Using Google’s Insights for Search ( tool you can determine which keywords have strong pull in your target markets, so you can then pivot your keyword segments to determine the market, time and theme that deliver the best return on your marketing investment over time:

Insights for Search

There are, of course, other ways in which you can segment keyword positions to fully evaluate the return on ad spend, including comparing positions 1-4 (top) versus 5-15 (sidebar). You may be able to identify significant differences in keyword results based upon these placements. Understanding how different positions can be influenced by different text ads can also help you to determine whether you should target unique calls to action based upon location to maximize the return of your campaign.

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