Finding accidental keywords webmaster tools

Even with thorough keyword research, you can never really predict all the search terms that your website will appear for in Google and you’ll often end up ranking for keywords which you hadn’t considered or meant to target. To get the most traffic to your these posts/pages as possible, it’s often necessary to revisit and re-optimize for these accidental rankings.

In this short blog post, I’ll show you how to optimize and improve your old blog posts for wider long tail keywords using three free tools provided by Google:  Google AnalyticsGoogle Webmaster Tools and Google search suggestions. If you don’t have Analytics and Webmaster Tool setup, go set those up now and come back to this post in a couple of weeks once you’ve gathered some data.

Identify posts/pages through Google Analytics

I recently started an affiliate website in the electric transport niche. It hasn’t been going very long, but I’ve been keeping a careful eye on Analytics to see whether any pages have begun to start receiving search traffic.

In Analytics, Under Behaviour > All Pages, I applied the search segment, and noticed a few visitors that have begun reaching the site via search engines:

Search segment Analytics

One article in particular, the Gotrax GXL electric scooter has started to receive a handful of visitors from search traffic:

Analyse search traffic

Analyze Webmaster Tools

Now I’ve identified a post getting search traffic, I head over to webmaster tools have a closer a look at what search queries people are using in to find my site.

Within the new search console interface, I head to the performance tab, and also select position to give at least a rough idea of where you’re site sits in the results pages for keywords that bring traffic to your site. It is worth noting that this data is far from accurate, and is really more used for an indication. However, we can still find some interesting information:

Finding accidental keywords webmaster tools

So it looks like one of my top keywords is an electric scooter comparison “Gotrax GXL vs Xiaomi M365“. There were several variations of this keyword, and it’s particularly interesting because within my actual post I haven’t even mentioned any kind of comparison between the two scooters. I haven’t tried to target this keyword at all yet its the keyword bringing the most traffic. 

What’s equally interesting is that I don’t rank particularly well for this keyword either. At the time of writing, I’m position #9 on Still, it’s bringing traffic so there is definitely an opportunity to take advantage of here.

Analyze long tail using search suggestions

Before we jump right into the blog post and start editing, it’s worth having a look for more long tail keywords within the same topic we can optimize for. To do this, we don’t need fancy expensive tools, we can use Google itself.

Make a few searches for your keyword and its variations and take a look within the search suggestions at the bottom of the page to see what other keywords you could optimize for:

Using search suggestions for on page optimization

As you can see, comparisons seem to be a hot topic for people looking for electric scooters. I also looked at a couple of other competitor sites which are a step ahead of me and already have a comparison on these products to target this group of keywords.

The next step is to make a decision on how best to approach these group of keywords.

Assess the page thats ranking

I was originally tempted to create a dedicated comparison page to compare all scooters to the Xaiomi 365, but I think at this stage it would be overkill and would put too much focus on just one product comparison. I may end up adding this kind of functionality later on, but for the time being, I think a heading, simple table, and summary paragraph should be enough to target this keyword and hopefully improve my rank/traffic.

Plan changes and add new sections

I created a table comparing the two scooters and added a short paragraph with my verdict. I also made sure that the keyword was included in my heading, as well as including some variations in the conclusive paragraph:

Optimizing old blog posts SEO

Note changes in Google Analytics

This part is very important. Later down the track, I’m going to want to monitor what effect (if any) these changes had on my search traffic so that I can continue to improve the post or optimize other posts with the same strategy. Heading back to Google Analytics, go to Audience > Overview and click the arrow just below the traffic graph to add a new annotation. I always make sure to make it something descriptive so that you know what you’ve changed later on.

SEO annotation Google Analytics

Review changes and re-optimize

I’m tracking the rank of this keyword and will be revisiting this post later down the track to report on improvements. This is only one simple example, but its a powerful and important strategy which often gets overlooked. It can be a better use of time to re-optimize existing posts rather than investing time in creating new ones.


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