Webmaster Tools: Find high traffic keywords

Are you looking for more traffic ? Are you in niche that has lots of traffic but you don't know what phrases to focus on ?

I have already introduced the benefits of the new and improved webmaster's tools and about how useful they can be to a site owner in a previous post.

The new google webmaster's tools contain a report that can be very handy: Top Search Queries

Here is a typical report from one of the sites that I am administering.

The left table is the Top search queries which as google describes are The top 20 queries in which your site appeared, and the percentage of the top20 queries represented by each search. On the right table we have the Top clicked queries The top 20 from which users reached your site, and the percentage of the top 20 queries represented by each click.

I wish google was giving us actual number of searches that the site appeared in and/or the click-through rates on the second table but for the time being we have to work with what is given to us.

These tables are part of the improved tools introduced about 2 months ago. They are very handy in telling you the actual position that your site is holding in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for some phrases that have actual traffic !! You can also see your site's position at different points in time (can go back 6 months from current date)

How can you help your site get more traffic ?

It so just happens in some reports to see traffic from queries that your site holds a position very far from the first page of the results. In this example looking at the top clicked queries on the 7th row there is a search term that brought in 4% of the traffic even though the site's position is #131 for that phrase !!!! More traffic than phrases that the site holds first page ranking !!! What does that mean ?? Well in my book it means that this particular phrase has so much traffic that even the not so well positioned sites get some.

Not all top clicked queries for all sites will have so obvious clues though. It could be the case that some niches don't have substantial traffic to pass on to sites beyond the first page of results. Nevertheless one can get many clues about their site's visitors and search phrases that might have potential.



Interesting information, but I do disagree with one of your conclusions.

When someone comes to my site via the search engines from a listing way down the results, I see that as a golden opportunity. When I use the search engines, if I have to go to the 131st entry; that usually means the first 130 did not have what I was looking for. Those are the phrases that I think have the potential to both compete and bring targeted traffic.

I've never thought a hit from a phrase where I am way down in the results simply means volume, I've always seen it as those who are listed in front of me are lacking.

That is such a cool idea
you can be shore I'm going to be using it

Yes. Plus this strengthens up the theory that if you are looking for high SERPs, only top searched keywords are the words to target

Its useful idea and useful info. I expect it to be helpful. Good luck!

You have some fantastic ideas here!! Love your site!!

Michele, great thinking.. We have practiced that theory, and indeed profited from the results.

The best thing to get your site with the most traffic you need is thinking of your niche. It is really not useful to have keywords in your site which is not relevant. So better plan your marketing strategy

what you are suggesting then ? Its not clear !

Or are you trying to be incomprehensible on purpose ?

All I'm saying is that i agree with your idea that those who wanted to have a higher traffic in their siteshould think of keywords relevant to their site. It will not be useful for them to have keywords that will bring them traffic of the wrong market.

Can someone explain to me what it means by the "percentage of the top20 queries represented by each search." I find this confusing and need it in simple terms.

I think google is pointing out that

The percentages corresponds only to the top20 queries and not over ALL the queries involving your domain.

Therefore the sum of the percentages of each column (top search queries or top clicked queries) should always be 100%.

And indeed I always get 101% when I sum them up, which is probably due to rounding errors ...

Re: "percentage of the top20 queries represented by each search"

I find this very confusing as well. It seems to me Google is trying to say something else but it's poorly worded.

For example, someone does a search for keyword A and it shows as the top query and at 33%. 33% of what? Translated literally, it would mean:

Each search for keyword A represents 33% of the top 20 queries.

Huh? Makes no sense.

My guess at what they're trying to say is if you amassed all the searches in Google for the top 20 queries in your particular list, keyword A would represent 33% of those searches.


Iron Spider, that makes sense to me. It is a little misleading and I've not found an "instruction manual" to interpret all of the data supplied by Google's webmaster tools. I've read some of the FAQs and comments on some of the blogs, but nothing really takes each category and provides a detailed explanation. I appreciate you putting into layman's terms.

RE: IronSpider
Each search for keyword A represents 33% of the top 20 queries.

Huh? Makes no sense.

My guess at what they’re trying to say is if you amassed all the searches in Google for the top 20 queries in your particular list, keyword A would represent 33% of those searches.


That is clearly not the case as I explain earlier.

Adding all the percentages of each report gives us a number close to 100%, why close because google is rounding to the closest integer before presenting each number.

That means that all the "keyword searches" that we are taking the percentage of, are present in each report. If we had more keyword searches that were accounted in the calculation but not shown then the percentages would clearly not add up to be 100% but below.

Does that make sense ?

(the reports are indeed poorly worded)


With all due respect, I think you're obfuscating it even more. The issue is trying to understand what exactly what the phrase "percentage of the top20 queries" refers to and what the phrase "each search" refers to and then putting it all together and figuring out exactly what useful analytics Google is trying to provide.

Obviously everything is within the scope of the top 20 queries in the user's list so other keywords don't come into the picture at all. I never meant to imply that any keywords outside of the top 20 queries would be considered or included in the analytics (if that's what you were getting at).

Now logically speaking, the only analytics that would really make sense in the context of anyone's particular top 20 query list would be what percentage each keyword represents of all the searches for all the keywords in the top 20 list. This would then give the webmaster a good idea which keywords his/her site already ranks for and which keywords yield the most searches (and hence, potential traffic). You could then compare that data with the click-through rates in the other list and see how much actual traffic you actually get.

For example, let's say the total daily searches in Google for all the keywords in your top 20 list equals 1000 searches. If the percentage data for keyword A = 33%, then that means that there are 333 searches per day in Google for keyword A.

This is the way I see it. Although admittedly, I'm only speculating on what Google actually means with their ambiguous wording. But that's the only explanation that would seem to make sense.

Not offended, don't worry. Actually yes I thought that you missed the fact that everything is within the scope of the top20 queries. This time I get your point.

Google with its analytics (I mean google analytics) is giving you part of information that you are looking for; searches that actually made it to your site.

For the searches that your site appeared google is not prepared to hand you any hard facts only percentages involving your site and only the top20 queries. If they gave us hard numbers it would be a pretty powerful tool for us to have, but they are n't prepared to hand it to us I suppose.

but i think there will be tough competetion for such keywords.....how will you get traffic if you don't have high serp??

does anybody have an idea about high traffic keyword??...just get bored how to find it...thx 4 answer

I got interest in search engine traffic and seo only after checking these top search queries section in my webmaster tools account.

I had half-mindedly registered for this service long time back for my blog. But recently I checked the statistics from all through the months. Though I did not do any seo, any traffic generation, backlinks etc. still the total traffic from search engine exceeded my own visits to my website.

This has created a new paradigm for me. I learned the importance of search engines. Also importance writing articles sticking to a topic rather than scattering them around different topics.

Most importantly my site comes in results not with keywords but with keyphrases. So phrases are what we need to see. It is obvious, when we want some specific information we search with phrases and various combinations. Then we also look seriously enough to check all search results and even page 2 results. That is where is good traffic comes from.

I agree with the first commenter Michele as well.

The difficulty of the process depends on how many other websites are competing for the same keyword. This is not difficult of your SEO company knows what they are doing.

Finding high traffic keywords has become really difficult in these days, every niche seems to be filled by people who already know internet marketing and majority of domain registrars have major share of such highly targeted keyword related domains. This behavior has left only option for a newbie to purchase such domain on higher rates.