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Which keywords should be tracked in an SEO campaign?
Which keywords should be tracked in an SEO campaign?

Tips on how to build a complete and relevant keyword portfolio.

Updated over a week ago

When it's time to convert your draft campaign to a tracked campaign, it's time to reconsider your keyword list and choose only the best keywords to track daily. The entire SEOmonitor methodology and tools are only powerful with a well-built keyword portfolio. A good understanding of a website's SEO opportunity, as well as its current performance and trend, depends on the list of tracked keywords. It is therefore critical to do a thorough research for each campaign, to make sure you find and track most of (and only) the relevant keywords that define your target market within the platform.

But a key question is: what makes a keyword relevant? Here are some tips on which keywords to track and which ones to avoid, in order to get a clearer picture of your website's SEO potential and position in the market:

1. Keywords that already generate organic visits: YES

In order to understand the non-brand organic traffic trends, it is crucial to monitor those keywords that already generate organic traffic to your website. 

You might be tempted to only track those keywords for which you want to improve your rankings. But the keywords for which you already rank well are also very important. Their rank fluctuations will significantly affect your non-brand organic traffic, so it's good to keep an eye on them. Not tracking them means losing all the insights provided in the platform for your currently most valuable keywords. Moreover, this would make the SEO reports and the comparisons with competitors less accurate.

Exceptions: Your own branded keywords generate organic visits because Google already ranks you on top for all your branded keywords. However, it is not advised to track them because these keywords have little to do with SEO and everything to do with brand loyalty. Counting in these keywords will distort the search volume and traffic.

If you have connected your GSC and GA, you can find all the keywords generating organic visits in the Traffic module and start tracking the ones with a relevant number of visits. Learn more about connecting GSC and GA here, and refer to this article for a more comprehensive guide.

2. Tracking brands of other websites: NO

It is not advised to track the brands of other websites. Firstly, even with high rankings, it would be very difficult to generate any organic traffic, since most of the clicks will go on the first result. You can recognize this when Google expands the first result with full site links, meaning a clickthrough rate tending towards 100%.

Secondly, tracking this kind of keywords would increase the total search volume of your campaign with keywords without any SEO Opportunity, and this can mislead your understanding of your overall SEO opportunity. This will also be reflected in the value of the Visibility Score.

These keywords are highlighted with a Brand label next to them.

For example: "iphone", in spite of being the brand name of a product, would not be highlighted as a brand keyword. Unlike "apple", it does not represent the brand of a website. This is due to users' intent: when they search for "apple" they want to reach the Apple website, while when searching for "iphone" they are looking for more information the product, with no particular website in mind.

Exceptions: There can be exceptions to this, depending on the business and market you are in. For instance, if you're an e-commerce company and there are transactional keywords with the brand names of things you're selling on your website, you should track these keywords.

3. Misspellings and close variations of your keywords: NO

Due to our algorithm of aggregating close variations in the same way done by Google Adwords, you don't have to research and track spelling variations or misspellings separately. Their search volumes are already included in the main keyword, and most times, you will rank similarly for close variations of the keyword. Not tracking close variations will thus save you resources for other more relevant keywords.

You can see a keyword's close variations by clicking on the number of variations, in this example '+2'.

4. Keywords with a very low search volume: NO

For resource optimization purposes, we recommend not tracking keywords with zero or very low search volume, since their impact on your data (Visibility, forecast etc.) is negligible. 

5. Keywords you plan to target: OF COURSE

You can't manage what you can't measure, so tracking all the keywords you plan to work on is definitely necessary. Monitoring them will help you understand their opportunity and prioritize accordingly.

Note: If you have already started tracking your campaign, you can make use of our Keyword Vault specifically to "test the waters" on some keywords. For instance, if you want to know whether the keywords are worthy of daily tracking, you can add them to your Vault and get their monthly data for at no extra cost for a few months, and then decide whether you want to track them daily.

6. Keywords that are highly seasonal: YES

Keywords now have a dedicated label, for a better prioritization of the ones you need to focus on. For example, you can see which keywords are in season, out of season and have their season approaching right away, so you know which ones to focus on.

Sometimes, when your landing pages have a very strong topical authority, you will discover you rank for keywords totally unrelated to your products or services. 

Our advice is to avoid tracking these keywords, for a couple of reasons:

  • your landing pages wouldn't match the user intent, so even if the keywords have a big search volume, the traffic they would generate would in most cases be unqualified;

  • as in the case of brands of other websites, these keywords will affect the accuracy of your reports;

  • you would be spending SEOmonitor resources that could be more productively used.

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