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Traffic Report Tables
Row 19 - Use Of Top 5 Keywords

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40% to 60% is the ideal range. But you don't want to see more than 60%.

Details

What Does Top 5 Keyword Use Mean?
Traffic reports show what search engines people use, and what keywords they used in those search engines to find your site. I first identify the five most-used keywords. I then calculate what percentage of all searches used those top five keywords to find your site. Since keywords can be used in any possible combination of phrases, I work first with keywords.

It would seem that the ideal percentage for top five keyword searches would be 100%. You will never see 100%. But you do NOT want to see the Top 5 Keywords metric rise much higher than 50% to 60%!

As strange as it sounds, the other 40% to 50% of site visits come from uncommon keyword use what is commonly called the "long tail".  If you are getting 100% of your search engine visits from the top 5 keywords, that means you are missing at least 40% MORE visits from the off-beat searches, you are not using that long tail to your advantage.

This kind of knowledge only comes from running high quality traffic reports. Web Trends shows a maximum of 15,000 different keywords. My traffic reports always have at least 15,000 keywords. I know there are more, but even Web Trends does not count them.

The Keyword Challenge
I have learned over the years that customers just don't believe me when I tell them that nearly half of all searches use keywords other than the "obvious ones". After all, if you want to book a cabin on Norfork Lake, who would enter anything other than something like "cabins on norfork lake"?

Come over to my office. We'll sit down and you tell me what you think are the top five keywords people use in the search engines to find area recreation information. We'll write them down. We'll pretend you are paying $1,000 each for those keywords. Then we'll open a traffic report and see how often your keywords were actually used. It is a real-world test.

Every customer who has ever done this was soon slack-jawed with surprise. They lost most of their $5,000 (or most of $10,000 if they picked ten keywords). Folks that is the value of a good traffic report!

Written August 2008 by Gary Cooley