Keyword Research : Finding Keywords Based on Existing Visitors Search

Posted in Search Engine Optimization on July 7, 2013

The love of my life wanted to find out what types of keywords people were searching for, and create new recipes and blog posts for My Gluten Free Girlfriend based on that research. Her question is your gain! I figured – hey, why not just make it a series of blog posts and everyone can use the information.

Finding New Keyword Phrases

A great way to find new keyword phrases to optimize your website for, or to create a new post for, is to use your existing visitors. There are several ways to view the keywords visitors find your website by, and both are available in Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. If you are not using both of these, you’re really missing out.

For your new keywords, you have to ask a couple basic questions of your visitors and web users. How did you get here? And, What else are you looking for?

What Keywords Brought the Visitors to the Site?

This is the easy part. In Google Analytics, navigate to the website you would like to find new keywords for.

If you have set up Google Webmaster Tools, you will have a plethora of information under Traffic Sources->Search Engine Optimization->Queries. Seen Here:


If you have recently set up Webmaster Tools and do not have this option, you can also see keywords under Content->Site Content->All Pages. You will then need to select a Secondary Dimension for Keyword.


If you have a already established site, these areas will allow you to locate a large portion of the keywords users have used to find your website. You are going to want to see all of the available data, which you will do this by setting the number of rows shown to the maximum allowed.
Note: In the content view, it is a very similar process. The headings may be named differently.
Note 2: Make sure your calendar range is not set to today only. You will see no data if it is set to today only.


Make note of of your favorites – the ones you like writing about, the keywords that receive the most traffic, etc. I recommend using a spreadsheet if you are going to be researching a lot of keyword phrases, but an old fashioned notepad can work as well.

What Keywords are My Visitors Looking For?

Note: Google is changing over to a new “combined keyword tool and keyword planner”; if you are instead shown this interface, the steps will vary slightly from below.

Now it’s time to take your list of keyphrases, and go find some great stuff to write about! Head on over to the Google Adwords Keyword tool and log in. While you do not have to have running ads to use the Adwords Keyword tool, you may be required to create an account to use it and access all of the features.

Once you’re all set up, you’ll simply enter your Keyword Phrase, we’re going to use “tuna quinoa gluten free” as our word, click Search, and switch the tab to Keyword Ideas.

If you’re running AdSense Ads on your website, the competition column will tell you which phrases have high competition which means more money for you on page views and ad clicks.


Curious what your existing page(s) rank for? You can enter the URL to any of the pages in your website into the same form and the Adwords Tool will extract various keywords and provide you with data and suggestions. Don’t forget to click and switch to the Keywords Ideas tab. Seen below is our Quinoa Tuna Salad page’s URL entered in to the form.


This is extremely handy functionality to have. Not only can you ensure your website pages are being interpreted as expected and find great new keyword ideas, but you can also analyze other websites by entering URLs from their website to find keyword phrases you may not have thought of.

One final note that this emphasizes and proves. Google ranks pages, not web sites. Your website’s homepage is not it’s front door and visitors can enter from any page of your website. Keep this in mind, treat each page like it’s your homepage, and you’ll be on your way to some great search engine traffic.

Have questions, need clarification, or have an awesome tip? Leave a comment!


I'm Alan Cook and I am Southside Studios. Together with my girlfriend, Laurie, we run a network of websites, including managing the sites of several clients.

When we're not working, we are making a reality out of our full time RV nomad lifestyle.

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