Keyword Unavailable: No Keyword Data, No Problem

Reading time: 2 minutes
9th January 2014

The single most asked question I have had over the last two years is, “how do you solve for keyword unavailable?” The answer to me is simple, “you don’t.” Every hack you do gets you farther away from the real number. SEO analytics, like SEO, is an evolution that has been kicked into hyper drive in the last couple of years.  The best people in the business have stayed at the core of what SEO is: making an effective website. Keyword metrics, in my opinion, are not at the core of this belief or the most valuable signal to a website’s effectiveness in natural search, the site is. How pages and sections perform are the true indicators you should be monitoring.

So am I saying, “don’t look at keyword metrics?” no. I’m saying that understanding your website is more important than understanding your keywords.

SEO hierarchy 1

So now that I have released you from the chains of SEO analytics, let’s knock this solution into overdrive. Wow, I am on a kick today – must be from the all day marathon of Back to the Future. The first step I take in executing this style of analytics is to start by mapping out the structure with the SEO team and clients. To get a better understand of the website and its’ focus I like to begin this process by asking probing questions like:

What are the goals of the website?

What is your most profitable product? why?

How many products do you have?

What are the key categories you monitor?

For the sake of fun and ease let’s say you work on a site that sells gummy bears. We’re going to start by breaking out the site into categories and working our way down. Our four main categories are going to be B2B, Store, Support and Locations.

SEO hierarchy 2

The best way to do this is by creating segments. No matter if you have SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics this should be rather simple. If you have questions about how to build segments in SiteCatalyst refer to the segmentation section of my article on Making SEO Decisions with SiteCatalyst. In your parameters for these segments you want to include a must contain for each category:,,,

The next step I recommend taking is to segment out pages for each category by traffic.  This will give you a view into what pages are performing well and why. Hint, hint, perfect place to revisit on-page factors. To create these, just simply add a must contain URL in each segment:,…


The next layer to build in is the top converting pages in each category. To get these pages take your traffic segments and apply your conversion metric.  Once your data settles contain these exceptional pages in a separate segment.

seo-arck -converting

The best thing about this type of exploration is that it never ends. Yippee! Breaking down a site like this will make you the most informed about SEO performance.

Putting a bow on it, when conquering SEO analytics stay at the core of what SEO is. Focus on the website, not the keywords. Understanding your pages and sections is the best way to get insight and monitor the progress of your SEO initiatives.

Written By Ayima
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