Google AdWords for Testing Organic Keywords

Organic search results rock – showing up on page 1 on Google or Yahoo for key terms is a great way to build traffic and business. Once the work is done to get there, the cost may be next to nothing to stay there.

But, getting nice organic search results and cashing checks may not be the same thing. There are lots of specific search phrases that may sound good to you and, through some research, may show that they get lots of searches. However, for reasons only known in subconscious of your prospect, good search results don’t always yield good conversion – sales, downloads, subscriptions.

I have found that a great way to quickly test keyword phrases is to run Google AdWords campaigns and use Google Analytics to track actual conversions for the phrases you are testing. I’ve found more than once that a more popular phrase can actually produce lower conversion than a less popular phrase. And, you can have results in a week instead of a couple months.

Armed with this kind of data you can make better decisions about keyword phrases you should focus your organic optimization efforts on. The good news is that the better phrase in the long run may not be as competitive.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Lars H

    That’s a terrific idea. Thanks!

    A similar great strategy is to look through your existing orders and see which search terms led to those sales.

    These search terms are solid gold, because they are terms that you know 100 percent for sure that they convert into sales for you.

    Yes, you say, but why bother? If I am already getting sales from those terms, why do I need to do anything else?

    Answer: Because you probably aren’t on the front page of Google or other search engines for all of those terms. You might be way down on the 5th page, or just appear in one search engine for them. So you can take them and continue to optimize for them on your site.

    Or even better, take the exact opposite approach and take your proven converting keywords (that you know from looking at your internal keyword and sales records) and buy Adwords and Overture clicks with them for extra incremental sales! You know those phrases convert for you, so use them.

    Do both at the same time!

    FYI, I learned this strategy from Rob Snell, the guy who wrote the Yahoo Store for Dummies book.

    The information doesn’t just apply to Yahoo Stores, as you can see.

  • This is a great entry. I have been thinking a lot about key words as our product nears its launch date, and this is a great idea for testing. I actually just posted a blog entry yesterday about the difference between traffic and conversions. I will definitely be sending people to this post as it offers another practical solution to the problem I was discussing. I also really appreciate the comment above mine. Tracking conversions back to their origins is a great idea. Being new at all of this I really appreciate this blog and the intelligent comments of its readers.

  • I’ll have to try that out with adwords, I’ve often wondered how accurate the overture tool really was

    btw, love the podcast.
    keep up the good work 🙂

  • Theres better ways of finding the best terms. Try this, find the keywords that guys are paying the most for. This usually tells you 90% of the time the best converting keywords when using organics. Adwords is so-so checkout wordze, word tracker. Adwords keyword tool is nice because it is free, however free is not always the best. Hope that helps ;).