Tracking Long Tail Keywords through Google Analytics

Many SEOs agree that there is power in the long tail.

There are also several solid stats to back up this claim.

Recently I was asked the following question on LinkedIn and I think the same question bothers you too:

There may be millions of ‘rare’ search terms in the tail, but the important things to ask are how much of the traffic they generate is relevant to a particular business and is there enough ROI to make it worth spending to chase those searches

Ivor Morgan(Head of Sales & Marketing at Morpheus Limited, UK)

You may have been waiting for reports like the one below for a long long time:

tracking long tail keywords

It is not very hard to conclude that majority of one word keyword phrases are brand terms.

It is also evident from the report that two words keywords phrases are driving more traffic, conversions and revenue for this website.

You can even go ahead and calculate the impact of 4 words, 5 words, 6 words (or even more) keyword phrases on website traffic:

tracking long tail keywords 3

Such type of insight becomes even more useful in case of PPC campaigns where you have to pay for each keyword:

tracking long tail keywords 2

This is a real life example of the power of tracking long tail keywords.

Now the question that arises is, how I generated these reports?

First of all, your Google Analytics property must not be suffering from not provided keywords issues.

Not provided keyword is a keyword without ‘keyword referral data’.

not-provided-keywords

In order to reveal not provided keywords in your Google Account, you need to use a tool like ‘Keyword Hero’.

Without using such tool, you can not truly benefit from the power of tracking long tail keywords as there will be no long tail keywords data to analyze.

Now if you already have enough long tail keywords data in your GA view then follow the steps below:

Step-1: Navigate to ‘All Traffic > Channels’ report and then click on the ‘Organic Search’ link under the ‘Default Channel Grouping’ column:

Step-2: Create and apply following new custom segment:

I created ten similar advanced segments using regular expressions.

Use following regular expressions to create such segments:

^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){0}$ =>Filter 1 word keyword phrase
^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){1}$ =>Filter 2 words keyword phrase
^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){2}$ =>Filter 3 words keyword phrase
^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){3}$ =>Filter 4 words keyword phrase
^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){4}$ =>Filter 5 words keyword phrase
^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){5}$ => Filter 6 words keyword phrase

^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){6}$ => Filter 7 words keyword phrase
^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){7}$ => Filter 8 words keyword phrase
^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){8}$ => Filter 9 words keyword phrase
^[^\.\s\-]+([\.\s\-]+[^\.\s\-]+){9}$ =>Filter 10 words keyword phrase

^\s*[^\s]+(\s+[^\s]+){3,}\s*$ => Filter 3+ Words Keyword phrases

Once you have created these custom segments, apply them one by one to your Google analytics report.

Learn about the Google Analytics Usage Trends Tool

The Google Analytics usage trend is a new tool which is used to visualise trends in your Google Analytics data and to perform trend analysis.


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Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over eleven years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
  • Google Analytics certified
  • Google AdWords certified
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Award for Excellence
  • Bachelors degree in Internet Science
  • Founder of OptimizeSmart.com and EventEducation.com

I am also the author of three books:

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