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How To Find Out What Your Blog Ranks For In Google (And Bring In More Targeted Traffic)

By Ana Hoffman
34 Comments

Google’s mission as stated on the company information page is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Yet, most websites are nothing but a hodge-podge of disorganized content without any central theme.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes it impossible for them to rank for any competitive (read: traffic-bringing, money-making) keywords.

Take, for instance, internet marketing blogs.

Internet marketing in and of its own is a hugely vast topic that includes any and every subject from your mindset and personal development, to how to create a distinct social media presence, to how to rank your site on Google, to how to bring more targeted traffic to your site, and so on and so forth.

Writing content around ALL these topics is the very trap many bloggers fall into.

Not picking a specific niche within the internet marketing industry will most likely mean sporadic readership (readers like to visit blogs if they know what content they can expect from them) and lack of attention from the search engines (since you are not clearly telling them what your site is REALLY about).

Search engines are very sophisticated creations indeed; however, they still need to be told what the site is all about clearly and distinctly. That’s the only way they can decipher meaning.

If you want to bring TARGETED website traffic, you need to provide TARGETED information.

Establishing relevancy to a particular topic is what Google needs to see to tip the almighty search engine ranking scales in your favor.

Here’s why it’s so important – from the horse’s mouth:

As a rule, Google tries to find pages that are both reputable and relevant.

If two pages appear to have roughly the same amount of information matching a given query, we’ll usually try to pick the page that more trusted websites have chosen to link to.

Still, we’ll often elevate a page with fewer links or lower PageRank if other signals suggest that the page is more relevant.

For example, a web page dedicated entirely to the civil war is often more useful than an article that mentions the civil war in passing, even if the article is part of a reputable site such as Time.com.

It is the key to how Google works when it comes down to your site rankings.

So how do you establish a clear relevancy for a certain theme in a way that the search engines can easily match your site with the topical keywords?

First of all, you need to know what your site is all about.

High search engine ranking optimization can be easily damaged in two ways:

  1. By including irrelevant content.
  2. By having too little content on the subject.

If you know what your site is really about, it’ll be easy to avoid either one of these mistakes.

What Is Your Site Theme?

The commonsense objection here is “of course, I know what my site is all about; silly question“.

I understand where you are coming from, but the thing is that there’s a huge difference between your perception of what your site is all about and the way the search engines actually see it.

In order for us to be objective here, we need to ask the following questions:

Let the digging begin!

Google Webmaster Tools Evaluation

The first most obvious, as well as the easiest way to determine your site theme is to analyze the data provided by any tracking software you might be using on your site.

Start by looking at what Google itself thinks your site is all about.

Google Webmaster Tools will actually provide you with a better picture than Google Analytics would in this particular case.

From your dashboard, simply click on “Keywords“.

Here’s a snapshot of what Google thinks of my site:

theme keyword relevance in Google webmaster tools

Of course, this is the analysis of my home page and it’s greatly influenced by the every-changing posts that I display there at any particular time.

Apparently, it’ll serve me right to stop mentioning my own name as much as I do now; as it is, Google thinks that Traffic Generation Cafe is more about “Ana” than any other subject theme…

Mind you, these are the most used keywords that Google found when crawling your home page, NOT the keywords that actually bring you any search engine traffic.

And this will be our next test to determine what our overall site theme actually is.

Search Engine Traffic Keywords Evaluation

What are the most popular search terms that Google lists your site for?

Google Analytics is the best free tool to determine that.

To find the information in your GA account, from your Dashboard go to “Traffic Sources”, then “Keywords”.

theme your site with keywords

That’s where you’ll see the ACTUAL traffic-generating keywords that Google finds your site to be relevant for.

Start checking them out to find common themes that connect them.

Competition Evaluation

Yet another way to see if you are on the right track with your theme is to check out the sites that you consider to be your main competitors and see what they are currently ranking for.

Obviously, you wouldn’t have access to their analytics accounts, so I’ll give you one of the best tools I’ve ever used to spy on my competition.

SEMrush.com will give you a list of all the keywords any site is currently ranking for – the first 10 results for any search will be shown even if you are not their premium user.

semrush report for dog training

You can dig even deeper and check out each individual page to see how well your competitors are doing in ranking pages for specific keywords.

Interpret Your Findings

At this point, you should have enough data at your fingertips to interpret which topics your site is legitimately relevant for and to understand why you have your current rankings.

Your next big step should be to make sure your blog structure reflects your overall theme and then continue writing the kind of content that will reinforce your standing with the search engines for those specific keywords, thus confirming your site relevance to the topic at hand.

Do you really want to write on the subjects that your site is not truly about? What’s the point of diluting your site theme and risk losing already existing rankings plus acquiring new rankings within the same theme?

Once you establish your site theme, it’s extremely important to stick with it: both for your readers’ and search engines’ sake.

After all, you want everyone to see you as first among peers – the most relevant resource on your subject.

Ana Hoffman

About Ana Hoffman

Traffic, traffic, traffic... Can't do without it, but don't know how to get it?
Ana does, and she freely shares her web traffic advice that doesn't suck on her Traffic Generation Cafe blog. And don't forget to pick up Ana's 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination free SEO report while you are at it - stop hoping for more search engine traffic and go get it!

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34 Comments

  • It seems that google analytics and it’s webmaster tools provide redundant information? I setup webmaster tools, but have not had the urge to use it since everything is in google anayltics.

    Thank you for this article Ana, it made me think about my blog and if, indeed, it’s theme is clear enough for new readers.

    I’ll be checking our your post on blog structure, I’ve very curious.

    • Webmaster tools is a good way to track broken links though, as it provides you with crawler errors.

      • Yes, it does show you all 404s going to your site.

        It’s a good backlinking practice to go through those errors every once in a while to make sure you capture all the link juice from other sites.

    • Actually, they don’t mirror each other that much, Brian – only to a certain degree.

      For instance, the keyword test I went through in my blog can’t be done in GA, only in Webmaster Tools. GA shows the list of keywords you are currently ranking for, which it a bit different.

  • This is top notch Ana. Like always, your articles are indepth and I love reading them. Understanding your blog theme and specific topic is the surest way to achieve high Google ranking with it.

    I have not been evaluating this and I discovered it’s the cause of my site not ranking highly
    for “traffic” related keywords. But I know better today, Keep up churning these like-minded contents. I’m with you for real!

  • Thank you for great insight

  • Although the “analyzing” part seems to be a tedious job and indeed takes a lot of time, it plays a very crucial role in our seo efforts. Thanks for the heads up :)

    • Ana

      Definitely worth the effort, Jane.

  • Rob

    Ana, not only do you seem knowledgeable but you also make this blog interesting, a great insight into getting the right content to make a site or blog rank highly but more importantly make it useful to the reader as this blog is.

    Also an excellent summary of the difference between Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics.

    Keep it coming Ana, I have just bookmarked this site.

    • Ana

      Yaro? Are you listening to this? LOL

      Thanks, Rob.

  • Hy Ana You have gone perfect but Google algorithm changes frequently now days so we have to apply new and new techniques to achieved our target thanks for the blog

    • Ana

      They certainly keep up on the tip-toes, don’t they?

  • Thanks Ana, really good tool to use for checking my website and key words.
    (I’m new on this blog, but you know me from Hesham Famous Bloggers)

  • excellent post Ana discussing a very important topic. the inherent challenge with a blog IMO is that it is more fluid in that content spans across a broad spectrum. relevancy and “congruency” are critical you are right. as someone with multiple profitable niche websites and a blog that is not as profitable as the niche sites, i have found that focusing on theme congruency is easier and more natural within a niche content website.

    • Ana

      Just as it should be, Sunil.

      Readers benefit greatly from this as well – if they need info on increasing website traffic, they know to come to Traffic Generation Cafe.

      There’s a great “stickiness” factor in knowing what your niche is and sticking with it.

  • This is really useful article i have never thought about Google webmaster tool’s option of KeyWords. That it works in that way. This article gave the right direction to look and keep focus on the real keywords of my blog. Thanks

  • Ana – as usual, this is great advice! So in-depth, and so much information to absorb. Thanks for including info FROM Google itself, that whole article was also helpful to really see what they want and how to optimize our blogs to conform to that. :)

    Laurie

  • Another great post Ana!

    I love the ease with which your words flow, and you describe things so well- making it interesting and understandable!

    This post surely did make me think about one of my blogs, and I now understand where I have to focus more on- to give it the right direction.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • The main content in Googlewebmasterstools page might be seeing ‘ana’ as the main keyword and main topic of discussion but then wouldn’t your subpages be the key to all your traffic? I would imagine if you’re page has high authority than most of your subpages could rank for your desired keyword.

    -Jean

  • Hi, Ana,
    Great info… You have saved me the time of adding another category to my blog, quite different from my blog theme…I have to stick to my blog theme and probably open another blog for it.
    Just like your pattern of conveying your message…simple and straight to the point.
    Thank you.

  • Hi Ana,
    Great article. Full of very useful information that will take me time to digest. I personally use market samauri for all my research and was unaware of free tools that do a similar job

  • Thanks for the great post, you summed up a lot of the info people need to really understand some SEO tips beyond the basics, I use the tools you mentioned (Analytics, Webmaster Tools, SEM Rush) and taking the time to really check out what’s going on rather than just taking shots in the dark has really been positive for my blogs.

    Also like you mentioned, try and get a specific niche, you may not get as many visits, but you’ll get much more subscribers and/or sales.

  • Yes, google analytics is the best free tool far! ive been using it for about a year and i cannot complain against it! i can easily recommend it :)

  • As a new blogger, this article was so helpful. I am using Google Analytics but don’t think I am getting the most out of it. The info on Analytics and webmaster tools has been a huge help. My favorite part of your article though, was the program to spy on your competitors – ooh, that’s the juicy stuff. That is going to be a great help to me I am sure. thank you so much for this article – clear and easy to understand for a newbie and will give me a big leap forward on the technical side of my blog.

  • Well done Ana,

    Your post did it’s job. I made me think. :-)

    I’ve been so busy trying to provide relevant information on numerous topics to my readers such as: SEO, article marketing, lead creation, blog commenting, using social media, recruiting, dealing with objections, branding, reviews of companies, etc. Now that I look at it, I’ve been all over the place.

    I’m going to use these tools to check my site’s results.

    Thanks for the tips.

  • Amazingly useful post.

    SEO has been always a flaw in my internet business and I need this sort of tutorials: Short, Simple and efficient.

    I’m not a SEO geek, I need simple solutions, otherways I get stuck.

    Thank you Ana!

    (By the way, her free optin ebook is really nice!)

  • Mmmm…. Juicy stuff Ana.

    Must add SEMRush to my toolbox, I’ve somehow managed to neglect that one so far.

    Arguably analytics is the least sexy dimension of blogging. But without a weather-eye on the analytical horizon, a blogger is more or less posting in the dark.

    Success calls for strategy, and strategy calls for understanding what’s working on your blog, and what’s not…

  • Great article, but I always find looking at my own logs is a wealth of information. Each month there is a massive amount of information in my logs on exactly what keywords brings people to my site, which pages they are coming in on.

    Of course we don’t get the conversion information, for that we definitely rely on Analytics, but still, there is nothing better in my mind to get a feel for how your blog is connecting via SEO than your own logs.

    Jeff

  • Awesome article Ana!
    I use all tools described by you.
    Anyway regarding google webmaster tools I prefer to follow what “Search queries” has to tell to me :)
    This works like GA keywords

    Keywords from Google WT simply grab and count every words that you put in your site,so it is not accurate especially if you have an “exotic” blog title

    Keep in mind that if you have a blog that would talk about dogs, you can not have the word cat as top keywords

  • That’s really a good strategy. Thanks for sharing your views Ana.

  • Google analytics and webmaster tools provide a lot information about a site’s visitors, I am usually looking at webmaster tools “popular pages” to find out which page has the most views on search engines and what is the ctr

  • Thanks Ana for this great tips, i want to ask that can,t it be possible to rank on each page on a blog? My blog has different pages with few not relating to my blog niche thinking that they would rank on their own keywords found in the page but after reading this info, it got me thinking what to do next. Delete all irrelevant posts on my blog?

  • Ali

    I have a new blog which I made on blogspot but i am confused that how do I check my blog ranking, what query I have to search on google where I get my blog. I add 6 keywords in labels is that worked on to check ranking .

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