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Inspired by Ruud's post, Use Google Analytics Advanced Segments To Find The Real Questions Your Visitors Ask, I wondered, "What about the questions searchers (not necessarily visitors) are asking"?

The theory behind finding these questions is similar to the one outlined in Ruud's post, so I suggest that you read his post first. The difference here, though, is that we will find additional questions that were asked, using Google Webmaster Tools.

Let's begin.

Step 1

Log in to Google Webmaster Tools and click on "Search queries", found under "Your site on the web".

Google Webmaster Tools - Search Queries

Step 2

Choose one of the six "question" words (who, what, when, where, why, how) and type it into the search bar. Here we're going with "how". (Sorry, no regex in GWT).

Search Queries Report - Google Webmaster Tools

Step 3

Now look at the table under the Impressions & Clicks graph. It contains the number of impressions and clicks for each specific query, along with click-through rate (CTR) and average position in the results.

Look for queries that generated a high number of impressions but few clicks. In this example, I might want to include more information on my site about how hand-washing helps to get rid of pimples.

Pimples Query

The Benefits

In addition to some of the benefits of using Google Analytics and Advanced Segments, Google Webmaster Tools will also include queries that were made by:

  • Non-visitors. You can then use this data to formulate content and tweak meta descriptions to encourage click-throughs to your site.
  • Visitors whose keywords weren't passed to GA. This can happen if JavaScript is turned off, a browser plugin/extension disables ga.js, GA isn't installed on the landing page, etc.
Shockley Au

Shockley is an experienced digital marketing consultant, helping businesses succeed online through SEM/PPC, SEO, Social Media, and Web Analytics. He is certified in Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Bing Ads, and also blogs at State of Digital. Follow him on Twitter @ShockleyAu.

Shockley Au

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10 Responses to “Find The Questions Potential Visitors Ask [Google Webmaster Tools]”

  1. Mandy June says:

    I love looking at Search Queries! Sometimes they just have really interesting stuff… Things you would never think of asking. LOL Google Webmaster tools are very useful for SEO. My favorite tool to use by far.
    .-= Mandy June recently posted: 5 Strangest Bank Robberies of the 21st Century =-.

  2. Aaron says:

    Very cool Shockley. I've found webmaster tools very useful at finding search queries and positions in result pages.
    .-= Aaron recently posted: VIZIO XVT373SV 37-Inch Full HD 1080P LED LCD HDTV Review =-.

  3. Shockley Au says:

    @Mandy, @Aaron: The long-tail queries are always full of surprising insights into what people are interested in!

  4. [...] If you don’t have a FAQ section on your site wander down the hall and talk to customer service (they’ll be surprised to see you) and ask them for a list of top questions they get asked. Compare that list to a search of your top keywords on Q&A sites like Ask.com’s Common Questions to verify which of the questions that you get are also being asked out in the world wide web. Also if you want to dig into your own site some of our Search Engine People have written some fine posts recently on how to find out the questions your website visitors ask and potential visitors ask. [...]

  5. Aleksandar says:

    Great thinking. I actually got the idea for questions on analytics by myself sometime ago, and use it from time to time, but questions in webmasters tools didn't get on my mind.
    Thanks
    .-= Aleksandar recently posted: Korisne konferencije i seminari u oktobru =-.

  6. Shockley Au says:

    @Aleksandar: Thanks. Using the GWT method is good if you also want to see search queries that weren't captured in GA.

  7. I agree, that long tail queries often opens your eyes to new possibilities, but I haven't thought of using webmaster tools for this purpose. Thanks for sharing :-)

  8. Shockley Au says:

    @Per: You're welcome! :)

  9. Penny says:

    I also love google webmaster tools top search queries and will make a page specifically around any long tail search queries. Of course this is not always possible so i google the search query and then book mark it with google bookmarks.

    I just can't figure out how this works for google Adsense?

    How do you use your top search queries?

    • Ruud Hein says:

      We tend to fold back information from various channels (traffic reports, social media monitoring, contact with clients, etc.) into new content.