Click data should drive your keyword choices

Many people go right to the Google Keyword Planner tool, start typing in keywords, and just grab what Google gives them without knowing if it has a great chance of converting. Resist using search volume as your guide. The key is singling out “buying” keywords through click data.

This observation from Search marketing professional Adrienne DeVita comes from her years of experience in AdWords and SEO. She has shared her steps for identifying these buying keywords to become the high-potential keywords that she’s willing to invest in for a client. We suggest you get the full guide with context here, but we also included a summary preview below.

Weighing keywords

Does it have buying intent?

Even when organic rankings are your focus, don’t skip the valuable information that PPC data tells you about whether people mean to buy.

For instance, search volume as a metric is too far removed from customer behavior to properly gauge a keyword. The number of clicks that a keyword gets will tell you more about how valuable an appearance on the search results page is.

TIP –> If you’re doing local SEO, you can only count on a portion of those clicks, so aim for bigger click counts.

Also, the number of advertisers on a keyword (at least in recent months) gives you a sense of how competitive this keyword is. If others are willing to fight for it each month, that’s a good indicator that the keyword pays off.

Strong click-through rate comes from the offer. While the historical stat will help you weigh how enticing past offers have been, it doesn’t predict your future success. Use it as an indicator of how well the other domains have pulled people in with their ads. If they have low CTR–and you still want to give it a go–you might take note of their past ad copy and offers and steer in the other direction. Punch it up. Shift gears. Do something else, because a low CTR doesn’t say what’s in store for you. It says that people who saw earlier ads didn’t see a reason to click. Figure out why and build a change into your strategy.

These stats are helpful on their own, but they dish out real value when you use them together. The good signals have to all be there. Strong rankings alone won’t earn you money. Any benefit is going to come from the rankings on high-clicked keywords. (And your landing page needs to deliver what they were hoping to find so that it converts.)

TIP –> You can find a keyword’s PPC data (and its organic data) by entering it into the search box on You can also find all of your competitors’ keywords that they buy and rank for when you type their name into the search box.

To recap, that first part relies on info from PPC to advise you on SEO keyword research. It clues you in (up front) about whether this keyword will convert. Be sure to review a keyword’s:

  • Click count per month
  • Number of advertisers
  • Click-through rate

Where should you set the bar with these stats? Here’s Adrienne’s condensed rule of thumb:

If the first 3 positions get at least 400 clicks combined + you city population has at least 65K to 100K people (and there is demand via Google Trends), it’s likely to bring conversions. There are caveats and tips, so read through for context.

Dig up Even Better Data

What we love about Adrienne’s practice, is that it doesn’t stop after you’ve found good keywords. Once the keyword passes muster, here’s what you do with it.

With every keyword search you do on SpyFu, we show you the top ranking content (as just one piece of the mountains of information). See that URL that ranks in the number 1 position? Let’s dig into it for some answers.

Spyfu organic search ranking analysis


You can click through on the URL or type one directly into the SpyFu search bar. (Yep, we treat domains and extended URLs differently.) Searching these “specific landing pages in SpyFu will give the kind of data you can’t get with the Google Keyword Planner at a quick glance organically.”

Adrienne’s full write-up shows you how a top-ranking URL leads to better, more insightful data.

  • It uncovers more keywords to consider
  • It shows you what they are advertising on
  • It leads to more ranked successes
  • It sets you up to fire with a killer content strategy

She also makes a thoughtful point about how a page ranks at #1 but can still optimize further to take advantage of local service searches. It’s worth a look. We appreciate Adrienne sharing this explanation of her approach with us. If you’re willing to help educate fellow search marketers, drop a note into the comments or reach us directly if you’d like to share more detail.