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Do you receive the share of visits you ought to?

10:17 am on Sep 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hi All,

So, when the big G says a certain keyword has around 2000 exact monthly searches and that my website/page is ranking on the 1st place of SERPs for that keyword, why don't I receive even the 10% total visits?

The title is attractive, description is catchy and descriptive and I hold the #1 spot, then why don't I? So even if it's true that the 1st place result receives 70% the total attention, and then the 2nd one 20% and the 3rd one 5% and the remaining on the first page 5%.

I am not getting even the 10% of being on the 1st place. What is it actually happening with that? It's same with all the keywords and all your websites?

Thanks a ton guys!
10:48 am on Sept 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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shaunm, i think the Problem is that the adwords tool shows also similar searches ( on the left side u have to uncheck "similar") and only 1 key searches. Most poeple donīt search only one word.
SO your site might be usefull for the keyword itself but in regard of the query / search history / physical and psychical constitution of the searcher ( what i think Google might think it could guess ) your site does not match.
Theres is a lot of adwords/Shopping ads on the Google page too.
10:55 am on Sept 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for answering, but I don't get what did you mean by 'adwords shows also similar searches'? Could you help elaborate it?

As you know, I'm using the 'Adwords keyword planner' tool to find the search volume of a given keyword since Google officially discontinued the legacy keyword tool.

It's the exact search volume (of all devices, not like keyword tool where you can specify if desktop, mobile or etc)

And what does "Most poeple donīt search only one word." mean?

Thanks for the help!
11:15 am on Sept 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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the keyword planer shows in the "normal" configuration similar searches and their search volumns. Added up to our keyword. You have to uncheck this option.
When you search, do you search "keyword"? Likely you will search "keyword" for "xyz". So your site matches "keyword" perfect but does not match for "xzy"!

To search with only one keyword does only make sense by searching a brands Name. EG. an car manufacturer.
2:30 pm on Sept 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hi Martin, thanks again!

So you meant to say when I enter the keyword 'Android Games' and hit enter, the result displayed is not of this keyword alone but various other keywords associated with this keyword? Like 'Android Arcade Games' 'Gameloft Android Games' etc?

But that can only happen with the average monthly searches right? Not with 'EXACT' searches? I only do the EXACT match type searches with 'Google Keyword Tool'. Since Google discontinued it, I do it on Adplanner but putting it inside brackets [Android Games]

Then it's only the EXACT SEARCH VOLUME right?

You have to uncheck this option.

What option is that? From which tab, nav it's available?

Thanks again for the help!
2:33 pm on Sept 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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What I found with a certain keyword today is that this keyword is reported to be having an exact search volume of 1000 monthly in Google adplanner tool.

But holding the no:2 position for it, I am getting 2500 monthly visits. How can that happen?

What do you all actually use to determine the search volume a keyword gets?

Thanks a ton!
3:34 pm on Sept 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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shaunm, I have exactly the same issue. I have a site that's been #1 for "keyword phrase" for several years. Even with personalization, Webmaster Tools still reports it being 1.1. According to Adwords keyword tool, search volume is about 14800/month, and that is actually about the number of visitors I used to get for that exact keyphrase. I double checked where it says "keywords like..." but it only listed my keyphrase, so this is not lumping lots of keyphrases together.

But somehow over the past year, my traffic has dwindled to about 1/10th of that - around 1400 to 1600 per month. Why? There are no ads with this particular keyphrase - never have been, so it can't be people are picking those over my organic #1. And it's not personalization, or else WMT (and my analytics package which picks up precisely what number they clicked me on) would show something lower than 1.1. Are people just not clicking #1 anymore? I doubt that!

So I don't know. #1 used to be worth a LOT more than 1/10th of the exact search volume because the vast majority of people click #1. Now it doesn't. Something has changed, I just can't figure out what.

I'm glad you started this thread, though. I've been considering it, but thought I was the only one and maybe it was something peculiar about my niche.
11:13 pm on Sept 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Adwords Keyword Planner Tool (KTP) shows the average exact monthly searches for a keyword phrase entered in "Enter keywords" box.

So if you are looking for the volume only, it does not matter whether you enter keyword phrase as [kw1 kw2], "kw1 kw2" or just kw1 kw2 since the match type (broad, exact, phrase) only affects figures on CPC and competition.

Note my previous emphasis on "average". If you are comparing this data with your visits for a month, you need to take the visits for the whole year and average it per month. Otherwise you may be taking the clicks from a month that in fact has low search volume versus the average monthly searches, that are influenced by higher search volume and the CTR may look lower than it actually is (or vice versa).

I have done some study comparing Adword Keyword Planner, Google Analytics and WMT Query data for a branded name search that has no competition (nobody bids/tries to rank for this brand name) and where I am very certain that the site always ranks #1. Below are some figures to compare.

Keyword Planner Tool avg. monthly searches: 390

Because of the seasonal trend and the problem in calculation explained above, I compared the figures for July 2013:

Keyword Planner Tool July searches: 1000
Google Analytics visits July, for this keyword, Google only: 870

Google Webmaster Tools Web Impressions: 2000
Google Webmaster Tools Web Clicks: 900
Google Webmaster Tools Web Avg. Position: 1
Google Webmaster tools Web CTR: 45%

Google Webmaster Tools Mobile Impressions: 700
Google Webmaster Tools Mobile Clicks: 90
Google Webmaster Tools Mobile Avg. Pos: 1
Google Webmaster Tools Mobile CTR 13%

I have not included Image search figures as I have only selected "Google" in KTP which does not include image/map etc search volumes.

A bit of analysis:

Firstly, the number of impressions is almost 3 times the number of searches. My speculation is that this is because if a site has more than 1 result in SERPs on the 1st page, each result count as an impression. Similarly, if the visitor clicks through to 2nd and subsequent page and there is SERP entry there, it also counts as an impression of that same search query. Hence 1 search (from search volume) can result in more than 1 impressions reported.

Second interesting thing is to compare the number of GA visits with the number of KTP searches and number of WMT reported clicks (web + mobile).

GA visits: 870
KTP searches: 1000
WMT clicks (900 + 90) = 990

I am reasonably happy that the number of searches as reported in KTP versus number of clicks as reported in WMT pretty much ties up. As this is a branded search, it is extremely likely that whoever searched for it, clicked through to the site, and CTR of 99% (based on the number of searches) ties up (although the figure is also a bit skewed since one search may have more than one WMT click, however from the experience of following the visitor navigation pattern through Statcounter, this is a rare occasion.)

WMT reports more clicks than GA reports visits for this keyword. The reason for this is *probably* because of "not provided" searches (although I am not entirely sure whether GA definition of visit of "interaction with the site within certain timeframe" would also impact this figure).

From the above example it is also obvious how WMT reported CTR is completely misleading. WMT calculates CTR based on impressions. This makes sense for Adwords where Google has a policy of not allowing multiple ads from the same site, but does not make sense in Organic where the same site may have more than one entry in SERPs.

For example, having 3 impressions (because of 3 entries appearing on page 1) and only one click through to the site would result in CTR being reported as 1/3 = 33% whereas the more useful number would be to calculate CTR based on number of searches in which one or more results are shown (e.g. 1 search, 1 click = 100% CTR).

Drilling down in WMT by clicking on keyword will give impressions, clicks and CTR for every position in SERPs and these numbers are a bit more realistic.

As it can be seen, there is still lots to guess despite figures given. But what I believe, based on the information I have studied, is that:

- the exact searches per month figure reported in KTP is reasonably accurate
- impressions are skewed (overstated) because of multiple site listings seen within one search
- hence the CTR is skewed (understated) as it is based on impressions
- searches versus visits figure from "google organic" does not tie up because of "not provided" (and maybe also because of GA definition of a "visit")
- comparing number of monthly visits with avg. monthly searches does not work unless you average your monthly visits for the last 12 months
10:05 pm on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Well, I don't use Analytics, but rather another stat package. Since we can't reliably know how many people searched "top key phrase" and got to my page, I'm trying to look at how many people Google has sent to that particular page, using whatever keyphrase including the "not provided". And that number is what appears to be so far down from the rather steady Adwords Keyword Tool number.

I'm willing to accept that the KPT is accurate. The problem is, last year KPT reported that around "14,000" people were searching my phrase, and I got around 14,000 people for that phrase. Now KPT still reports 14,000 people, but I'm getting a fraction of the visitors. Either visitor behavior has changed - i.e., huge numbers of people are ignoring the top organic result - or Google behavior has changed.

I can't imagine that users have started ignoring #1, at least not on that scale. So assuming it's Google's behavior that changed, I've spent the past year doing some testing.

-- Theory 1: when Google shows my page, it's at #1, but sometimes Google doesn't show my page at all, like maybe certain times of the day. But I can't catch it doing this. I've searched via proxies from various locations. I've searched all times of day. I can't ever "catch" Google not showing the page or showing it lower than #1.

-- Theory #2: my stats package is wrong in how it counts the number of people Google sent to a particular page. I've emailed the developer about that. But if shaunm is seeing the same behavior, and the chances are really slim that we're using the same stats package as mine isn't that popular or well-known.

I'm really stumped.

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