It’s no big secret that amassing a solid list of keywords is the key to a successful search engine optimization (SEO) campaign.

However, many marketers create a list only by using the popular terms most used by people searching the web. If this is how you create your SEO keyword list, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to boost the success of your campaigns.

The more keywords you add to your list, the more likely you’ll draw customers to your site.

The keywords that you may not have thought to add to your SEO list are hiding in plain sight: in your own site search data, that is.

There are many tools available for uncovering the terms your target audience is using to find your site, as well as which terms provide the best conversions. With these keywords, you can improve natural web search rankings and deliver targeted traffic to your site.

However, keep in mind that your competition has access to this same information, and may be using the same tools to analyse the same internet search traffic.

On the plus side, the keywords that people use to search within your website, for products or information,  are very likely the same keywords they use when they are searching on Google, Bing, or other search engines.

This customised information can yield ideas for improving search engine rankings and connecting people to your site content faster and more directly.

As you review keyword search terms pulled from site search data, you’ll find that they are as varied and as unpredictable as the people who create them.

The high numbers of unique search terms created by web users make it difficult to monitor and analyse trends, or effectively settle on the words or phrases that people would use to arrive at your site.

Industry estimates say that up to 40% of all search terms are unique. This means the keywords you have worked so hard to develop may really just be educated guesses on how you can attract customers to your site.

By analysing your site search data, and comparing it to the search terms people use to find your website, you will find that web users often type in specific search terms. Gleaning information from your site’s own search box can provide a more focused picture of the right keyword terms for your SEO campaigns. 

For instance, someone may have found your site through a web search for the term “e-reader case.” However, another may have used the term “Kindle leather cover.” Those are the types of long tail search terms around which you can build a keyword campaign.

In addition, these long tail terms typically have higher conversion rates.

Here are some ideas for building keyword lists for site search:

  • Most site search and analytics platforms give you a list of the top keywords and long tail combinations of keywords customers are using when searching your site. You’ll often discover terms that aren’t currently on your keyword list; these are terms that might not show up in lists of web search keywords.

    Use these search terms to fine-tune your SEO campaigns and increase conversions. Our customers often use this tactic for their search marketing campaigns and have seen better results.

  • Use analytics solutions to understand how people search for information on your own website. These tools help you dive deep to find search terms your customers know about – but that may have eluded your attention.

    These terms can be used to deliver more traffic to your site, and it’s also smart to include them in paid search campaigns.

  • To save time, implement a user-generated SEO strategy. Use tools specifically designed to automate keyword list generation. These solutions automatically create product landing pages based on your customer site search activity that are optimised for web search engines.

    It would be too time-consuming for your web team to create these pages manually, especially if you’re optimising a site using hundreds or thousands of site-search terms.

While keyword research is a time-tested marketing tactic, it deserves some fresh tweaks to make sure you’re not missing out on ways to refine your keyword lists.

Take the time to understand and analyse the search activity going on inside your website and incorporate that information into your direct marketing efforts. You may discover unexpected ways to drive better business results.