Search engine optimization is a weird beast to most business owners. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a room with a successful proprietor who wants to rank #1 for a term no one is searching. “Get me to the top page for ‘poly-fabric textile distributor Wisconsin!’”

What drives that thinking? I’d assume it’s because that’s how the owner talks about the products she sells. I’d also assume that the fine people at Kellogg’s refer to ‘dehydrated and compressed corn cereal’ internally, but receive far higher traffic to their site for the term ‘corn flakes’. The industry jargon may or may not be how your best customers talk about your business, but how do you know? A better question might be:

How can I find out which keywords bring traffic to my site?

        1. Make sure you’ve claimed Google Search Console for your site. (This might seem daunting initially, but the payoff of information that exists inside of this tool is invaluable.)
          • If you’ve just claimed your search console, you may need to wait a couple of days. If you’ve had it claimed for a while, you should be seeing a performance overview.
        2. On the left hand side, click the word “Performance” in the menu.
Google Search Console Menu > Peformance

This page is so cool, isn’t it? For the reporting period, it shows you how many clicks you’ve received in Google, how many search impressions you’ve received, your click-through rate (how many impressions resulted in a click), and your average position (which page of Google you show up on, on average)


  • If you scroll down, you’ll see queries that Google has been ranking your site for. If you click on the word “Clicks”, this page will sort those queries by the terms that have received the most clicks in Google. Better still, search console will also show you the terms that you’re receiving impressions for in search but aren’t winning clicks on.


If you’re wondering why all of the clicks that you long for elude you, I’ll tell you why: You just haven’t earned them yet, baby! Start writing some content around those terms.


Search Queries in Google, sorted by “Clicks.”

Better EVEN STILL, this is the actual language searchers are using in Google. This is their voice, spoken to Google and whispered back to you verbatim by Google. Mirror the voice of your audience and you’ll have a better opportunity to succeed in search.

Now that you know which keywords are bringing people to your site, you should take the next step to learn which keywords are driving sales or leads on your site.

One note about Google Search Console: This isn’t accounting for every click you receive in Google. As once heard a fellow marketer say, ‘This isn’t an exact science, it’s just the best science we have.’. Go have fun with this tool and let it shape your efforts.

If you need help on this or have questions, please leave them in the comments below.