Tutorial – Search Cloud (Tagxedo & Google Analytics)

Over the past few months, my WordPress Theme shop has been getting a good deal of organic traffic. After having seen a cool render of one these word clouds for a political issue (using Tagxedo , requires Silverlight), I decided to give it a shot with some of my Google Analytics organic search data, this tutorial will show you how to use both these applications to achieve this final result:

The really cool thing is that there’s a bunch of opportunities to customize the output of such charts, and I’ll show you just how:

google analytics data

The first thing you’ll want to do is login to your GA account, navigate right to your “Keywords” traffic section and export the data like so (choosing “CSV for Excel”, assuming you have Microsoft Excel, otherwise a regular CSV will do):

excel manipulations

In order for Tagxedo to be able to know how much weight to place on each word, you’ll need to provide it with the numbers too. The final format will be a single column in which each cell will have the keyword/keyphrase followed by the total search count for that phrase. The format will also need to be structured exactly like this “wordpress:500“. To achieve this, all we need to do is create a third column whereby we use the “Concatenate” function to bring these values together, like this (A & B are supplied by Google Analytics, we created C):

Once that is complete, you’ll just want to copy the content of the final column. I had tried a bunch of combinations till I saw what actually worked best, but to make a long story short, I found that taking the 100 most frequent keywords was the best approach towards a well balanced word cloud (as opposed to taking the entire column, i.e. 500-1000 keywords/key phrases).

tagxedo customizations

Just before we jump into Tagxedo, I’m first going to create my color palette (and there’s no better tool then Color Scheme Designer 3).

This is where it gets fun (assuming your clipboard is also holding the 100 top phrases including search counts) . Go into Tagxedo and start off by loading up your word list. This will generate a word cloud that usually isn’t that pretty (matter of taste I guess). This is where you’ll want to start customizing heavily, and in the following areas:

  • Shape (although complex shapes will lose the message quite quickly)
  • Fonts (upload them directly from your PC)
  • Color Themes (create one like I did above)

Once you’re happy with the result, go ahead and export a high-res version of the image (otherwise you’ll spend a bunch of time recreating it). At this point, you’re done, quite easy right? Feel free to share your word or search clouds.