No More Keyword Data
In case you haven’t heard, Google has switched all searches over to encrypted searches using HTTPS (a secure communications protocol). This means that traffic data at the keyword level is going bye bye in your Analytics reports. There will be no more keyword data from for website owners and web marketers to utilize in their reports. There will be no more keyword data from Google to help track site visitors by the keywords they used in their search.
Now, some web marketers and SEO professionals are saying that this will change everything about how they work. And given that Google represents about 65-70% of all searches here in the U.S., it’s easy to see how some web marketers would feel that their day-to-day duties are about to change. For others, not so much.
Let’s face it, keyword tracking has been an important part of reporting for web marketers across the globe. Even here at Rank Fuse Interactive, we’ve used keyword ranking and keyword footprint as part of our monthly SEO reports for every client. But, since we pull rankings from (a dying) Google Search API, and keywords from the Analytics API, we now must evolve to achieve higher search engine rankings with more advanced metrics.
All Is Not Lost
While some SEO companies may be looking at an uncertain future, wishing they still had their keyword divining rod to guide them, forward-thinking search engine marketing companies will be showing clients results on Google and other popular search engines. In some respects, Google has made it easier and more beneficial to leverage the full power of their analytics service.
Think about it this way: Keyword reports are only valuable if they can be used to define actionable items. And, those who rely solely on keyword reports to define all of their SEO and web-marketing efforts are putting the cart before the horse. Essentially, if you’re filling a website with slapdash content and then measuring the results by keyword reports and then changing the formula, you probably need to go back to the beginning of your web-marketing process and re-define your methods. It’s the “spaghetti at the wall” approach to achieving search engine rankings, and it’s not a well-thought-out or efficient methodology.
Any web marketer or SEO professional who can show consistent results for clients knows that they can leverage keywords in written copy (website copy, press releases, blog articles, etc.) to improve rankings and dominate competition. But, the process takes a little more work on the front-end.
Returning To The Basics
In this new era of search engine optimization without keyword data from the world’s most popular search engine, we are actually returning to the past. Remember the days of Lycos, Alta Vista and Excite? Back then, keyword research tools were around, but analytics data never high on the radar. Back then your SEO team and your content developer needed to work in concert to have any kind of measurable impact on your rankings. It seems today, the core idea has not changed.
Any content-driven SEO project will require a better understanding of the client’s products or services, as well as an understanding of the expected needs and desires of the target audience (including search algorithms). “Discovery,” which has long been a tactic of professional sales people for decades, may be the most appropriate web-marketing process from this point forward.
Real World Application
In an Analytics environment, landing page reports can still help determine what types of content your users are looking for. In fact, this can provide more insight than raw keyword data. Also, looking at engagement metrics like bounce rate, time on site, and social shares at a page level will provide you with more actionable data for future content marketing.
Here at Rank Fuse Interactive, we’re big on discovery. We’re big on understanding the client’s business. We’re full-service, in this respect. The change that Google has made is an opportunity for us to show our clients bigger gains over their closest competitors in the market – due simply to the fact that our processes are so tied to their business offerings, practices, goals, and the needs of their prospective clients, that we can identify and leverage the keywords and phrases their sites need to be successful – even without keyword data from Google.
This article is brought to you by Rank Fuse Interactive, which serves both businesses and agencies alike as a provider of search engine marketing (SEM) programs, including search engine optimization (SEO), paid search advertising (PPC), social media marketing, content marketing, mobile web marketing, and search-friendly web design.