It’s estimated that the level of keyword data “not provided” will be 100% by December.[/caption]
The only constant with Google is change, and “100% not provided” is the latest roadblock in front of anyone selling anything in the online space.
Keyword to website visit correlation had become the cornerstone of SEO in illustrating an SEO firm’s tactics and the success they bring. Now, Google is knocking down that wall. Starting in 2010, Google began to exclude a percentage of users logged into any Google service. Since then, marketers have had to adapt to estimates based on partial traffic and are now faced with no keyword level data to evaluate.
But that’s not all. The Hummingbird update was also implemented to add context and user intent to search through a better understanding of long tail queries.
A little background information should help clear this all up. Local search has shown us that when dealing with a geo-targeted location, a modifier must be added (creating a long tail search) to get the desired result. So what is this modifier exactly? Is it a targeted location, time of day, a sale or is it likely a combination of the above?
Here’s an example for a dentistry marketing online query: “dentist near my home”. Previously, Google would have shown results for dentists that had the best ranking site based on traditional SEO practices. Today, if you have shared your information with Google, “near my home” can now be understood as a place and that will be factored into the results showing you locations nearby offering the product or service for which you’re searching.
OPM is helping our clients develop the type of owned rich content that engages with users’ intentions through the web channel. This correlation is what Google wants to know, so making your content answer as many of these questions as possible is the pathway to success. We are empowering our clients with the following solid tactics that will grow their site’s organic visibility and increase their levels of conversion:
- Microformats – Markup languages like RDFa and Schema help define locations and offerings.
- FAQ pages – It’s likely that your sales force answers the same questions over and over. Add an FAQ page that answers these questions but also can attract higher visibility due to pages addressing these and other user questions.
- Fresh content for targeted pages – There is no better tactic for improving local rankings than this. Add a map, customer reviews for specific areas or allow commentary on high value pages.
- Fix citations – work with webmasters to fix citations or proper placement and form.
- Get reviews – Engage with happy consumers and illicit a response on your social channels.
We have changed our content to better align with user intent, but how do we track results in a way that will empower our client’s business-making decisions?
Goals aligned to specific URL’s will become the new metric that will allow marketers to demonstrate and track changes. That’s right, the world has not ended with the exclusion of keyword data, it just moved a little to the left.
While marketers can still utilize keyword data for a little while longer, they will be better served by embracing the tools that are still available and re-structuring how clients think about website performance:
- The Multi-Channel Funnels folder – Google Analytics contains the Top Conversion Paths report – This report helps discern how search is aiding the conversion process.
- Assisted conversion report – This report allows a view into all channels and shows how they each perform and how they assist the alternate channels in growth.
- Paid Search Keyword analysis report– If your account has a paid program, we can access that data to find keywords and long tail driving traffic.
- Webmaster Tools – Webmaster tools has some SEO performance data listed, pay attention to the CTR and queries the site is visible for.
- Google Trends – This tool can show you the relevancy in time for a particular keyword or phrase but the real value to our SEO efforts is from trending keyword data on the page, highlighting terms that are on the rise based on user searching. It’s these types of terms that we should be investigating for adding to our program.
The Hummingbird update, secure search and the trend toward “not provided” is here to stay. With a little finesse and re-thinking how strategies can be developed, things are not as dire as you might have imagined. OPM is filling in the gaps and refining strategies for the success of our clients. To find out how, visit us to schedule a free consultation for your business.