Posted by Bakul Sengal
February 11, 2015
In the recent years, one of the biggest things to happen in the search industry was the restriction on keyword data for webmasters by Google. Google stated that the main reason for this restriction was privacy concerns. This changed the whole search fraternity. Instead of being shown the keyword term, webmasters were given the “not provided” tag in the report. This change really baffled the whole search industry. The base of any SEO campaign until that time, and even today is the keyword. SEO agencies select a keyword to target to rank on search engines. All the measurements are based on the keyword. This is what they promise. They tell their clients that they will rank for a particular keyword if they spent $$$$ amount.
Even when you check the data today, very limited keywords are available from Google. The limited data is definitely not sufficient enough to measure the success of a campaign.
How To Overcome this Measurement Deficit?
The change in the provision of keyword data brought about a revolution, and SEO’s felt the need to rethink the measurement process. The future plans of Google are less likely to provide keyword-based SEO tracking approach, though the likes of AdWords and Webmaster Tools do provide some keyword data. The Hummingbird Algorithm is evidence enough to this point that Google is going towards user intent rather than giving only keyword specific results.
The users will only enter keywords in the search bar, however Google is trying to figure out what is the user intent behind the keyword. In order to get success in this, they are depending on the context data. For instance, they will pull out the previous searches that have been made by the user. They will analyze the location, how they break the query themselves, and more. This data completely changes the search results as seen by the user.
When the SEO had begun, it was only about matching the keyword on a page with that entered by the user in the search bar. This is what relevance is all about. SEO continued with this model, however, it has very fast become redundant, as Google is increasingly relying on context in order to determine the searcher intent.
Never Mind The Keywords, You Still Have Great Data
Your first question would be what could you do for SEO without the important keyword data. The main reason why we pull out the data is to demonstrate value. How valuable are search engines as compared to other search channels, and also how valuable the search campaigns have been. Did the search campaign meet marketing goals and provided value? There is enough data other than keywords that will demonstrate the value. Here are a few ideas that a few SEO agencies have been using to look at the organic search data and see the results they are getting in terms of value.
#1: Comparing Organic Search With Other Activities
Is the organic search tracking well when compared with other digital marketing channels, such as social or email? Is it about the same? Or is it deteriorating? The withheld keyword data could prove to be a blessing in disguise, A ranking for a particular keyword is quite useless if it is not generating any traffic. Instead, if you are looking at the total amount of traffic, and see it rising, then you really shouldn’t be caring too much about the performance of your targeted keywords. You could also track organic searches across the device, such as the desktop vs the mobile, and get some insights into how to optimize these channels for search as a whole, rather than by the keyword.
Compare to see the main sources of the traffic. It is important that the traffic comes from other sources rather than organic search. It is very important that your website is visible to relevant visitors, and it is also very important to notice what the traffic does next.
#2: Bounce Rate
Your rankings wouldn’t get any boost if the visitor comes in, doesn’t like what you are offering and then click back. If there is less engagement ration on the site, resulting into higher bounce rates, I am afraid it could affect your ranking even though Google denies it.
Regardless of that, we do need to boost the conversion rate. The first step is to get the visitors on the website, however the next step is to give them something engaging and this form and important step. It is what they do on your website is what really matters for your business. A very few sites these days are getting much return on even non-engagement.
The metric is especially hot with the PPC workers as this campaign costs them a lot of money. However, when you think about, even SEO’s have a spend more on it. It is getting extremely harder and harder to get clicks. Thus, if you do manage to get one click, you better serve the visitors with some great content.
#3: Landing Pages
We could still perform landing page analysis. We could also check were the visitors are entering in the website. We could also check wthich pages are the most popular, and we could also tell from the topic of the page what are the keyword that people are using to come to your page.
We could also add more related keywords to the pages and see how they could do or create more pages on similar themes using different keyword terms and then monitor the response. At the same time, we could also look at the poorly performing pages and assume they are not ranking against the intended keywords, and then mark them for deletion.
We could also see how the old pages vs new pages are performing in organic search. How soon are the new pages getting traffic.
It may be clear now that the specific keyword data isn’t required and in some cases, it may only serve to distract us from measuring other valuable metrics for our online marketing efforts.As long as we know which pages it is coming in on and can tract what it does there is plenty of data to keep the SEO’s busy than to just cry over the keyword data.