Wanted: SEO in a Google (not provided) World

Google SEOIn 2013, Google announced that they would be encrypting, and therefore stripping away organic keyword data from Google Analytics. When the news initially broke there was an all encompassing gasp amongst the marketing world. “What do we do now?” Next, the internal question was asked, ‘where do I put my marketing efforts in the digital marketing age?’ Is your focus still on getting a #1 SERP (search engine results page) ranking, or generating leads, gaining website visits, etc? These are all good objectives for various reasons.

It’s well documented how companies have taken advantage of Google by using black hat techniques to reach the most coveted of all things SEO – the #1 ranking! Each day, – yes, each day – Google updates their algorithm to prohibit black hat tactics and penalize those who dare cross the almighty Google.

However, if you do things the right way, you will never have to worry about being penalized by Google. The most ethical way, and best method, to achieve the objectives mentioned in the first paragraph is through “inbound marketing.”

Inbound Marketing
What is inbound marketing? HubSpot coined the phrase ‘inbound marketing,’ to summarize it in layman’s terms, it simply means to create SEO rich content that ‘pulls’ users to your sight through strategically placed, relevant keywords and turn those users into leads. Arguably, the best vehicle for creating SEO content is in the form of a blog, much like the one you are reading now.

To help illustrate the concept, HubSpot created an infographic, “State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report,” which beautifully embodies the trends and tactics inbound marketers are using with detailed results. It is becoming increasingly important for marketers to include inbound marketing as part of their marketing strategy.

So why is all of this really important and what does it mean for you? One of the top objectives of optimizing page content is to gain a #1 ranking in Google (I would be remissed if I didn’t mention Bing, which should also be included in your SEO strategy, but let’s focus on Google for brevity). In June 2013, Chitika released a study outlining the value of Google result positioning. A number #1 rank position generates 32.5% of the average traffic share. A #2 ranking drops down to 17.6% of average traffic share, which is nearly half of a #1 ranking. So to say a #1 ranking is important is an understatement. If your ranking falls to the second page of Google or beyond, you will lose 91.7% of traffic share for the simple fact that only 8% of users look beyond the first page of search rankings.

So How Do You Actually Inbound?
You should focus on keyword rich pages. More quality pages centered around specific topics. It’s a very easy to get caught up in trying to describe everything on a single web page. Remove the urge as best you can; instead, create several pages focusing on different topics. For your blog, break topics into subtopics and write articles on those new subtopics. Insert long tail keywords into your headline and in the first paragraph of article.

What’s the benefit of more pages on focusing on smaller, narrower topics? From an SEO perspective, the optimized keywords on each blog/web page will have greater value from the search engines. When the search engines see that your web page s concentrated around specific keyword “XYZ” it will provide a greater chance of being ranked higher; therefore, expanding your reach. The more quality pages, the better chance of being found for your optimized keywords.

Google Analytics Out, Google Search Console In?
Ok, so we have a problem. Google no longer allows you to see the organic keywords used in the search engine to find your site. In Google Analytics the organic keywords are “(not provided).” Technically, Google Analytics is not out and it is actually still the best that it has ever been, as long as you can over look the organic keyword misfortune. If you really, really must know what keywords are used to get to your site, then turn your attention to Google’s Search Console. Jason DeMers explains that “Google Search Console gives a completely different (and possibly more holistic) view. It doesn’t just show you the breakdown of the traffic that made it to your site; it shows your traffic potential via impressions and site ranking across Google search results as well.” Search Console helps solve the problem of keyword visibility.

For more information on SEO and how the shifts in search engine marketing has evolved, check out Rand Fishkin’s presentation:

How have you adjusted to Google’s (not provided) organic keywords? What metrics are you focusing on now that you can’t rely on Google Analytics? Has your tactics changed since Google encrypted the organic keywords to your site?