3 Steps to Avoid the Google Keyword Data Freakout

242924757 c526a6ddd3Last time, we covered the news about Google’s secure search and what it means for targeted SEO campaigns. If you’re in the tech industry, you’ve probably been dealing with incomplete incoming traffic keyword data for some time now. According to BrightEdge’s research, the tech industry has had the highest rate of “not provided” keywords since the inception of Google Secure Search in 2010.

Now all companies in all industries are losing out on the granular data – but it’s okay! We promise. While Google has significantly changed the access that we marketers have to keyword data, it does not mean that SEO dead.

It does mean that you’re going to need to adjust your marketing approach and maybe some of your tracking methods. Fortunately, if you’re already working with an inbound marketing partner, not much is going to change.

Here are three steps to take so you don’t have to freak out over Google’s new changes to keyword data.

1. Use alternative methods for finding keywords.

The changes to Google’s analytics are affecting all third party analytics programs, including Hubspot which we use as our inbound marketing platform for clients. Search terms will be unavailable for incoming traffic but will be shared with Google advertisers. If you’re participating in pay per click advertising, you’ll still have access to keywords.

But you shouldn’t take this change as a sign that you have to participate in PPC. Tools like Hubspot are still pulling in the keyword terms from Bing and Yahoo – which account for about 30% of incoming traffic.

You can also use UberSuggest or similar tools to get expanded keyword ideas for your target audience. You can use these as launching off points for content sections on your site.

Note that finding these keywords doesn’t mean that you need to over-optimize pages for these terms. These just give you general guidelines in order to develop better pages.

2. Turn your attention to page level traffic.

Speaking of pages, instead of focusing on keyword related incoming traffic, turn your attention to which pages are performing well for your website. When you obsess about ranking #4 for a specific keyword term, you’re not seeing the forest for the trees. You’re staring at one tree and wondering why it’s not bigger.

When you take an inbound marketing approach, you can view pages and their effects holistically. If there’s a page that is receiving a lot of traffic, take a look at the content. What is it about this page that is driving interest? Once you identify the factors at play, rinse and repeat throughout your site to see an increase in traffic.

3. Focus on user experience.

Instead of chasing keywords, your site needs to work well for your audience. Create a website that has a clear architecture and a user-friendly design. Use the right title tags, headings and page titles. Evaluate your site’s content and make changes to the pages so they serve your audience’s needs. Publish blog posts and other content resources that draw in your ideal audience.

With a great user experience, your website will fulfill your biggest business goals – more leads, more traffic, more conversions.

Missing incoming keyword data doesn’t have to be a problem if you don’t let it be. Adopt a more holistic view of your website traffic and focus on the user in order to stay top of mind – and top of search.

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Greenroom Interactive is an inbound marketing provider for the hi-tech, software and educational technology industries. The team is dedicated to helping businesses grow their online presence by creating intuitive web experiences to engage their target markets.

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Patrick Hopkins