Google recently announced and began implementation of its new encrypted search, which essentially eliminates the ability to extract keyword information from free, organic search. Many support the reasoning behind Google’s move with explanations ranging from the NSA to the need for more ad revenue. While this may seem like a body blow for marketers who have relied on this data for their SEO initiatives, it’s by no means a knockout punch. Like any good marketer, I see the new encrypted search as both a challenge and an opportunity. Below is a series of recommendations from SalesFUSION and select SEO experts which may help alleviate the impact of the new encrypted search rules:
- Alternative search engines – now is the time to pay more attention to Bing/Yahoo. While they will always present a smaller sample size in terms of volume, the trends may be extrapolated to your overall SEO efforts.
- Diversify your ad groups and landing pages – Adjust and allocate PPC resources to ensure you’re still gathering valuable keyword insight from paid campaigns. This means diversifying PPC campaigns and ad groups in a way that allows for better and more targeted tracking of keyword groups. While Google Adwords isn’t free and doesn’t produce the same volume as organic SEO data, PPC data will enable you to extrapolate results and cross-reference with other search networks for continued validation of your SEO strategy.
If you are currently operating with a small number of ad groups/campaigns tied to a small number of landing pages, you may experiment with more targeted content on discrete landing pages tied to smaller sets of like keywords. Again, cross-referencing this data with Bing can only improve your efforts.
- Test content – One of the most important things marketers can do in response to the new encrypted search is to craft a comprehensive landing page/lead capture strategy tied to content. Content marketing as a tactic may very well become more important to an organic search strategy than the actual keywords themselves. Particularly in B2B, presenting content online and in social communities for the purpose of creating awareness, driving inbound site traffic and capturing leads is the hallmark of good B2B demand generation.Carefully tracking CTR on landing pages with different content will help you determine which content overall is pulling through the best leads at the highest rate. Identifying what content is attracting the best and most leads will help you understand what’s proving effective for your website and provide direction for creating future assets..
- Keyword Planner Tool – Using the keyword planner tool in Google should be standard operating procedure, if it’s not already. While not accurate 100% of the time, , it still outshines similar data sets from Bing and can provide more than enough information to work with and be successful.
- Hire out – if you’re doing your SEO internally and you’re not an SEO expert by trade, you may consider hiring out an outside consultant. They know the tools, tactics and algorithms at a level many “average Joe SEO” marketers do not.
At the end of the day, there’s never a magic bullet. This is never more true than with SEO. Good, solid best practices, data diversity, and a continuous monitoring of your site trends (traffic sources, top pages…etc), will ensure you’re performing at a high level across the board.
Marketing automation platforms like SalesFUSION are now more important than ever to marketers. With the ability to deliver content, landing pages, track inbound metrics and drive outbound communications, marketing automation continues to grow in adoption and become a necessary suite of tools for marketers in an ever-changing environment.