Earlier this month, medical practices, law firms, and marketers dependent on organic search keyword data started noticing a dramatic increase in the number of “not provided” keywords. The online marketing world is on fire right now with stories about how this will impact the SEO industry. There is big business in selling marketing and SEO plans to service businesses—including law firms and medical services—based on keyword ranking and optimization. Without keyword data from Google, the dominant search engine, it will be challenging or near impossible for companies dependent on keyword data to function.
What does this mean for business owners who relied on this data? It means you’ll have to change your tactics. There are two big things you can do to survive this Brave New Era of “Not Provided.”
Google Webmaster Tools Is Your Friend
First, you can use the Search Queries Page in Google Webmaster Tools. This page provides information about Google Web Search queries that led to searchers finding pages on your website. You can also use the Search Queries data to see information about the top pages on your site—those that appear most often in search results.
If you’re a client of ours, you have Google Webmaster Tools set up already; this is standard practice for our clients. You can also link your webmaster data to your Google Analytics account to make it easy to access search query information. With this data you can look for trends in search phrases: is your branded traffic going up or down compared to your overall traffic? These queries can give you clues about your site’s performance when taken in consideration with other analytical data.
Content Is Still King!
The second thing you can do is stop obsessing over keywords when writing your content. Think of it this way: when you tell your writer to start writing content about serious auto accidents, you no longer need to give a list of targeted keywords. Instead, what you’ll say is “please write a really engaging and relevant article about serious auto accidents that will speak to people in my geographic area.” In this “not provided” world, high-quality, relevant content will always trump content written to target specific keyword phrases.
Focus On Your Brand
This change does not need hinder your SEO efforts. Instead, this change means it is time for you to evolve if you’ve been obsessing over organic search keyword rankings instead of focusing on the quality of your firm’s work, the diversification of your marketing efforts and providing a fantastic user experience on your website. Emphasize these important factors and you’ll do just fine.