Online marketers are throwing a fit. Expecting a massive loss in data after Google's recent decision to restrict information about the usage of keywords to access sites, many businesses are struggling with how to proceed with search-engine optimization.
Typically, this data have let businesses know which keyword searches on Google were driving people to their websites. It identified opportunities for search-engine ranking improvement and allowed businesses to assess performance and progress of SEO efforts.
Luckily, businesses have additional tools and analytic reports that can be used to gauge performance with non-paid search-engine traffic.
First, online businesses need to give up relying on keyword data and shift focus to landing-page data. This is still fully available in Google Analytics. Each landing page should be targeting a unique set of keywords, and by measuring search-engine traffic to each landing page, you can gain a strong understanding of what keywords are driving traffic to your site. The bounce and conversion rates of each landing page will also indicate how well your site performs with search-engine traffic.
By monitoring search-engine rankings for specific keywords on a week-to-week basis, marketers can spot opportunities for big traffic increases. Landing pages that rank just short of displaying on page 1 of Google's search results present low-hanging fruit. By focusing optimization efforts on these pages, online businesses can tip their landing pages onto page 1 of Google and experience a nice burst of search-engine traffic.
Lastly, there are plenty of resources for finding keyword ideas that can be incorporated into new or existing landing pages. By reviewing the terms searched in your internal site search, you can detect terms and keywords that users are searching on your site to find content. Google's Keyword Planner tool can also help research new, relevant groupings of keywords for you to target and provides estimated search traffic of those terms.
Online businesses and marketers are still very capable of measuring SEO performance, locating new keyword ideas and spotting optimization opportunities. This change is far from convenient. It doesn't help that Google's intent has been masked as an upgrade to protect users' search privacy. It's obvious that this is another attempt by Google to encourage marketers to adopt more of its paid products like Google AdWords and its keyword planner. However, digital marketers can adapt to these changes. We may even see some innovation along the way.