We all know about the big change Google has made by encrypting its search activity except for the paid ads. This was such a bad news for the digital marketers when all of the different keyword phrases the users searched by to reach their website were paved into the ‘unknown’ bucket, making it impossible to know just how people reached your website.
Keyword data is of utmost importance in any type of digital marketing activity. Especially to the SEOs, whose major performance measurements are done around the keywords point, this is a definite slap on the face. But couple of things to keep in mind are that, Google has encrypted only its organic searches, and not of other search engines. Also, this change affects only within its Analytics reports, and not any other products (such as the Webmaster Tools etc).
Okay, so in the scenario of hard truth that we do not have those juicy keyword reports from analytics anymore, we MUST work around other ways on how to tackle this issue. Here are some ways to get back on foot:
Webmaster tools provides keyword data with their respective number of impressions, clicks and their average search result position. Though this is not comprehensive and will not be 100% accurate, it can be of immense help when combined with other data points. The keyword traffic reports when compared over time can also provide insightful information on the trending search behavior of the users. This helps set directions for SEO strategies.
This tool has always been helpful. And in a situation involving lack of keyword data, this is simply going to be used even more tactfully and abundantly. If you must understand more vividly the search trends on keywords that could possibly get you traffic, compare your brand or competitor searches, this one is the tool to go for.
Bing & Yahoo
Though Bing & Yahoo contribute very little to the overall percentage of search traffic (a combined 29% approx), you could still understand the keywords that triggered the visits. You could also create a break down of the search terms at the URL level to help understand what keywords brought visitors to different parts of your website.
If you are running Google AdWords for your website, link the account with the Analytics account to get more insights into keyword research.
Overall Organic Search
Though you may not have your hands at the exact keywords that drove visitors to your site, you could still know what fraction of the traffic organic search contributed to. You could then correlate the increase or decrease in traffic to any website optimization efforts. That to some extent can help measure the SEO success as well.
Tracking historically well performing keywords with respect to their search rankings is going to be an important step in analyzing positive or negative changes or fluctuations, as we do not have access to direct keyword performance reports anymore. We could then take corrective optimization measures in response to the changes.
Identifying performance changes and being able to report them accurately are the challenges faced by SEOs. By utilizing the available tools and resources to carry out data analysis, SEOs can tactfully perform what’s required of them.