Over the last two months, there has been a bit of a panic in the search community (SEOs specifically) around the shocking change in Google's keyword data. Or lack thereof. You may remember, back in October 2011, Google changed the site mechanism around the search results pages (SERPs) that it served up. Ostensibly to address privacy concerns, Google's SERPs were served up in the secure http protocol (SSL) for users who were signed in through Google+. The result was that queries served up in this method showed up as "(not provided)" in analytics reports.
The numbers at the beginning were single digits. For a month or so, we chalked it up to a glitch with our analytics platform. The lack of knowledge was reflected in the platform response to our support tickets - we have no idea either. As we learned more, the numbers continued to grow, albeit slowly.
Then in August of this year, there was a steep rise in the % of "keyword not found." Google began serving up SSL SERPs by default in the top 4 browsers regardless of signing in through Google+. Current levels indicate ~80% of search traffic is passing no search query data, with the number expected to hit 100% before the end of November (as they turn on SSL-by-default for the remaining browsers).
The impact here for those of us in marketing and search in specific is that we experience a macular degeneration of our SEO vision. We can no longer see keywords, we’re limited to only peripheral awareness of organic search’s share of traffic.
The question "What now?" has to be asked by a wide variety of people: small business owners, search engine optimizers, channel marketers. For those that focused on keywords, there have been a few articles that provide some indirect workarounds, albeit with a much higher time investment (for my money, you can never go wrong with Avanish Kaushik's up-to-the-minute analysis). The irony for the SEO is that a more complicated workstream means there's even more job security than before, IF you can prove your worth. Here's a short list of activities to re-focus your keyword awareness:
The real takeaway here is that SEOs and businesses focusing on organic search need to wean themselves off keywords as the primary indicator of relevance, and return to a more holistic approach to optimization - inbound links, page performance, and overall goal achievement as driven by traffic to our content. And agencies in specific need to think about how to structure their testing efforts to prove the value of organic search.
Tags: SEO, Google, Analytics, SEM, keyword data, not provided, advanced filter, organic search, SSL, SERPs
Marketing | SEM | SEO
Data, it makes the world go round. In the realm of SEM, it is the lifeblood that justifies the changes I make, the improvement I seek, and the outcomes I chase.
Here is the catch - when a new account is established and you are launching into the dark with a new set of keywords, ad copy, and targeting – data is a little hard to come by. Sure, there are tools to estimate keyword traffic, bid amounts, and competition. But SEM is based a human element of resonance with an ad. Computers don’t click the ad, humans do. As such, the first shot at launching an account is shooting into the dark with confidence that “the data” will arrive shortly.
Now we arrive at one of my first projects on the job: optimizing an account that had impeccable structure, logical organization, and a substantial keyword list. On paper, this account looked like it should exceed.
But “the data” said otherwise. This account had a high impression rate, low click through rate, and minimal conversions. When diving into the performance of the account, it was clear that there were some keywords that were generating conversions – and others were pulling from budget that should be focused on the keywords that actually had positive performance.
Additionally, there were ads that had a high impression volume, but a shockingly low click through rate, and no conversions. What does that mean? – The human element is not resonating with the ad copy before them on the screen.
The symptoms had been identified, and the solutions are relatively simple:
1. Build out more experiences surrounding the keywords that are working well. 2. Restructure account to accommodate for these new experiences. 3. Shift budget from ad groups that are not performing, to ad groups that are driving conversions. 4. Develop and test ad copy based on the top performing ads in each ad group keeping in mind the relevancy between both keyword and ad title. 5. Stop spending money on terms that are not converting. 6. Build out negative keyword list to include terms that do not convert.
How are things performing now? – Glad you asked. Within 24 hours of making these changes, impressions have doubled and click-through-rate has tripled. No word on conversions yet, but I am confident those results mentioned previously will increase conversions.
If not, this process starts again.
Tags: Search Marketing, marketing, SEM
Marketing | Search | SEM
The New Guy
Everyone has a first day, whether it is the first day of existence in the world as a child, first day of school, or first day of work at a new job. Being that I am writing this blog for Exsilio, it should be reasonable to conclude that I have arrived at the new-job “first.”
Here are the things I know for sure about my first day:
1. Traffic in Seattle fluctuates like crazy. The same commute that took 45 minutes one day took 15 the next; I arrived 45 minutes early – too early.
2. Anthony has an affinity for cars. I like that.
3. You are judged by the size of your coffee cup.
Regardless of the facts, I am now cooking along at full speed and feeling comfortable and feeling welcome here at Exsilio.
But what will I be doing?! Glad you asked. I am a new Marketing Manager at Exsilio focusing on Paid Search and landing page Search Engine Optimization. By focusing on this form of marketing, I hope to bring a valuable asset into the Exsilio family and provide knowledge to help all of our clients meet their marketing needs.
But why are SEM and SEO important? According to Netcraft, as of this month, there are over 555 million websites world-wide. With 29.5 million created last month. Though getting a dance to high school prom was difficult, try standing out in this crowded digital world. This is where SEM and SEO become even more valuable. They are the tools that businesses can use to make sure they are at the top of search queries for potential customers.
Having a good website is no longer enough – firms need to grasp these tools firmly to ensure that they can get the exposure they need. We need to think about this in terms of a storefront to a business that has the answer to life. Having a nice sign that has the “key to life” message on the storefront, maybe even a flashing “open” sign in the window, and a sandwich board outside the front door are a good start, and will likely generate some good foot-traffic. But foot-traffic is not enough. Everyone wants the answer to life, so we need to provide a roadmap to the business. This is where SEO and SEM step in. They are the roadmap that brings in customers from all over the country to this store – and in the digital world, this is possible.
This is why SEM and SEO are important. They help to ensure that a business can stand out to their desired customer and provide the exposure they need on the internet.
From this point out, you’ll be able to find me with a big coffee cup, arriving at work no more than 15 early, and learning the “ins and outs” of SEO and SEM.
Tags: marketing strategy, Search Engine Marketing, SEM
General | Marketing | Search | SEM
Powered by Exsilio Solutions