As Thomas A Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”. We in the online marketing world especially in SEO need to understand the importance of users’ psychology and not only keywords.
With Google aiming to roll out SSL protection to all users citing privacy of searchers as the reason (but why only organic search) this will mean that marketers, SEO’s and webmasters will no longer be able to see any keywords data from Google organic search in GA or any other analytics software like Omniture, Nedstat, etc. Though there are still some tools like Google Webmasters tools, Google Paid Search Data and organic keyword data from other search engines (provided rankings and visibility is similar across different search engines), but this can only be used for plotting trends.
Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land has a great article on this where he’s given a brief history of this been rolled out along with some views on why Google is doing it. It’s all good to understand the why’s but to make any productive use of why’s we need to come up with solutions and answer, ‘What can we do to adapt to this change and How can we leverage this?’
Don’t misunderstand me, obviously keyword specific traffic data is important, but what is more important is that you integrate SEO with other marketing channels and aim for maximum visibility.
We at Eigemy believe in an Integrated Marketing Approach and are advocates of having an integrated strategy for organic and paid search marketing. It is better to realise the synergies between the two and optimise for user journeys on a platform. i.e. it is better to consider Google as the platform in this instance rather than considering only the medium, paid or natural.
First things first, it is better to have a clear information architecture which ties up well with your marketing goals. As a marketer, make sure revenue drivers for your business are always in focus. In online marketing terms, they should be clearly visible on a page or just a click away. We all know that choosing, optimising and monitoring keyword level performance for each page provides valuable insights. But in case you use bespoke landing pages for your PPC and other paid search campaigns, take and translate those conversion learnings to your SEO/ website pages.
Having worked both on client side and agency side, we know it’s not easy to get a buy in when it comes to getting something changed on the core website, but do push for it with a business case and strong marketing strategy highlighting the opportunities it will open.
Create your own dashboards by exporting data from Google Webmaster tools, Google Analytics and Google Adwords. And if you have the bandwidth or other search engines like Bing, etc. are performing better, create a separate dashboard using their resources. Integrate this dashboard with daily conversion data and other metrics that provide business sense. Though this can be time consuming if not automated, it will provide you with some definite answers and insights into your conversion funnel.
Finally, it’s all about understanding your user and their psychology. Different companies have different attribution systems, that is, they allocate conversions differently. Some use First Click Wins, some use Last Click Wins, some attribute using the level of spend, and some companies are still struggling to find an appropriate answer. While it’s good to have a clarity on how the user convert, ultimately remember that as a marketer you are trying to drive acquisition and if you work for a big brand, it’s the brand you are trying to strengthen.
Where possible try to segment the user searches (from paid data only in very near future) and conversions, based on the intent.
(1) Objective Searches, for generic queries, where a user has reached your site using the generic keyword (without brand), and has converted. This will give you an idea that though your user has not been looking for your brand in particular but your offer/ deal offered/ pricing/ visibility has been better than your competitor in that instance of time.
(2) Indicative searches, for generic + brand, where a user has indicated your brand with a generic keyword and converted. This means the user is fully aware of the services/ products your company offers and has been satisfied with what they were offered. There can be cases in where the generic+brand searches don’t actually match the product that your company offers and hence drop offs. The number of these searches might help in determining if your business needs some kind of diversification or addition to your product lines.
(3) Influential Searches, only brand keywords, where a user has reached your website using only the brand name as search query. This means users are fully aware of the brand and services being offered and there is strong brand awareness and affiliation.
But the main opportunity will arrive from the data been captured in these categories for the users/ searches which you have not been able to convert. Optimise your campaigns for the lost conversions while strengthening the existing customer base. Add the Customer Life Cycle values to the mix and you will get an Economic Value based on User’s knowledge of your brand.