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Help! I Don't Know What Keywords Are Working For My Company

Help! I Don't Know What Keywords Are Working For My Company

i need help with keywordsIf you're a marketer who's new to overseeing your company's website performance, the latest Google algorithm update (called "Hummingbird") may have thrown you for a loop.

While you used to be able to tell which keywords are sending traffic to your website, now you're seeing a whole lot of "Keyword Not Provided" in your analytics reports.  And your boss might be giving you the side eye, wondering what you did to screw up the data.

Take heart!  It's not your fault!  And all is not lost either.  Here are the most important things to know about the Hummingbird update and what it means for search engine optimization:

People have questions, Google wants to provide answers.

A few years ago, the searches people did on Google was a lot of short keyword-specific phrases with operators like "and" and "or" included. They were looking for content and knew Google could find it for them.  Now, thanks to the popularization of Siri and other voice search tools, people are turning to Google with questions rather than keyword phrases.  The Hummingbird update addresses this and Google now places greater emphasis on finding the best answers to questions that searchers are asking them.  
What does this mean for you?  Well, your prospective clients are searching Google for questions that you can answer.  So having good content on your website that answers those questions is going to help you rank in search, and thus find more potential customers.

Keywords are not the be all and end all of search.

Lots of things go into how Google ranks website pages - links, keywords, content relevance, etc etc.  For awhile, marketers and SEO pros put too much of an emphasis on keywords, which led to websites full of text that included keywords, but had little to no substance.  If you regularly update the content on your website, you may have even caught yourself trying to slip keyword phrases in unnecessary places in the hopes that you'd boost your rankings. By encrypting keyword referral results in the Hummingbird update, Google is driving home the point that you should stop that. 

Now, we can't tell what keywords are sending traffic to our websites.  But that's ok.  What's important here is search traffic, not keyword traffic.  We need to re-orient our metrics. Instead of tracking the minutia of keyword performance, we need to be taking a broader look at how our website pages are performing in search overall.  Increasing organic traffic should be the goal, not increasing rankings/referrals on a particular term.  Here are a few new metrics to judge your website pages' organic search performance on, instead of keyword referrals:

  • Is each page receiving search traffic?
  • Is my website's organic traffic steadily increasing month-by-month?
  • Are we receiving leads/sales from organic search? 

Shareable content is more important than ever.

Now that we're unable to tie search performance to particular keywords, we need to be even more mindful of how we are spreading the word about our interesting, relevant content.  If you didn't have a social strategy before, now's the time to get one.  A lot of B2B organizations have been delaying it, thinking that social isn't relevant to their business.  It is now.  Even if you just start with a Google+ and LinkedIn page, you need to have an outlet through which to share your content.  And you need to be thinking about creating content that answers questions your target audience has.  There are a few reasons for this:

  • Social signals above all else are now the main influencers of Google search ranking. Of the top 10 ranking factors 7 are social media related. (via Coupsmart)
  • Likes, shares, retweets, etc. show that your content is relevant.  And Google likes relevant content. 
  • Links back to your content from social help boost the value of your website.

So don't despair, internet marketer.  If you already had an active content strategy and social strategy in place, you're going to be just fine.  Just focus on answering more questions and being interesting, relevant, and shareable.  

Attract your ideal customers with a new marketing plan