How Google Killed SEO (As We Know It)

If we had to rank Google’s updates in terms of their impact, this would rank pretty high: Yesterday, Google decided to encrypt all referrer data on search queries from organic traffic.

What does this mean, exactly? Essentially it means that no one – not even SEO firms – will have access to organic keyword search data. We are no longer able to easily pinpoint the organic keywords that visitors search to find your site. This is a game-changer for measuring keyword efforts and adjusting SEO strategy and digital marketing campaigns accordingly.

Why would Google hold your keyword data hostage? Two words – Google AdWords. A big part of the decision is obviously to push website owners to use its pay-per-click (PPC) keyword-based advertising solution, AdWords. But not only are digital marketers moving away from Google AdWords in favor of more targeted advertising platforms, the update confirms what Liqui-Site and other SEO leaders have been saying for a while: It’s time to think about SEO with your customer in mind.

Here’s how we’ll continue to provide competitive SEO services without organic search keyword data.

Liqui-Site uses a number of best-in-market agency tools to deliver our custom SEO reports and make strategic recommendations month over month. These robust analytics tools, in tandem with your Google Webmaster Tools account, provide the page-level data needed to identify the referral source for each page. By combining your data from Google, Yahoo and Bing and the search visit data per-page, and cross referencing it with Google Webmaster Tools’ 2,000 queries a day, we’ll acquire organic keyword search performance. It’ll take some more work on our end, but at no increased cost to our clients.

Google AdWords can be an effective paid marketing effort for certain industries – and Liqui-Site manages AdWords campaigns on behalf of our clients – but the future of paid search marketing is in acquiring and targeting only your most ideal prospects through Niche Marketing and Banner ReTargeting, both of which use real-time-bidding (RTB) for impressions, unlike static Adwords, to deliver high quality visitors to your site and increase conversion. Niche Marketing, also known as “microtargeting”, is a custom audience acquisition tactic to increase product or service visibility, grow a community around your brand, and boost sales.

Banner Retargeting brings back lost customers by promoting your brand in the context of where you customers are naturally surfing the web. Whereas Google AdWords PPC is limited to Google search results, our proprietary real-time-bidding programs have the largest advertising reach in the world – covering 98% of websites on the Internet. That’s a huge difference in your brand’s visibility and bottom line.

Google’s update may make it more tedious to compile your search data, but it doesn’t undermine the goal of SEO – to provide your prospects with an amazing user experience through a seamless and engaging website, and fresh valuable content. There is no fix to your organic keyword campaign that can fix a clunky website and sloppy brand messaging.:

Stop thinking about ranking entirely or which keywords cause which action on which page. Instead, focus on the user, their experience and the impact those customers make on your enterprise.

It’s very likely that access to user data will continue to diminish as Internet privacy laws evolve, which is why its so important that your business embrace this new era of SEO.