The marketing world is buzzing this week as Google, which holds 67% of the search market, announced it would begin encrypting all user search data. This means that even if you aren’t searching in “private browsing” mode, Google will no longer share the keywords you used to find a specific website with curious marketers like me.
Many argue that Google is doing this to push businesses to use their pay-per-click advertising, Google Adwords, which will continue to provide great data on what users search/click on. Others think it’s a way to get the NSA off their back.
This kind of sucks from a business perspective, but I prefer to see the bright side. While it might make it more challenging to “SEO” one’s website, it’s a needed change. If everyone is optimizing for keywords, eventually none of it matters and we’re all back to square one. It was inevitable this would happen, and as a HubSpot user I’ve noticed a significant decline in our keyword analytics over the last year. They wrote a really good blog post about it today, if you feel like geeking out on marketing stuff.
The Good News
This is going to shake up the SEO industry a bit — those consultants that call you and promise to add the right keywords to your website are going to have to work a lot harder. There are really good SEO companies like Moz, and then there are the others. One called me last week, not having done any research on my company (even though the meeting was scheduled a week ahead of time by her telemarketer), and told me they would optimize my site for a minimum of $2500 per month. Turns out all they were really going to do was write a blog post and have nothing to do with my website.
Write for Your Buyers
This change is a good reminder that thoughtfully defining your buyer personas is key to a search optimized website. It all goes back to the needs of your ideal buyers — their pain points, questions, concerns and objections. If you use natural language (a big deal in Big Data!) to address their needs, and use those phrases appropriately throughout your site, the SEO should take care of itself.
Google Analytics (free!) isn’t going anywhere, so you can still see which pages were landed on, how often, how many unique visitors you had, where referral traffic is coming from, how long people stay on your site, which pages make them leave, and more. No biggie!