WHAT IS GOOGLE SECURE SEARCH?
On September 23, 2013 Google announced that they would be moving to a fully Secure Search model; which means that Google will no longer be passing keyword level data related to organic search queries on to third party sources. Google claims that the change is connected to protecting user privacy as search results are becoming increasingly personalized.
The transition began in May 2011, when Google started redirecting users logged into their Google accounts to a secure version of their webpage (https vs. http). Traditionally, SEO professionals have relied heavily on the keyword queries report obtained through Google Analytics. This report was used to identify high traffic-driving keywords, as well as valuable keyword themes for the creation of new web content. With this change, secure searches began appearing within keyword queries reports as 'not provided'. At the time of the announcement, Google representatives assured brands and the SEO community that 'not provided' keyword volume would likely remain in the single digits. However, that percentage has been steadily increasing over time, especially once default searching within Firefox was pulled under Secure Search as well.
Our team is embracing Google's change to Secure Search, as we are focused on approaching SEO from a more holistic view of your brand's complete online presence ' SEO, SEM, content marketing, display media, social, mobile, local search, and more. There are a number of additional resources at our disposal and we are utilizing most already. Provided within this POV are the various SEO tools and how we utilize each for our SEO measurement and analysis. We feel strongly that measurement should not be left until the end of a contract or project, but instead considered and implemented early in order to continuously drive results and achieve your business goals.
OTHER RESOURCES TO UTILIZE?
Google's New Paid & Organic Report
Brands that are utilizing Google AdWords as part of their SEM plan now have the ability to view paid and organic keyword traffic side-by-side with Google's 'Paid & Organic report'. This report links Google AdWords and Google Webmaster Tools accounts to generate a keyword traffic comparison. This report is pulled within the AdWords interface and identifies the following:
- Overlap in SEO and SEM keywords
- New keyword opportunities for SEM campaigns
- Share of clicks for individual keywords across both channels
Google Webmaster Tools
In addition to linking to Google AdWords for the 'Paid & Organic report', Google Webmaster Tools is continuing to provide a three month view of the top traffic driving keyword queries to your site, as well as the number of impressions, clicks, click through rate (CTR), and the average position for a particular query. Our team is able to analyze this data by landing page or by keyword. Other tools commonly utilized in Google Webmaster Tools are site health and internal/external link analysis.
At this time, the 2nd most popular search engine is continuing to pass along keyword data. While the pool of data is smaller than that of Google's, Bing still represents a significant sample of keywords to capture valuable insights from.
Moz uses a proprietary algorithm to determine domain and page authority by considering an array of SEO and social factors. This tool pinpoints the high value pages of your site as well as pages that need further content and SEO optimization. Also available is the ability to compare your site's domain and page authority to that of your direct competitors. Site health, an SEO Report Card, and linking analysis are also available within this tool.
Landing Page Data
Rather than focusing on the successes of individual keywords, we can zero in on the performance of keyword specific landing pages ' where the content exists. By analyzing landing page traffic and finding themes, we can determine which type of content is performing best. In addition, we can tie landing pages to the keywords targeted on the page to determine which types of keywords are generating the most traffic. This approach paints a more holistic view of your site's performance rather than fixating on a singular ranking or traffic volume for a single keyword.
Measuring Content Engagement
Highly relevant, fresh content is vital to remaining competitive in organic search results. Interesting and useful content can help keep visitors on your site longer, which indicates to search engines that your site is both informative and authoritative ' a key factor in Google's algorithm. To measure the success of the content on your site, our team focuses on visitor engagement. Using metrics such as time-on-site, bounce rates and exit pages to help determine where users are staying and leaving when they come to your site. This analysis also identifies opportunities for new content, as well as conversion path improvement.
Social media is playing an increasingly important role in organic visibility as search engines are utilizing social signals to identify site relevancy and authority. Examples of these factors include:
- How often social media users are linking to your site
- How users engage, and how often they engage with your content
- How often content from your site is shared
By ensuring social share buttons and proper social analytics tracking are implemented for your site, our team can measure your social presence, including conversions/actions.
Search engines provide video content within their blended search results. By implementing best practice optimizations for your YouTube channel and video library and by analyzing user interaction with this video content, we are able to identify what performs strongly/poorly, and in-turn identify high value keywords and opportunities for fresh content.
Through the measurement platform Conductor, we can continue to monitor and report on keyword rankings. We can identify strong performing keywords by segmenting keywords into categories such as Brand, Non-Brand and targeted themes. In addition, Conductor can provide us with specific recommendations for expanding targeted keyword lists and even provide keyword phrases that your direct competitors are ranking on. Conductor is also launching True Traffic, a metric that calculates search traffic based on online visibility, consumer demand, and behavior models.
SEO measurement is one component in AMP's evaluation of each client's measurement strategy. It is important to first gain an understanding of current measurement metrics and desired website goals, both short and long-term, to align needs with measures of success. Our team takes a broad look at how individual marketing channels fit together in order to tell the story of your brand's digital marketing strategy.
Once goals are established, our team provides recommendations on how to measure against your established KPI's and organize them in a way that answers your core business questions through a measurement audit.
VISIBILITY VS. RANKINGS ' THINKING HOLISTICALLY
Gone are the days when ranking on individual keywords are the key to success in SEO. With the introduction of Secure Search, Google is pointing brands in the direction of creating highly relevant and informative content in order to improve organic visibility.
Today's quality content marketing has become a blend of content that gratifies search engines and captures searchers' interests. The objective is to create and share valuable content to attract and convert prospects into consumers, who will then become repeated visitors and converters. Search engines are in the business of providing the most relevant search results for any given user query. As SEO professionals, we need to think in terms of creating a holistic online presence and optimizing the various marketing channels accordingly.