In addition to the Hummingbird update, Google also recently made the move to hide all keyword data in Google Analytics. You can still see the total number of organic searches to reach your website, but you can’t see which keyword sent which searches.
The official story is that Google did this to protect searcher privacy. Google recently confirmed that all search traffic will be managed on secure servers, so it is a matter of time before 100% of keywords become “not provided” in Google Analytics.
Would you rather implement your own methods of protecting customer privacy, or would you like Congress to do it instead?
Google chose the former, and here’s what you can do in the future to ensure your website remains profitable:
- Use a new standard for SEO success – Keyword rankings obviously no longer can be viewed as a measure of success. Many SEOs, instead, now view the number of entrance pages divided by the number of entrances as the golden metric to view.
- Introduce new content regularly – This can be a blog or new static pages. Because Hummingbird now has the ability to answer specific questions your customers have, blogging or writing an FAQ around customer questions is a great way to stay fresh and relevant.
- Continual keyword research – Use Google Webmaster Tools, SEMRush, and Google Adwords to continue to identify new opportunities for keywords to target.
- Focus on the fundamentals of user experience – Simple navigation. An organized layout. Fast page load times. Natural use of keywords on-site. Writing clearly and concisely. To remain successful, follow these fundamentals and you will be just fine.
- Shift the focus to traffic from keywords – Traffic from social media, link building, partner websites, and keywords should now be the focus of your marketing efforts. Better yet measure the rate at which you convert that traffic into paying customers.
- Integrate your online and offline marketing efforts – Make sure your customers have a consistent brand experience both online and offline. Grow your reputation by testing out different solutions to customer problems. Continually research your market to learn what it really wants. Communicate those solutions online.
It’s Far from the End of SEO
Google’s really just shifting the focus from the technical SEO side of things to what the marketplace really wants. Technical SEO will always be important for the health of your website, but your real concern should revolve around sharing your expertise with your target market and showing why you are the best solution for the problem they have.