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|by Chris Cunningham, SEO Team Manager|
How many articles have you read that started with, “Google has changed the landscape of search?” Well, here’s another one you can add to that list. And it certainly won’t be the last.
Google’s most recent change to the search landscape occurred in late September and has search marketers, especially those focused on SEO, scratching their heads.
Google has officially started using their own Secured Search experience as a default for their search engine. What's this mean? Website owners can no longer see the phrases searched in Google that land visitors on their website. Website providers have historically judged SEO success based on the analysis of this data. Now, SEO specialists are left scrambling to prove the value of their efforts in a Secured Search world.
But this change does not come as a surprise. In fact, Google started moving in this direction two years ago.
Cobalt websites have seen an incredible increase in ‘Not Provided’ organic keywords. In September 2011, Cobalt websites received approximately 8% of their traffic as ‘Not Provided’ keywords. That number jumped to 24% one year later, and in September 2013 we are now seeing nearly 74% of keywords ‘Not Provided’.
This percentage will only continue to increase. So how can we measure your SEO performance in light of this new development?
Google will still provide a lot of data through their Webmaster Tools application.
Google Webmaster Tools data, insights from your advertising efforts as well as website traffic data such as page entries that remain unchanged by Secured Search, can be used as actionable website analytics. A combination of this available data can still tell a useful story about the organic performance of your website.
“The landscape has changed” is not just the cliché of the month, but the truth. Likewise, your approach to analytics will need to change. Instead of looking directly at keyword rankings and traffic, you will need to get creative in order to show the importance of your website and SEO strategies.
At Cobalt, we're exploring a variety of new avenues for gauging SEO performance.
Some of them include:
Cobalt isn’t the only analytics provider rethinking their SEO data. And this will not be the last wrench Google throws in our SEO plans, but it’s still a hurdle we must get over. At Cobalt, we don’t claim to have all the answers right now, but we have a lot of brain power and resources focused on bringing your dealership actionable analytics, no matter what changes Google throws at us. Stay tuned for adjustments to our reporting.
For now, what other ways are you exploring to tell your SEO story?
About the Author
|Chris Cunningham manages a team supporting Cobalt’s SEO customers. He has been working in digital marketing since 2005 with a focus in automotive SEO since 2007. He has been instrumental in the development and launch of Cobalt‘s SEO products. He takes pride in developing successful solutions for Cobalt clients through creative SEO strategies and product offerings. In his free time, Chris enjoys everything Seattle sports related, playing golf, staying active and doing home improvements. He holds a B.A. in Media Communications from the University of Portland. Reach out to Chris directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.|