Although the rise in (not provided) keywords were evident, and visibly high in Internet Marketing blogs, marketers should pro-actively look for strategies to combat this major change. Unsuspecting as it may seem, the recent hummingbird Google Algorithm update, might be related to this change. Here are four strategies that will help brands combat the 100% (not provided) keywords:
1) Multiple keyword Data Source
Google webmasters Search Queries has suddenly gained attention of SEOs and Internet marketers as it has become the only legitimate source of keyword information for webmasters around the world after the Sep 23rd change.
Although only 2-months of keyword data are available for analysis, by setting up schedules, the data can be downloaded in table format from Google Webmaster Tool. We prefer that brands download the data every week as this would give the changes in keyword ranking on an incremental basis. Pay close attention to the keywords that invite high click through rates.
The second source of data is Google AdWords keyword research tool. Even though the volume data is exaggerated, you can get an accurate sense of the demand for keywords based on this data
2) Keywords to Topics
The shift in Google algorithm from keywords to topics was inevitable. Google has evolved to understand the context of the keyword based on repeat search terms and devices used. Businesses depending on keywords should start developing processes to combine keywords into topic lists. With the widespread use of Mobile Phones for Google Search, especially voice search, the long-tail keywords has gained prominence.
Marketers cannot rely upon targeting long-tail keywords in isolation. With intelligent synonym and entity handling, Google is not looking for content that matches the long-tail keywords but lists content that has related terms, synonyms and co-occurring terms in the content. Google also understands the context of the search based on historical data, device used, location, and the nature of the search query.
Although using synonyms in content is a good short-term strategy, Businesses has to think long-term and start creating content plans that would position them as thought leaders in their niche. This involve thinking beyond keywords and focusing on the market and customer needs.
3) PPC Campaigns
One objective of the 100% (not provided) keyword was to force brands to run Google AdWords PPC campaigns and find relevant keywords through them. Although we hate to be forced to depend on a tool for content creation and user experience optimization, capturing keywords that trigger the Ads in Google can be useful to learn about the market needs.
Don’t limit running campaigns to Google AdWord or other PPC Campaigns. Try content networks, partner website, and other social media advertising network. By running campaigns in different marketing eco-system, marketers will get a complete picture of:
a) Potential Customer Profile (Age, Occupation, Interests)
b) Keywords Used
c) Messages that encourage Action (Clicks, Sharing Personal Information and Sale)
4) User Behavior and Internal Search
Businesses should start paying close attention to user behavior in the website.
a) Are the users spending 2-3 minutes on your article?
b) Are they scrolling 80-85% of the article?
c) Are they browsing related content?
d) Are they responding to a related marketing message?
e) What are the terms that they are searching in the website search bar?
This information would give marketers a lot of information about topics that resonate with the audience. By constantly measuring the need of the user and response to the article, marketers can optimize the user experience without completely depending on keywords.