Google’s Search Change Doesn’t Have to be a Nail in the SEO Coffin

googleSEOs were dealt a blow when they recently discovered that Google has transitioned to encrypting all search activity. For SEOs, this means that the way that we research keywords has changed forever. Without keyword data, many SEOs will have to completely rethink their strategies.

What Happened?

Although the SEO community is reeling from this blow, it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Google has slowly been moving towards encrypted keyword data for a while now. Even though the switch to securing all keyword data came sooner than expected, most SEOs knew that it was a definite possibility that Google would make this change at some point in the future.

Now that all keywords are encrypted, Google Analytics labels every keyword as “not provided,” which has inspired a bevy of humorous responses within the SEO community, including hashtags, memes, and redesigned movie posters. My personal favorite is the #notprovidedfilmtitles hashtag going around Twitter.

How to Adapt

On a more serious note, secure search means that any SEOs that were still relying heavily on keyword data must now begin to build entirely new approaches to SEO. Other SEO tactics like link building, producing awesome content, and maintaining an active social media presence should now be at the forefront of any good SEO strategy.

Even though this change presents many new challenges, some SEOs are actually welcoming this move by Google because a focus on individual keywords can actually be very limiting for SEOs. By emphasizing other SEO strategies, you can begin to focus on the big picture in order to establish authority and attract more attention.

Many SEOs have offered advice on how to adapt to the lack of keyword data. Some of the most useful suggestions include the following:

  • Take advantage of Google Webmaster Tools API. Webmaster can provide a good amount of useful query data.

  • Link your Webmaster and Analytics accounts. By integrating these tools, you can still see certain types of keyword-level data.

  • Scope out third-party keyword tools. There are plenty of keyword analysis tools out there, even if Google is no longer providing the data that you need.

  • Track your internal search queries. Searches made on your own website can help you to figure out what types of terms are attracting visitors to your site.

Getting Back on Track

Despite the challenges of this transition, Google’s shift to completely secure search simply emphasizes what most SEOs already knew – keyword data is not the most important part of a strong SEO strategy. This change weakens the position of low-quality marketers and allows great SEOs to continue to focus on best practices like publishing awesome content, gaining high quality links, and developing strong site architecture.

What are your best tips for dealing with Google’s move to completely secure search?


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Sarah Beth

Sarah Beth Wiltse earned her BA in English at Boston University. Though she currently lives in Dallas, TX, she spent a year in Paris, France after college, cultivating her love of the French language and a passion for travelling. She has spent much of her life developing her skills in the arts, primarily as a ballerina, violinist, and pianist - and now, a writer! Follow her on Twitter!

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