Google encrypted keyword data – what are the consequences for SEO?
In the early days, SEO was a straightforward industry, based on peppering your content with popular keywords, with the aim of significantly boosting rankings. However, recent Google algorithm updates have aimed to put the final nail in the coffin of such practices by gradually reducing the impact of individual keywords on search results.
Following Google’s long-awaited announcement last September that all search activity would soon become encrypted, SEO has got trickier! As the update will apply to all searches except ad clicks, many observers have criticised the move as an attempt to get more people using Google AdWords. But what will the consequences be for marketers? Here are some suggestions..
Importance of content pages
One of the consequences will undoubtedly be the increasing importance of content pages in your marketing strategy. Indeed, with keywords now encrypted, creating great, informative content will become even more central to generating organic traffic.
In addition, since SEO-optimised content tends to be themed around a particular topic, content pages will still enable marketers to get a rough idea of what topics are popular, and worth investing time in producing. In other words, page-level data will provide a good alternative to keyword-data.
Focus on business objectives
Another consequence of encrypted data will be to force focus on other types of data to measure success. Hence, indicators such as lead generation, conversion rates and organic traffic will become more central to SEO results.
Needless to say, this will have a positive impact because it will force marketers to rely on data which highlights the impact of SEO on business objectives more explicitly.
Keyword data from other engines
Finally, though keyword information from Google will no longer be accessible, other search engines like Yahoo and Bing will, at least for now, continue to provide such data.
Certainly, the latest estimates state that Google still own around 90% of the UK search market share. Hence, marketers could potentially still access up to 10% of keyword data from other search engines. Whilst algorithm criteria do vary across providers, such figures will at least give some indication of what keywords are popular.
Overall, the encrypted keyword update should have a positive impact on SEO. Although in the short run it may be a challenge to marketers, it will encourage focus to switch to quality content and pages, which will improve the user experience. Encrypted searches will also force focus away from keyword ranking towards business objectives, which will help demonstrate the concrete business results SEO can provide.