As the browser wars continue, Google Chrome begins to take more of a share away from Internet Explorer, but the latest announcement that Google searches done via Chrome would utilize SSL layers has many SEO pundits up in arms.
According to the Chromium Blog, this change will hit with Chrome 25 which is currently in development and it will occur with both users who are signed in to Google and now with users who are not signed in to Google. To be fair, all browsers have implemented this action and most have been utilizing it for over a year now. The change protects users from information being seen by anyone malicious who might be trying to intercept their queries and use them accordingly. Once the newest version of Chrome hits the market, it’s affect on keyword research could take a nasty hit.
The problem that this creates is that it hides the keyword the person used from analytics programs, so instead of being able to see what the person is searching for, the keyword is shown as simply “not set” or “keyword not provided” since the data is hidden and not passed on after the click. Since a majority of searches are done via Google, this will make it increasingly difficult to analyze what keywords are working and which aren’t.
It’s said that Google Analytics shouldn’t take too much of a hit, but we found completely otherwise in our research with “not provided” showing up more than any others and increasing every month. Some report double digit increases every quarter. As for external programs such as IBP, Webtrends, SAS and others will become less dominant in that field making any keyword research data culled from Google searches useless. And what choice do the other search providers like Yahoo! and Bing have but to also follow the same trend or be seen as “not secure” and for the most part, they have already followed suit.
It’s hard to argue against user security, but it will make the task of keyword research even more difficult to pinpoint when trying to assess what works and what doesn’t. How are you planning to accommodate for this change in your keyword research strategy or will this even affect you at all?
by Chris Horton
Some people simply can’t help themselves. Truly understanding a customers intent is paramount to your online success. You should start being realistic that the terms that will make you the most money will not be the ones that are searched for millions of times each month.
If only 100 people a month searched for a “long tail” term, would it be worth it to you to chase that phrase? What if that phrase was so specific, that it converted 50% of the time? If each sale netted you a couple hundred bucks, would 50 sales a month be okay with you? Sure it would.
That’s why it’s bizarre to witness people throwing all of their money into campaigns to chase that magic keyword phrase that gets over a million searches every month, but is so broad, that it never converts. When that happens, it causes a “bounce” (when people leave your site almost as quick as they came to it). When bounces happen, Google makes note of it and then not only do you lose a sale, but your rankings begin to dip heavily because Google doesn’t think that your site is relevant for that term and begins to push you further down the page.
Think about your own business and learn to pay attention and think like a search engine. If you’re a Chinese restaurant, don’t focus on the keyword “chinese restaurants”. The very fact that the term is plural already puts you at a disadvantage. If a user is searching for Chinese restaurants, they are looking for ANY chinese restaurant. The winner of these search results are going to be the websites that list multiple Chinese restaurants like Yelp, Zagat, UrbanSpoon, etc. You are not multiple Chinese restaurants. You’re just one restaurant.
Focus on adding in the geographic location of your business onto the service you offer. Buford Chinese restaurant, Lawrenceville car wash, etc. This will give you great advantages if Google utilizes location data (assuming your business has a physical location) since most searches are done via mobile devices nowadays. We’ll be talking about that in the next day or so.
Next, find out what people are actually searching for. If you see terms trending such as “dry cleaning coupons”, “cheap car wash”, then you should set up pages on your site to help support those searched terms. Car wash coupons being searched for heavily? Set up a page that lists specials, offers and printable coupons and be sure to reflect the search phrase in the title tag, in the text and at the top of the page in a header tag. Many businesses fight against the word “cheap” because it gives off the connotation of low quality, but that’s simply not the case. That’s just the term that people use in place of “inexpensive” or “doesn’t cost a lot of money” and you should embrace keywords in this arena.
Remember, someone searching for “cars” is just browsing. Someone searching for “1978 Chevy Impala in Atlanta” is looking to buy. For whatever reason that is. Maybe they’re shooting a rap video.
Remember, you need to pay attention to what people are actually searching for and stop running from good converting sales simply because only 1000 people are searching for it every month. That’s 1000 potential sales that you probably wish you had. The longer the tail, the bigger the animal. Kill it!