Jellyfish Agency seo POV


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Jellyfish Agency seo POV

  1. 1. Jellyfish POVSEO just got harder< again16 |12| 2011© Jellyfish Online Marketing Ltd 2011
  2. 2. Jellyfish POVSEO just got harder< againEncrypted natural search data, and what it means for onlinemarketersWould you like to understand which SEO keywords are drivingtraffic, interaction and conversions on your website? Of course,because it allows us to focus SEO effort (via on-site optimisation,links and social) on the best performing keywords in your targetportfolio.So how does losing 10%, 20%, 30% or an even higher % of thisinvaluable insight sound? Well, it sounds like a bad, bad deal for anybrand currently active in SEO activity. But that’s the reality as ofOctober this year, and it’s not likely to change. So what’s this allabout, how is it affecting websites, and what can we do about thisissue?BackgroundThere’s been an avalanche of discussion and comment overGoogle’s Q3 announcement regarding the encryption of organicsearch results, and resulting impact for online marketingprofessionals. Here’s the official / original post from the Google thblog, October 18 2011, titled ‘making search more secure’:This change encrypts your search queries and Google’s resultspage. When you search from, websitesyou visit from our organic search listings will still know that youcame from Google, but wont receive information about eachindividual query.In other words, for signed in Google users, analytics won’t clarifythe keywords used to drive SEO engagement on site. According tothe Google Analytics blog, the change will mean that: The organic click will be identified as coming from Google. The organic click will be identified as "organic" but will no longer display the query string. The organic click will be identified under the token "not provided" within Organic Search Traffic Keyword reporting.PAGE 2
  3. 3. Jellyfish POVSEO just got harder< again Secure site searches that lead to clicks via search ads, will still provide the search (keyword).So, webmasters / publishers will see PPC channel data at keywordlevel, but not SEO data from signed in users.Comment from the digital marketing community was (to say theleast) unenthusiastic, and a flurry of data quickly followed,attempting to clarify the impact of this change on the visibility ofkeyword level SEO data.Some data – who is signed in, and how is it affecting websites?According to Search Engine Watch:he estimated number floatingaround in online rumors is "7% of people searching",which is about 69 million people worldwide according to EliGoodman from comScoreOK, what does the data look like? First up, analysis indicates thatMatt Cutts initial prediction that the percentage of keywordsreported with (not provided) would be within a single digit, appearsto be a little wide of the mark:In fact, the not provided % is around 15%.Econsultancy also reported high figures; ‘a staggering 362 pageviews out of a total 1,138 are showing no keyword data. That’saround 33%. One in three search referrals from the US do not passPAGE 3
  4. 4. Jellyfish POVSEO just got harder< againon any search query data.’But hold on< recent Search Engine Watch commentary states that:‘The amount of data being hidden thanks to Googles SSL searchdecision has been climbing steadily but now seems to be levelling outat 9% of traffic’.PAGE 4
  5. 5. Jellyfish POVSEO just got harder< againSo, estimates vary from 10% to far.And a final slice of data from SEOmoz: heres a visualization of 60sites analytics data, showing the self-reported percent of theirGoogle search traffic that used keyword "(not provided)"<.up to 12% and growing.How will this % change in the future?As Google services proliferate, aiming to land-grab the ‘alwayslogged in’ Facebook type user, we can expect to see a broaderspread of users who are continually signed in to Google.Google’s historic focus on new media early adopters (a small /single digit % of all web users) will evolve as users embrace Google+ (Google co-founder and chief executive Larry Page has claimedthat its online social networking service Google+ has got 40 millionPAGE 5
  6. 6. Jellyfish POVSEO just got harder< againusers), and new services such as Google Music and Google Voice(both US only at this point) are rolled out to a broader globalaudience.So why encrypt this data?Because we’re grown-ups, let’s set aside Google’s statedexplanation (reminder – ‘making search more secure’!).Here are the contenders:Google wants to shut out ad networks who use keyword level datafor new types of targeting based on keyword level search data (wesay - believable, but limited in ambition).Google wants to make analytics users cough up for a premiumversion where this data is not encrypted (we say – again, believable,but hardly a route to riches?)Google wants to encourage additional adwords spend at theexpense of SEO budgets (we say – likely – see below for why)The (just?) war against SEOConsider the following: Google’s main algorithm updates havemade the ‘business’ of SEO progressively more difficult. To clarify,there’s nothing inherently wrong with making it harder to ‘game’SEO results; search spam is spam, and better sites deserve bettervisibility. It’s just that the growth of more subtle and distributedsignalling mechanism obstructs the ROI principles around SEO,because results are harder to predict, achieve and maintain. Whichmaybe is how it should be.Google claim that SEO data is still there; for some time, GoogleWebmaster Central has allowed sites to discover the terms thatpeople are using to reach their web sites. This will continue to beoffered, and that will remain a welcome alternative to the loss ofreferrer data. However, this does not provide clarity betweenkeywords and vital analytics insights such as goals, conversionPAGE 6
  7. 7. Jellyfish POVSEO just got harder< againpaths etc. A half baked solution at best.UK companies spend significant amounts on SEO; about 20% lessthan PPC, but still a good chunk of change. If SEO ROI was no longerclear, where would you spend it?And the killer blow; PPC data remains fully visible. So if this is aboutprivacy, why, why, why? Case rested.Last wordsReminder – those data estimates show that right now, the best toworst case scenarios are between 10% - 30%. Actual data and %swill be site specific and strongly influenced by your user base. So, doensure that your analytics are properly configured – you need tounderstand impact on traffic engagement, leads, conversions;ideally, all goals.For now keep a close eye on those (not provided) numbers. For thefuture, there is no fix, unless Google decides to revert back. As theysay, there is always hope. And a final word from SEOmoz’s RandFishkin:‘The underselling of the change as being "single digits" was lame.The hypocrisy around keyword privacy sucks. And their motivationsare questionable at best. But the crummiest part is the impact thechange will have. It wont put any black hats out of business, wontstop any malware or hacking, and wont add a shred of value to theInternet. But it will make it harder for marketers and site builders tomeasure, understand and improve for their audience. The netimpact will be a slightly worse web, and Googles claim of privacywill only protect them from criticism because its a far easierexplanation than the truth.’PAGE 7