I have to admit losing 90% of keyword data is a kick in the gonads for marketers, but it’s not the keyword data loss I’m worried about.
It’s the re-education of clients that I’m worried about. Starting from scratch.
Most of my clients came to the table with the usual “We want to rank on page 1 for X,Y and Z”.
Keyword data was so easy to understand. It was tangible. That’s why clients love it.
It was easy to say whether someone was looking for my product specifically or whether they were just searching for a generic term. There was intent in the search term which could help to qualify a lead (researching or specifying?).
It was easy to see the growth in visitors from non-branded search terms (new acquisition strategy is working).
It was easy to see the growth in branded search terms (brand awareness campaigns having an impact).
It was also easy to see that more quality enquiries were coming from those who used more than 4 words in their search phrase.
Long tail, schlong snail. Forget it now. Scrap those long tail cartoony graphs too whilst you’re at it.
“What do we do now?” asked a client this week.
I replied “We have to focus more now on page content, quality, usability, conversions, speed, accessibility and rankings”. We were focusing on this already to some extent but keyword data was always so much more actionable.
And then it hit me “I’m going to have to re-educate every client to rely less on keyword data for a heap of marketing tactics and measurement”.
“Yeah ok, whatever, but what did they search for?”
I’ve yet to see a post on re-educating the client in practically a non-keyword world. I mean most business owners and senior marketers in the construction industry only really see SEO as a keyword driven tactic and ranking on page 1 for X,Y, Z means success.
It’s taken me the best part of 2-3 years just to educate clients that, in construction, it’s about the long tail and low volume, high quality.
Talk to a Managing Director of a Facade manufacturer about conversion rate optimisation and you might have them go cross eyed.
So, what is an SEO’er or digital marketer to do?
I know what can be measured now to certain degree (e.g Google traffic entering through XXXX number of pages over time) but I don’t know if it’s going to be as actionable or carry the same value for the client as actionable keyword data.
The whole re-education of the client thing needs thinking about. It may even tell you which clients are willing to re-learn and those who simply aren’t willing to re-learn.
It will require a mind shift from keywords to URL’s.
It will require marketers to really focus on their own internal site search engine.
It will require learning about usability and CRO.
It will require closer collaboration with other business departments to understand what type of information the customer needs and at what stage.
Heck, it might even mean regular research, focus groups or one-to-ones with key audiences to understand their information needs.
Just re-read those back again for a second.
Sounds more exciting and challenging no?
Does to me. But re-educating the client has to come first.
That’s what I’ll be working on for the next few months anyway. You?