The day many SEO professionals hoped would never come, but feared eventually would, apparently has arrived today. It appears that Google has cut off keyword data altogether.
Nearly two years after making one of the biggest changes to secure search that resulted in a steady rise in “(not provided)” data, Google has switched all searches over to encrypted searches using HTTPS. This means no more keyword data will be passed to site owners.
Why does this matter?Search terms are a great measure of user intent, and we won’t have that anymore. We’ll still see how many visits we’re getting through Google search, but not what those visitors were searching for. So it’s going to be difficult, to put it mildly, to optimize your pages for search if you don’t know what terms you’re ranking for. We’ll all be left shooting in the dark.
So what do we do?Ruud Hein explains five ways to get around this, including keyword data from other search engines and using Google Webmaster Tools.
Edited to add this excellent post that went up after I published this: Neil Patel explains how this move by Google might actually make you a better marketer. He also provides some great tips for managing the change.
Ultimately, none of these other tools will make up for the visibility we’re losing with this change, but we’ve got to work with what we have. The silver lining I see is maybe we’ll stop obsessing over keyword rankings and search results and algorithm changes and focus instead on delivering the best content for our audience.
Tom Watson helps cleaning businesses become successful. That’s right. His books and services are aimed at helping cleaning businesses become more effective, and of course, marketing is a part of this. Let’s ask him about online marketing for cleaning businesses.
My questions and comments are in bold.
So how is marketing for cleaning businesses different? (Or is it?)
I also use Rescue Time to check up on my productivity (since Bhaskar recommended it), and of course, email (I write myself notes on things I need to remember) and Google Calendar. I have also found Streak useful to keep track of emails I need to follow up on. I’ve used Remember the Milk and Trello as well, but with less success.
And if you’re feeling stressed out about your productivity levels, Amber Naslund’s post might help you gain perspective.
A colleague asked me last week about advice for promotional products companies on blogging. Let’s look at how promotional products businesses use their blogs.
A Google search on [promotional products blog] gets us this. Good job, Inkhead! Especially as two of the other top search results are from ASI (a promo products industry association whose page with links to industry blogs shows up) and an industry magazine.
I do another quick search for recently updated blogs and we’re good to go.
If you have spent much time on the internet lately, especially on social media, you’re aware that the noise is increasing. It’s more and more difficult to find relevant messages because of all the content that is created. (And I know, we’re part of the problem.)
The platform shift from conversation to broadcast is a symptom of what marketers measure.
They measure actions (tweets, retweets, link clicks), which discourages dialogue. It discourages it because conversations are not valued on the action scale. It discourages it because the more organic conversations take place, the more marketers have to drown them out with frequency. And it discourages it because scalable actions require automation, which means the marketer isn’t participating.
Scheduling Your Posts for When Your Fans Are Online
The Poststab on your Facebook Insights has a section called When Your Fans Are Online.This tells you how many of your fans are on Facebook on each day of the week and different times of the day. Use this to time your posts for when most of your fans are active.
Brian Dean, as he says himself, is “living the dream”: his SEO expertise enables him to “work as a digital nomad and travel in countries like Thailand, Japan, Spain, and Turkey” (and currently, Germany). He is also a popular blogger: his SEO blog, Backlinko, has fantastic resources and advice about SEO.
We ask him about how he got to where he is, and get him to share tips about SEO and blogging.
My questions and comments are italicized.
1. Your profile is intriguing: tell us how you got here. You make the shift from freelance writer to SEO sound so easy: was it actually as easy as that?
I don’t usually follow startup stories, but I was intrigued by this one. With so much going for them – an interesting idea, interest from partners, interest from users, some PR, even some funding – they still had to fold.
And then I read Flowtab’s own account of how it went down. I am hardly qualified to criticize (but of course, I’m going to do so anyway), but some things leaped out at me. And these aren’t particular to this company (I don’t mean to pile on), but attitudes and activities I have seen in other startups as well.
Careless erosion of goodwill
Goodwill isn’t a trendy buzzword, but let’s talk about it anyway. Here are some of the tactics this company tried out.
Flowtab was an app that let you order drinks at bars. The founders spent months building the app, launched it on iTunes, and it was the #1 featured app for one week. But there was no service to back up the app. There’s no mention of how many people downloaded the app, but it must have been a good number. Many startups would be thrilled at having their app featured by Apple. But this one squandered their opportunity by letting users download an app they couldn’t use. That’s like having a big store launch, inviting customers, and then not showing up to open the store. If a thousand customers came to your door, that’s not a success. The fact that you couldn’t serve them is a failure.
One industry that I think is fertile ground for marketing content is Bed and Breakfast inns. These inns provide a more picturesque, intimate experience than bigger hotels, and as far as I know, most of them seem to be run by the owners. So it seems to make perfect sense that innkeepers would blog about their inns. But do they?
I searched for [bed and breakfast blog] on Google.
What surprised me is that most of these blogs haven’t been updated recently. If you look at this screenshot, one of these blogs was last updated in April! The blog with the most recent post (not in the screenshot) was on August 24.
I changed the search to pages updated in the last week, and got a wholly different set of results. Even so, one blog listed in the first page was updated 2 days ago; everything else was between 5-7 days.
The Blue Door on Baltimore, for example, has a charming blog with photos and behind-the-scenes info about the running of the inn, as well as tips on what to do in Baltimore. But the blog hasn’t been updated for over a year: there were three posts in the first week of June 2012, and nothing since. Is the inn still running?
I especially like this part of the post, since so many people ignore offline activities as a factor in online marketing:
Think offline. Sometimes online marketing has to start offline. Just think about how many websites must review, write about, and link to events and news. Well marketers, it’s time to create that news, and plan those events. Get out there and get involved with your target market, create a flash mob, launch a publicity stunt, and do what it takes to make people talk about your brand. What happens online is often reactive to what happens offline, so maybe it’s even more effective to be the creator, not the commentator.
It’s “back to school” season in the U.S. and some other parts of the world, and many businesses have special promotions during this time. Let’s see how small businesses are using the #backtoschool hashtag on Facebook.
This hashtag isn’t important for you? You should still know how to use similar seasonal hashtags for your Facebook page.
1: Offer a discount or deal
The most obvious way to cash in on a seasonal trend is to offer a special deal or promotion.
Much of the marketing advice you read will be about conversations you should initiate: by writing blog posts, tweeting, or emailing. But what online marketing allows you do most effectively is listen, and you’re not doing your marketing any favors if you don’t take the time to do that.
Why embed a post instead of posting a screenshot? Because all the links and other information in the post remain intact. Your website visitor can click on the links in the post to go to the post on Facebook or to your Facebook page.
Go to any Facebook post, or scroll down in your Timeline to find one. Click on the little arrow on the top right of your post. The last item on the dropdown menu should be “Embed Post”.
Likes and retweets are all very well, but what you really want is conversions: someone signing up to your newsletter, filling up your lead form, or buying your product. This week, let’s work on improving conversions.
Neil Patel offers copywriting tips that will increase your conversions. The first few are great copywriting tips for any piece of writing: focus on benefits (i.e., the reader, not you), format your text, use images, and so on. But there are some less obvious tips in there too.
The Peopletab on your Facebook Insights shows you the age, gender, language and city as well as country of your fans, of people you’ve reached, and people who have engaged with your page. Does this data match your expectations? In other words, have you succeeded in reaching your target customers?
Targeting Your Facebook Posts to a Segment of Your Fans
Did you know Facebook has a targeting option when you create a new post?
Markitty’s Links You Shared table answers the question: which of the links you’re sharing on social media are getting you the best results?
As I wrote earlier, the table shows the performance of links you’ve shared on Facebook and Twitter. It includes the number of posts (in which you’ve shared that one link), impressions, likes, and stories for Facebook, and tweets, retweets, and favorites for Twitter.
Now we have expanded the Links You Shared table to include referrals from social media, Twitter, and Facebook. So if you shared a blog post link on Facebook or Twitter, you can not only see Facebook and Twitter stats for that link, you also get website referrals (from Facebook, Twitter, and all social media).