A San Diego Content Writer Considers the Uncertain Future of the Keyword

Once the currency of search engine optimization, it appears keywords may not pay their way forever.

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Future of Keywords Up in Smoke?
I was concerned but not surprised to come across the article, Is 2013 the year marketers lose Keyword Research?  from my unwitting mentor, inbound marketing company Hubspot, a thought leader I trust immensely.

Keywords Could Be in Trouble

Two years ago, the major search engines began encrypting the search process to protect the privacy of individuals performing a search. Google and Bing determined they would have more business if they could make those using their tools feel as safe as possible. Next time you perform a search, try to notice the “https” beginning the url, rather than just http. It’s a little hard to see here below, but look above the red line. search encryption When I searched “landscapers, San Diego,” Google reassured me that when I went to the websites listed in the search engine results, those companies couldn’t get any of my information. Encrypted search protects searchers’ privacy but also strip away the words a searcher used to get to your site, leaving site owners with less information about their marketing efforts. While the analytics on your site may determine that the browser came from Google or Bing, you won’t know the exact words they used to get from there to you. What are we left with then?

Keywords, R.I.P? This Content Writer Says . . . Not Yet

Not quite yet. Keep in mind that despite these alarm-ringing articles and the fast changes to internet marketing, Google still turns on keywords quite a bit. We’re certainly not giving up using keywords anytime soon. There are still lots of unencrypted searches going on (again, when you search, try to watch for the presence or absence of that “s” at the end of the “http”). At the same time, maybe it’s time to start considering other aspects of successful internet marketing, putting time and energy there.

Preparing for Change: Website Analytics Now a Must

While we may start losing track of exactly what words are bringing visitors to our sites, those of us with analytics will still know where visitors are coming from (Google, Facebook, an ad) and we do know where they’re landing. Last spring, I attended a search engine optimization seminar held by UCSD and one of San Diego’s pre-eminent SEO firms, SEO, Inc. There, John Lincoln, director of social media and consulting, explained how he was pushing everyone on his staff to become certified in Google Analytics. This means going through Google’s free (but time consuming) training, something for which no small business owner has the time or the bandwidth. The webmaster, however, is another story. It’s his or her job to analyze your analytics and report back to you. The bottom line for the website owner is that if you don’t have analytics on your site now, it’s time to set that up. And then what?

Use Analytics to Separate Your Hard-working Pages and Posts from Your Slackers

  1. Analyze pages and posts. Business owners that know which of their blog posts or services pages are getting the most attention through organic search can consider placing a PPC ad leading to that offer to boost the page’s success further.  Make sure you have lots of conversion opportunities on those pages and posts!
  2. Separate and experiment with your offers. Break your business products or services into self-contained offers, putting each offer on a separate landing page and then testing which gets the best traction and response.

If you don’t have analytics on your site or you’re not accessing it, call your web developer. WordPress sites accommodate a simple plugin that gets Google analytics on your site in under an hour. Once you know which of your pages draw the most visitors, where they come from and how people proceed through your site, you boost your internet marketing power exponentially.

Use Quality Content to Prove Your Dedication to Product/Service Support

Fresh, relevant content on your site that covers lots of aspects of your niche will be key. When consumers are looking to buy, they want to know there will be solid support throughout the lifetime of their product or service. Set yourself apart by providing free, helpful content to support your products and services. (A bigger site also gets you more credibility with the search engines as well.) Content, in the form of an active blog or specific product and services pages, provides lots of opportunities for you to see which pieces get hits and which don’t. Knowing which content gets attention also helps you understand what level are your prospects on. Do they respond best to titles that convey simple information or to intricate even esoteric information about your product or services? Peer into the mind of your ideal prospects by writing up lots of content and then following the success of each through analytics. The more narrow you can hone each page or post, the more accurate your market insight.

Demonstrate Your Availability and ACCOUNTABILITY with Social Media Integration

I’m still hearing, “I don’t have time for social media!” 15 minutes a day is all it takes to post something relevant to your industry. Social media, like internet marketing isn’t going away. People take breaks at work by going on Facebook several times a day. A recent study showed that people who identified themselves as “invested in social media” spent 3 hours a day on their different channels. Basically, they’re hanging out with friends, for much of the day. I am pushing everyone– clients who are doctors, electricians, massage therapists–everybody to at least get a Facebook page and Google Plus presence. If your clients “like” you on Facebook, your posts have a decent chance of crossing their “desks” (attention span, really) once a day. Constant reminders will help them remember your name for their friends and family, and even for when they need additional products and services. 15 minutes a day, you can, and should afford.

Informed Web Content: Internet Marketing for Small Business

Still squeamish? See our Affordable Social Media Springboard for Small Business offer. We set you up, get you rolling and we’re here when you need us, but after we model excellent search engine optimized web page, blog and Facebook/Twitter/Google Plus writing and SEO best practices, you can do your blog posts, email newsletters and Facebook posts yourself and save! Have more complex questions? Feel free to call us at (858) 248-0667. We are happy to answer all your internet marketing and quality web content questions.  When you work with Informed Web Content, you not only get content writers, you get internet marketing experts. Feel free to contact us if you prefer to type out your question or if you need a quote. We’ll always keep you up to date on what’s working online.

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