It’s been more than two years now since Google started restricting keyword data sent to websites with [keyword not provided], and it’s steadily been a cause of concern ever since. Over the last year, the increase has been huge – at the moment, it’s about 60 to 80 percent. By December, it’s going to be 100%.
Yes, you can start panicking now.
Keywords will still count towards rankings – you just won’t be able to see which keywords your site is ranking for. The only keywords you’ll be able to see are PPC ones.
This is going to make reporting hard – as I’m sure most of you have already experienced. Short of ringing Matt Cutts up and crying at him, there’s not really much that you can do to stop it. So now what?
Grab your data now
Everything. Grab everything. From Webmaster Tools, from Analytics…make a load of spreadsheets and track everything while it’s still possible. You might not be able to track keywords come new year, but seeing previous performance could end up being invaluable.
Can PPC help?
Well, maybe. I’m sure lots of methods will crop up come new year, but it’s worth considering rises and falls in traffic depending on the implementation of PPC.
All about the page
Pages that have received the most visits are clearly doing something right – even if you can’t see the keyword that got the visitor there, you’ll need to compare these pages with others and deduce what it is that’s making traffic land here and stay here.
As such, I’m pretty sure that content is going to become even more integral in an SEO strategy.
This is a commonly overlooked aspect of SEO – what exactly are people searching for once they get to your page?
That’s one thing that Google isn’t taking away from you quite yet – you can learn how to do it here. Once you know what people are searching for, you can start optimising your site according to that search.
Abandoning the keyword
It’s alright, SEO isn’t really dead. It’s just being shaken up a little bit.
Maybe turning away from our obsession with keywords could be what we need to start creating great content and great sites?
But if you’re not quite ready to leave keywords behind, for now you can at least get keyword data from Yahoo! and Bing. They may not garner even half as much search traffic as Google, but a bit part of digital marketing and SEO is keeping on top of what people are searching for, and how they are searching for it.
*hyperventilates into a paper bag*