What’s a business owner to do when Google no longer allows him or her to track organic keyword searches? For many experienced business owners, the answer might seem to lie in exploring alternatives to Google Analytics.
Google: No Longer a Monopoly?
If you’re still operating under the assumption that Google is the only game in town, this recent report from Hubspot contains some findings that might surprise you. While Google controls about two-thirds of all search traffic, fast-growing Bing grabs about 18 percent of the market. Yahoo still has an 11-percent share, and niche engines like DuckDuckGo play in the remaining 4 to 5 percent of the space.
This might lead you to wonder whether your business could benefit from non-Google platforms like Bing Webmaster Tools and Yahoo’s Webmaster Resources portal. Bing, for example, doesn’t encrypt its organic searches and hasn’t yet announced any plans to do so. Does Google’s gutsy decision to move to “100-percent encryption” spell a big opportunity for Microsoft’s competing search engine?
Leveraging Other Platforms for Trending Data
We’re not ready to say that Bing will overtake Google anytime soon. Google has redoubled its efforts to get marketers to sign up for its AdWords paid search service and now offers robust keyword-tracking tools through that platform. Even though it doesn’t encrypt its organic search results, Bing simply can’t match the amount of keyword data that Google provides. It’s easy to access relevant keyword data by linking your Google Webmaster Tools account with your Google Analytics account. Webmaster Tools is a useful Analytics alternative that performs many of the same functions without encrypting all of its keyword results.
That said, it’s important to find other “eggs” for your content marketing “basket.” While you can no longer see most of the organic Google searches that lead prospects to your site, Google users are likely to be searching for the same keywords as Bing and Yahoo users. The analytic tools provided by non-Google search engines can help you source trending data and enable you to construct a more cost-effective content marketing plan that leverages AdWords as well as Google’s organic algorithms.
Tailoring Your Website Content
There are no sure things in the content marketing space, but there are plenty of useful “best practices.” Instead of waiting indefinitely for an absolutely perfect snapshot of your site’s inbound traffic, use data that you receive from each major search engine to build on what’s working for your site.
This doesn’t mean picking the three top-performing organic keywords on Bing Webmaster Tools and stuffing them into dozens of nearly identical pieces of written content. It does mean that you should take the central ideas from each trending keyword and craft coherent content around them.
If your flooring store’s website is a hit with folks who search for “plush office carpet” and “maple hardwood floors,” maybe it’s time to write some engaging blog posts or landing pages about these particular products. Long-term keyword trends can be useful in a broader sense: If you notice that you’re drawing fewer carpet-related searches and more hardwood-related queries, it would make sense to push your content marketing efforts in that direction. Analytic tools aren’t just good at telling you how an existing campaign is working – they can also point the way forward.
Google Organic Search Isn’t Quite Dead Yet
All this aside, it’s important to note that Google’s organic keyword search tool isn’t completely gone. Google’s AdWords platform has a new Paid & Organic Search Report that aggregates results for PPC search terms as well as organic keywords. While Google’s switch to encrypted search is rapidly shrinking the pool of available organic results, it’s still useful to compare the performance of these terms alongside similar paid search metrics.
As with organic keyword reports generated by Bing and Yahoo, you can monitor the “organic” portion of Google’s Paid & Organic Search Report to see which keywords are already driving organic traffic to your site. While these won’t need to be included in your AdWords campaign, they might give you ideas for keyword variations that would benefit from a paid-search push. This exercise should strengthen and expand your overall search marketing campaign while ensuring that you don’t needlessly duplicate your efforts.
For more specific tips on how to leverage your AdWords account to find relevant keywords that can increase your site’s conversion rates and open new doors for your content marketing campaign, check out our recent blog post on the subject. As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about encrypted search or alternatives to Google Webmaster Tools.