Posted: November 18th, 2011 by Benjamin Spiegel
It’s been a little over a month since Google announced that it will be providing SSL searches for it’s logged in users and as Result of that we will lose some of our Organic Search Data, we covered this in a bit more detail HERE
So now that the initial craze has settles we decided to look at some sample data and look at what’s actually going on and how it is really affecting us and our Brands.
We decided to use 6 Sits from different verticals as a sample; we decide don the following verticals:
- SEO Company (since Visitors are obviously engaged in Google, we assume that they logged in)
- Home Cleaning Products Manufacturer
- Financial Service Company
- Home Electronics
- Healthcare Services
- News & Gossip Site
This gives us a good look at a very wide spectrum of sites and users.
||299 / 22.62
||11% / 45%
||1632 / 6.16
||13% / 35.36 %
|Financial Services Company
||2608 / 4.78
||25% / 47.35 %
||3.382 / 6.77
||16% / 48 %
||2679 / 13.24
||9% / 18%
|News / Gossip Site
||419 / 1.60
||34% / 42%
So what did we find?em>
The first thing just as we suspected is that SEO / Tech & Computers users are Google users, therefor logged in and will be using the SSL search. This was confirmed with 22% of searches being hidden.
Another interesting fact is that Google actually seems to be serving them smart. One of the sample sites is a healthcare site, and without giving away too much, it is not a modern medicine, it targets elderly people and we are fairly certain they do not have a Google account (80% of their members have ISP emails such as Comcast, Verizon, AOL etc). Based on the analytics sample data it seems that Google hid 13% of the keywords.
We need to keep one thing in mind, Google does this to protect users privacy and not to mess with us internet marketers ‘)
On the flip side it is fairly interesting that Google does not hide the info from a financial services site, but this might be due to the fact that most of their site is already served over https
Also we were expecting to have a higher amount of hidden KWs on the home electronics site. More hen 50% their member emails end in @gmail
So without upsetting any hardcore Internet marketers, it does seem that there is more behind the decision process on Google’s side then just are you logged in or not.
After compiling this I looked at a few more healthcare and medical related sites, and it seems that across all of them there is a really high rate of hidden keywords as well, some even up to 50% and all of those sites are targeted towards elderly people, not your usual google crowd!
Another Interesting find is the high number of Chrome share among the hidden keywords, it seems that the browser is a deciding factor as well.
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Posted: October 20th, 2011 by Benjamin Spiegel
So on Thursday October 18th the Organic Search Community had a moment of silence and then complete Panic, google announced in a blog post ( http://vfx.la/xFDD0 )that it will stop showing the Search query from users logged into Google as well as all users using the secure search option ( https://encrypted.google.com/ )
We have been answering a few panic calls from clients, so I decided to write up this quick info sheet.
So to understand the impact a bit better, let’s look at the current flow of events.
- Users a search Query using Google’s search page or toolbar
- Google Displays the results page (at this point the search term position and following action are saved in the Google Webmaster Tools – and also inserted into Google Analytics)
- Upon click google redirects the user to the final destination page
So what has changes?
On the frontend it all still looks the same, besides a cute ssl logo the average user will not notice a difference. ON a technical site the queries CTR rates and all related transactions are encrypted and more safe (not really sure why people care) but they seem to do.
So what does that mean for the organic community?
- You will no longer be able to see the SERP positions / CTR in Webmaster Tools
- In Analytics it will say (not provided) instead of the actual keyword
- You will no longer be able to track organic performance on a keyword level
- No more goal or e-commerce data on a keyword level
Who does this apply to?
- This only applies to Organic searches (paid is still getting that data)
- This for now only applies to users that are logged into their google account (so all Google+ / Gmail / Adsense / Adwords users)
Does this affect me?
- One of the hardest hits is against anybody provided services in the internet sector, such as web development agencies, SEO companies and any web service related companies. Why? It is because most of the internet development and marketing community is using one or another google tool.
- If you target for example Google+ and any other Google Product users, this applies even stronger to you
Why aren’t you worried?
- Based on our current numbers (we checked in Google Analytics) only 0.12% for the organic traffic was marked as (not provided)
- People who are logged into google, getting a custom search experience and SERPs anyway, and therefore not a good measurement of performance as it is.
- We have a strong believe in Whitehead tactics and think that google does these changes to improve quality for the SERPs and as long as we produce quality content and follow the clean guidelines
We will keep an eye on the Analytics for our web properties and keep you updated on any developments or changes.
UPDATE: After some technical feedbacks, we can confirm that when you leave a SSL site such as google Secure SERPs and go to a non SSL page, no referring data is transmitted which means its not just google being mean, it’s a technical challenge!
Update #2: Google just confirmed it in this Article ( http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/10/accessing-search-query-data-for-your.html ): In Webmaster tools and Analytics you still can:
- View the top 1000 daily search queries and top 1000 daily landing pages for the past 30 days.
- View the impressions, clicks, clickthrough rate (CTR), and average position in search results for each query, and compare this to the previous 30 day period.
- Download this data in CSV format
Are you worried? Why not get a Free SEO Audit?
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Posted: September 21st, 2011 by Benjamin Spiegel
Mobile SEO Part 2 – The Tools & Research
Continuing on from Part 1 – What is mobile SEO we are looking today at the tools and ways to do your keyword insights and some initial ways to measure success and also establish a baseline / KPIs. If you have missed Part1 I would sugest you read this first, in case you decide not too, you should be aware that we are talking about smartphone SEO not mobile SEO, there is a dramatic difference as we will explain throughout this series .
1. Search Volume and keyword suggestions
The first step in any SEO campaign kickoff is the keyword research, thanks to google’s latest updates we have now a variety of ways to obtain the Smartphone (again smartphone != mobile) search volume. My favorite tool of choice is still the google adWords keyword research tool. Google recently added data for mobile volume / competition etc. They separate it into 4 separate groups:
- Desktop and laptop Devices
- All Mobile Devices
- Mobile WAP Devices
- Mobile devices with Full Internet Browsers
This allows you and your team to evaluate the overall volume as well obtain suggestions for similar keywords / phrases. However I would still remain careful with the Total searches google estimates for some of their suggestions as they seem rather high
2. Keyword Suggestions and Trends
Unfortunately google trends has not yet updated its filtering functions to include mobile trends, I am sure they will add this functionality at some point, but again as of now, there is no option to filter for mobile trends yet! We will go further into strategy in a later chapter…
But for no a quick approach we follow is to get last years data from google trends, see what are the upcoming initiatives or seasonal items
We would then take these keywords and run them against the mobile search volume within google adowrds mobile and extract longtail keywords from that as well. For additional longtail optimization I would suggest then running those keywords trough autosuggest on google mobile and other mobile search engines and devices.
3. Establishing a baseline
So where do we start in terms of measurements? We would suggest 2 base KPIs for any mobile SEO camp:
- Measure user engagement for mobile Clients (Bounce, Time on site etc)
- Search Engine Results page Clicktorugh rate
The first one is fairly easy since analytics comes by default with a mobile user segment which allows us to run some simple reports against all mobile users.
For the SERP CTR we are thankfull again to a recent update in Google’s webmaster tool that now allows us to display the CTR on the results pages for smartphone SERps. From there we can establish which results where displayed on mobile devices and what our Click Trough rate was, then we can modify Meta Descriptions and Title tags to fit better into the mobile shelf!
So what now?
As already promised in Part 1 of this mobile SEO Tutorial we will get into actionable items in a later chapter, but next on my list is one of the more existing parts of this: The future of Mobile SEO!
So for now go ahead, look at where you currently are in terms of metrics and goals, see if you keyword strategy aligns with your visitors and goals. And in the next Chapter we will start to actually get our hands dirty!
But if you are in a rush and need help getting your site ready, free to fill out our Free SEO Quote
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Posted: September 20th, 2011 by Benjamin Spiegel
During the past months the mobile search landscape has changed dramatically, google has retracted and clarified his own comments and statements on multiple occasions. During my daily business dealings with Agency’s and Brand’s I have noticed that even many of the top agency’s out there approaching mobile from the wrong perspective and basing their decisions on faulty facts.
During this 7 Part Series i will try to clarify the current state of things as well as the process and up to date guidelines on the mobile SEO process. These articles will be split into 7 Parts:
- What is Mobile SEO
- Tools & Research
- The Future
- Actionable Items
- Future Proofing
- Ongoing Activates
1. What is mobile SEO?
Okay before we start diving into the tech stuff and tools, I think we need to clarify a few things.. Through this article we will make 2 assumptions:
- Our goal search engine is Google (I will add Bing info in a later chapter)
- We are planning on working with a Smartphone site (Not a WAP/WML etc site)
The first faulty assumption everybody is making is that when Google says mobile site they are talking about a smartphone site, THIS IS WRONG!
Google makes it VERY clear that a smartphone sites is not considered a mobile site and there will NEVER be displayed in the search engine results pages.
This is a very important factor when basing research or actionable items on Google’s statements or guidelines. Now that this is clear, let’s talk about KPIs. How do we measure success? It can surely not be measured like a regular site, there is no SERP, and there is no keyword based conversions. So wat actually happens, as of today Google seems to be delivering the same Search Engine Results page to Desktop users. Even the results URLs are not mobile URLs they are the Desktop URLS. What does that mean for the internet marketer? Basically those normal optimization techniques such as link building, Meta tag optimization and the usual “Tricks” do not really apply. So again how do we measure mobile SEO success? Due to changes and upgrades in Google’s toolkit we are now able to due specific filtering based on smartphone metrics and usage. In tomorrow’s part 2 we will highlight some of the techniques and a sample mobile SEO Cycle.
If you are interested in having your site optimized, please feel free to fill out our Free SEO Quote
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