Summary: Google Analytics Changes on #SEOchat with @TonyVerre, @AlanBleiweiss, and @Rhea

Guests: @TonyVerre, @AlanBleiweiss, and @Rhea

@AlanBleiweiss, is @Click2Rank’s Consulting’s Director of Search Services. He is speaking at Pubcon Vegas about Local SEO for Enterprise. He is known as much for his rants as his SEO audits on some of the worlds largest and most visited sites.

@Rhea, has spoken at SMX, SES, Web 2.0 Expo, Pubcon, Blog World Expo, ACCM, Search Exchange, BlueGlass and SEMNE. She is the CEO of Outspoken Media, an Internet marketing company that specializes in SEO, link development, ORM (Online Reputation Management) and SM marketing.

@TonyVerre is the CEO of Silver Arc Search Marketing & writes their official blog The Milwaukee SEO. Tony is a Columnist at Search News Central and a search geek to the core.

What is the REAL reason for the Google’s removal of data for logged in users?

@AlanBleiweiss: Clearly Google is wrong to take keyword data away. It’s typical conglomerate behavior. My guess is Google is trying to preempt congressional action while protecting revenue. @JonahStein summed up the “privacy is a false flag issue” notion today http://t.co/PFxgEyQK .

@Rhea: @yoast brought up how Google’s referral data is feeding retargeting ad services: http://t.co/G8M2Juvv . Not only do I agree that this is a competitor block, but I think they want to play in the same space. Yahoo patented their own retargeting process http://t.co/yJQ4sqQc and now Google has acquired 2 online ad co’s in last 2 yrs http://t.co/H5RfOHHL One focused entirely on retargeting bid management. Yes, the privacy update was real. No, removal of the data was not a necessary move.

@TonyVerre Premium marketing data for paid search customers. if privacy were the concern, paid & organic clicks gets wiped Pay-2-Play model. PPC data is now premium, there’s exclusivity. anyone who pays for ads, target better. They get it all, everyone else gets some. Google doesn’t owe that data, but if they want to put the platform in play, fine. I’ll pay for clean, whole data. Just be upfront. I also think that @KevinMSpence sheds light on a real reason with http://t.co/Ek1JKHTN. If that actually happened. It sounds like we’re all on the same page: scummy move. It’s about everything but PRIVACY. Privacy is the big charade here. It’s the “no evil” foot forward. But has everything to do with monetizing short and long term.

@Rhea: Did you read my post? “no evil” isn’t in their philosophy. http://t.co/F6c7ILqD .
@TonyVerre: I read it. And I agree. But the public. Oh the public eats that shite up. They saving me from marketer’s eyes!

@RicDragon: know whats SAD about G’s removal of keyword data; is that data could help US make more relevant content. It sorta reminds me of the Google Instant thing; GREAT for searchers (in a way) -but kinda kills the ultra longtail searches.
@JadedTLC: That was step one – eliminate extra keywords. now they don’t even need to tell you. Just go to GWT 2-3 word phrases only.

@SEOSEM:: Google buys 27 companies in busy 3Q http://t.co/ySnS1C2a .

@thompsonpaul: Here’s Yoast’s post on the privacy issue: http://t.co/gRdw9CfX .

@Jonahstein: in fairness, chrome has an incognito mode that lets users browse anonymously. Good for checking SERPs!

How does/should this change affect your SEO strategy?

@Rhea: The truth, it doesn’t. If we were that worried we’d have hacked something like http://t.co/s615tmFT together. Props to @dohertyjf & @iPullRank for making it a simpler process to grab rankings & infer not provided KWs. For clients w/less traffic & higher Gmail users, yes, we will have to rely on more data sources. This data really is a fraction (1-2%) of the KWs for *most* of our clients & others http://t.co/Qx7OyGDm .

Everything to me is simply trend data though. All relative. Often enough to go off of.

@TonyVerre: Site by site case for me. Overall, people will have to be very cognizant of what’s going on in their data now. If (not provided) is prevalent in the data, going to have to change ur strategy. would start by taking stock prior to blackout.

While PPC should always be a channel to leverage, SEOs will have 2 start trying out mid/long tail there if your data is toast. Creating precision strategies could be harder b/c that data might be gone now. Also suggest keeping people out of Google Apps. Bottom-line tactics have to change, even if fractionally, to compensate for the referral data missing. Personally, I like Google Insights. I think that offers some nice data. Singe they took wonderwheel away, it’s helpful.

@AlanBleiweiss: My strategy won’t change. I haven’t used GA keyword data for a long time. If you miss the GA keyword data, sign the petition & maybe get the data back http://t.co/1x9ruQQi . If you HAD counted on the data, I suggest recognizing it’s all always been flawed anyhow. It’s an opportunity 2 consider other data points being important. Moreso when all referrer data vanishes.

@joehall: More SEO’s need a long term vision. 2% now..where will we be in a year?

@Jonahstein: strategically, it means I have to talk to the PPC side of my team more often and maybe run some campaigns for data collection.

@Skitzzo: I’d be willing to bet Google will make https the default for all users (not just logged in users) within 2 years.

@ashbuckles: Great keyword data is already avail through studying content online. Not all long-tail kws are targeted initially.

@kmullett: ahem…I have not tried recently, but scrapebox could still access kw data after they dropped wonderwheel.

What should SEOs be looking at in their analytics instead?

@TonyVerre: You still have to be looking in the keyword referral data. No way around that. But also looking at content. It gets folks back to the basics, and URI naming conventions could/should have more of an emphasis now. Well-named URI. Will help discern likely keywords users entered on. Building custom reports to try to tie data together. And of course, looking at PPC data available. The cohesion between the two is going to have to be better in the coming months.

@AlanBleiweiss What pages are people converting on? What phrases are those pages optimized for? It’s not “ideal” from a granular perspective, yet it’s data that can’t be taken from you. I use more time on initial keyword research, persona eval. Then trust my intuition. Never fails me. The more quality content you provide, the more converting keywords come – inevitable.

@Rhea GWC does provide impressions for KWs under “search queries” report, but this is inherently flawed data. Insight here: http://t.co/5c3X7MAG and http://t.co/kXy4fGrq Regardless, it’s data we can work with. Still plenty of KW data! And don’t forget about that PPC data to help inform organic campaigns. LOL. I’m also a huge fan of competitive data in the absence of a client’s own data. Great tools out there. Use them.

@AlanBleiweiss: we all have intuition. If you don’t believe in it, you are ignoring your life experience. It works for SEO.
@Rhea: ok. I can agree about intuition, esp in a space you know VERY well. But for most clients, no way.
@AlanBleiweiss: Thats why that method requires a lot more up front time. Study, learn.

@SEOSEM: does anyone go beyond 4 keyword strings for research?
@AlanBleiweiss: Beyond 4 is a waste of time in my opinion!
@ashbuckles: Do you mean long-tail kws of more than 4 words? Sometimes.

@Thos003: So what is Ebay and Amazon going to do with custom data based on queries?
@JadedTLC: I believe ebay/amazon will look more closely at their paid campaigns and emulate for organic.
@AlanBleiweiss: eBay has the power to drive automated internal keyword conversions eval.
@Rhea: For real. Ebay has plenty of its own data from on-site search.

@jeypandian: I’d couple the persona research with the marketing funnel. If you know where your users fall in the funnel, that’s gold.

@scottcowley: What distinguishes shoppers from researchers in terms of keyword personas? Is that what SEO’s are referring to?
@Rhea: Check out @ipullrank’s post on SEOmoz about personas.
@explorionary: Here’s @justinrbriggs brilliant post on content-based outreach for linkbuilding where he covers personas http://t.co/9F7B7AL4 .
@AlanBleiweiss: persona = unique mind- model(s) for that specific market niche.
@lyena: Also the message – what are they attracted to, what is important to them, what language they speak, etc.

Why is granular data important or dangerous to an SEO strategy?

@AlanBleiweiss: Granular keyword data can blind you to phrases you’re overlooking that may be better. If u optimized less than ideal phrases – more optimization of those isn’t an SEO best practice. People need to spend more time on the front end to get better foundational focus. Then build on that.

@Rhea: In competitive industries where your site is already optimized to the max, granular gives an edge. We move away from the basics and into very detailed analysis to beef up a specific category or conversion rate. Yes, granular is pointless if flooding a site with basic flaws. Fix the site. Then get into the details. But… granular for tough clients is sometimes where we find our BEST ideas.

@TonyVerre: It’s important so we can create precision strike campaigns mid/long tail keywords. GooG not the only 1 who wants 2 make money. It’s dangerous in that you can become too dependent on it and feel lost when it’s gone. You have to know when to trust your “street smarts” and combine that with “data smarts”, you’ll find your gem ideas in that. Typically the more granular you get the better you can craft campaigns to personas and niche markets. End of the day, keep your head on a swivel. This isn’t the last thing the GOOG is going to pull before the year is out.

@JadedTLC: You can’t see the forest for the trees. That’s why granular must be taken in balance.

@Rhea: To throw a bomb in the room. Does Google *owe* us anything when it comes to data?
@AlanBleiweiss: No. Google doesn’t “owe” us anything. That’s an idealized world.
@JadedTLC: Good point – Google owes it in our google analytics product, but NOT in their competitors.
@TonyVerre: As I said in A1, not. a. thing. If they want more $$, then come out and say it. I don’t too many SEOs who wouldn’t pay for it.
@oilman: They owe us at least to not break the internet – they’re not even hiding the data properly.

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