What's the Big Deal With Google's Keywords and Small Business?

October 2, 2013 / by Michael K. Redman

blindfolded guyIf you're reading this then you are probably wondering what did Google do again. 

Well it took away a major piece of reporting from all of us in regards to how you evaluate your company's effectiveness in the Google Search. You and I can no longer see what keywords people are coming to our site from. Whether you are a small business or large one or somewhere in between this impacts you. If you are monitoring these things on your company website then you rely on this data to make informed decisions and adjust your SEO strategy.  If you aren't monitoring these things then you need to. Google is the most important source of traffic in any succesful online strategy for any size business. 

If you are ignoring it you are doing so at your own peril. Even small businesses that don't sell anything online can increase their business with the help of Google.

The following is a short description of what happened last week.

The Issue


Last week Search Engine Land, a very reputable news company in the SEO arena, broke the story that Google was messing with the type of information we get from them. By messing I mean taking away information.

Keywords are what you put in Google to search for things.

When one of your customers goes to Google, types in the words or questions about whatever you sell you want to come up in the search results. Let's say they see your company on the list and click on the link. They then come to your site and look around, maybe they even call you. Until last week you could use your analytics tools for your website and see the EXACT word or phrase customers typed into Google to see your company's listing.

Can you imagine how powerful that would be? In the old days if you wanted to know how people found you, you had to ask them but you soon learned that the answer you got was not always accurate. People don't lie about it but it's wrong for three main reasons:

  1. They don't remember correctly
  2. They heard about you from several places and they just randomly picked one
  3. Their brain actually lies to them (people report seeing a company on TV when they NEVER advertised on TV. We see it happen all the time)

So, if you could see what people were actually asking Google and how they were asking Google, can you see how important that would be? Especially if you didn't have to involve the client at all? Well that is what we could do and that is what Google took away.

You and I can no longer see that type of information. That's the big deal!

The main goal in internet marketing and more importantly inbound marketing is to get found for all of those key terms and phrases in your business. When someone is looking up anything to do with those keywords you want to be found. This makes it harder but not impossible and there is a solution.

The Solution

Since we can't have that kind of information anymore how do we know what to do? How bad will this affect my website traffic, you ask? If this is the main data you use you will need to find another solution. If you don't use it at all then you may have been neglecting your website marketing and its huge potential.

We must look to the other types of things we can track and our overall strategy. 

Other Data to Track

Generic Keyword Data

At Half a Bubble Out we look for keywords that people are searching for before they come to your website. Google will let us look at more generic information on what people search for. I can see that 390 people search for "philly cheese steak nyc" and that 9,900 people search for "best philly cheese steaks." That is what I mean by generic keyword results.

Google Keyword Research Tool

All I know from this is that in the U.S. 390 people are looking for that EXACT term. I don't know if I show up for this term yet and I don't know if they are looking for it in my area but it is a significant start.


Website Traffic from Google

I also look at how much general traffic your website is getting from Google. We can still see how many people are coming from Google to your website but we just don't know the path they took through Google to get there.

Chart of Google Traffic and SEO results

This chart shows me the generic traffic and the trend of that traffic. By looking at this would you say that this client is being effective in getting people to come from Google?  I would!

When you use these two pieces of information along with some other data you can at least see how effective you are being and have an idea of what kind of keywords you should work with.


The End Results

Google took away some really important information that allowed us to drill down and be laser sharp on our internet marketing in regards to keywords. It allowed us to adjust our strategy on a regular basis because we could see where OUR customers were coming from and how THEY found us.

Now, we still have great tools but we have to adjust just like we would in any market. We have an overall internet marketing strategy called inbound marketing that allows us to do this.

Do YOU have a strong internet marketing strategy that helps your company?


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Topics: Keywords, small business, SEO, News

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