Oh no – can’t see the keywords from Google!

…. And still trying to be relevant for the visitor!

Back in mid-October 2011 Google made some changes, that will impact the visibility into which keywords, visitors arriving to your website from Google have used. However it will only affect visitors who are logged in using their Google Account to Google.com.

The reason for the change is “As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver”, quote Evelyn Kao, Product Manager.

According to Google they expect it to be a single digit percentage of visitors, where you won’t see the keywords. However as the service, is being rolled out to various country sites and with broader adoption of Google+, that percentage could be even higher.

Reported by different bloggers within the SEO community, the numbers are constantly increasing – reaching double digits for some sites in November and are getting higher share each month.

So how can it affect you and the Customer Engaging websites, which you are trying to create and maintain?

First – a really low hanging fruit in Customer Engagement is to use the keywords for personalization, the keywords reveal a lot about user intent, like why is the visitor here, which products/services is interesting, are the visitor just searching or ready to engage?

Not having the visibility into the keywords (the intent), will make it harder for personalization based on keywords, when all you get is a (not provided) parameter.

But how could you, as an Interactive Marketer, still try to deliver an Engaging experience for the first time visitor arriving on an entry page, from Google with the keyword (not provided) parameter. The Visitor then clicks on the Home page, what would be an engaging and relevant message here?

The picture below shows the behavior of the visitor, according to what is stored in your site analytics.
How can you optimize the engagement for the visitor, coming with (not provided) keyword

So let’s evaluate which information you have access to:
- Geo information about the visitor (Country, City etc.)
- Which entry page the visitor landed on
- Referrer Search Engine is Google

This will allow you to create targeted messages based on the entry page, if it’s a specific service – the message could be – “Learn more about why these customers use the specific service”, linking to case studies around that specific service. It could also be combined with the Country or City, which the visitor is located in, so the message becomes “Learn more about why these customers in x country use the specific service”.

However the more dimensions you bring in play, the more messaging you need to create, analyze, optimize and maintain.

If you take a look at a specific entry page, just like a page about a specific service – is it clear which intent the visitor could have by looking at this page?

The clearer the more usage you could have of the above….
Unclear leads to other ways around to be relevant for the visitor.

If the entry page drives a lot of traffic to your site and most of that traffic is from Search, then chances is that the Long Tail of keywords, maybe similar to this:
The long tail of Search Keywords

In the Long tail above, 20.546 visits are coming from 29 different keyword(s) and some invisible (not provided) keywords from Google, which at position 4 are 7.8% of all search traffic leading to this page.

If we look at the top3 keyword(s) terms, they are driving 76.03% of all organic Search traffic to this page.

If your analytics is integrated with your Web Content Management System and you have access to the data in real time, just like is the case with Sitecore Customer Engagement Platform, then you can access page level analytics and get info about the top keywords for a given page, just like the top3 keyword(s) in the Long Tail example above and use this data, to be more engaging on the Home Page.

Here are two examples of what you could show on the Home Page, after the visitor clicks from the Entry Page.

Example 1: The Top1 Keyword(s) drives almost all Search traffic to the Entry Page
Then the engaging content – that should stimulate the visitor in taking the next desired action, should be based on that Top 1 keyword term, chances are high that visitor have used this Search Term to find your site.

Example 2: You get much traffic for different Keyword(s) terms
How about showing a Tag Cloud based on the Top3, Top5, Top10 used keyword(s) terms, which are driving traffic to the Entry Page, could be a simple spot that asks “Do you want more info about…. Keyword(s) Tag Cloud”. Then you are trying to be relevant and chances are (depending on how many Keyword(s) you use in the Tag Cloud), that you are being relevant. If the Visitor triggers on a specific keyword in the Tag Cloud, then you have more info in the intent and you can use this for further optimization of the visitor experiences on your site.

Some considerations:
- Not Every Entry Page leads to personalized spots on the Home Page, identify those which are important in driving traffic and where keywords often reveal some intent.
- Consider Filter “Bad” Keyword(s) sentences out, before showing them in the Tag Cloud. Worst case could be, you are getting a lot of inbound traffic on “brand product x repair”, properly not an engaging sentence to showcase on the Home Page.

Having access to data and the possibility to seamlessly integrate these data into optimizing the visitor experience in real time, is getting more and more important.

Web Analytics are not just about having access to aggregate data anymore, it’s should be a part of the real time optimization framework, which can be used to control and optimize the visitor experience in real time. The Analytics of the future is heading towards being Responsive Analytics.

Please use the comments below, if you have any comments, feedback or have other suggestions for optimizing the Home page, given the quest above.

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Category: Customer Engagement Platform, Digital Marketing, Personalization, Sitecore, Web Analytics Comment »


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