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Google’s Unknown Keywords Jump from 22% to 55% in the Last 30 Days

By Chad PollittFeb 23, 2012

All webmasters around the world are experiencing blind spots in their ability to track what keywords are driving traffic to their websites. We’ve already picked apart and reported on Google’s explanation and provided our opinions as to the fall out, as well. The 22% experienced last month was bad enough, but we never anticipated such massive growth in the blind spot in such a short period of time. In addition, a full 44% of Kuno's organic search driven leads have an unknown keyword source. This blind spot makes it impossible to accurately track return on investment from traditional organic SEO campaigns based on traffic driven from ranked keyword phrases.

Unknown Keywords GoogleWhy is the SEO Blind Spot Growing?

As mentioned in previous posts, if anyone is logged into any Google property and performs a search the keyword used in the query is not reported to the webmaster. This is purely conjecture, but it seems the growth of Google+ may have increased the number of searchers logged into Google while performing a search.


 

It may also be true that the blind spot growth is occurring because Google rolled out its SSL certificate to different geographies at different times. The 55% blind spot mentioned in the title may simply be due to the inclusion of the rest of the world in Google’s SSL role out. Whatever the reason, webmasters are partially blind to organic search traffic.

Rethinking SEO

As discussed in Stop Obsessing Over Rank – It is the Wrong SEO Metric, worrying about where a website ranks for a particular set of keyword phrases is the wrong approach to maximizing organic search traffic and organic leads. Maximizing how many keywords drive traffic regardless of rank is a better approach for optimizing organic search traffic and leads. This can be accomplished through an aggressive content marketing deployment. Given this huge hole webmasters around the world are now faced with, tracking SEO results this way is more important than ever.

The blind spot makes it more difficult to track exactly how many keyword phrases drive traffic as well, but as long as a webmaster focuses on the month-to-month growth in reported keywords (taking into account the numbers aren’t exact) and the growth’s direct effect on the number of leads generated the webmaster will have a good metric to gauge content marketing's effect on organic traffic and leads.

Conclusions

It's possible Kuno's website is a unique case and some other outside force influenced the growth. However, it is much more likely that large swaths of the Internet are experiencing similar growth in unknown keywords. A quick 15 minutes on client websites bolster this assumption.

Google is slowly, but surely, minimizing the effects of technical SEO in favor of content marketing. While many like to blame this keyword reporting hole on Google’s attempt to increase their PPC revenue, it seems plausible that Google is also trying to squash the old technical SEO tactics by making their results much harder to track.

If a company is paying for and receives high rankings for their chosen keywords, but receives only a fraction of expected traffic, they probably won’t be too happy. This doesn’t bode well for those agencies out there that exclusively offer these services. For the best methods to maximize organic search traffic and leads watch this search engine optimization video.





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