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Believing The SEO Is Dead Hype Is A Mistake

Ever since a larger chunk of Google’s keyword referral data has been masked, it has become increasingly difficult for SEOs to do their jobs. This data helped them identify where organic searches are sending value to their sites and have metrics to track about organic traffic. Since this data had become withheld as a result of ongoing efforts to protect the user, quite a lot of articles have been crying “SEO is dead”.

Why? Because it has instantly become more difficult to tell if any of the optimizations you are doing are having any effect at all. Before, you could optimize a site, watch it pull in more traffic, and be able to tell what keywords were used to find you. Now, you can optimize a site and have it grow, but you won’t be able to tell if your optimizations had to anything to do with it. That kind of makes the benefits of SEO a harder sell, doesn’t it?

Why SEO Isn’t Dead
However, to believe that SEO is dead is a mistake. Why? Because Google still pays attention to many of the ranking factors that SEOs have been relying on. Even with the latest Hummingbird update, which was basically a rebuilt Google algorithm, the major change was in how it interpreted that data.

Keywords Aren’t Going Anywhere
One thing that many SEOs feared after keyword data was no longer being made available was that keyword-centered optimization was no longer effective. However, according to ECreativeWorks.com:

Keywords are still relevant! Just because this (Not Provided) bucket is now at 100% from Google, it does not mean we don’t have ANY keyword information.

How to Get the Analytics You Need
And it’s not like experienced SEOs don’t know where to go to get good analytics. Jennifer Slegg of SearchEngineWatch.com says:

Look at your non-Google search engine referral traffic. While Bing doesn’t send a significant portion of traffic for a site will looking at overall search, you still can get an idea of what keywords are bringing traffic, particularly for sites that have significant amount traffic. However, for smaller sites, this isn’t ideal.If you’re in a country where Google doesn’t dominate the search market, you will have the advantage.

You can also use Google Webmaster Tools, which not only provides keyword data, but other information that Google never made available in Analytics. One of the best things you can do is use both in tandem and use the information from either one to fill the holes in the other’s data.

The Big Picture of SEO

Just as the Panda and Penguin updates before it, Hummingbird and Google’s decision to withhold keyword data will help weed out the amateur SEOs from the ones that really know what they are doing. Already, many of them have found some workarounds to get the keyword information they need.

Certainly, there will be quite a number of businesses that will reduce their budget for SEO in the long run. After all, the keyword referral data that Google used to provide was a great tool for deriving analytics information. And it probably won’t be long until Yahoo and Bing jumps in and make their own keyword referral data unavailable.

According to Jennifer Slegg:

The abilities and role of an SEO have been changed dramatically. It will never be as easy to get the organic search data as it has been up to this point, with the possible exception of Google making a paid version of Google Analytics that does contain that missing (not provided) data. It will be the SEO professionals who are able to adjust and compensate for the missing data who will win the rankings game in the end.


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