During the past few weeks, you may have seen some news about the changes to the way you can track which keywords people are using to find your website.

Google has made two significant changes recently.

1. They removed access to the free Google keyword tool. This was a handy tool which could you to help work out which keywords were used in search and how many websites were competing to use the keyword. It has been replaced by the Keyword planner tool accessed by signing up for an Adwords account. The general feeling is that the planner tool is not as good as the original tool, but this may change over time.

As an alternative you may want to consider the Wordtracker Free Keyword Tool which is “completely independent of Google”.

2. Google now encrypts all searches so you can no longer tell which keywords wereGoogle organic searches used when somebody arrives at your site from organic search (typing the words into Google search).   Keywords originating from Adwords campaigns will still be available.  Some data is still available from Google webmaster, but you can’t tell which keywords resulted in conversions. (this has a bug as at 2/10/13 see SearchEngineLand)

What does this mean for your business?

  • In my opinion, it is still worth thinking about the keywords that people might use to find your products and services as you will want to use the keywords in the meta tags of your web pages, social media and other content.  You may want to ask your customers which keywords they would use to find your products / services.
  • Using Google Analytics, you can identify whether traffic is coming from organic search or referrals so it is still important to include keywords in all aspects of your website.
  • If you use Google pay per click marketing, you can connect your Adwords account to your analytics account and use that information for keyword research.
  • The best way to get traffic to your site is to produce good quality, relevant content on Social Media platforms, blogs, video, E-books, SlideShare, etc, which is shared by others and enhances your credibility and reputation.  Let us know if you would like help with this.
  • This article by SearchEngineLand has some other ways to see how people are finding and using your website.

What changes will you make to your marketing plan with the changes in keywords? Please let us know in the comments below.