When Google unleashed 100 percent secure search, many brands scrambled to figure out how to measure their SEO performance heading forward.
While SEO as a practice continues to evolve, search marketing and technology company Acronym argues that keywords are still at the heart of SEO. Today, Acronym announces a new way to glean important keyword data in spite of the majority "(not provided)" message marketers are seeing.
Acronym's "Keyword Provided" algorithm is the company's solution to the lack of keyword data brands are currently facing. Built into its Keyword Objects tool, Acronym said the data has been tested with a 99 percent accuracy level.
"Acronym has developed a patent-pending algorithm to recreate your keywords with near-perfect accuracy," the company said in an announcement. "Our Keyword Provided Algorithm maps each keyword '(not provided)' visit to one of thousands of visitor profiles that are customized to your site using such factors as geography, buying patterns, URLs visited and much more."
The results, according to Acronym, are keywords matched with visits and conversions.
While many brands have responded to the "(not provided)" dilemma by making the best of the situation and focusing on other ways to measure SEO, some brands have absolutely come to rely on keywords to show organic search performance.
Mohamed Allibhai is product manager in search and analytics at Dealertrack Technologies, a large provider of business services to the auto dealership industry in the U.S. and Canada. For many years, auto dealers would pair with marketing channels like AutoTrader.com and Edmunds, and spend as much as $700 per lead, regardless of whether or not the lead converted to a sale, said Allibhai.
Search marketing and organic SEO has provided these auto dealerships the leads they need at a much lower price – as low as $15 per lead, he said. However, the keywords that are driving the traffic and conversions are crucial to not only the success of the SEO campaign, said Allibhai, but also important to reporting on search marketing's ROI comparatively. So the lack in keyword data has been an issue, he said.
Allibhai added that keyword data hasn't just helped the auto dealers plan the content strategy, but is also responsible for how their websites are built so they have "out-of-the-box SEO value."
Michael Bruh is Acronym's president and COO. Bruh says the keyword is still the closest proxy to intent, and no company is better at understanding that value than Google – as the search engine itself uses queries to serve up the most relevant results. And this is what brands need to be able to do as well, Bruh said.
When "(not provided)" became an issue, Bruh said Acronym knew it had to do something different to find the keyword-level data that was out there and make it available to brands.
While other companies may say it's OK to deal with SEO performance at the page level and estimating the value of a keyword, said Bruh, "we're saying it's not OK. For large enterprises, it's not OK. You can't deal with dynamic keyword lists – hundreds of thousands of keywords – and not know exactly, not estimated, but exactly what that keyword was for that visit and that conversion."
Bruh mentioned the sentiment among some of the larger enterprises performing SEO is the same, and skeptical at best when it comes to putting their businesses in the hands of Google and its promise to reward sites focusing on creating great content – a directive that's fuzzy to many brands, Bruh said.
While Bruh doesn't disagree with the strategy of creating the best web content possible for the audience, he said keyword data is essential in finding those content gaps that need to be filled.
Allibhai at Dealertrak tested the Keyword Provided functionality from Acronym, and said the results were eye opening after dealing with such a shrunken data set from secure search.
"I cannot convey what a difference this is between what we are seeing now and what we were seeing before … all of a sudden overnight, it went from having a really linear picture to having a multidimensional picture of what's trending and what's working."
For more information about Keyword Objects, Acronym's tool running the new Keyword Provided algorithm, check out this page.