Google Analytics is taking away your keyword data. There, I said it. Now take a moment to digest!
For years, I’ve been telling you to take advantage of a powerful tool that Google offers – Google Analytics. Google Analytics has been an incredibly useful tool for home improvement companies trying to improve their rankings on Google’s search results pages. Among its many features is its display of the keywords your website visitors searched on prior to landing at your website.
Too bad. Henceforth, Google Analytics will no longer tell you if any of your visitors searched on keywords “replacement windows” and “retractable awnings” before paying you a visit. Google is phasing out what I considered to be one of its key features for home improvement companies – and small businesses in general.
And if you don’t like it, well, tough. They’re Google. And the rest of us aren’t.
To better understand the significance of this, see this example from the Wordtracker Keywords Tool:
Per the example above, you can easily see the top ten keywords your Web site visitors used to find your website. Like WordTracker, Google Analytics provided simple, easy-to-understand reports that anyone could understand. You could see the number of searches in a month for keywords like “siding company” and “Bloomington roofer” quickly and easily…and compare that to previous periods. This was a key for small business users who needed to know how their visitors were actually finding their websites.
Now, Google has largely eliminated this essential feature, and what little remains will soon go away as well. I expect that Google will keep the rest of Google Analytics’ functionality in place – for now. But losing keyword level data will present home improvement executives like you with some key problems:
1) Understanding how your visitors search and find your Web site. It’s extremely helpful to know how their visitors are finding their Web sites. For example, if a visitor who arrived at your Web site by searching on the term “adult treehouse” is not nearly as valuable to you as a homeowner searching on the term “replacement windows”. In the case of the latter, you might actually have an opportunity to make a sale. So-called “junk traffic” has always plagued website owners, but Google’s move means that your traffic will get a little more opaque.
2) Comparing current results to previous periods. Since you won’t be able to access your future keyword–level traffic data, you won’t know if you’re hosting more or fewer visitors from key search terms like “roofing” and “solar panels.” This was a great way to see if you were rising or falling in the rankings from year to year, or month to month. You won’t lose your old data – thankfully. But you will shortly lose out on the ability to compare your current performance against historical data.
3) No more data on “long tail” keywords. One of the great benefits of keyword level data is the visibility it offers into understanding your visitor traffic from three and four-word keywords. “bath tub shower replacement” may seem like an important term to rank for if you sell bath liners, It’s relatively easy to rank high for so-called “long tail” terms like this, and they often drive very qualified prospects.
So why did Google change their policy and make this significant change to Google Analytics? It’s a great question…which I’ll answer in my blog post next week.