How Your Keyword Strategy Is Failing You (and How to Fix It)

Published: May 31, 2017

The most common reasons for failure in the land of SEO are from using outdated techniques. The field has changed tremendously since the early search engines, with significant alterations each year. If your SEO practice isn’t keeping up with the latest techniques, it is likely that you are being left behind.

Search Results Are Now Personalized

In the old days, when anyone searched a set of keywords, they would get the same result, no matter who or where they were. Search engines have since gotten a lot more complex and they now personalize our results based on our search history, location and social media. Don’t believe me? Use a VPN to connect to a server other than your location and perform the same search in each. You’ll see how wildly the results vary.

Keyword Strategy

This is great for users, because they get more useful results, but it has presented new challenges to SEO marketers. If everyone gets different results, how can you effectively know which terms are most useful?

Referral Data Is No Longer as Clear

Webmasters used to receive precise data on who was accessing their website and with which keywords.  When you look at Google Analytics now, the majority of your organic traffic is now hidden. This is apparently for privacy reasons, but the fact that you can pay for this data with AdWords makes many people question Google’s motives.

What Should You Do Now?

Because keyword rankings can no longer be relied upon and the referral data is no longer given freely, the process has changed. Rather than solely focusing on keywords, we can look at how our content and landing pages are performing. We can work backwards with this information and use a range of long-tail key phrases.

Take a look at some of your site’s most popular content in Google Analytics, then compare this information against whatever data is available in Google’s Search Console. This gives you an idea of the phrases that are driving traffic to your site. Another option is to use one of the many paid tools that can help track long-tail key phrases in relation to landing pages. This can help you to come up with the best key phrase strategy so that you can optimize your content, and thus your conversions.

The New SEO

The years of algorithm changes have completely changed the SEO landscape. Getting and maintaining a high page rank is no longer just about having the right keywords in the right places. The environment has morphed to the point where an effective SEO strategy needs to take a holistic and multidisciplinary approach.

Your SEO strategy needs to take a range of other aspects into account, include social media and the delivery of high quality content. It is often best to also combine it with other marketing aspects such as email and pay per click. You should be focusing on your brand as a whole, rather than just the next clicks and conversions. It is becoming more of a long term game that incorporates a range of different aspects.

This doesn’t mean that traditional SEO isn’t still important. Keyword research and analytics certainly still have their place, but now they are just a part of the puzzle instead of the totality. The end result is that maintaining a high page rank is much more difficult, competitive and time consuming than it once was.

A modern SEO strategy needs to be well thought-out, involving long term planning that is responsive to any changes in the market or the algorithms. SEO is still vital, but it needs to be carefully monitored and always ready for change.