Big news today in the worlds of inbound marketing and search. HubSpot's blog reported that Google might soon encrypt all the keyword referral data that it sends to your website. Simply put, this means that Google will at some point take away your ability to see what words visitors are searching for to arrive at your website.
It's a bummer, to put it mildly. Google is taking away valuable insight that agencies, marketers and businesses can use for brand building and revenue growth. Why would the un-evil Google do such a thing? Dolla' bills y'all.
Google Wants Your Money
Google isn't a non-profit, right? Like any viable business, Google must seek to enhance and increase its revenue streams. My sense is that the continued siphoning off of free keyword data is designed to increase Google's search monopoly in the following ways:
- Increased PPC Growth- Well of course you can get access to Google data, just spend some money on Google's AdWords and you will have access to a treasure trove of keyword data. This is good for Google, but do you want to continue to increase your PPC budget every month? And won't your competition be going to Google to do the exact same thing? All that might mean is higher PPC prices and lower click-through rates for you. Google wins again.
- Only The Data Please - Google might also have the ability to charge for access to Google data specific to your site. You might not plan on spending any marketing budget on PPC but you still need to know the best words to use in building out your inbound marketing website or how to most appropriately name your site pages.
- Only the Data In an App Please - What about folks like Hubspot? Maybe Google will provide HubSpot with an app that will let it access Google keyword data for a fee. If that is the case, how hefty would that fee be and how would it be passed on to end users of HubSpot and HubSpot's competitors?
- How about some Consulting with that Data Please - Since they own the keyword data, Google could also choose to offer their expertise and guidance around that data - and truly extend their search monopoly.
Why You Shouldn't Care
Everyone wants more data, more insight. It's natural to seek information. But should you be more concerned about (and spend more time researching) your keywords or your customer buyer persona? Should you worry more about keywords or how what you actually do solves a business problem? If that is clear on your website. You will be OK. If it's not or your not sure then get some help. It's not gonna get any easier or less competitive out there.
What You Should Do Right Now
Tools like HubSpot already provide valuable data like page visits, click through rates of calls-to-action and conversion rates. This data won't go away. Knowing which content on your site works and which doesn't is arguably more valuable that tweaking that content for a specific keyword - as is aligning that content with a specific buyer persona. For example, Virginia recently wrote a HubSpot focused post that received a good deal of traction for us. Given the popularity of Virginia's blog, we'll likely do more blogs focused on what to do soon after you start using HubSpot. We didn't need keywords to figure that out. We have always been focused on helping people optimized HubSpot. Solve problems well, and you'll be OK.
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