The year 2015 has just begin and companies that haven’t started planning their online marketing strategy and budgeting for 2015 must begin soon.
In recent times there is an excessive dependence on Web analytics with reference to online marketing. Most businesses rely on it for the following:
- Decisions regarding what was or wasn’t effective
- What affects future decisions regarding where to invest time and money
- Making radical decisions like firing internal staff, replacing an SEO consultant/agency, or doing away with SEO altogether
All the above decisions are made on the basis of data thrown up by their stats package.
Evaluation of SEO Consultants
As SEO consultants we need to report results and prove the ROI we can generate for our clients. We are evaluated on certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which includes:
- Organic traffic growth (or)
- Sales conversions from organic search traffic.
But if like other SEOs you measure your impact by navigating to “Traffic Sources -> Sources -> Search -> Organic” in Google Analytics, then we have some news for you: Sorry. You’re doing it wrong!
Why is it so? Well, actually all those data don’t tell the whole story. Like crevasses on a glacier camouflaged or hidden under snow drifts, there are many dangerous holes camouflaged in your analytics data. If you’re not aware of them, you are sure to fall into one and as a result end up making incorrect or ineffective decisions like:
- Shutting down tactics that are highly effective tactics
- Investing time, money, and resources into strategies that are less effective
- Slowing down growth rate by taking a more arduous route
Hence it is highly critical for everyone involved in your SEO business especially your marketing staff, business planners and financial decision makers to understand the following 6 SEO challenges for 2015.
Challenge No.1: Google & Your Market Are Dynamic
One needs to know that Google and the market are not static. The goal of the clients is to gain market share, traffic and results forgetting the fact that it is very important to defend last year’s results and traffic!
Ranking on search engines or the traffic that is derived from them cannot be owned by you. Everything in the online world is both fluid and dynamically changing. Your competitors and other businesses are always trying to steal your market share, sales and traffic, sales.
Some of the challenges you will need to cope with include the following:
- Ever-changing environment
- Evolving technologies
- Google’s shifting algorithms
- Behavioral changes in your market
- New apps and devices
If your website has enjoyed a good ranking and wonderful organic traffic last year it does not mean that it will continue in the current year. It is not possible to defend past results without a proper plan and a strategy to fight night and day against fresh competition. You can’t expect to continue seeing upward trends in Google Analytics or profit curves that move in a positive direction.
Hence the following message is clear:
- To defend your visibility, traffic, conversions and sales you need to allocate money and resources in your 2015 budget
- Day by Day competition is getting stiff and fiercer
- Companies who do not have a defensive strategy could either lose or even go bankrupt.
- Good judgment and foresight are most essential as business is a losing approach.
- SEO is not just “click and install” but it is a continuous process. Hence you can’t leave it “as is.”
- SEO strategies are in constant flux and the previous year’s methods may not be effective. You will need to fine tune or even give a complete makeover to your techniques.
Challenge No.2: You Need to Dig to Get the Whole Picture
With regards to analytics data it is not always necessary that you get what you see.
For example take into consideration the iOS referrer issue that has plagued the SEO community for almost a year:
A change in Apple’s iOS 6 which is not anticipated by Google means that […] those who after doing searches from within Safari are reaching websites from Google’s search engine will be regarded as “direct” traffic rather than “search” traffic.
Depending on the size of the mobile traffic your site gets, this issue could mean that a major chuck of your organic search traffic is completely not visible.
Recently the iOS issue was resolved to some extent at least. But, the fix is neither perfect nor is it retroactive. Thus, there will still be discrepancies when analysts review the entire year’s data, which cannot be easily reconciled. If the analysts are unaware of this issue, it might appear as if SEO efforts are ineffective.
If you are measuring the SEO success using traffic data from your Web analytics platform, this misrepresentation of organic traffic might prove to be very risky and costly. Hence it becomes very essentially as search marketers when analyzing data and creating reports we must always keep our finger on the pulse of change and account for such variables.
What is the solution?
Technooyster the best SEO Company in Pune provides a concrete solution to overcome this challenge. You should establish a dashboard in your analytics tool wherein you can calculate, estimate trends and statistics. This will help you to have knowledge about the expected traffic from organic search. Though this is not bulletproof, as an experienced analyst we can help you get pretty close to perfection.
Challenge No. 3: Problem of Being Blindfolded
Google began encrypting searches for logged-in users two years ago. This prevented publishers from seeing keyword referral data out for these users’ searches in Google Analytics and other Web analytics platforms. Initially Google predicted that the “blacked out” search term data would only represent a single-digit percentage of keyword referral data. But in some cases more than 50% of terms are being withheld, in some websites.
It is difficult to see anything when your eyes are blindfolded. You will find it difficult to see what keywords search users used to find your business when they are logged into Google. This mass of data is displayed under the label, “not provided” on Google Analytics,
What is the solution to this issue?
Well, not much can be done but we suggest that you be aware of it. You will have to accept the fact that it’s harder now to tell whether generic keywords or brand-specific keywords brought the search traffic to your website.
Challenge No.4: SERPs Frequent Changes
SERPs or Search engine results pages have changed a lot. Vertical or Universal search is being aggressively promoted by Google and it is pushing search results further down and placing its own products above organic. For some even a No.3 ranking for high volume keywords has resulted in a disastrous drop in organic search traffic. This can be mainly attributed to the following reasons:
- A user must scroll to see their listings on a 1024×768 pixel screen
- More competition from other sites
- More of number elements clamoring for both attention as well as clicks
If your organic traffic growth is flat, what should be done to resolve it?
- Don’t blame yourself for it.
- Do not fire your SEO
- Do not reduce spending
- You should be proud of the fact that despite the relatively little growth this year, you have still not failed. It is definitely an admirable achievement to retain traffic amidst all the odds, changes and challenges. You will need to find out what kept you ticking all the time.
- It is always ideal to be realistic as far as your expectations are concerned and it is quite difficult to predict the future.
Challenge No.5: Traditional SEO Not the Solution
SERPs are not static and they in fact vary by user location. Mobile search is exploding and Google knows where your users are when they search. It presents them with locally relevant suggestions.
For instance, when you’re in Paris and when you search for hotels, you’ll be presented with a list of local hotels in France. If your ranking on those SERPs is not high enough, you will lose the sale to your competitor.
Social signals are also being thrown into the mix and are now considered to be very important. Client reviews are more important and critical than ever before. More than other on-page SEO elements more weight is given to what other customers are saying about you and your business.
What is the solution?
It is very important to cope with this new reality in your SEO efforts. In 2015 you will need to include the following:
- Geo-targeted and multi-pronged search strategy should be adopted.
- You need to include a local SEO strategy, a national SEO strategy, and an international SEO strategy.
- Your business should be listed for the right local search terms.
- Customer testimonials should be invited.
- To attract ready-to-buy clients on the move, you should display social proof.
Challenge No.6: You Can Get into Trouble with Quick Fixes
“Band-aid”: SEO tactics are not only proving to be less effective, but they are also very dangerous. Beware! If you try them there are possibilities of Google banning you. Trying quick fixes at your own risk will only land you into trouble. We suggest that you follow SEO best practices to win over the long term as it is safer and more effective too.
Through this write up you will now known that there are challenges galore in SEO for 2015. Before planning and budgeting for this year it is very essential that you find out whether you are looking at the right data. It is necessary to be aware of these pitfalls. You should also remain diligent while digging deep into your data as there’s a good chance that you might tend to ignore all those things which is required to make a qualified and correct decision.
You can also share your suggestions, tips to resolve these issues and make it work better. Please feel to share your experiences if you have dealt with similar issues in your own business or consulting work.
- How did you dig deeper into your analytics data?
- What were your findings?
- How much extra organic traffic were you able to trace?
Go on lets discuss and you can leave a comment below.