Yes, Google has done it again.
Pissed off every website owner in the world wide web – all in the name of “user privacy“.
I am all for privacy, but isn't it Google's job to deliver the best possible results to the users?
And how am I supposed to optimize my blog for those results if Google stops telling me what it is that the users are searching for and how they are finding me?
Let me back up a bit.
Google is in the process of switching to encrypted search for all its logged-in users BY DEFAULT.
In other words, if you are logged in to your Gmail, Google Plus, or whatever Google service you use (and let's face it: Google and each one of us are attached at the hip in some way) and decide to perform a search at http://www.Google.com, you'll be automatically redirected to Google SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) search https://www.Google.com.
Notice the “s” at the end of the last URL.
You can learn more about this change from the horse's mouth.
What does it mean to webmasters in practical terms?
It means that in cases of SSL searches, Google will no longer pass the “referrer” data, so we will no longer know which keywords brought the visitor.
It's already showing up in Google Analytics:
Google would like for us not to worry about missing out on this essential data. Ha!
1. The percentage of SSL searches will be low.
Matt Cutts estimated even at full roll-out, this would still be in the single-digit percentages of all Google searchers on Google.com.
2. Google Webmaster Tools will still provide keyword stats.
According to Google, you can still view the top 1000 daily search queries and top 1000 daily landing pages for the past 30 days.
They mean like this?
Does Google really expect me to believe that my blog ranks for the keyword “youtube” AND even brings me traffic through it?
Of course, not.
Not on the first 10 pages anyway.
What this means is that my blog does rank for some sort of YouTube-related keyword, but Google Analytics won't tell me what specific keyword it is or which post ranks for it or where it ranks.
Some statistics intelligence…
Well, here's what I have to say to Google: I don't need you to tell me what keywords bring me traffic any longer!
All rank checkers work the same. You feed them with the number of keywords you WOULD LIKE to rank for and they'll spit out your current rankings for these keywords.
What if I want to know what OTHER keywords my blog is actually ranking for – the ones I am not optimizing for?
“Accidental” rankings, in other words.
What if I wanted to see what my competitors are ranking for and “borrow” their keywords I KNOW bring traffic?
What if I wanted to research new affiliate products in demand?
SEMRush to the Rescue
Here it comes to save the day! (sounds much better in my head when I sing it)
SEMRush is an advanced keywords/competition research SEO software from the makers of the popular SEOQuake.
In a nutshell, it gives you a bird's eye view on how your site is doing in Google search engine rankings, as well as takes a look at what your competitors are doing, both in organic results and AdWords.
SEMRush dips into its constantly updated database of some 35+million most popular, most searched for, and most expensive (Google AdWords) keywords to find every keyword any site ranks for in the top 20 positions.
Just like this:
Here I am able to see that Problogger.net…
- ranks for some 7,000 keywords in the top 20 results for Google organic search.
- isn't buying any keywords through AdWords (why should they with the amount of traffic they get, right?). If they DID pay for any keywords, that would give us some additional information on what keywords are profitable, i.e. will bring us a lot of buyers if we manage to get ranked organically for the same keywords.
- what their top keywords are in terms of the percentage of traffic they bring regardless of their placement within the first 20 results (as you can see in the image above, keyword “adsense” brings them the most traffic even though they are positioned #7 for the keyword).
- which exact page ranks for any given keyword.
- a bunch of other great insights; take a look at SEMRush to see for yourself.
By the way, this is how I sometimes come up with the new content ideas for Traffic Generation Cafe – see via what keywords my competitors are bringing their traffic in and then write a better post on the topic.
As you can see from the image above, Problogger.net is ranking #1 for one of the most competitive keywords in internet marketing “make money blogging“.
There's probably a slim chance you and I can outrank them for the keyword; however, SEMRush.com can give us some ideas of other related keywords we can take a look at.
The resulting SEMRush search produced 204 results sorted by the volume of searches each keyword gets on a monthly bases, compared to only 100 results provided by Google Keyword research tool.
SEMRush Is Perfect…
…If you are looking to find more profitable niche-related keywords.
For instance, if you are in any internet marketing niche, you can easily find keywords that will bring you the most search engine traffic.
…If you want to make sure you stay on top of your competitors.
You can easily look up just about any domain name in SEMRush.com and find out which keywords your competition ranks for and you should probably rank for as well.
…If you are looking for profitable affiliate products to promote.
This is definitely a huge money-maker.
I discovered tons of great products that might be of interest to my readers as well as bring in a healthy amount of buying traffic from Google.
…If you want to find the “low-hanging fruit” keywords.
i.e. good keywords that you are ranking for on page 2, but can easily build some links to and move it up to page 1.
It's always much easier to improve your existing rankings, than to start from scratch.
…If you have no idea where to even start doing your keyword research.
If you are in a difficult or diverse niche and have no idea what keywords your blog should rank for, this is the perfect solution for you.
Just plug in your competitors' domains and see what THEY are ranking for, then simply “borrow” their keywords.
…If you provide any kind of consulting services.
This is priceless information you can provide for your clients to help them to define their niche better, find the best keywords to optimize for, find the kind of content their potential customers are looking for – the possibilities are endless.
SEMRush: Free or Paid?
SEMRush.com free version will give you access to the top 10 results for any given search up to 10 searches per day.
This is the SEMRush version I use; there's no way 10 results are enough for me.
As a matter of fact, I use it so often that I keep an open tab with SEMRush loaded at all times to check on the websites I stumble upon, content ideas, potential products to use and review, etc.
With this plan you can access up to 10K results per search up to 3K times per day.
Pro: $79.95 for one month access
This is perfect if you want access to all the research, but don't think you'll need it in the long run.
Get in, do all the research you need, and get out.
This plan is insane – I don't think my research demands will ever get anywhere close to the number of searches it can perform, but then again, some of their clients are giants like PayPal, Expedia, Forbes, Remax – I am sure their research requirements are slightly higher than mine.
SEMRush Wish List
1. Doesn't track less frequent terms.
They have a HUGE database of keywords – close to 40 million, but there are still some keywords that simply don't get enough searches for them to be included.
That will include recent products, rising stars in any particular field, etc.
Some of them I can do without; some of them I wish they had.
They do constantly expand their database though.
2. Provides 20 tops results only.
Granted, most Google search users will never go beyond page two of the results, but it would still be good to know what potential keywords you might need to build links for to move them up in the results.
3. Only tracks Google.com results.
But then again, who cares about other search engines anyway, right?
4. Doesn't provide any backlink information.
If I want to see how my competitors got to the top of Google for their keywords, I still use SEO Competition module of my Market Samurai.
SEMRush.com Marketing Takeaway
I don't cry about the loss of Google Analytics data any longer.
As a matter of fact, SEMRush provides me with all the intelligence I need to take over Google.
Now, it's only a matter of time…
Still laughing with the evil laugh,