Since the beginning of Google Analytics, Google has been allowing webmasters and marketers the ability to see the search keywords that are driving search traffic to their webpages. Marketers use this data to help create keyword-focused content and a better user experience. However, for the past two years, Google has been withholding referring keyword data and increasing the percentage of “keywords (not provided),” partially due to secure search trends.
According to an article in Search Engine Watch, a Google spokesperson recently commented, “We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.”
This “keyword (not provided)” trend has been tracked over the past two years by the website (Not Provided) Count. On this website, you can plainly see the alarming rate at which Google is removing referring keywords from their data. In just the past week, the rate has skyrocketed. As of 9/25/13, this website is tracking Google’s keyword blocking at 76%. As a point of reference, I checked all my websites’ analytics and got a similar number for month-to-date September. When I check yesterday’s specific data, I get a higher number—87%.
Google’s choice for 100% protected keyword referral data is not clear. They have made no official comment to date on the subject. All we know for sure is that soon 100% of all Google’s referral keywords will be blocked!
Finding your referring keywords to help build content is definitely going to be more difficult with this change, but not impossible.
Here are 6 Keyword Research methods you can use:
The first thing to remember is that Bing and Yahoo! always show the referring keywords for their search traffic. However, you would need to be using an analytics service (e.g., Omniture, Webtrends, BrightEdge, etc.) in order to see that data. There will also be some limited data in your Bing Webmaster Tools account.
As for Google stats, you still have the ability to see the past 90-days of referring keywords data in your Google Webmaster Tools account. You won’t get as much data (limited to the top 2,000 keywords), and it definitely won’t be as accurate as Google Analytics used to be.
Does your website have an on-site search function? That will be your best resource to see what search terms are popular for your website. Hopefully your site has a dashboard that will allow access to this information. If your website is built on a WordPress platform, you can use one of the WordPress search analytics plug-ins to accomplish this.
If you run Google AdWords campaigns, you also have good keyword data in that account. Download your keyword volume data and analyze that. You can also run branded keyword campaigns and look at which of those keywords are driving traffic to your pages.
Don’t forget about keyword ‘suggestion’ tools such as Ubersuggest, Google Suggest or Google Instant. Google Instant is the name of the text auto-complete function that runs when you type in the Google search box. Google Suggest works on every one of their search queries. The “related keywords” reside at the bottom of each Google search engine results page.
Google Trends is another available option. It will show you a keyword’s popularity and trends over the past 9 years. It’s an awesome tool that even allows you to compare multiple keywords over time.
One final note; as you’re compiling all this new data, watch to see if some of these sources have “geo-localization” or “personalization” influences. If those do exist, you’ll want to weigh that into your future keyword marketing decisions.
As SEO Strategist for the NAS Interactive Division of NAS Recruitment Communications, Larry Engel oversees the research, design and implementation of search engine optimization (SEO) methods for client career sites. His recruitment agency experience includes 12 years in account management, 5 years as a Certified Google Advertising Professional (AdWords GAP Program) and 2+ years’ concentration in SEO. Larry also has OMCP Master Certification in Social Media Marketing (SMM) and recently completed a mini MBA in SMM from Rutgers University.
As part of our ongoing series ‘The Insider’s View,’ we give you access to the thoughts and opinions of top HR leaders, specifically around their views on The Candidate Experience. Our goal is to have a one-on-one conversation, with honest and real answers, absent of any unnecessary buzzwords or fluff. It’s our hope that this information gives you helpful tips or spurs new ideas for improving your candidate experience. Click here for other conversations in our series.
This month, I’m excited to feature Robin McCord, Ed.D., the Director of Learning and Development & Employment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. While I’ve only known her a short amount of time, I’ve been thoroughly impressed not only with her level of knowledge but also the passion she brings to her role. She has some challenges that many of us would dream of…namely working for a prestigious organization where people line up to apply. The sheer volume of applications puts pressure on managing the process so St. Jude can deliver a great candidate experience, something Robin doesn’t take for granted.
Below you will get a taste of Robin’s passion for creating a best-in-class Candidate Experience, while always remaining true to the critical mission of St. Jude. Enjoy…
What does ‘Candidate Experience’ mean to you?
Anyone applying for a job at any company has a preconceived notion of what that company is like and how it operates. They have an expectation of the hiring process, as well. The candidate experience represents how closely the reality of the entire process approximates these expectations. This is why every step is important; from clicking on the company’s careers website, completing the online application, communicating with recruiters and assistants, interviewing, receiving an offer and onboarding. It has to be user-friendly, quick, fair and transparent. St. Jude enjoys a reputation as an innovative, world-class organization, and the candidate experience should reflect that.
What is the biggest recruiting challenge you face today?
Achieving the successful candidate experience that I described above. We received over 40,000 applications for about 600 openings in our last fiscal year. We are the number one place Millennials want to work according to a recent survey. It often feels like everyone wants to work here, yet many of our jobs are highly specialized and require very specific skill sets that are not easy to find. Given our critical mission to find cures and save children, most jobs require prior experience so new hires can immediately contribute. With this volume of applicants, it can be difficult to provide a stellar candidate experience for everyone, especially those we must decline.
What has been the best change you have implemented this past year?
We are implementing two major changes that are critical for our long-term success. First, we are reviewing every third-party service provider to ensure we are getting the best service possible. In cases where we are not satisfied, we change providers. Then, we are integrating technologies to free up time currently spent on manual tasks, such as constantly checking to see if background checks or drug screens are complete. We want all the systems to be integrated so we can intervene only when necessary.
Second, we are working to build more strategic, consultative relationships with hiring managers. As we free up time through technology integration, we are changing the expectation for recruiting staff to evolve from being a tactical recruiter to a recruiting business partner. We want the hiring managers to see us as experts who can help them meet their business goals through strategic selection.
How do you define success in delivering a superb Candidate Experience?
I want every candidate to say “Wow” or some variation thereof, at least once. Even if they don’t make it past the initial application screen, I want them to be impressed by some part of the careers website or ATS. I want people to have the same impression of the candidate experience that they have of St. Jude – we are world class in everything we do.
What keeps you up at night?
Metrics. We need to review our metrics to ensure they are meaningful to someone besides HR – namely hiring managers and senior leaders. We have good historical metrics, but we are lacking in business impact and predictive metrics, including quality of applicant pool, quality of hire and satisfaction of applicants/new hires. I would like to have the perfect mix of 10 or fewer metrics that truly informs our operations and ability to add value to the organization.
Matt Adam serves as Executive Vice President & Chief Talent Strategist for NAS Recruitment Communications. Having spent nearly 20 years as a recruitment strategy consultant for a diverse client roster, he has worked with a wide variety of organizations to develop effective recruitment marketing strategies that define and shape an organization’s recruiting efforts in today’s interactive marketplace.
Matt is also a featured industry keynote speaker on topics such as Employment Branding, Best of Class Career Websites and Mobile Recruiting.
by Larry Engel
1) Chasing the talent (with advertising, paid job board postings, social/referral outreach, head hunters, job fairs, etc.)
2) Making it easy for talent to find you (through online searches, published articles/news/events, social media presence, etc.)
Both methods can net your organization a bunch of great talent, but the second one can really help you raise your employer profile, build your employment brand, and most important, bring more talent right to your virtual doorstep. (more…)
by Monica Lukas
As a brand developer and message articulator, I do research in a variety of ways prior to processing any creative thought toward employment brand ideation. I review your website and career site, collateral, advertising, social media action, marketing and brand guidelines, as well as read press releases of things happening in your world.
Another important step in developing your employment brand is conducting on-site focus groups with real live people who work in your organization.
Why do all this research? Why take all this time? Why spend the money? Why is it important?
Great questions! Can I blog about it? (more…)
by Kevin Hawkins
You know who you want to hire, but just how well do you know them? Understanding your candidates is a critical first step in creating a good candidate experience and ensuring that your employment brand messaging engages the right job seekers and compels them to act. Your ideal candidate is not simply defined by job title, skill set or professional experience….
To engage right-fit talent, you need to know more.
For example, do you know whether she is active on social media or virtually lives on her mobile …what she most values in a career…what kind of a work environment she thrives in? Do you know what most influences his perceptions? Individually, these things may seem unimportant, but they define your candidates, how they find and pursue career opportunities, and even how long they may remain in a position. The better you know your ideal candidate, the better you can focus on attracting the right person for your immediate and long-term needs. (more…)
Before you know it, you’ll be visiting university and college campuses across the country, hoping to find some fresh new talent and persuade them join your team.
So now’s the time to ask yourself…
Do you know what college students and new grads are looking for in a career?
Do you know how and where you can expect to connect with them?
Check out our infographic to learn what soon-to-be grads are thinking and doing, and how you can use that knowledge to connect with right-fit talent and get the best return on your campus recruiting investment. (more…)
from the NAS team
Most of your candidates would like to be able to search and apply for jobs on their mobile phones. Are you ready?
Visit the NAS website and learn more about the increasing popularity of mobile among job seekers, and how you can use mobile to recruit more great talent. Click here to check out our mobile trends article and watch Matt Adam’s recent mobile recruiting webinar. (more…)