guy with periscopeYou may have heard of a little upstart search engine calling themselves Google. Averaging just over 5 billion searches per day throughout the world, Google has become the undisputed “go to” answer engine.

Recently, they’ve started to encrypt all keyword searches, making it more difficult to drill deep into what people are looking for when searching and thus write your online content accordingly. But what does that mean for your Orlando-based medical office marketing?  We explain below.

Background

Keywords are the search terms a user enters to find content around the web. Successful inbound marketers have been using the data for years to help determine how to help clients display in search results with higher rankings throughout Google. Think about it: by knowing what people are looking for to find your site (or your competitors), it helps you know how you should word things in order to be found even more. You can watch trends for free – or at least you used to be able to.

In 2011, Google started to add Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption for users signed-in to Google and Google-related products (Chrome, G Mail, YouTube, etc.). Essentially, that meant anything you searched for was encrypted to keep it private as long as you were signed in to your Google account. But, the search giant is now working to bring this extra level of protection to everyone that uses the site – but why?

Sure, extra protection is great and all, but many inbound marketing minds think the switch is an attempt by Google to block NSA spying activities through their products.  Since Google was recently accused of giving the NSA accesses to its search data (which they have repeatedly denied), this would be an extra step to protect users.

Way back in 2011, Google said the encryption would impact less than 10 percent of searches conducted. In January of this year, however, about 55 percent of organic searches were encrypted says Hubspot. Today, according to the website Not Provided Count, nearly 74 percent of search terms are encrypted.

What Does it Mean for You?

The answer to that depends entirely on how much you used to use keyword data in your marketing efforts. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, it won’t change what you do at all. However, if you were using keywords to help you strategize your online marketing presence, it’s a bit of a blow (even if the intention is a worthy one).back-bone-300x72

Although we don’t know exactly when the data will be made unavailable, it’s still something on the minds of many marketers throughout Central Florida and the U.S. We’ve always said that great content is worth far more than any keyword, and that still rings true. When you have quality content that’s shared and endorsed from authoritative websites, you will help your office and your website more than picking a few “hot” keywords any day of the week.

Even without specific keyword information, you’ll still be able to track how much traffic comes to your website through organic searches via Google Analytics. This will allow you to correlate what you’re doing to help determine, at the very least, that your content creation efforts are paying off.

Also, for the time being at least, you can still connect your Google Adwords account to Google Analytics and use that data for keyword research. Of course, this only works if you’re paying for pay-per-click advertising through AdWords. You will still be able to see clicks on your ads, so don’t worry there.

The Wrap Up

Although this makes marketing a little bit more difficult, it’s not the end of the world. If you’ve ever done any of your own physician office marketing, you know that we are generally dealing with incomplete data no matter what project we’re working on. The trick is, and has always been, to interpret that data into meaningful ways that will fill up your appointment and/or surgery schedule. That remains unchanged.

If you remember nothing else from this article, remember that even without keyword data, the best way to ensure a successful inbound marketing program for your medical practice is content. Then content again. Then content one more time.

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