When Google announced last year that it would encrypt all keyword data, marketers scrambled to find alternative methods to track searches -- including gathering data from Bing, utilizing AdWords stats and looking at top landing pages.
But as the storm subsided, it seemed that analytics weren’t completely necessary after all. While a huge help, they don’t necessarily govern an SEO strategy. Here are six creative ways to be successful in SEO without any analytics at all:
1. Talk to your customers. The simplest and most obvious way to avoid analytics is to cut out the middle man and talk to as many of your loyal customers as you can. You’ll get a better feel for how your SEO is working and where you need to optimize when you hear it directly from the people you’ve affected.
2. Focus on relevant content. When you focus on analytics, creating great content can take a backseat to constant anxieties about backlinks, social shares, bounce rate and more. You’d be surprised to see just how far good content goes -- no data needed.
3. Monitor backlinks and ensure a clean link profile. Using other programs that aren’t necessarily analytics-based -- such as Raven SEO Tools and Majestic-SEO -- will help to ensure that your link profile is clean and will also improve your organic ranking. These same tools can also monitor your backlinks in order to avoid having to remove a lot of negative links all at once.
4. Throw yourself into social media. Never underestimate the power of social shares and engagement. It takes a while to see shares of your articles. Don’t simply look at the social shares on your own site and assume that it means that one post is more popular than another. Make it a priority to go out and promote your posts on the social networks where you’re active. Only then can you make accurate assumptions about how your content is performing.
5. Use a tool to analyze your anchor text. While this strategy does employ data, it doesn’t require Google analytics and can help you understand the organic growth of your company. CognitiveSEO, for instance, shows you the anchor text that is being used when people link back to your website. This will help you see what terms are getting the most attention so that your writers can focus on those terms.
6. Stay informed. Part of having a successful SEO strategy is staying informed about what is going on in the industry—both your own industry and the SEO industry. If you’re following trends and understand how Google might be evolving, you’re already ahead of many businesses who ignore these trends.
Analytics are important to understand, but that doesn’t mean that finding creative ways to measure SEO without them is a waste of time. While I suspect that Google’s encryption of keyword data will be the biggest curveball we see for a while, you never know.
Do you know of any other ways to create a successful SEO strategy without using any analytics? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Scott Langdon is an entrepreneur with over 13 years of internet marketing experience, and currently serves as a managing partner of the nationally-recognized SEO firm HigherVisibility. Langdon and the HigherVisibility team work with clients of all sizes from across the country to offer a full range of interactive marketing services. He resides in Memphis, Tennessee.