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Google’s Latest Blow to SEO Makes AdWords Call Tracking Keyword Data Essential

3 min readOctober 9, 2013

It’s official – Google’s long and gradual campaign to limit marketers’ visibility into organic keyword data is nearing completion. Some Google Analytics users are able to see just 25% of the organic keyword data that drives traffic from Google to their site, and a total eclipse of the keyword universe as we knew is at hand. To be clear, marketers will still be able to see natural search keyword data from Bing & Yahoo. But as we all know, when it comes to search, Google wears the pants.

Despite what the doomsday planners are saying, this is hardly the end of SEO. Organic search remains just as vital as it did a couple of years ago, and content marketing and other tactics designed to drive prospects to web sites will continue unabated. However, companies will need to harvest data from different (and sometimes new) sources in order to formulate a successful organic strategy. Discovering precisely what is working just got harder, but not impossible. As you’ll see, it also makes call conversion tracking from paid search more essential to your inbound marketing efforts.

Accelerating Keyword Research through Paid Search

For many inbound marketers, AdWords data has been an integral part of keyword research for years. Some SEOs run paid search campaigns not only to compliment lead generation from natural search efforts, but also to fast-track keyword research.

Why would they do this? Because depending on site traffic, it  often took a very long time to understand which search queries from organic search drive leads, opportunities and revenue. With visibility into natural search keywords from Google all but dried up, the process is even longer, as you’re now reliant on things like landing page conversion data and what little keyword data can be gleaned from Bing & Yahoo.

AdWords data helps you understand what drives conversations quickly. For example, let’s imagine that you sell dog DNA tests. You suspect that the keywords “canine breed test” will drive traffic, but you can’t be sure. You could create content around the term and wait months or years to see if it pays off. Or, you could set aside some AdWords budget to see if it drives not only traffic, but sales. In one month or less, you’ll have a good idea whether it’s worth integrating the terms into your content marketing, SEO and social efforts.

But Wait – AdWords Draws a Different Audience, Doesn’t It?

While most studies show that an overwhelming number of users actually click organic search results over paid search results, it really depends on a variety of factors, including how many ads appear on the page at any time. What’s not in dispute, it seems, is the fact that a lot of people don’t know the difference between paid and natural results. According to a 2013 test, that’s a full 40% of Google users. In other words, it’s very likely that the same people clicking on your organic listings will also click on your ads.

Without Call Tracking from AdWords Campaigns, Your Keyword Research Is Only Partially Accurate

This all brings us to phone call tracking, which enables you to measure the impact of your marketing campaigns on phone calls. Without call tracking in place, you’re only measuring those conversions that happen online – web form submissions, email signups and sales that result from clicking an ad.

Call tracking enables you to also track phone calls after seeing an ad. (For a full explanation, see our What is Call Tracking? explainer). Using this, your keyword research is complete. You’ll see not only which keywords drive online conversions, but also those that drive calls as well. If you’re a Revenue.io customer, you’ll also be tracking the results of those calls & associated keyword queries to opportunities and sales in your CRM.

Once you’ve run a month or two of AdWords, you’ll have a full keyword data set that you’ll then be able to apply to your content marketing efforts. And obviously, you’ll also be able to fully optimize your AdWords campaigns with the knowledge that you actually measured & monitored a complete data sample.