I think it's a great question that a lot of professional SEO's and online marketers are now asking themselves. I recently resigned my SEO consulting gig and am going back inhouse to work for Hotpads, the rentals subsidiary of Zillow, so I'm thinking about it from both the agency and inhouse point of view.
First I'll talk about what I think will change, and then how I would report moving forward or ask my agency to report.
First, what's going to change:
- no more reporting on most valuable keywords and where to invest in ranking next. Instead, people will prioritize based off of traffic.
- second, I think marketers will now focus more on the content on the page and how well it converts, and not just on how much traffic they are driving. A better converting page is better for all channels of traffic.
- third, marketers should report on buckets of *pages* driving revenue instead of keywords. I think ultimately this is a loss for the internet because marketers can no longer build better pages to make users happier and the website more money when they see an opportunity in their keyword traffic reports.
I think not provided is a very real issue, and unfortunately one that will have people focusing more on rankings than before. Smart marketers will be able to take rankings, webmaster tools impressions and clicks data (as bad as that is), potential volume, and CPC data and use it to make smart decisions about where to invest time.
Rand Fishkin did a whiteboard video a week ago about not provided, and wrote a post about it late last week. He had some good thoughts, but I disagree that much will change as far as SEO budgets are concerned. Agencies and inhouse people make their bosses care about the data. Their bosses really only care about rankings because that is what they can see. Marketers just need to get smarter about how they report on their activities so that we get credit for the sales the channel is bringing.
Hope this helps. Give me a call if you want to discuss further!