This post should go on my personal site since it is more of a rant than an educational post. Over the past few weeks we have ran number of pilots with the keyword management tool. During this process I have had my believe validated tie and time again since the data we receive is a complete mess.

This chaos of data is one of the key reasons have had resistance to this tool by some of the pilot participants. These reasons essentially sum up as “our data is a mess and we are too tired, frustrated and in some specific cases, actually too scared to try and fix it.”

1. Siloed Paid and Organic Activities (and data)

We expect this since only a few large companies have actually integrated their paid and organic teams into a central team and based on our survey, only about 1% of companies have ever integrated paid and organic data. These are the good “1 percenters” the companies that are realizing the value of the collaboration of paid and organic. My previous post on “Search Marketing Data gathering” and illustrates how bad the situation is and why a tool like ours can help.

But even worse are companies where they are physically or geographically separated by business siloes. I met with companies that still have no central relationship for search. Paid search is in advertising or media and SEO is in marketing or IT and it is a shame that they often never talk let alone share data.

2. Agency IP or Process

Agencies trying to protect their process or IP’s In once case the paid agency refused to share any data with the organic agency since thy felt the organic agency would gain valuable IP on their proprietary way of managing paid search. In this specific situation, “valuable IP” was code for how poorly it was being managed. By using my tool they were able to share the performance data and see the overlap and opportunities that would have never been considered under the previous close of privacy.

Another challenge is the agencies often shield the client from certain data. Sometimes hiding bad data in the good (showing the top 10 best performers but hiding the other million underperforming keywords. Other times it is more of a good thing where they are trying to keep the client out of the weeds by giving them mountains of data to sift though.

3. No way to effectively manage the data

Our survey shows that many used Excel to manage their keywords. While a great tool, Excel is inefficient for managing large-scale keyword data for the average person. Most people are on laptops that are lightweight and don’t have the CPU nor memory to manage this data. Our team all work on Mac Pro’s with 32 to 64 gig of memory that allows us to manage this data.

For example, one of our mid-sized clients just hit the 500,000 keyword mark and wanted to sort through the words off-line so we did an export for them. This file with their various classifications (12 per keyword) and latest period of paid and organic data exported as a 750 MB file. Trying to sort and create pivot tables is a challenge with files this large. They quickly gave up trying to do this online and leverage the segmentation functionality of our application to review their data.

We also run into version control and back up problems in Excel that can result in a lot of wasted time. Recently a client came to us after spending a few weeks on keyword research and organization only to have it lost when a colleague saved the original file into the Dropbox folder overwriting the updated version – yes they should have renamed the file once they made the change.

4. Our Web Analytics tools are too complex

This is typically the biggest challenge – it is just too hard to get a large volume of data from some of these applications. It is interesting and sad how complex some companies have made their data analysis. Managing enterprise analytics data is a massive problem – collecting it across hundreds of servers and then masking it up is no easy task.

5. We like it this way

This is the scariest of all since it will not allow for change. I find that in some cases on the client side they actually want to be in the dark and often not want to know the truth that lies in their data. We have had a few companies abandon pilots since the data scared them. One company had a negative ROI on nearly 30,000 keywords amounting to nearly $180k – how is that possible with all of the advanced bid and ROI management tools available? Nevertheless it was the reality and they did not want senior management to know about it.

Whatever the reason your search data is a mess it does not have to be that way. Contact us for a demo of our Keyword Manage Suite and see how easy it can be to go from chaos to opportunity.