Fortnight Feature No. 18 — (Not Provided)
A lot of things have shaken up the SEO world, but none have done so with such universal force as Google’s rapid incorporation of ‘(not provided)’, a shorthand reference to their withholding of keyword search data from webmasters.
This change has inspired a lot of theories about the motivation behind it — some folks think Google is simply trying to protect itself during their legal battles with the European Union, which has stringent privacy laws and views reported keyword data as a breach of user privacy. Others think it is a way for Google to push more people to their profitable ad-buying behemoth of AdWords, slowly devaluing the usability and value of organic search. Still others believe that it is simply the next natural step in Google’s mission to eliminate online manipulation and webspam, and shepard the Internet into a new era of glittering, quality content.
Whatever the reasoning, the availability of organic keyword data will be completely gone by the end of the year, making it that much harder for businesses, webmasters, and marketers to understand the intentions of their online visitors.
The following articles are five of the best resources for making lemonade out of these lemons. And in some instances, ‘(not provided)’ has served as a wake up call to many marketers to reevaluate the nature of their focus, having absorbed Google’s new path and taken it to inform a fresh approach.
Joel Klettke does a great job walking the reader through the evolution of ‘(not provided).’ He anticipates the state of blind rage that a marketer reading the article might feel, so he calmly walks them through some steps on how to approach the new reality, offering new tools, but also offering some strategies for explaining the change in reporting to any agency leaders or clients that may not have a technical grasp of the topic.
Jennifer Slegg takes a direct approach in listing alternative methods for getting organic search data to help with your marketing efforts. From using historical data to on-site search analysis, there are many very interesting ideas here that can reveal information that you would otherwise have never even come across.
Back in 2011, Avinash Kaushik — general analytics and digital marketing demi-god — saw this day written in the tea leaves, and wrote this article to help marketers and businesses analyze their data in a much deeper, more thorough way than simply scanning a list of high and low keywords. While this is definitely not for novices, it puts forward some great Analytics strategies that almost everyone should see.
Neil Patel writes an insightful piece that takes a much longer view of the issue and argues that this apparent hurdle is actually a blessing in disguise — if you’ll just open your eyes to see it that way. By worrying less about Google and focusing more on quality content, businesses and marketers can rise to the top of their field and use other available tools like keyword data and tracking to assist in these natural methods.
Finally, Janet Driscoll Miller makes a compelling case, calling on all SEO’s to lift their noses from their keyword tools and focus on what really matters in their reports — conversions and ROI. If SEO is going to get a big chair at the marketing table, then it has to start caring about the big picture and report on the terms that persuade clients. An eye-opening article for sure.