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Keywords Not Provided: What to Do?

Rand takes us through the ever increasing difficulty of getting useful referral data from Google. These reports have been averaging at 74% with the results being “keywords not provided.” It is even expected to move in the direction of a total masking of these keywords, so what to do?

From Easy Peasy to Laborious – Really

The age of the easy analysis of referral data is coming to an end but before getting into what can be done let’s take a look at what the data was used for. The data was previously readily available to allow marketers to:

  • look for opportunities that can improve page ranking or performance
  • bridge rank improvement efforts to traffic growth
  • know searchers’ perceptions regarding your brand and content
  • discover other keyword opportunities

In order for marketers to do the listed tasks, creative ways of getting to the data is required, for instance:

  • To find opportunities that can improve page ranking or performance, you can look at pages that get search visits and look at page level data. Google still provides this referral data from Google Search results that end up as visits to your pages. Rank tracking data can also be combined to get a clearer picture of these opportunities. Webmaster Tools and Adwords data to boost the efforts and fill in some of the gaps.
    • The end result is a list of pages that get search visits that are targeted at important terms which are ranking well and have a potential for improvement.
  • To bridge rank improvement efforts to traffic growth one can use Adwords to bid on branded terms/phrases. Additionally, Google Insights can be used to track those efforts. Track rankings into buckets for a better picture and compare these with visits to pages ranking for those terms/phrases.
  • To know searchers’ perceptions regarding your brand and content, you can bid on Adwords terms or use keyword suggestion sources like Google Suggest, UberSuggest, SEM Rush and others to see keyword expansions and content tied to the brand. Internal site search data
  • Discover other keyword opportunities by using the age old method of keyword research plus ranking data. Additionally, you can launch expensive Google Adwords campaigns to see these opportunities.

There are many other creative ways to get around this problem and these will start showing up to counter the effects of Google’s Keywords Not Provided as time goes by so stay tuned.