SEO in a World ‘Not Provided’
What does ‘Keyword Not Provided’ Mean?
For some of you, it may be before your time; Google used to let Webmasters see the keywords that drove visitors to a website in addition to the metrics on how the visitors behaved on the site. Google is now almost completely blocking our ability to see the visitor behavior based solely on the keyword used to bring them to a website. They mentioned privacy as their motivation for this move.
That changed the world of SEO forever.
Some Working Around the ‘Keyword Not Provided’ Situation
Well it’s easy, just pay for Adwords!
While Google claimed to limit keyword data for organic traffic in the name of privacy, if you are paying Google for ads, you will receive that very same data. In cases when you pay Google, then I guess that privacy is not as important!
Adwords aside, let’s talk about some free ways to get more relevant data from your organic traffic.
What Else Can You Do?
Set the Segment to Organic Traffic to Get More Info
Stoically moving forward, ‘keyword not provided’ and all, we are still able to see the pages visitors are landing on via organic sources. Put the organic traffic segment on in Analytics and view the data so you can see the source and landing page at the same time. While you are not able to see the exact keyword that drove the visit, you can get a bit of an idea of what the user may have been searching for in order to end up on the page.
Use Google Search Console
Google’s Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) gathers organic data and does add some value to the struggle against the ‘keyword not provided’ situation. Specifically, you can see a very basic overview of keywords that lead visitors to your site in the Traffic menu, under Search Queries. Additionally, you can toggle between keywords and landing pages.
In the Search Queries report, you can find the list of keywords that triggered the website as a result in the SERP, as well as number of clicks, CTR, and overall search engine ranking position (in Google). Google’s recent rebranding of Webmaster Tools to “Search Console” included a change to the now “Search Analytics” report, which introduced additional filter options for devices, search types and dates. Below is a screenshot of our Search Analytics data for a thirty day period.
Read our previous post about some of the many SEO Benefits of the Google Search Console.
Take it a Step Further!
Google, you didn’t think we were just going to sit there, did you!?
Comprehensive keyword data analysis tools like the keyword data analysis tool developed by the Philly Marketing Labs digital marketing team enables you to process the Google Search Console keyword data while segmenting them into groups of similar keywords or “buckets.” This allows Webmasters and SEO professionals to not only see the trending of specific keywords but also entire keyword themes. Track overall ranking of these themes or buckets over time to see how they fare regarding number of overall queries, and whether the queries numbers have been increasing or decreasing. Dig even further to see precisely which keyword phrases of a particular bucket are new or recurring.
This keyword data analysis tool can help identify new keyword topics as well as keyword buckets that could benefit from improved content creation. It is also easier to recognize when a content campaign is being successful because of the time comparison feature. For example, if you started an Ecommerce campaign a few months ago, you will likely see the Ecommerce bucket begin to grow by way of number of queries the website is being served for, the number if times it is shown, the number of clicks occurring for those queries and the overall ranking for terms in that keyword grouping.
Enable Site Search Tracking in Google Analytics
By enabling site search tracking in Google Analytics you will then at least be able to monitor the keyword phrases visitors use to search from within your website. For example, a user visits your website and lands on a page that they are not expecting or they are unable to immediately find the location of the information they seek. The user types a phrase or word into your website search box (assuming you have one and if you don’t yet, get one). Google will then provide this information in Analytics under the Behavior portion of the platform. While it doesn’t give you the pre-arrival keyword information from your visitors, it does provide you with tell-tale information about what visitors typically have trouble finding after arriving on your website. With a little adjusting to the profile view, you can see data such as on which pages visitors searched for specific terms as well as the sources of visitors who performed a search and the terms they searched while on your site.
There’s No Stopping You Now!
Just kidding. This is just a short list of some ways you can get a better insight into your website performance from an organic search perspective. While Google may remove tools that once were seemingly vital to SEO, it just means that we are tasked with the challenge of finding new and effective ways of using what is left.