Another dreaded Google change has come and gone, and—just like so many times before—its passing has left many with a sudden sense of unease. With the Google Analytics Keyword “(Not Provided)” change—something that has made performance and keyword reporting a much more difficult task—a disturbance in the SEO world was felt, as if millions of search engine optimizers cried out in terror and were suddenly about to be silenced.
Right on time people everywhere are already conjecturing and buzzing about “the end of SEO” and how all SEOs will soon be out of a job thanks to Google’s constant meddling with the site that we all pay homage to. The sky is falling, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it (just kidding).
However, unlike the last time Google made major changes to the way we perform SEO…or the time before that (seriously, are we ever going to get past these panic episodes?), this data obfuscation is worrisome enough where we don’t blame you for freaking out a bit. After all, our entire way of reporting and measuring the results of SEO work seems to have been up heaved overnight.
So what’s next? How can we deal with the post “not provided” climate? Fortunately, like any good SEO team, we were ready for this change, and we can help you become so as well.
Before we get into details about what you need to do in order to keep up with the ever-changing climate, it’s important to understand what this analytics change entails. As many of you have noticed, over the past 2 years or so the keyword traffic data that we rely upon in Google Analytics has slowly begun disappearing and being replaced by the terrifying words “not provided”. At first, this was a trickle effect—only around 50% of keyword data was withheld by those horrible people over at Google. But, as time went on, and Google’s desire to protect people’s “privacy” increased (yeah right), this number grew and grew until finally, the change was announced, and all of our precious keyword data ceased to exist. With a heart that grew 5 times too big in the post NSA spy climate, Google decided to change all searches—even those from users not logged into Google profiles—to HTTPS, encrypting site webpage specific keyword information forever more. That brings us to today, where marketers everywhere are frantically trying to discover new ways to measure their efforts with analytics.
Even though this is a pretty major analytics change, and one that threw a lot of companies who were not prepared to deal with it into flux, the brightest minds in the industry have been working for quite a while in preparation for this analytic apocalypse. This, of course, has resulted in quite a few workarounds which, while less effective than previous methods, should help keep your SEO efforts on even keel until better methods are invented.
Below are just a few of those methods:
In the end, just remember that even though Google is seemingly doing its best to screw with SEO, there’s always going to be a fix or a workaround. In other words, don’t panic. SEO (like we continually say) isn’t dying! With the information provided here, you’ll be able to keep your site and SEO efforts on track, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. We may have to roll with the punches—and we admit, Google threw a haymaker here—but everything is going to be just fine. Just follow our lead and we’ll help make sure your SEO efforts are never in vain!
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