Endlessrise provides solutions to the nefarious “(not provided)” Google Analytics data.
Google has shifted into secure search, switching over to encrypted searches using HTTPS. This is now happening even if you are not logged-in to your Google account and even if you deliberately type HTTP://www.google.com – you will be automatically redirected to the HTTPS version. HTTPS uses SSL (secure sockets layer) and encrypts your search and does not pass keyword data from Google search to the resulting web pages you visit.
While secure and encrypted search is good for users in terms of privacy, this is not good for site owners and online marketers like you. Because this means that no more keyword data will be transferred to your Google Analytics.
Google had been sliding slowly into secure search since the middle of 2010 when it launched web search using SSL (https://www.google.com). In October 2011, Google started redirecting U.S. searchers to the encrypted HTTPS when signed-in to protect their personalized search results. In March 2012, Google enabled this globally to signed-in users, immediately followed by Firefox implementing HTTPS encrypted search for Google search users.
This resulted in the infamous “(not provided)”data in Google Analytics rising in number month after month and year after year, which made every serious SEO marketer wonder what keywords are in there to optimize for.
Now that Google has gone full throttle with SSL encryption for search, the “(not provided)” data is here to stay. Today, we have received reports about this “(not provided)” field showing up for up to 80% to 90% of visits.
However, as online marketing ninjas, we have ways to work around this. Go ahead and read through this “Scroll of SEO Tricks and Online Marketing Wisdom for Google’s (Not Provided) Data” we have prepared for you.
How to See Through this Nefarious “(Not Provided)” Data
Use Google Webmaster Tools. You can get historical search query data for the last 90 days using Webmaster Tools. The report lists the top 2,000 for each day within the selected date range. Previously, the date range only covered the last 30 days and for the top 1,000 search queries only.
To do this, be sure that your Google Analytics is linked to Webmaster Tools:
Keyword Grouping per Target Page. One of our effective sets of strategies for delivering SEO results is our extensive keyword research, keyword/URL mapping, and keyword grouping—which means optimizing your content and pages with your target keywords.
This way, when you analyze landing page visits as shown below, you will not be operating in the dark and beg for something that is “not provided” as each page has an assigned group of keywords that are optimized (but not overly-optimized) to show up in search results. Please see related post: Endlessrise Says No to Link Schemes and Overly-optimized Anchor Texts.
Analyze Landing Page Visits. Since it’s going to be harder and harder to analyze, segment and optimize SEO performance at the keyword level due to keyword data being “not-provided”, the next best thing is to analyze landing page traffic. In Google Analytics, the first step is to filter “not provided” keyword data by “Landing Page” to get a sense of what content searchers are landing on.
Under Traffic Sources > Overview > Search Traffic > Keyword: click “(not provided)”.
Then click on Secondary Dimension > Traffic Sources > Landing Page:
The results will show what pages of your website searchers landed on when they searched on Google:
The information here will serve as good metrics to observe and analyze the value and performance of your content marketing assets page by page. This will help you define visitor success metrics of specific pages by way of traffic, page performance, and goal completion.
While keyword referral information from Google users is now shrouded in mystery, we can make reasonable findings by better analyzing landing page performance brought by your visitors along with the keyword grouping you have set for those pages.
Change your Paradigm
Endlessrise and online marketers, as well as you, our resellers, need to adjust long term strategies and expectations as we are bound to evolve our thinking into a much broader SEO strategy that does not solely focus on keywords.
And so, being ahead of the curve, we have been developing our strategies and methodologies into a new paradigm where we measure the impact of individual pages and the content therein to driving traffic, conversions and revenue. This is aligned with our drive to focus on and provide high quality, and fresh, compelling content that drive conversions. Please see related post: Bridging the Gap between Content and Leads/Sales for your Online Marketing.
We have more tips coming up so stay tuned.
Endlessrise provides cutting-edge white label SEO services for our partner-resellers to serve their clients better. Register now to become an SEO reseller to start bringing your clients’ campaigns to a whole new level that goes beyond keyword performance.