If you’re looking for frequent change in your online marketing life, Google is your go-to source. It’s recent changes with keyword performance privacy makes for reporting a little more difficult. What exactly does this mean? This “(not provided)” is thanks to Google implementing “secure searches.” So, when a user searches for something in Google, they are redirected to the https:// version of their Google domain of choice. In Google’s eyes, it’s a great form of privacy protection, however, PPC advertisers who use Adwords still have full access to keywords on every ad click made.
How are online marketers dealing with this you ask? Here’s a few (strategic) coping mechanisms that are and will continue to be popular throughout this year.
1. Focus on conversion optimization and goals. Whether you’re tracking goal completions from a Contact Us form or how many visitors purchase a product on your site, this is a good metric to focus on. Try out some A/B testing and see if you can bump up your conversions, whatever they may be.
2. Analyze landing page traffic. Take a look at a few of your top visited pages and see where users are linking to from that page. Or, if there’s a high bounce rate on a landing page, try using a heat map from Crazy Egg to see where users most frequently click on and then tend to leave the site.
3. Rely more on Google Webmaster Tools. You can still get keyword data using WMT by clicking on Search Traffic and then by clicking Search Queries. This information includes data from encrypted searches!
4. Use filters to segment “(not provided)” data. You can set up filters for all “(not provided)” traffic in Google Analytics so that it shows you the landing page for each of those referrals. This can give you a better idea of what the user was searching for when they landed on the page.
5. Refer to social signals (Tweets, Likes, +1s.) Try posting to social media platforms using different keywords you’re aiming for and see what the response is. For example, tweet about different topics using hashtags (#) and see what’s trending and if followers retweet or like your post.
Moral of the story: Don’t let Google stop you from analyzing Google’s data. Try out different analyzing methods and reporting tools. After all, getting to the top of Google organically is more than just ranking high for keywords anymore.