About the Latest Change:
- Google has turned on encryption for all users (before it was just users logged in). This is what causes the referring keyword to not be passed and Not Provided to be in our referring keywords.
- Not Provided data has skyrocketed since July 2013, and even more in recent weeks.
- NotProvidedCount.com tracks and reports on the Not Provided data for 60 websites. Their numbers went from 40% in late July to 75% on September 23. Many companies have been claiming upwards of 75% of their keyword data from Google was Not Provided for quit a while. Here's the trend line:
- Projected date for 100% Not Provided is December 15, according to NotProvidedCount.com
- Some people are already reporting 90-95%% of their referring keywords as Not Provided, so it may be before December 15 for some companies.
What Google is Offering for Keyword Referral Data
- Referred keywords can be viewed within Google Webmaster Center for the top 2,000 terms per day, going back only 90 days.
- Clicks on paid ads will continue to pass the referring keyword. (Grumble, grumble).
Why? Probably not worth your time, but here it is
There are some theories as to why it’s happening on Search Engine Land, but at the end of the day, your time is better focusing on what to do now.
What to Do Now: Next Steps
Here are a few suggestions for what to do moving forward:
- Mine the data you have, it’s not much but it’s better than nothing. This means do deep-dives on data analysis so that you get more than surface-level insights.
- Learn how, or start, to mine the data in Google Webmaster Tools. They still offer 2,000 keywords per day, though this will be useless for big brands whose brand phrases will eat up that 2,000 limit.
- Export the data from Google Webmaster Tools and store it, they do not let you go back in time.
- Launch anything you’ve been procrastinating (or deprioritizing) if it will target new keywords and you want the referring data to make decisions (more applicable to small businesses who are more nimble).
- Allocate Adwords budget to the SEO team, so that you can test the performance of keywords and use that as a guideline.
- Get really strategic on your keyword targeting strategy so that you have more like terms driving traffic to a given page, so you can make better “assumptions” as to performance on keywords. This one is tough, but I see a lot of companies with keywords poorly aligned to pages, causing Google to display one of a few pages for any given term.
- Start looking at Bing data, they still send the referring keywords.
- Watch Moz.com’s white board Friday on Not Provided, as always Rand has MANY suggestions.
- Get talking to other SEOs to understand what they are doing. For in-house SEOs, a great place is the In-house SEO Exchange September 30, 2013 the day before SMX East. For non in-housers, SMX East will be buzzing about this topic, and you should be there to talk with other SEOs in a way you can’t from your desk. You can still save 10% with partner code WS-IH10
Tweet Worthy Items:
100% not provided expected to hit by December 15, 2013, tips for what to do now via @seoinhouse http://ow.ly/patWv
Not provided jumped from 40% in late July to 75% Sept 23, here's the scoop http://ow.ly/patWv Tweet This