Sunday, October 27, 2013

Alternatives to Google Analytics 'Not Provided' Organic Search Keywords

Google Closes The Curtain on Organic Keyword Research

Google has mostly shut down the ability to see the organic search terms visitors use when visiting our websites, creating an unwelcome blind-spot when applying organic keyword research to search engine optimization efforts.

To understand what Google did to expand "Secure Search" and what it means to SEO practitioners, read a recent article posted by Thom Craver on September 23, 2013: Goodbye, Keyword Data: Google Moves Entirely to Secure Search.
This is not the end of life as we know it.

But using keyword research to enhance SEO is not dead!

Jennifer Slegg has produced an excellent overview on useful options and tactics to obtain meaningful keyword data for SEO: Google '(Not Provided)' Keywords: 10 Ways to Get Organic Search Data

Here are Jennifer's alternative keyword research suggestions. Read her informative article to learn more:

1. Google Experts (Avinash Kaushik, for example)

2. Non-Google Keywords (BING, for example)

3. Google Webmaster Tools

4. Analyze On-Site Searches

5. Google AdWords

6. Search Volume Tools

7. Filters to Segment "Not Provided" Data

8.  Historical Data on your website

9. Google Trends

10. Additional Ways to Capture Keyword Data

From my own perspective the action Google has taken in cloaking organic search terms is irritating from an SEO perspective, but at the same time this development is not fatal. Far from it.

Organic keyword research solely based upon looking at one's own website analytics can be risky, because like a self-fulfilling prophecy, the organic search terms you see (saw) in Analytics are there only because your webpages ranked for those search terms, and this implies that you already have related, relevant search terms in your website and webpages. But what about the search terms you don't (didn't) see, because your website either doesn't have them, or Google didn't think the content was relevant?

The bottom line is that keyword research must by necessity go beyond the organic search terms used by visitors to your website. In order to cast a wider net for lead generation and target new or overlooked lucrative market niches it is important to use all the options listed by Jennifer in her article.

The best source of valuable keywords will be from your customers and potential customers. What search terms do they use? What terminology and acronyms are important to them? Get close to your markets and customers, find keywords they find important, and you'll be able to ID lucrative opportunities your competition will overlook.