If you regularly use Google Analytics to interpret your organic search traffic, you may have noticed a surprising change to the platform as of late – the words “not provided.”
If you haven’t seen it, “not provided” looks like this:
This is happening because Google has switched 100% of its search traffic to its secure (HTTPS) server. As a result, all of the keyword data for Google’s organic search traffic is cloaked beneath the “not provided” moniker.
This means that, while you are able to see search volume, you cannot know which keywords users searched to access which pages.
In other words, marketers now have a lot less data when it comes to analyzing how their target audience is finding them. This includes understanding which pages are “working,” organically, and which still need improvement.
What You Can Do
Luckily, there are a few workarounds that, although they may seem tedious at first, will help you and your overall SEO goals in the long run.
What “not provided” means, as you’ve probably guessed, is that marketers will be feeling around in the dark for a while as they adapt to this change. This will take some getting used to. But there will likely come a day when the steps recommend above will be so second-nature, old SEOs will sit around and say, “hey, remember when Google used to tell us what keywords were being used to access our sites?” Ah, the good old days…
The partnership between Microsoft and Facebook was further strengthened this week when the two announced that there would be increased integration of social media into Bing’s organic search results.
Facebook has already been using Bing Maps as the default for Facebook Places, their location check-in feature which launched a couple of months ago. The relationship continues to strengthen as Bing improves “people search” by displaying profiles of users with whom they have a mutual connection with. When searching for people’s names, Bing results will include information from matching Facebook profiles, complete with links to add them as a friend right from search results.
In addition, people who search on Bing will have access to their friends’ recommendations. The Facebook blog shows an example of results that are generated when a user searches for the movie “Iron Man”. “Likes” from the user’s connections are then displayed on the results page below.
This new integration is a small step toward capturing Google’s market share. It may not be enough to make those loyal to the search giant switch search engines; however when searching for movies, restaurants or any other topic where opinions matter, Bing seems to be taking steps in the right direction.
I was on the phone with a client the other day and they asked me why they should bid on their company name when they already have the number one position in Google, Yahoo, and MSN’s organic search results. I am sure most people would agree, whether it is your company name or an important keyword relative to your business, having a top position in the natural listings is ideal. When your website does not rank high enough for those targeted keywords for your business, having a top position in the paid search results is an excellent alternative. But is it a good idea to ignore the paid search model simply because you already have top position in the organic search results for your targeted keywords or business name?
In reality, having strong positions in the natural listings in addition to strong presence in the paid listings gives your website (and business) the best chance for success in online marketing. Here are a few reasons why:
We have found that online performance is greatly enhanced if you rank high in the natural search results for a specific keyword and also rank well in the paid listings. In my opinion, when someone does a keyword search and they see the same company ranked high in the natural and paid listings, they feel the company is more legitimate. When it comes to internet users, perception is reality!