It’s no surprise to us SEOs that Google has been obscuring referring keywords from webmasters (a.k.a. “not provided”). Indeed, it has been the talk of SEO since before Google’s big switch to secure search, because it changes so much of how we approach keyword research and analysis.
One of my favorite tools for uncovering keywords in this brave new world of “not provided” is Searchmetrics, a search analytics platform that won “Best SEO software” in October at the U.S. Search Awards.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Searchmetrics’ founder, Marcus Tober, about the implications of “not provided,” potential workarounds and the future of keyword analysis and SEO in general.
Tober had a surprisingly user-centered mentality about the “not provided” issue in contrast to most discussion which has usually been all about the marketer’s woes. He encourages marketers not just to seek a direct solution to “not provided” by simply finding keyword data (although Searchmetrics does indeed supply it), but also to let it be a catalyst for reassessing our sites’ relationship to keywords.
Tober pointed out that, to the searcher, “not provided” isn’t an issue at all. There have been a lot of questions and “answers” circulating about why Google would enact secure search. Perhaps it is because, ultimately, targeting one specific keyword on a page is not resulting in the best possible user experience, and is, instead, just instances of ugly, unhelpful keyword stuffing.
Rather, getting rid of the ability to target one specific keyword from query to conversion may encourage sites to move toward a content strategy that provides the most helpful information possible on every page.
Instead of targeting one keyword, pursue a breadth of information that makes the page optimized for the searcher, not the search engine. Searchmetrics does, indeed, provide ways to get most …read more