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Way back in 2011 Google made changes so that some of the search terms visitors used to find your website would not appear in Google Analytics, you will have instead seen a number of (not provided) entries on your keywords reports.  The number of (not provided) keywords has been steadily increasing since this change was made, with significant increases in this number causing some to predict that no keyword information will be provided by the end of this year.

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Find out what affect, if any, this will have upon you and your website.

The Implications

So what does all this mean for you business?

It means that potentially you won’t be able to see details of which keywords people have used in searches which have then led them to your site.  Many are seeing this as being the final nail in the coffin for SEO (again!).  Some SEO companies believe that this lack of keyword data will lead to SEO campaigns with less informed tactical strategies; however, this change and its effects may not be as bad as many people would have you believe.

What Can You Do?

If you are looking to find information about keywords used to find your website, then there will still be ways in which you can find some of this data.  For example, if you are running a PPC campaign then you can use the data from that to identify what terms people are using in searches in relation to your site and what variation of advert text has attracted their attention.

You could also use data from the keywords used to find your site on Bing and Yahoo as it will only be the Google search data that will be affected.  This may not be useful for some smaller businesses that have very little data from either of these, less used, search engines.

You can use Webmaster Tools, another free Google tool, to give you information on the keywords used in searches that have generated views of your website in Google search results and the average position which it appears.  This data is useful, although it shows clicks on your websites search listing rather than total visits to your site, however there is a two day delay in the data being available.  You can now link your Webmaster Tools with your Analytics profile so that you can view this information alongside your other analytics data.

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So Should You Be Concerned?

Absolutely not, whilst this may mean that Search Engine Optimisation is going to become far more of a challenge, websites are increasingly encouraged to ensure that User Experience is the key.  Using all aspects of traditional SEO techniques to determine what visitors are looking for, how they search, what type of visitors to your site and which pages of your site convert well and bring you business is still the way to get your site listed well in the search engines, even without historically important Keywords.

These changes in focus and data availability from Google show a further shift towards focusing more on the user and overall value of content on websites rather than their marketing department’s ability to use the same key term over and over again to try to convince Google that they are relevant to that search.

The key aspect to take from this is that you shouldn’t focus on what Google isn’t giving you, instead focus on making your site as user friendly as possible with original, informative and useful content.

If you have any questions about Google Analytics or how to make your business more visible then please contact me at [email protected]

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Karen King
I have been working in website promotion for the last 15 years and am now a Website Marketer at web2market. I am a qualified Google Adwords professional and can help advise on getting the most out of your digital campaigns. My experience includes both sponsored and unsponsored website marketing, Google Maps and link building.