September 25, 2013
This week I asked my social media followers:
Does the thought of 100% "not provided" keywords in analytics freak you out, or at this point is it a non-issue?
Here's how they responded:
Ben Cook: I don't see how it could be a non-issue. It was another data point. Is it the be-all? No. But still annoyed to see it gone.
Jill Whalen: @Skitzzo I say non-issue only because it's basically been so useless for the past year anyway that I for one am used to it.
Ben Cook: @jillwhalen even 50% is a LOT different than 80-90.
Rob Woods: @jillwhalen have to agree with @Skitzzo it's somewhere in-between non-issue and freakout. It had value but it's not a deal killer.
dave matson: @jillwhalen a little freaked out. 0% is a lot worse than 50%.
James Fairlie: @jillwhalen sad but not unexpected. Harder for small biz with limited budgets but good optimisers will be able to do their stuff still.
David Norris: @jillwhalen I'm more disgusted & outraged that they have the balls to do this at all. Boiling the frog slowly just makes it more palatable.
NetSpeak Solutions: I would say I'm "kind of" freaked out. Losing keyword analysis would be no problem if Google did the same thing for paid search ads. However, since they make buckets of money on them, this surely hasn't/won't happen. Further, I don't "buy-in" to the justification given that it has "a lot to do" with maintaining privacy. That argument is actually quite laughable.
Mat Siltala: We have learned to move on. Complaining about what happens will never change anything (it hasn't since the first of the updates from sooooo long ago that I can remember, has it?)
Caro Price: A little, but we'll get over it just like we always do when Google pulls the rug out from under us. What freaks me out more is how all their changes are designed to make people spend more money or die!
John Mills: It would certainaly be most frustrating but performance is not just down to KW results. Anyway Google trends provides great KWs so GA 'queries' isn't so important. I doubt its accuracy anyway.
Ash Nallawalla: Focus on things the clients can measure themselves. Setting goals usually works. Increasing time on site indicates that the right audience is looking. Ditto with lower bounce rates.
Dianna Huff: Non-essential. Plus, I always go by my #1 metric: is my phone ringing?
Bob Gladstein: It doesn't freak me out, but I really don't like it. Keyword data helps us improve our sites, and taking it away from us means we've got one less tool to better serve our readers. And I still don't buy the privacy claim.
Dianna Huff: Bob -- But does keyword data help improve sites? I don't think it does (at least from my perspective). You can have a crappy site content-wise that is "optimized" but if it's not driving leads, then no amount of keyword optimization is going to help. I...See More
Karon Thackston: I have a lot of experience with consumer as well as B2B & B2C ecomm sites. We don't look at keywords in the analytics much at all. It is a little helpful to know what you're already being found for, but sales are the key factor in knowing if your site is successful. Keyword research is what we pay more attention to when developing the site, adding products, etc., and even that is not the complex monster it used to be.
Bob Gladstein: I think keywords are very useful. You look at what's bringing you a little traffic, and you can see opportunities to provide people with the information they're looking for. Let's say I optimized a page for [used textbooks] and find that it's getting a...See More
Dianna Huff: Bob -- But that presupposes you can get that page to rank for that keyword and that it drives sales. It may not. Just using myself as an example (which is bad marketing, I know), I offer a service and until last month, didn't have a page for it. I have a post I wrote for another site -- and that post has brought me $10K in sales this year. I have another service for which I am optimized (and ranking #1), but all of my sales to date have been via WOM. So yes, keywords are helpful -- I agree, but they're not the end all and be all metric and they can be misleading.
Karon Thackston: I agree Dianna. I've had similar experiences with clients. They just knew that if we created specific pages for certain keywords they found in their analytics - and that those pages ranked well - they'd have a flood of business. In some cases, they didn't. In other cases they did. It's not a guarantee by any stretch.
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