What exactly goes on in the ‘not provided’ keyword section?

11/10/2013

'not provided' keywords

Google had announced back in Oct 2011 that it is taking steps which would not give out the information of the keywords being used to reach a particular site, for users who will use Google Search in the logged-in mode. This was bad for SEO, but then in Sept 23, Google did something even worse. It made all the keywords secret! Irrespective of the fact if the searcher is logged in or not, Google will not give out the keywords. So what exactly is ‘not provided’ keyword section? Let us go into the depth of the situation.

What and Why

First of all, this step is a measure directed towards better privacy of the searcher. When someone enters Google.com, they are directed to the https version of their country’s domain. If you have observed how Google directs you to the search results’ website, you would have seen that it doesn’t give the link of the website directly. When you click a result, it is directed via Google. So, Google has the full control over whether to give out or not give out the keyword to the sites to which the traffic is directed.

This is good from a privacy point of view. Google’s primary aim has always been to deliver the best search results to its users. The placement of ‘Sign In’ on the upper right hand corner, is a clear indication that Google wants you to use all its services together. So, giving out the information as to which keywords searchers used to get their sites, is irrelevant as far as Google is concerned.

Effect on SEO

As far as SEO strategies go, you would be severely paralyzed since you wouldn’t know how user found your site i.e. which keyword was used to come to site. Modulating your campaign would be tough if you cannot check the traffic stats to know which one of them is paying off more. You would get the keyword data, from the traffic directed from other search engines. So, you would have to make do with a tiny amount of information.

What’s the way around

You can still monitor your traffic but the problem is you don’t know how they got there. There are some indirect methods:

  • Analyze in which page the users land the most. This would help you know what they were looking for.

  • Get the on-site data to know what exactly the searchers are looking for, once they reach your site.

  • AdWords are the only strategy to know if some keyword is really working or not. Google has no restriction on data regarding the traffic directed via the paid AdWords.

LogicSpeak:

‘Not Specified’ keywords have now become a 100% reality. You have to devise more and more indirect techniques to know what sort of traffic you are getting. For the time being, there are other search engines which will give out the keyword information. But sooner or later, these will take the same stance as Google. So, better prepare yourself for a keyword blind SEO campaign!

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