A Plethora of (not provided)
Time to get snuggly with your PPC friends.
The Google Train is bringing the pain with more (not provided) data into your Analytics. (Not provided) has been causing headaches for all SEO Analysts and Consultants around the world since October 2011. Especially here at InBusiness, Inc. where all of our marketing decisions for ourselves and our clients is based upon data, and sometimes that data is in Analytics.
Sure there are ways to “guess” at how to segment the (not provided) data. But that won’t give you the clarity needed to make sound, data-driven decisions.
Google Chrome 25 SSL Update
So what exactly is happening? Google Chrome 25, which is currently available in the developers release, is getting a face lift as well as expanding the capabilities of their SSL. Here is the official post by Chromium (Chrome Developer’s blog).
Some of the cosmetic/functionality changes include a new look to the “New Tab” page by adding the Google search bar.
Chrome 25 is also updating how the Omnibar (or omnibox) interacts with Google search. There is no longer a search bar on google.com. You can only use the omnibar to search. The lack of search bar increase the real estate available for the amount of AdWords that can show up above the fold. Hmm, isn’t that interesting.
This is where the SSL magic happens, in the omnibar. Google Chrome 25 expanded the SSL to cover not only the people that are signed in to Google, but also to people that are NOT signed in. Google Chrome 25 is not the only browser that is doing this, Firefox 14 has already pushed this through back in July 2012.
So now what? How do you deal with this lack of data or plethora of (not provided)? Some people are screaming to jump ship from Google, to completely boycott Google products. Or to use other tracking services like Clicky, Piwik, or Adobe Marketing Cloud (Omniture). These solutions still won’t solve the root of the problem, which is browsers are passing less and less keyword data.
One solution comes close cracking the (not provided), it was the suggestion to find keyword data in Google Webmaster tools. The problem with Webmasters tools is that it just doesn’t provide the detailed information about keywords, like landing page, browser usage, etc. This pretty much makes it unreliable as a decision making tool.
But fret not, my dear.
There is a knight in shining armor, disguised as a friend we all know, pay-per-click.
All impressions, all clicks, and all conversions are tracked. PPC has already been known to identify high production keywords and messaging. Though its data currently not used to fuel 100% of the SEO decisions, it does cross the aisle pretty well.
Granted, PPC will not track it all, unless you want to spend an exorbitant amount of money by not negativing out keywords, it will get you very close to the data you need to make those keyword decisions.
What Does This Mean To You?
So as business owner what this mean? These upcoming changes means that your SEO company needs to use or start using the data from PPC for keyword clarity. If you don’t have any active PPC campaign, it’s time to think about turning it on. If this still doesn’t sound attractive to you or you think it may be too expensive, PPC is still a good source of leads, so this is not just for data, but for additional revenue. In the end, it should be clear and accurate data that powers business and marketing decisions.
tl;dr Expect increased (not provided) data in Analytics. Only way to recover some of the data is to turn to AdWords. How convenient for Google…