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Using Google Analytics To Prove SEO Value In A Keyword Not Provided World
Posted by Cameron Francis on March 21, 2014 in SEO

Since we know that keyword not provided will eventually effect all of our keywords we have to come up with ways of dealing with it. Although almost all SEOs are complaining about it, the fact remains that we must deal with this vexing problem.

How Can We Cope With It?

Lets begin by attempting to define this issue. For quite some time, keywords have been the basis for reporting SEO progress. Ranging from keyword research to reporting and ranking, keyword data have been central to the lives of those involved in the search strategy. Although, in recent times, many SEO strategies are focused upon content, many people remained conditioned to think of keywords as being their central focus.

While most people who are involved in SEO have realised that Google now prefers to rank sites with engaging quality content, we have to re-train all of our clients who are accustomed to receiving keyword centric data.

This lack of keyword data has resulted in many problems for SEOs because our clients have grown accustomed to viewing this data in their reports. Expecting keyword data has become a conditioned response.

Due to this conditioned response, there is frequently a negative reaction when we can no longer provide it. The solution is to provide them with more and better data. This is the key to surviving this lack of keyword data.

We Can Provide More Useful Information Than Keyword Data

Although keywords have been at the centre of SEO reporting. Having reporting data that is too heavily centred on keywords has been a crutch that has supported marketing campaigns that are weak. However, organic search performance can be evaluated by other means that are already available in Google Analytics that are better.

Rather than simply focusing on several main keywords, you need to train your clients to have a focus on things that are most important to their business. They should focus on how organic search is bringing additional revenue into their business.

Luckily, there are a number of alternate ways for measuring the performance of organic search efforts that are not based solely on keyword data. We will provide some ways for you to demonstrate the value of your organic SEO efforts in a world that is devoid of keyword data.

Following are several ways that you can make use of Google provided tools to demonstrate the value of SEO efforts in a keyword not provided world.

Measure The Increase In Organic Search Traffic In A Time Period

Although many search efforts have been judged on the ability to rank well for certain keywords, your clients will likely be evaluating you on the basis of conversions and overall traffic. If their site has existed for more than a year and you have configured goals in Google Analytics, you can demonstrate the value of your efforts by showing the growth your client has achieved.

You can do this by making use of GAs tool for date comparison. You clients may not pay attention to the fact that keyword data is missing if you can demonstrate that their organic traffic has increased significantly over the past year. Their recollection of keyword data may be forgotten if they can see that their revenue has increased significantly over time.

Make not provided Data More Useful With Filters

If you are willing to filter data that comes from a site you will be able to combine landing pages and keyword data into one field by making filters for GA views. By using advanced GA filters you can reclaim some keyword data.

When you apply filters, only do so in a new view. Dont apply filters to views that already exist because you may not apply the filter properly, which may prevent any data collection and your filter wont be applied retroactively so you will end-up comparing filtered data to non-filtered data, which wont be helpful.

Organic Search Traffic Can Be Segmented According To Landing Pages

A focus on end results is probably the best way to deal with your clients. However, knowing that you have received thousands of visitors to a site without knowing what drove them to the site is a sea of data that is useless.

Nevertheless, there are a number of alternatives for viewing this data. The fastest and simplest way to achieve a more granular view in GA is to examine the primary dimension of landing pages while you are in GAs report for organic keywords. This will provide you with a view of site pages that are receiving the majority of the organic traffic.

By reporting on the way in which individual pages are successful, rather than on keywords, you get a good indication of which type of content is working best. Amplifying the type of content that works best will ensure future organic SEO success.

You may discover that your home page is the top landing page on your site by a large margin. This will frequently be the case for brands that are established, since the home page will usually receive all branded search queries. To get more advanced you may want to try to determine if non-brand or brand queries were used to get to a particular landing page.

Demonstrate Value In The Sales Funnel

Areas that frequently suffer when using the last click attribute are social media and organic search. This is due to the fact that site visitors from social and search are frequently at the beginning of a sales funnel and usually will not buy anything on their initial site visit. While future purchases may be influenced, a purchase may not occur on the initial visit to a site. It will frequently take an email, paid search advertisement, or a direct site visit to consummate a purchase.

Well show you an illustration of how as may look: 

funnel for content marketing

Note that content marketing and organic search are mainly in the top portion of the purchasing decision process and they are less significant as people start to actually make purchases. This type of user behaviour is similar to what many businesses will experience when attempting to obtain new clients.

A good way to gain an understanding of whether a particular business has this type of funnel is to examine the Google Analytics function called multi-channel funnels. There is a report called assisted conversions that is useful since it permits us to clearly visualise whether any channels that drive traffic have been understated when you look at the last click attribute.

Link With Webmaster Tools

To get the best replacement for keyword data that is not provided you can integrate Googles Webmaster Tools with Analytics. By linking these two tools, quite a bit of keyword data becomes available, the accuracy of which is slowly improving.

If you make use of a Google Analytics tracking code that is asynchronous or if you use the Tag Manager, you can verify site ownership via GWT. After ownership is verified you will be able to link GA and GWT and gain access to keyword data in the Google Analytics SEO reports.

Then you will be able to view individual keyword impressions, clicks, and CTR for search. Although this data is not highly accurate it is improving over time. The data provided by GWT is not always totally accurate, but in numerous instances, its the best thats available.

Use Demographics To Segment Search Traffic

If youre not already making use of GAs current Demographics reports you are missing some really incredible data. These reports are relatively new so not many people are utilising them to their full extent.

Many people arent using this new demographic data for a couple of reasons. First of all your GA code may need to be changed for them to be enabled and your privacy policy may need to be updated.

Doubleclick provides this demographic data so you will have to use Google Analytics jc.js version to gain access to this data. If you arent currently using jc.js you may have to change it on your site. There is also currently a compatibility issue with Universal Analytics. If youre using Tag Manager you simply need to check a box in your GA tag settings.

If you enable demographic reports, you will gain access to some very useful data regarding your site visitors. Data can be segmented according to gender and age to gain a better understanding of your target audience.

To be even more useful a secondary dimension can be created that will permit you to comprehend how gender or age range performs for each traffic source. You will gain insights into the type of visitors that convert best and alter your search campaigns accordingly.

View Vital Metrics Using Dashboards

Reports, segments, and dashboards can be shared amongst accounts in GA. This makes working across several accounts easier and permits users to gain access to the workings of analytics pros in a single click.

To gain access to a treasure trove of reports and custom dashboards, take a look at GAs Solutions Gallery.

AdWords Organic And Paid Search Reports

Aside from GA, there are more Google tools to use to cope with having no keyword data. You can use AdWords fairly new Paid and Organic keyword reporting. This report combines data from GWT and AdWords to provide you with an understanding of where your keyword coverage is best. This report will assist you in understanding how frequently your site appears in organic and paid search for a particular keyword that you may be targeting.

If your business has an involvement in both organic and paid search, you can begin by linking Webmaster Tools with AdWords.

Using Google Trends

If you want to gain a better understanding of how certain keywords perform over time you can make use of Google Trends in order to get insights into how popular a particular keyword is over time and to compare the search volume of similar terms to each other. With this data you can determine if interest in certain search terms is growing or losing traction. This will help you in determining which terms to target.

When valuable information is taken away, its difficult not to have a negative reaction. However, you should break away from the way things used to be and use this as a chance to look at search metrics in new, and more useful ways.

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Cameron Francis

Co-Founder

Cameron Francis is the CoFounder & Managing Director of ETRAFFIC, Melbourne's #1 Creative & Digital Marketing Agency. For over a decade Cameron has been providing growth marketing and digital strategies for over 2,000 small businesses, start-ups & entrepreneurs around the country.
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