With all the recent changes to Google Analytics this seems like a good time to evaluate those changes, and how they will affect bloggers.
For those who did not hear at the end of last month, Google fully pulled all organic search terms from their analytics.
What Are Organic Search Terms?
Organic search terms are keywords that people use to search on Google that Analytics would pick up when visitors found your site through that search. This allowed you to compare the search terms people use to find your site and determine which ones were the most effective.
What Are Not Provided Keywords
Starting in 2011, Google started to provide an option for consumers to opt out from businesses using their search keywords. Google claimed this was in the interest of privacy.
As of last month, all Google keywords used to search for the site are now listed as “Not Provided”, because of the aforementioned privacy concerns.
That means that instead of the treasure trove of keywords, that webmasters have depended on since the start of Google Analytics to track which keywords bring them the most traffic, we are left with all that lumped under the general heading of Google organic search.
The good news is that there are still other sources to find the organic keyword information. However, the sources are not as reliable as Google Analytics for the depth of their keyword research.
What Does This Mean?
From now, webmasters are a bit blind when it comes to their Google traffic. Instead of knowing exactly which keywords to focus on for blogging and SEO purposes, sites now have no clue which keywords bring them traffic, and which ones are duds.
What if you use a freelance writing service, like Content Runner, Elance, or Odesk? Services like these, generally ask you for keywords to help the writers know more about the topic and research it online.
So, are these changes good or bad? Let’s take a look.
The Not Provide Keyword Pros
The positive side of the keywords being replaced by “not provided” is twofold:
1. People will stop obsessing as much over keyword research for articles.
2. Content creators can focus more on creating awesome content.
First, over the past decade search engine optimization experts have constantly obsessed about keywords. Where to place the keywords, how many times to place the keywords in a blog, and furthermore how many backlinks with specific keywords were needed to rank higher for a specific term.
As the competition grew fierce, long-tail keywords became even more important. For example, you might not be able to rank for the word “blog.” However, you could rank for the word “blog tips for beginners.” While the first keyword drove more traffic, the second had a lot less competition.
The problem is trying to write an article where the phrase “blog tips for beginners” naturally occurs 3-5 times. Not really possible.
Second, instead of focusing on keywords, Google has said they want fresh, unique, helpful, and consistent content. This means blogs can become authorities in their niche by creating the best articles around.
This is a win for experienced writers who produce great content on a regular basis.
The Not Provided Keyword Cons
However, all is not roses on the keyword “Not Provided” side.
1. Google claims privacy concerns for organic search terms; however, they still allow Adwords users to see which keywords rank best.
2. Mastering your craft means analyzing what you do. Taking away information does not help people improve.
First, the privacy concerns issue has been regarded by many in the search optimization community as a ploy to get more paying customers onto Adwords. Whether this is true or not, can only be known by those working in the Googleplex. However, it does throw a huge Mario Brothers size wrench in the privacy concerns notion.
Second, Google wants authority sites that provide quality content. Masters at their craft get better by studying what they do that is right and what is wrong. While most of Analytics is still in place, removing key features does not improve the quality of writing. In fact, when you go in blind writing articles you sometimes do worse, because your confidence is lower.
This does not mean that by any stretch of the imagine Google is making writers worse. However, removing key information definitely does not help make them better writers.
Now That I Know This, What Can I Do?
The sober reality is that if you want to get search traffic in today’s competitive market you need to provide quality content. A lot of quality content.
The days of writing one article per month are over for most serious websites. Instead, you need an article every few days that educates your audience, and provides them with the type of guidance Google expects out of an authority site in your niche.
It takes work, but the great thing about work is that separates the winners from the whiners. If you can create content a few times a week while your competition sits on the sideline complaining about this change, then you have an immense advantage.