Has (Not Provided) Killed SEO?


Ever wonder why you are seeing (not provided) in your Google Analytics and why it’s ranking higher than the rest of your other keywords?

On October of 2011, Google has announced that moving forward, search terms will no longer be submitted to the destination website, should the search be made on a secure Google web page.  Instead, these search terms will be lumped together as (not provided), hence the ranking of this particular search term you’ll find on your Analytics account.

Factor in the following:

  • More and more users signing up or signing in to Google Plus, or other Google accounts wherein logged-in users will automatically be redirected to the HTTP Secured search page by default.
  • More users going online with Firefox version 14 (or later versions), which defaults to secure search.
  • More and more users deliberately preferring the secure search for privacy purposes.

And the ranking for (not provided) continues to soar.

So why this direction?

This move is said to be Google’s response to concerns over the privacy of its services, especially for people logging in from public Wi-Fi networks.

But what about the internet marketing?  Will this ultimately bring the demise of search engine marketing for good?

No, SEO is not dead.  But the keyword-driven approach, is.

But (not provided) shouldn’t be taking all the blame.  Google’s prioritization of author ranking, personalization and Knowledge Graph has led to the shift in focus from keywords to content.

So how do you survive this change in strategy?  Here’s how:

  • Build yourself as an authority site by focusing on creating content that is not only useful but also easy to read and understand, and very interesting.  If you don’t know where to start, build relationships with people who have established themselves as authorities of the topics you have chosen and start brainstorming for new topics.
  • Know who to market your content to.  If you’re writing about DIY interior decorating tactics and tips, then promote it to an audience which will surely appreciate these kinds of content.  Pinterest is a great place to promote your content as this is one of the best resources people go to when looking for DIY ideas.
  • Think outside of Google.  There is certainly other places you can get traffic from.  Other search engines, social media and content sharing sites “algorithm-proof” your site and yet, increase traffic to them.

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Social Media and Search Engine Marketing