Clare Moorhouse

How Google’s ‘not provided’ can help us become better B2B marketers

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Google’s ‘not provided’ – what it can teach us

If you’ve been spending time looking over your Google Analytics recently, you will no doubt have noticed the drop in keyword data and the increase in what Google terms as ‘not provided’.

Not Provided Google Analytics

Look familiar?

‘Not provided’ means that Google is choosing not to share what keyword data is driving traffic to your website via Google Analytics (or any other analytics for that matter). This is a result of Google personalising our search experience and protecting the privacy of the searcher.

Google begun encrypting some keyword data in 2011. Since then, Google has been redirecting a growing number of users to a secure page (https://www.google.com). Initially, this started when a user was logged into a Google account (Analytics, Adwords, Gmail etc.). In September 2013, Google rolled out major changes towards encrypting search activity altogether, which means that when any user goes to Google to search, they are automatically redirected to the https:// version of Google.

So where does this leave us? Without any keyword data, we are left high and dry with little insight into how visitors are arriving at our website, and therefore what the best keywords are to focus on. However, I believe there’s a more positive way of looking at it. This blog post explores how Google’s ‘not provided’ can teach us to be better B2B marketers:

Stop worrying about Google!
There’s nothing we can do about Google’s decision to encrypt searches. They are, after all, protecting the privacy of their users. We know Google is interested in providing the most relevant and accurate search results to users. Therefore focus your efforts on continuing to grow your intuitive understanding of your market, and your buyer personas – as this will drive your lead generation strategy.

Focus on traffic not keyword ranking
Being on the first page of Google for a popular keyword is all well and good, but if you’re not getting the right kind of traffic – there’s little merit. Google’s ‘not provided’ is teaching us to be less concerned with our search engine ranking, and more concerned with our website traffic and visitor engagement. If you’re already generating quality leads and visitors are converting on your site, you’re doing the right thing.

Focus on great content
Not only does great content make for a better website, a better user experience and quality traffic – but Google wants to reward high quality sites that contain original and compelling content.

Create content that’s going to resonate with your audience; the issues they face around their industry and, believe me, visitors will come. Start a blog, publish some interesting infographics, and create engaging videos. Businesses who are already doing this well are naturally earning the attention of those they are trying to reach.

It goes without saying that this change does not prevent you from optimising your site well for search engines, it just means that the way you measure performance will be based on traffic, leads and conversions, rather than rankings.

Utilise traffic referrers
Take a closer look at which websites provide valuable referral traffic to your website, and make the most of these sources by sharing your content on these sites in order to engage with their visitors and attract them to your website.

If there’s one takeaway we can learn from ‘not provided’, it’s to focus on creating the best user experience for your website, curating the best content – and stop stressing over rankings. In the future, organic rankings are going to matter less and less anyway. Together we can all come out of this the other side and be better B2B marketers by providing those we are trying to reach with the right information, at the right time.

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