The Impact of “Not Provided” Keyword Data on SEO

Excerpts from my latest article at Resource’s weThink blog: “Empty Analytics: How “Not Provided” Keyword Data Affects SEO.”

Search engine optimization is based on content relevance and authority—how closely does the content match the search query’s context and intent, and how many other sites across the Internet consider it to be valuable enough to link to? The growing “not provided” bucket of organic search keyword referral data in a site’s web analytics reports, therefore, can have a profound impact on our ability to effectively optimize our sites to drive organic search visits and conversions.

The “not provided” issue was originally predicted to impact less than 10% of all Google searches. Today, the impact varies between 20% and 50% of all organic search keyword data.

Among Resource’s clients, sites have lost visibility into between 21% and 39% of their organic search keywords. There’s no detectable pattern based on the site’s size, brand strength, industry or ecommerce ability on Which to predict the size of the keyword data loss. A large ecommerce site faces the same data challenge in this instance as a small consumer brand site.

The problem stems from Google’s secure search. Stating privacy concerns, Google defaults to secure search for every user logged into a Google account. That includes Gmail, Google Calendar, YouTube, and any of the other Google products. When signed into Google, the searcher’s keyword referral string is stripped from the information passed to analytics packages in the referring URL, rendering the keyword data “not provided.”

In addition, most major browsers have defaulted to Google’s secure search. Most recently the problem has been exacerbated by mobile devices using Android 4 and iOS 6, which have also defaulted to using Google’s secure search. With so many of the major software players funneling their search queries through Google’s secure search, you can see how the “not provided” issue has increased in scale from the original prediction.

What does it matter? Can’t we just ignore the “not provided” data? Read on to find out.

Read the article in full at Resource’s weThink blog »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Panguin Spies Your Panda and Penguin SEO Trouble Spots

Excerpts from my latest article at NBC 5 Chicago’s Inc. Well blog: “How to Use Panguin to Find SEO Issues.”

Google’s algorithm updates can have a big impact on organic search traffic and sales. Now that the search giant has ramped up its algorithm tweaks to occurring an average of one to two per day, it can be difficult keeping track of them all. The recently introduced Panguin Tool simplifies this process.

Named for this year’s largest Google algorithm updates, Panda and Penguin, the Panguin Tool overlays a timeline of Google’s algorithm updates on your Google Analytics data. Panguin requires integration with your Google Analytics account to run, and unfortunately doesn’t yet work with other analytics programs….

Read the article in full at Inc. Well »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

KPIs for SEO: Measure What Matters

Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “How to Measure SEO Performance.”

Search engine optimization may be a mix of art and science, but it’s as measurable and accountable as other online marketing channels. Knowing what key performance indicators to measure for SEO is the first step. Establishing a regular routine for monitoring and measuring performance will give you the ability to effectively manage your SEO program.

Most ecommerce sites will want to measure organic search referred revenue. Selling products keeps us fed and clothed. It’s what matters most at the end of the day — not rankings or visits or indexation or number of backlinks or anything else. Therefore, revenue should be the focus of your SEO performance. All the other metrics factor into the amount of revenue driven, but…

Read the article in full at Practical eCommerce »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

4 Ways to Kill Your SEO Dead

Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “4 Fast Ways to Kill Your SEO.”

Search engine optimization experts usually focus on what you should do to improve your site’s organic search rankings. In this post, I’m asking the opposite question: What are the fastest ways to destroy your site’s SEO performance? Here’s a list of my top four mistakes:

  • Launch the New, Ignore the Old
  • Follow Your Gut
  • Buy Links
  • Seek Shortcuts

Read the article in full for descriptions of each of these SEO killers at Practical Ecommerce/a> »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Creating an SEO Redesign Launch Plan

Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “SEO: Launching a Redesigned Site.”

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series on identifying, assessing, and mitigating the risk of site redesigns on organic search traffic. Part one, “SEO: Identifying the Impact of a Site Redesign,” we published last week.

Launching a redesigned site is filled with potentially high risks and rewards for organic search traffic. Regardless of whether the risks outweigh the rewards in the end, the weeks following a redesign typically produce unstable organic search traffic patterns and may include some nail-biting days. In “SEO: Identifying the Impact of a Site Redesign,” part one of this two-part series, I discussed how to predict which areas of the site were most likely to be impacted in the redesign.

In this second installment, I will focus on how to identify the scale of the risk to organic search traffic as well as how to create a plan to mitigate that risk. The full article includes the following sections:

  • Organic Search Risk and Reward
  • Calculating the Risk
  • Mitigating Organic Search Risk
  • 301 Redirect Plans
  • Closely Measure Afterwards

Read the article in full at Practical eCommerce, “SEO: Launching a Redesigned Site.”

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.