Missing: Google Keyword Insights and What You Can Do

Google Keyword DataAs of the end of September Google started redirecting all traffic to encrypted searches using https, which means no more organic keyword data for website owners. As a result you can’t track and segment your visitors by keywords like before using analytics software, except if you are running PPC ads since paid search referrers are still available. If you are wondering what words and phrases people are searching for when they come to your website, or how relevant your site is to readers, well… you are out of luck, – this data is now listed as “not provided”. This change not only affected SEO gurus but any business owner who has a presence online.

Google first introduced encrypted search in 2010, but the “not provided” row in Google Analytics first appeared in 2011 when Google stopped delivering the keyword data for all U.S. users logged into their Google Accounts. Afterwards the rule expanded to all signed in users and now it’s becoming full, 100%. The officials say it’s for providing extra protection to not signed-in users, but experts assume it may be to redirect people to Adwords where Google now offers the Organic and Paid Report. View our article Adwords vs AdSense


So, What Should You Do?

keep-calm-and-blog-on-95First, stop stressing over every update Google makes. It’ll drive you nuts and take your focus from what’s important, and that is to create an amazing product, offer great service, produce quality content, and do whatever it takes to really help your customers. As long as you have this, you and your business will do well.

If you focus on creating impressive content that speaks to your readers, you won’t need SEO to build you links – your interesting and useful articles, videos, images and infographics will bring you enough social shares and natural links for you to be always ahead of any algorithm changes any search engine could ever do. Just keep optimizing your site for humans and writing share-worthy content.

Keywords still matter, but Google is shifting away from the mechanical SEO in favor of social sharing (read Google favors Social Sharing Over SEO) and the connections we make to people and relevant content.


How to Track Your Keywords, Rankings and Brand with No Organic Search Data:

This is the tips part, practical advice on how to deal with the new algorithm for those of you not quite ready to let go of what is becoming old school SEO…  Okay, you’ll need the organic keyword data to be able to track how your brand popularity is growing, to research new keywords, and analyze the ones driving the most traffic to your website so you can improve those rankings – right?. Here’s how you can do all that without the keyword insights :


1. Track Your Rankings using Moz.

Locate the keywords that bring you the most traffic and track your rankings. There are lots of different analytics services to use and Moz is among the best out there. You will need all the keywords your site currently ranks for. To gather this data you can go to Google Webmaster Tools, click on Search Traffic, then Search Queries, and you will get all search data (encrypted searches included) and your site position for every keyword you rank for. View our Guide to Google Webmaster Tools.

Google Webmaster Tools

This is now probably the only reliable source of keywords from Google secure search (though not fully accurate…. but hey, something is better than nothing). Unlike Google Analytics, you also get impression vs. click data, which means you can see what words and phrases searchers are using when your site appears in the results and they don’t click it. This is pretty valuable information that you can use to improve your on-page SEO for those pages that are ranking, to tweak your title tags, meta descriptions, and adjust your content.


2. Keyword Research using PPC or Keyword Planner.

To research new keyword opportunities to build content around and improve your search traffic you can either: spend some money on Google Adwords, or go for its free keyword research tool – the Keyword Planner. When you enter a keyword into the planner it will generate a list of other keywords you should look into, information on their search volume, as well as their suggested bids. This information will help you determine the high-returning keywords, if you follow the logic that the higher the cost per click the more lucrative the keyword.

keyword planner


3. Monitor Brand Popularity with Google Trends.Monitor your Brand

Monitor the popularity of your brand using Google Trends. If the chart shows growing interest over time it means you are definitely on the right track with your brand, and that whatever you are doing as a business is working well. The only drawback is that if you are a new company just building your way up, you will have to give Google some time to collect the required data so you can see your brand terms on Trends.


4. Use cognitiveSEO to monitor anchor text .

Monitor the popularity of  anchor text used to link to your site using cognitiveSEO. You can also get insights into what kind of links
work best for you and your competitors.This is a premium service by you can try it for free. 

Whether we like it or not, we have to adjust. We knew this time was coming. These alternatives should help you deal with Google Keyword Insights not provided, at least in the beginning until new solutions become available. And they will be available, as with every other Google update.

But what do you think, why is Google making this changes? Why aren’t they providing organic search data anymore? How are you coping with the not provided? Drop a comment below to let us know your thoughts.

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About Nancy Bain

Our services include building optimized, functional and self managed WordPress websites, Nova Scotia social media training and consulting, interactive full screen high definition virtual tours with lead capture and print advertising. For most of our clients, we are their one stop solution for all things marketing, branding and small business development related.


Google Adwords offers some of the best conversion tracking, if not the best conversion tracking, in the world. But guess what? Most businesses advertising on Adwords are NOT using it. They don't know how well their ads are performing on a campaign level, nor an ad group level, nor an ad level, nor a keyword level. All they know is clicks - but setting up conversion tracking will enable Adwords to tell you exactly which campaigns and which ad groups and which ads and which keywords are actually becomes leads or sales. I confess that I spent thousands on Google Adwords without conversion tracking, but now I wouldn't spend another dollar without it. I gotta give credit to Simon for helping me out with it, he can help you too if you call his phone during business hours, his number is 256-398-3835.


Hi Nancy, I heard a lot about cognitiveSEO but yet to try it. Tried Moz and it is great especially when you are running a business. Personally, I think this is a great tool if you can afford the price tag. Great round up and thanks for sharing! Reginald