With Google's recent announcement to encrypt all keyword searches (with the exception of PPC ads) many marketers are jumping on the SEO is dead bandwagon. It certainly is not the end of SEO and the Not Provided update from Google's latest algorithm change gives SEOs and digital marketers an opportunity to adapt and adjust to these search specifications.
There is no doubt that it doesn't help SEOs by encrypting keyword searches, which Google said was done to ensure extra protection for the search user, but there are lots of ways to still undertake successful SEO strategies and to track and target your keywords.
How the Not Provided keyword change affects marketers
The obvious and initial difficulty is that you are losing your search engine keyword insights for Google, which is likely to have an effect on your content strategy as it has harder to track which keywords to rank for. Fear not though, if you are a marketer without much SEO experience here are some hints and tips to undertake when implementing your SEO strategy.
Organic search data has been hit but if you work in a company with a PPC team you can utilise their resources. Any half-decent PPC team will have a wide selection of search data such as Google Adwords and analytics, both of which you may have access to yourself. By connecting the two accounts together you can check organic traffic and keyword optimization trends. Therefore you can see exactly what keywords you want to target or rectify any worrying trends.
Expanding on the above point, if you have a limited background in SEO then Google Analytics is pretty much an essential tool to use on a daily basis to track the performance of your site/sites.
Your keyword search data does not have to be limited to Google. You can also use other search engines like Bing and Yahoo to obtain your data through analytics tools like HubSpot. Without a tracking system in place you are pretty much undertaking your SEO in the dark.
A valuable point which many top SEOs have touched upon over the past weeks is that the Not Provided update gives SEOs and digital marketers the chance to drive more of a focus on producing top content and ascertaining endorsement from respected/relevant websites. Other have said that Not Provided highlights more of a business results focus as opposed to just targeting keywords.
What to do
SEO continues to change and adapt on a rapid scale so make sure you are up to date and prepared for any algorithm changes, like Google's Hummingbird update. It is also important to make sure you are up to speed with the latest practices, so get into the habit of reading articles from highly-respected SEO sites and SEO authors, such as searchengineland and searchenginejournal. These sites are updated daily and will keep you on top of the latest topics in the world of SEO.
Remember that organic referrals are now the most important factor in terms of good SEO practices. Therefore make sure you have a strong stream of fresh/unique content to improve your chances of organic referrals from authoritative sources.
By producing organic fresh content you will be more likely to obtain branded keyword backlinks. If you can direct your content to a landing page or landing pages on your site you should see improvements in organic traffic, more ranking opportunities on more long-tail keywords and an increase in your sites breadth.
Therefore the best ways to grow your landing pages is by creating a consistent stream of new content like posts in your area of expertise (or your company's expertise), infographics and video. You can then use PPC and social media channels to optimize this content.
So if you are a marketer with a minimal background in SEO use the resources around you, which could be your company's PPC team or analytics tools and keep up to speed with all the current and goings on in the world of SEO. Make sure you have strong content, direct it to appropriate landing pages and optimize it. You can then track the progress through analytics tools.