Last month, the encryption of Google’s organic search data left many people scrambling. According to the update, one hundred percent of keyword referral data from organic search would be blocked and the opportunity to glean insight from the data a thing of the past. For online marketers, this meant that a new way to approximate performance data was essential to surviving in a post-encryption world.
Google Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics
Fortunately, there exists a method to view not only organic search queries but also the URLs that appear in search results for those queries. It begins with linking a Google Webmaster Tools account to a Google Analytics account.
By sharing the search optimization data available in a Webmaster Tools account with a Google Analytics account, it is possible to generate reports in Analytics based on the data from Webmaster Tools.
For example, you can view how people are finding and interacting with each page on your site (how much time on page, bounce rate, etc.). With organic search reporting data in Google Analytics, you can also view statistics on queries and the results of those queries.
Content Remains King
While the ability to view search optimization data continues to be essential to analyzing page performance, the key element going forward will be high quality content. With this latest update, Google is signaling that they are looking more at content and less at keywords used on the page.
Therefore, we can assume that by creating original, relevant content, you can start to improve the position of each page in search engine results. Then, as you implement the Webmaster Tools alternative, you can leverage the content-related metrics in Analytics reports (bounce rate, time on page, page value, and conversions) to measure the results of your overall SEO efforts.
The takeaway: Google’s ‘Not Provided’ update is not only a change, but also a challenge to all of us to create a more user-friendly experience via our web pages.