So, Google announced that they are slowly transitioning into 100% (not provided) keywords in Google Analytics; meaning, no more keyword data. This kind of makes sense, considering Google’s implementation of Hummingbird: the new search algorithm that focuses on conversation and “semantic SEO.”
Okay, back to keyword data.
While we do use keyword data metrics in client reports, I don’t think this transition is the end of the world. Especially because we are focusing on the WHOLE picture, and not just certain isolated metrics (like traffic or rankings).
Alternative Ways to Gather Keyword Data
- Google Webmaster Tools. The search query data will still be available, although there is speculation that the data is inaccurate.
- Bing Webmaster Tools. Similar to the search query report in Google Analytics, you can grab organic search keywords from both Bing and Yahoo in Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Search Traffic Usage Metrics.We won’t be able to see keywords bringing visitors to our website, but we still get that data and we can make assumptions based on the content of the page. The overall picture, though, is to focus on the usage metrics for search visitors. Are they sticking around and coming back? How can you improve your top landing pages?
- Rankings. While we can’t gather user data with ranking tools, we can still continue to track rankings for key terms.
- Keyword Tools. For new keyword ideas, I like using UberSuggest or Google Suggest, Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner.
- AdWords.This isn’t free, but you can use AdWords to gather new keyword data for your website by bidding on terms and seeing how they perform.
Rand from SEOmoz did an excellent video on how to optimize SEO efforts moving forward. Definitely worth a watch.