by Johnathan Dane October 15, 2013

5 Ways “Not Provided Keywords” Can Improve Your Marketing

Delicious marketing cheese is still available (image source)

Your SEO plans might just have gotten hit, again. Google’s recent change of showing “not provided” for some organic keyword data is a clear push in the direction of making the paid search train look more inviting than ever.

And while Google is improving the privacy of signed in users by hiding organic keyword data, the “not provided” keywords are definitely still provided for Google AdWords advertisers.

If you’re still not ready to spend some money on clicks, I have good news for you.

Here are 5 reasons why “not provided keywords” can actually improve your marketing.

Reason #1 (Know what works)

For years and years, you’ve probably known that SEO is as common a term as the word “viral”. One of the few miscommunications between potential clients and PPC companies is that everyone thinks we do “that online marketing thing”.

“Oh yeah! I know SEO, glad you can help me with that”

The truth is, we don’t do SEO, but people still have a hard time seeing the difference.

See, you might not know the ins and outs of what makes great SEO or make your business go viral, but you know that it’s achievable. Therefore, any logical person would rather want free clicks and free exposure than paid clicks and paid exposure. It makes sense.

You will either be paying someone to do your marketing or you will spend your time trying to learn and do it yourself. The “keywords not provided” update could help you to learn that your time is more valuable than money and that maybe you should look into PPC or content marketing or actually trying to create a brand that rocks.

Reason #2 (Be Proactive)

Let’s move away from being reactive marketers to proactive marketers.

It has to be horrible to always be at the mercy of Google, Bing, or Yahoo! While you may find great success in one channel of marketing, it makes absolutely no sense to rely on that channel 100%.

Instead, let’s start being proactive marketers.

Scratch the backlinks strategy and start delivering more value to your visitors and current customers. Learn more about content marketing, great social media and showing that you’re fun and interesting.

Reason #3 (Change your focus)

There’s a reason why new SEO companies launch and fail within months. The only ones who stick around are the ones willing to change and reinvent.

Today, many smart SEO companies know that the Panda, Penguin, and now Humminbird updates are just the beginning of a major change in search. The “not provided” keywords change in Google Analytics is a clear indicator that SEO is not as lucrative as it once was, and it will only become more difficult if you don’t adapt.

Reason #4 (Find your avatar)

Have you ever interviewed or learned about the avatar of your customer? Not the movie, but the actual characteristics and demographics of who loves you. Do you know where and how to find more of them?

Other non-digital marketing channels are still alive and kicking, but you’d waste your money quick if you don’t know who to target. Which is kind of the same situation you’re running into with the not provided keywords.

With the current visitors you have, you can easily get quick snippet feedback from them by using a service like Qualaroo.

Qualaroo allows you to learn about your visitor preferences and what makes them convert. This will clearly help you piece together your customer avatar for further marketing ROI, and it’ll dull the pain of the not provided keywords you can’t see anymore.

Reason #5 (Improve your site)

Every company and website has a conversion rate. You know, that percentage of people who actually do what you want them to do, whether in your store or on your landing pages.

So instead of trying to increase links or use older SEO tactics to remedy the not provided keywords you’re no longer seeing, try to focus on improving the conversion rate on the current visitors you’re getting. Using a service like Unbounce or Visual Website Optimizer allows you to make quick and fast adjustments and run isolated tests to potentially double, triple, or quadruple your current leads or sales.

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Johnathan Dane

Johnathan Dane is the co-founder and head of operations at, a creative digital ad agency specializing in pay-per-click marketing with search and display networks. When he's not working hard on increasing client success, you can find him playing pick-up basketball at the local gym with the elders or schooling Jacob at ping pong.

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