Earlier today Google flipped the switch and now all traffic from Google will give (not provided) keywords 100% of the time! The (not provided) line in Analytics has been soaring the past few weeks, and even without the final flipping of the switch from earlier today, the graph was trending upwards to be 100% by early December anyway!
The root of this is due to the encrypted HTTPS protocol does not pass on the searcher keywords, and overtime there have been different sections of the web which has been forced to the secure search such as logged-in Google users, and later on all Firefox searches.
Any SEO company worth their salt have anticipated this, prepared and will be ready to implement (if they haven’t already) a solution to this dilemma. With this looming on the horizon if you are still only trying to measure your SEO company via non-branded traffic split during this day and age of holistic marketing, you are either with a not so great company, or are not valuing their activity enough.
We should be working to push not just the clients products and website, but the client as an entity itself. People are doing this all the time, just look at the craze of infographics, they aren’t about the products the client sells (usually), but are pushing the brand as an authoritative voice in its vertical.
With the multi-device environment we live in nowadays as well does not promote this non-brand focus – if I’m viewing a website, see some brilliant shoes on BillyBobsSneakersEmporium, but found it via a keyword like “blue shoes” on my mobile phone, and then later that day when I was on my PC I went back to BillyBobsSneakersEmporium via the brands name – the keyword that sold me the product was non-brand, but if you are focusing on the split being SEO, you are missing out on attributing activity correctly.
Seeing (not provided) at 94.12% of organic in real-time analytics for one of our largest clients.
— Thomas Haynes (@thomas_search) September 23, 2013
What can we do?
So how do we measure the success of these campaigns? If you’re inhouse and do not work with an external agency, you could just look at conversions – however there are many issues with conversions which are entirely out of your hands, such as prices, sales or seasonal products.
My personal favourite at the moment is landing page entrances, it provides a much more stable and holistic view to measuring activity on the website, and encourages focusing on optimising conversions and improving the users experience on the website, which ultimately should be the goal anyway.
Are you in the industry either client side or agency side? Please leave your thoughts or experiences in the comments below.