When (Not Provided) vanished, people went nuts. They made it seem like the end of the world. Sure, it was valuable free data that suddenly we as SEOs didn’t have access to, but that doesn’t mean that our profession is over. Not being able to see all the actual keywords people are using to get to your website doesn’t mean you are dead in the water. If you are a good SEO, you already were using a variety of tools to run reports, write content, and build websites. (Not Provided) isn’t the end of the world. It just means that you are going to have work harder on being a genuine marketer who wants to reach your target audience in a personal way.
You Already Know How to Reel People In
If you’ve worked in your current position or industry for more than two weeks, it’s fairly safe to say that you have a pretty good idea what consumers are searching for online to find your products and services. Give it six months to a year, and you’ll even be able to tell others the common misspellings for your products, and when someone is searching for “tater crinkle thingy” you know they are looking for your top-of-the-line potato crinkle cutter. Instead of relying on Google to give you all your possible keyword ideas, take a look inward (both at yourself and others in your company) to know what to optimize for and write about.
If you had a lightbulb moment of how something in your industry can be better, that could be a new blog post. If your customer service staff keeps getting questions about how to use your crinkle cutter on other vegetables, write up a veggie crinkle recipe ebook that explains everything. The environment you are in already supplies all the keywords you’d ever need. You just need to learn to pay attention.
Just Be Awesome
One common problem I see with SEOs of all levels is that many struggle with doing things the right way and doing things the fast way. Some times (and I love those times), it can be both. Both other times, it is not enough to dump new keywords into your PPC ad groups and call it good for the month. A good SEO knows that shortcuts can be their friend, but that being awesome should always reign supreme.
When it comes to any content you produce (especially blog content), put your 100% effort into it. People can tell when you have spent time on something, whether it is “just” clever ad copy or a 800-word blog post. When you give your all at something, people notice (even though sometimes it feels like it takes a while for them to). So instead of only writing blog posts for a specific keyword that you found on your now dearly-departed keyword search list, write about what you want to write about.
Here’s a list of awesome pieces of content that are good in industry and that you (and therefore, your target audience) is actually interested in:
- Interviews with employees or experts in the industry (everyone loves talking about what they are doing, email them questions!)
- Unique testimonials (your crinkle cutters were used in a wedding potato bar? awesome.)
- Company culture posts (if you aren’t entranced with posts about Zappo’s company culture and workplace, I’m disappointed)
Focus on What You Do Have
Instead of stewing over the fact that Google “took away” an important and useful tool for us SEOs, decide to focus on the positives: what is still available. There are still many free or reasonably-priced SEO tools you can use to get keyword data and ideas. Instead of pouting, decide to make your strategy better than ever. Take this time to start looking for bigger and better tools that do things you didn’t even know about. Here’s some to try:
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Google Webmaster Tools
- Moz’s Open Site Explorer
- Screaming Frog
- LinkAssistant’s Free Suite
If the (not provided) debacle has taught us anything, it’s that it is important not to rely solely on one tool. Keep a collection of tools and ideas in your arsenal, and you won’t ever feel lost and alone again.