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Life After Keywords (Not Provided): What’s Next For Bloggers?

This is a guest contribution from Jim Burch, a copywriter from St. Louis.

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When you use Google Analytics to track your blog’s traffic, you may see (not provided) on your list of keyword searches. Simply put, this is Google’s way of encrypting keyword searches in the name of privacy and security.

If you heavily rely on keyword analytics for the content you produce, you may be in a bit of a panic. What was once a quantitative measure to strengthen search engine rankings is now much more qualitative. As a blogger, you want to see every piece of analytics behind every keyword, but in 2013 that’s just no way to do business.

The Web is the only medium where people write for machines instead of people. You get so caught up in keyword density, you may forget actual humans are reading the content.

This Is Good

The first point to understand is this is an improvement for the Web. Adjustments and transitions will take time, but in the end, the general quality of content is about to increase. Imagine if off-Web content was written to fulfill SEO and keyword standards. What would an Ernest Hemingway novel look like if it needed to rank for “great American author” on Google? Hemingway didn’t write for Web crawlers and neither should you.

“Content is king” and all those wonderful cliches still apply, but there’s a little more work to be done now. Digital marketing agencies are looking ahead on this. The marketing blog at iAcquire recommends implementing a “content system” to create content that is both high-quality and consistent to get the jump start on life after (not provided).

Creating a Content System

A content system is an efficient way for bloggers to produce high-quality content while staying organized and consistent. The switch to (not provided) keywords is seen as a restriction by some, but really it’s an invitation to rock some of the best and most-effective content the Web has ever seen. You just have to add the layers to form one delicious cake. What does a content system look like? There are a few elements:

  • An editorial calendar that is both active and consistent. Follow it and use it to keep up with consistent social media and blog posts.
  • When you’re constructing blog posts and social media, keep the themes consistent. You can thoroughly cover a topic and keep readers engaged through all social media platforms.
  • Stop writing for keywords and start writing for people — your audience.

Authors with Authority

Gaining Google Authorship or collaborating with a writer with Google Authorship can be a big asset to your blog’s rankings. Google’s most recent update may give more power to authors who use Google+ and Google Authorship.

Who writes a post could be as important as the site on which it’s published, in the eyes of Google’s web crawlers. This makes the relationship between the author and the publisher mutually rewarding — the publisher will get stronger rankings from quality authors and the author will drive up his or her own authorship ranking with each post.

Not Everything Changes

Keep in mind, just because Google isn’t providing raw data on keywords doesn’t mean its algorithm doesn’t count them. So don’t throw the whole strategy out the window.

These changes are designed to refine existing strategies, not rewrite them. If your work help boost rankings in the past, keep doing them. The addition of better, more consistent content will help rankings in a more organic manner, even if you can’t see feedback from specific keywords.

Bloggers Have It Best

While marketers are scrambling to adjust methods for better rankings, bloggers are good to go. Chances are, you were always writing for an audience first and search rankings second. This method of organic content is going to pay off now that Google rewards both concepts and authorship more than ever before. It’s time for players who cut corners to step back in second place. Bloggers who do it the right way, have been doing it the right way, are about to take the lead.

What do you think? Will the new Google strategy help or hinder your blogging?

Jim Burch is a copywriter from St. Louis. Jim has spent the last 2 years specializing in writing for SEO and helping some of the worlds biggest brands build out their content marketing strategies. He specializes in advertising and marketing and also covers a variety of health and fitness topics. 

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Comments

  1. Alex Ivanovs says:

    I’ve always tried to write for the user. I think it gives a much deeper meaning of the concept of blogging, and it takes a burden of my shoulders by not having to think about the SEO aspects so heavily. I want to deliver value to my readers, so that they become more than just readers.

    It’s hard to shuffle trough everything, but when you do what you love – it all comes together nicely.

    Thanks, Jim. :)

    • Kalen says:

      Very good point Alex. I think that SEO rankings can actually be HIGHER when you think more like this. I am not saying that it is good to ignore SEO altogether, but your content will look more natural. The people who try to write very finely tuned SEO copy often end up with something that looks unnatural and are more likely to get flagged by Google.

    • Neha patel says:

      hi, I wonder why people always worry about Google rather than their visitors.. Do it for your visitors. Let them spread the word.. Truly “content is the king” every king should have a code, that’s where Google should knock the door.

  2. Aaron says:

    I think it is impossible to try to keep up with Google’s ever-changing strategies and policies. I’ll continue to write my posts as if I am speaking face to face with someone.
    I’ll also continue to check my analytics dashboard and webmaster tools dashboard regularly. But it is starting to sound like if you want your site to appear anywhere worthwhile on Google it is going to cost you in one way or another.

  3. J.T. Smith says:

    New changes in Google will always help those who are focusing on writing good content for readers. For me, this will help a ton in gaining traffic for my blog. While I have gone slight techniques to improve keyword density and such to gin better rankings, my first focus is to make sure a post will get the reader to click that Facebook like button by the time they are done reading.

  4. Mike says:

    Search engine is the core of Google and it’s clear that they trying to make it as perfect as they can. I absolutely agree that this gives benefits to authors who provide valuable content comparing to black hat links builders. From my experience I’m noticed that Google sometimes ranks my pages well for keywords I wasn’t even thinking about. Just one-two not exact matches can easily put you in front of crappy over optimized pages with most likely scrapped content. Of course if you provide value to your readers.

    Just recently Google bought a company specialized on artificial intelligence. There will be a day when Google bot will learn to read and understand web pages naturally, and probably this will happen soon.

  5. Google will always make changes. We’ve seen the giant search engine do it year after year. To weather and withstand those changes, there’s one consistent thing marketers, bloggers and business owners can do. That is, produce high quality articles every time. More than other tools and algorithm guidelines, it should be the standard that we should stick with regardless of changes.

  6. Lee Cole says:

    Over the years, I’ve written massive amounts of keyword optimized nonsense. Just rehashed fluff that doesn’t really do anyone any good, even if it pegs a small piece of online real estate for me. Making the move to writing for humans has been a very liberating breath of fresh air. Although, I sometimes doubt Google’s motives, I think this will benefit us all. Even if it might be a side consequence.

  7. exactly you said it…. people are so keen ti making their keywords rank at top and submit seo friendly content not user friendly… its really sick to read those. nice post… worth reading..

  8. Malik Asif says:

    Quite informative. Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you for a great resource.

  9. andy says:

    I don’t say it lightly; I’ve been blogging since 2000, moving from an email list I started in the ’90s to Blogger to TypePad to WordPress.com to WordPress.org. My blog is now directed off my Stealthmode blog domain to SVBTLE, where it lives under an alias. I couldn’t decide what to do with it, because I was originating posts in Google+, Facebook, and Evernote more and more often. And I can’t really “blog” on my phone; so when I am at an event, I’m more likely to live tweet, and then convert those tweets later into a Storify.

  10. thank you for the information :)

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  11. Thad James says:

    It always goes back to good, honest content. If a blogger tries to keep up with the ever-changing algorithms of Google, that will always be a lost cause. If every writer would follow the simple ideas in this article, it would make their lives easier and their posts better. Thanks for the article!

  12. Sunday says:

    Well, its obvious that marketers could really get caught up with the idea of creating content for search engines instead of readers, but this has actually changed with proactive bloggers or marketers since the inception of the “Not Provided” feature in Google Analytics.

    The best content system today needs to fulfill the needs of readers as well as search engines.

    I have shared this comment in the content syndication and social bookmarking and networking website for Internet marketers – kingged.com where this post was found.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://kingged.com/life-after-keywords-not-provided-whats-next-for-bloggers/

  13. great blog Google love keeping us on the ball with all there updates

  14. Michael, NTEN says:

    Great tips about creating a content system, Jim. It could be difficult to manage if you’re used to writing on an ad hoc basis, but if you’re writing anything other than a personal blog it’s important to implement. It makes writing easier, and makes it easier to ask others to write for your blog. At NTEN our blog is populated by content from our community, and asking them to write is easy since we know wht our topics will be for the next year.

  15. Terry Culkin says:

    Google does make these changes for it’s own reasons. Primarily they want the user to experience the best results. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who try fake it.
    Keep on your topic and keep writing about it. You need some SEO, basic keyword thinking. Make sure what you are talking about is in your title, your URL and a couple of times in context. That is it.
    In the end just tell the world what you know like your telling your best friend.
    Personally I have found that social media has been better in getting new people to my and my clients websites.

  16. shamsudeen says:

    The search engine giant made it clear on their website that you should never write for robots, but humans.
    Nevertheless, we still have to find the balance in between writing articles that drives organic traffic and those that build community.
    But this doesn’t mean keyword stuffing.
    Thanks for wring this,Jim.

  17. Samuel says:

    It’s great to see that Google is rewarding unique content that is super-targeted to the algo’s or Google itself.

    Content should be created first for your audience, then the search engine Google. (you’ll keep succeeding even more by follow that rule, into the future)

    They’re so many channels to optimize for that Google rankings shouldn’t be your only/#1 priority.

    Social media, emails, other websites – all are important channels to be working on and optimizing.

    Good post!

    - Sam

  18. Ballsy says:

    I’ve felt the pain of pulling my hair out due to trying to perfectly optimise an article for the Google algorithms and it does take the pleasure out of what should be an enjoyable writing experience. I must resonate the same as above and concur that content should be written with your message in mind to deliver the best quality to your audience and not configured for the search engines.

  19. vigneshraj.n says:

    I wonder why people always worry about Google rather than their visitors.. Do it for your visitors. Let them spread the word.. Truly “content is the king” every king should have a code, that’s where Google should knock the door..

  20. Nimra Alam says:

    It did make a difference in creating a keywords list now as we do not know which keywords are performing best for us, but we still get the update about our best pages so it’s still quite possible to know what’s trending when.!!!!

    i just hope they bring it back..!!! If more data becomes unavailable it will only make things harder for bloggers.

  21. James says:

    I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the fact that google keeps changing how things are done, but as you put it, bloggers are good to go. People who have been writing online content for years highlighting their creative views about a certain topic are writing for the reader but still managing to get those keywords in there because they are sticking to topic. That’s all there really is to it. When writing an article or blog write down how you feel, or what information you have researched and how this relates to your point and you will have covered the basics of certain key words any way.

  22. An article on how to get good Google Authorship would be very helpful Darren! I think Authorship is the future!

  23. Well,don’t be afraid of Google update. Just create content for your readers. It takes time to build a worthy place among your audience but as soon as you will strong relation with your readers,you will see immense change in your traffic. Your readers will share your posts.
    So try to write for your readers not for search engines. Remember”Content is the King”.

  24. Ken Newhouse says:

    I agree with the idea that forcing bloggers to write “for people” versus writing for keywords is going to inherently improve the quality of content on the web. I really do need to get more organized and use and editorial calendar… especially since the amount of content I’m creating/distributing is rapidly increasing.

    Your post was well-written and has given me the nudge (aka “kick in the pants”) I needed to implement the use of a good editorial calendar. There’s an editorial WordPress plugin that Neil Patel recommended that I thought looked pretty good – and the sample editorial calendar I just saw on Social Media today was pretty good too.

  25. Avin says:

    Almost 50% of keywords are no provided on my blog daily.. I have read Huge amount of keyword Articles… this was quite informative.

  26. Kalen Bruce says:

    I write to create great content for my readers. I want my blog to be a huge resource of free information that can help everyone. I have never put much time into keyword research, because when I have tried to, my articles end up sounding like they were generated by a robot. It all depends on your goals with your website though. Great article!

  27. I was wondering why the vast majority of my search traffic said “Not Provided.” I’d been relying on Jetpack analytics through WordPress to help with my keyword strategy. Most of my traffic right now comes from Google search, and that worries me a little because when Google has a new update, all of my traffic could be gone! I’m just fortunate to have jumped on an underserved, yet highly searched niche.

  28. Wayne says:

    I was starting to worry when I saw that not long ago … thanks for motivating me to simply focus on writing epic stuff!