Why Google is Making SEOs do Real Marketing with Not Provided Data and Why That’s a Good Thing

Nov 5, 2013

For the past few years, search engine optimization has had its changes. SEO firms and individuals have both accommodated for these changes and survived, but now there’s two big words that are making even the biggest gurus shake and quake in their proverbial boots: Not Provided.

“Not Provided” has become the replacement for up to 56% of some industry’s keywords. This means that Google wants people who perform search engine optimization professionals to do real marketing for the first time instead of trying to cater to keywords.

Let’s examine three reasons as to why Google has chosen to do this, and why it may ultimately be more beneficial for everyone.

    SEOs forced to do real marketing
  • Private Keywords Stop Low Quality Sites

  • Google has implemented its share of features that let users see how the search engine’s insides work. Google Trends used to be one of those features that let users see the first 100 most popular trending terms on Google, until certain websites exploited it for their own gain.

    This exploitation resulted in low quality sites that ultimately hurt users more than it helped.

    The same thing has happened with autoblogs and websites that prey on keyword referral data to create “content” that is equatable to spam.

    Making certain keywords impossible to see should ultimately help cut down on the number of low quality sites that are meant to target certain keywords without publishing good content. This forces SEOs to focus on writing great content and finding alternative ways to publish it, such as with social media.

  • Google Wants Users to Focus on Paid Ads

  • It looks like Google wants users to focus on paying Google to advertise for them rather than allowing search marketers to do so. The proof of this is the fact that Google hides fewer keywords for AdWords users than they do all other users.

    This subtle difference in provided keyword data means that Google wants SEO to become more about marketing. You can still optimize pages for keywords to cut AdWords cost just as you could to improve SEO efficiency.

    This change may ultimately benefit businesses more than anyone else. Effective ads with efficient pages listed at the top of search results can allow for a steadier, more predictable stream of profits.

  • The Focus Should Be on Content, Not Keywords

  • The last reason as to why Google is making the shift towards “Not Provided” data lies in one policy how Google has tried to coax users into focusing on writing quality content for a while now.

    The most obvious shift towards this change lies in how Google has made it easier for the search engine to recognize synonyms and semantic searches. This leads to more accurate content that doesn’t rely on a certain set of synonyms.

    Google is still working on improving semantic searches, as evidenced with the recent Hummingbird update.

    All of this means that content creators need to focus on marketing amazing content rather than pushing out the same boring information.

    This means that businesses can begin trying to truly understand what their demographics want instead of stopping at establishing what search users are trying to find.

Google Wants Websites to Focus on Marketing Themselves

While the “Not Provided” change represents a dramatic change, it shouldn’t stop webmasters from being able to measure metrics about their websites. They can still monitor social media channels, user opinions and on-site searches to figure out what their users want the most.

Ultimately, Google forcing SEO professionals to focus on marketing should be a good thing for every party involved. It cuts down on low-quality content, breeds room for more accurate searches and allows for websites to invest in themselves, rather than spending money on SEO.