Keywords “Not Provided:” What Encrypted Search Means for Your Marketing Analytics

One of the many ways that marketing analytics can help you develop a smart SEO plan is by telling you which keywords bring the most visitors to your site, and more specifically which keywords bring in the customers who are the most engaged in your site. If you’ve looked at your keywords report in Analytics recently (and you should!) you’ve probably noticed a larger than usual number of visits entered as (not provided) and may have wondered what that means. [Read more…]


There is a reason why people need pay per click management. It is simply too easy to set up a Google Adwords (or other PPC) campaign incorrectly or inefficiently.

I recently took over a campaign for a client who had put around 200 keywords into two different ad groups with a total of two ads between them. It is a lot faster to set up a campaign by entering all of your keywords into one ad group like this, but it can really hurt your campaign.

Understanding user behavior will help with this explanation. Because people are searching a a specific set of keywords, they are far more likely to click on a PPC ad that has their keyword(s) in it. Having different ad groups that cater to each keyword or to several very related keywords increases the click through rates for your ads. A higher CTR means that Google and Yahoo are likely to show your ads more often because they have determined that people find your ads useful.

In fact, you can be charged more for each click if you have a lower click through rate than a competitor. This means that you could be paying more for your 4th position ad than the person in position #3 if they have a more relevant ad combined with a higher click through rate. Your ads may even be shut off by the search engine for having a poor Quality Score.

By putting too many keywords into a single ad group, with ads that do not pertain to the majority of those keywords, you may find that your ads are not showing at all. This is because the bidding requirements can be drastically different for certain keywords.

Hiring a PPC management company that is experienced in keyword research, ad creation, and PPC campaign managment will enable a company with a poorly performing campaign to see up to 90% reduction in the cost per impression even after considering the fees of the management company. This puts the ads in front of more people which increases relevance while reducing the Cost per Click (CPC).

TMA – Too Many Acronyms

I run into acronyms a lot in the tech industry. Everyone assumes that you must know what all of them stand for since you are also in the tech industry. Other industries sometimes make this mistake as well. This actually relates very well to keyword marketing research and search engine optimization.

When is it ok to use acronyms in marketing? Only when the consumer understands what they mean or is actually looking for the acronym itself. For a great example from Verisign, the keyword “SSL certificate” is an excellent example of when to use an acronym. Not a lot of people know the meaning of the acronym, which is secure sockets layer. Around 320 people a month search for this word. However, 673,000 people search for “SSL” a month. The average consumer has probably never heard anyone use the real term, and so a company selling SSL certificates needs to market accordingly to the right audience.

For another example, we can look to domain registration. While I was recently at a conference, the words “TLDs” and “ccTLDs” were being thrown around like crazy. These are terms for domain names- top level domain and country code top level domain. With this acronym, around 1,900 people search for ccTLD a month compared to 880 for country code top level domain. However, does this mean that you should optimize for the acronym?

In this instance, no. Only people in the tech industry have ever even heard this term before. The average consumer is searching for “domain names” at a rate of 450,000 a month. It is extremely important that your search engine optimization company use keyword marketing research to determine the best keywords to use for your campaign. Otherwise, you might be marketing to the wrong audience.

Narcissism in Blogging

I was recently talking to David Hamilton over at the WHIR (Web Host Industry Review – read our post about acronyms) about blogging, and he brought up the very good point of how to avoid narcissism in blogging. It does seem like blog writers can be a little full of themselves. After all, they are portraying themselves as experts on a particular subject.

So how do you avoid this situation?

I can’t write a resume to save my life because it sounds like bragging, but I can go on for hours about keyword marketing research like I’m the savior of the industry. I think egotism in blogging is something that every blogger needs to work on. Perhaps acknowledging that others can be correct will help, but I honestly think that the style of blogging would need to significantly change in order to avoid this self-absorption problem.

One way of doing this is to reference other experts in your field within your blog. You may know a lot, but chances are that you learned from people who were, at some point, more knowledgeable than you. Give them credit, reference your sources with proper linking, and you (and they) will get more reward in the long run through backlinks and general good etiquette.


I often find that search engine optimization is an educational experience for both parties – the client and the SEO company.

In order to do my job, I need to be educated on what your company does, your industry terms, what your products and services do for people, and (most importantly) what your business goals are. In exchange, I get to educate the client on the murky underpinnings of the internet, keyword marketing research, how visitors use websites, how White Hat SEO is different from, and more desirable than, Black Hat SEO and so on. Often times, we need to re-evaluate industry-specific terms to see if internet searchers are actually looking for these terms. And this is where the conflict can come in.

Say you have been manufacturing French chrome-plated hoozy-whatsits for 50 years. Naturally, your website is focused on this product and uses this key phrase as a primary on site term. However, my keyword marketing research tells me that no one looks for French chrome-plated hoozy-whatsits. They are looking for silver thingamajigs, a similar yet simplified description of your product.

Elated by my discovery, I tell you that we must change a large amount of your website content to use this keyword and completely forget about French chrome-plate hoozy-whatsits: silver thingamajigs are the wave of the future! People want to buy them now! This is a wonderful opportunity for both parties to educate the other about their respective industries.

Obviously, no one wants to change the entire focus of their website in a highly specialized industry that they are an expert in. However, I am an expert at keyword marketing research, and we need to find middle ground. We can create landing pages using silver thingamajigs to direct customers to your French chrome-plated hoozy-whatsits; we can use both terms on your site and, in doing so, we can educate consumers about the superiority of your French chrome-plated hoozy-whatsits over the ordinary and normal silver thingamajig.

The point is that we both need to work together to maximize the efficacy of your campaign in a way that will optimize your site and remain true to your business.