Google ‘Not Providing’ – Why It Doesn’t Really Matter

Did you ever hear the one about the SEO and digital marketing consultant who turned down the client who just wanted to get to no. 1 on Google? This post is a little bit about why I might turn down such a client – and a lot more about why you shouldn’t be that client!

The announcement from Google this week, which dismayed many a marketer, only serves to highlight why you should start thinking about online marketing within a broader context. It reinforces the argument for taking a more holistic approach to marketing your business online.

Google not provided data

SEO is Changing

Ok, let’s jump straight in. SEO is changing. I almost feel sorry for all of those agencies who have ‘SEO’ in their name somewhere, as it may be the case that they will be forced into a re-brand sooner rather than later! Why? The reason is that SEO is no longer ‘just SEO’. It is no longer – and can no longer be – a standalone product. SEO is now simply marketing. This is why you need to stop thinking just in terms of ‘doing SEO’, or zeroing in on improving search engine rankings for its own sake.

Specifically, we should collectively start to move away from rankings and organic traffic measurements (although they are still important), and away from over-analysing data in general. Instead, ask – “what does my customer actually want?”. Instead of second guessing them via Google Analytics, why not just ask them about what’s most important to them? Then, you have a framework and foundation on which to build and augment your marketing efforts.

A Digital Strategy That Works

Let’s say you own a bike shop, and you know you should be blogging more – but you are missing valuable data around your top queries in Analytics. Forget that! You know your customers better than anyone. Do you notice a gap in their knowledge somewhere, perhaps around maintaining their bike or knowing which model suits them best (to give but two potential examples). Why not make a blog post out of that and promote via social media? In fact, here is a ready-to-go model for you to run with right now:

  1. Ask your customer about what they need, quiz them on the gaps in their knowledge (if you aren’t already aware of what these gaps are).
  2. Formulate some blog post / web content ideas around these topics.
  3. Write awesome content which addresses their queries – content they will refer back to and instinctively share.
  4. Share this good stuff on social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook – but don’t forget Pinterest, YouTube, Slideshare…
  5. Interact with your top sharers – show that you appreciate that they value your content and have taken the time to share it.

If you do all of the above, you will reap the rewards over time in the search engines without even trying. Your authority will increase, your rankings will rise of their own accord – and with the rise of the importance of social in SEO, you will be perfectly positioned to take advantage of it.

If you do all of this, are you really going to be worried about missing keyword data in Google Analytics? Or will you be too busy at the cash register and on the phone?

I would love to hear what you think. As a business owner, have you adopted this type of strategy already? If not, why not?

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2 thoughts on “Google ‘Not Providing’ – Why It Doesn’t Really Matter”

  1. Hi Anton
    I like the way that you are going with this and , to a certain extent, I agree that the Not Provided data might, in the long term, have such as drastic affect as other changes that might come along. However I would also suggest that this list above might be a bit simplistic – it could take month and possibly years of hard slog and loads of expertise, doing all of the above (along with everything else that comes along to change the digital landscape over the coming years) and then you cannot be guaranteed to be successful int eh online world.
    However, I would definitely agree with asking the customer what they need. I am a great believer in the premise of “start with the customer and work back from there”. The result is that tyou find out what the client’s goals are and then you can start to put together an associated strategy to deliver on those expectations.
    All the best

    1. Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for the comment, and for popping by 🙂 You’ve also just made me realise something – I had intended to put a little disclaimer towards the end of the post, along the lines of; ‘of course this is not all you need to do, and it won’t be that easy – but it will give you a solid starting point’. So I agree with your point. The thing is though, you are not really the target audience. It is more intended to help someone who might have their heads buried in data, wondering how to move the needle in terms of their own (or their company’s) online marketing efforts.

      Really it is about shifting our thinking towards a more holistic approach, which in the long run should allow a business owner or marketer to achieve their more focused goals in any case (e.g. increasing search engine rankings for key terms).

      Couldn’t agree more re ‘starting with the customer’. Do that and combine it with hard work, and you can’t go far wrong. ‘Focus on the user and all else will follow’, is one company’s way of looking at it…. 🙂


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