The Internet is in a struggle between privacy and convenience. Users want an experience that is smart and personalized without sacrificing personal information. This recent demand has caused an interesting shift for marketers as we try to deliver that experience without asking for too much information. Understanding user behaviors plays a big part in creating an experience that engages users and keeps them feeling comfortable and secure.
Throughout the last few years, Google has changed how they allow marketers to access information, such as keyword research. This dwindling transparency of user behaviors provides a challenge as many brands look to leverage niche focused content and more engaging digital platforms.
While information may not always be shared, it is certainly being collected and implemented to create a more personalized experience for users across the web. Private data is used to evaluate user intent and provide more engaging content in digital channels from major search and social powerhouses.
Google’s Universal Search is a good example of incorporating more interactive mediums and personalized content into places where users are already present, such as search engines. Despite the new privacy restrictions on sharing this data, your brand can evaluate the trends seen across these digital channels and pair them with a creative approach to keyword research to discover new opportunities for increased content visibility, user-experience and targeting features.
The Keyword Research Catch 22
Keyword research is one of the most valuable and ROI generating tactics your brand can leverage, but over the last few years marketers have experienced big changes in what Google allows to be seen in analytics. In an attempt to meet user demands of privacy, Google has reduced transparency into how users utilize keywords by making data only available from those not signed into a Google account.
This creates a catch 22 for marketers looking to understand the behaviors and interests of their audience segments. By not having access to how the majority of visitors search, marketers must approach targeting and keyword research differently in order to deliver valuable, optimized content.
How To Conduct Better Research
With the overwhelming amount of content production and delivery channels available today, your brand must focus on driving quality traffic over quantity. By developing a niche focus with specific keyword phrases, your brand can have a better chance of being found by users who are more likely to convert. About 70 percent of searches are focused around long-tail keyword phrases that drive stronger conversion rates than broad phrases due to a customer’s position in the decision making process.
Leveraging Google Trends and Keyword Planner can give insight into opportunities to increase visibility, but lack specific insight for audiences and may not show all of the valuable or high-volume keyword phrases. To unlock more insights from Google’s “not provided” analytic data, adjust your filters to track the behaviors of users with additional privacy that are signed into a Google Account.
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Uniform Resource Identifier
To gain additional insights into the behaviors and keywords used by protected visitors, create a custom filter and configure it to track “not provided” data and request the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). Leveraging this filter will help identify the pages visited by users with privacy restrictions.
By tagging these results that pass through this filter with a prefix such as “np” for “not provided”, marketers can easily identify results within the data. While applying this filter does not offer detailed and precise information, this trick does provide a better understanding of user intent by identifying landing pages and a vague assumption of keyword terms used by “not provided” users.
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Autocomplete and Suggested Search
To generate more targeted keyword research, you need to analyze historical data to find keywords that drive traffic to landing pages targeted to specific audience segments. Expand your search around related keyword phrases and analyze what competitor content currently ranks for these phrases to understand how to best position your content for competitive rankings. Google’s autocomplete and suggested search features can also offer a unique look into how users search and help generate keywords phrases with high search volume.
Overall, the most powerful tool for keyword research is understanding the user intent for searches and optimizing the right content that fills a need for that user’s location in the decision making process. By developing valuable content that leverages niche keywords, your content can be strategically placed in targeted SERPs and more engaging delivery platforms such as Universal Search.
Focus your keyword research to match your marketing goals. Adjust your approach with more directly targeted keyword phrases for paid search and keywords that speak to the interests and attributes of users in organic search. By developing customized keyword research strategies to reflect your goals and audience interests, your brand can keep users engaged in a private, digital environment.