Google Analytics Fail – Keywords Not Provided

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Google Analytics Fail – Keywords Not Provided

By now everyone has pretty much come to grips with the fact that we can no longer get accurate keyword data from organic search. Wait, what’s that you say? Bing offers this data? Well soon they too will switch to secure search and that data will be gone. Not to mention that Bing currently makes up anywhere from 1% to 15% of organic traffic for all clients I’ve had analytics access to over the past year. For those of you new to the game, that means that its hardly worth any effort or attention.

Alternatives Sources of Organic Keyword Data

We still have Google Webmaster Tools search query data though! Except that is wildly off the mark when compared historically with analytics data. This is a widely debated issue. Some people feel that the data is good, but it just needs dome additional manipulation to make it usefule.  But I still love it for bigger picture keyword data, taken with a grain of salt. I love the Top Pages tab and then investigate all the terms for a given page that Google shows you and use that for content marketing efforts and blog post fodder.

Tools like Blueprint Search Analytics, from RKG, will basically extrapolate all of the Google Webmaster Tools Data and slice and dice it, combine it with some math, and is said to deliver sound data on keyword data. Even predictive data can be sourced from this they claim. I’ve take the demo and it does look sweet! After all, its the brainchild of the Queen of Google Webmaster Tools. But alas, its way too expensive for something that just downloads GWT data and plays with it. It does offer analytics integrations, which helps. But its just out of range price wise for the majority of businesses.

Google Analytics Fail

So today, I got this cool email from the Google Analytics Team that basically encouraged me to check out last month’s data for one of the sites in my account. It had a link to a dashboard and pulled some data into the email for me, as a teaser. But then as I scrolled down the email, basking in the glory of this targeted and thoughtful email, I say their message about using keyword data to help inform better advertising decisions. KEYWORD DATA! YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT KEYWORD DATA?!?!

Check out this screen grab of a section of said email….

Google Analytics Fail - Keywords Not Provided

As you can tell, I was NOT amused by this. Thanks for the “tip” Google. <sarcasm> I’ll be sure to login to analytics right away to check my “keywords” so that I can gather the insights necessary to more effectively promote my business online. </sarcasm>

Comment and share your stories and experiences. I’m especially interested in hearing any tips and tricks you might have for recovering keyword data and your thoughts on GWT data accuracy.

How to Grow Healthy Guest PostsOrganically grown foods are almost always accepted as healthier and better items to add to your shopping cart. Without pesticides and other chemical processes, naturally harvested fruits and vegetables don’t possess the junk that often lurks in other produce. When it comes to creating a successful guest blogging campaign, growing organic guest posts is also a healthier and more effective strategy in the long term.

If your online marketing campaign can benefit from naturally produced guest blogs, then here are some helpful tips to healthy posts.

The Basics of Blogging Still Apply

Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, says that rather than attempting to “make your links appear natural” it is important to ensure “that your links are natural.”

In creating a nutritious guest blogging strategy, some of the best advice is to treat your guest posts just like normal blog writing. All the basic rules of normal blogging still apply to guest blogging.

Quality Ingredients

The good content argument is a common rule of blogging and is perhaps more imperative in guest posts. If you want your guest posts to generate authority and not be discarded as potential spam, then spending the extra time to research and write quality articles proves key.

The extra effort will pay off as a positive investment. A well written piece will advertise for itself because something worth reading will garner its own word-of mouth publicity as well as shares on social media sites. A good post can also quickly gain backlinks since it is a good reference source.

Additionally, producing good content will quickly establish a positive reputation for yourself as a writer. This gives you a leg up the next time you pitch a guest post. And with enhanced credibility, you may even be welcomed as a regular guest blogger for individual sites.

Gone Fishing

Also just like normal blogging, the creation of “link bait” in guest posts will go a long ways in attracting attention and capturing an audience. Aiming to be intentionally provocative can excite and interest potential readers. Simply developing an arresting title can go a long ways in determining the success of a post. There are several ways to shoot for this:

•  Choose a controversial topic

•  Write a report on a breaking news story

•  Include a number in the title such as “7 Easy Ways to Create Attractive Links”

•  Include an interview with an industry expert

Organize Your Seeds

Just like a farmer planting rows of crops, it is also important to keep track of what links go where and other information necessary for creating guest posts. Spreadsheets are fantastic ways to manage several simultaneous guest blogging opportunities.

If you are staging an entire online marketing campaign through guest blogging, then it is especially important to stay on top of details in order to reduce your footprint. The common use of specific personas to write for different niches can be highly effective, but must be managed in an organized fashion to eliminate confusion that might detract from your posts’ authenticity.

With these keys in mind and a bit of hard work, a healthy crop of naturally grown guest posts can be yours to harvest.

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Things to Consider When Hiring an SEO ExpertMaking the decision to hire someone, whether an individual or an agency, to take your business to the next level with search engine optimization is a great decision to make. It means you’re obviously ahead of the game, and making important business decisions that will no doubt better your company.

There are a lot of things that you should consider when you decide to hire someone to do your SEO. Failure to consider some of these things could lead to spending a lot of money yet not getting any results, which isn’t fun for anyone. Check out these things you need to consider and these tips you should hold on to when hiring an SEO expert or consultant for your business.

Check References and Results

When you’re hiring an SEO professional, you’re hiring someone that is expected to deliver you results. Since you’re expecting results, you should check that person’s references to see if they’ve delivered results for other people or companies, too. Call their references and ask them what they liked and what they didn’t like about this SEO person, and if they followed through on the results.

Be wary of any SEO professional who promises you immediate results, as this is simply not possible without any tactics that are considered unethical and that might get you in trouble with the search engines. Any respected SEO professional will tell you that SEO takes time, and it is a marathon not a sprint.

Ask to Be Involved

When searching for an SEO professional, you should opt to hire a professional that will keep you involved throughout the whole process. You want an SEO professional who will be involved with you, and help make improvements to both your online ranking along with your Mentel web development enterprises. You want someone who will always be there to answer questions about anything and who will be open and very transparent about the services that you’re receiving.

Be involved in your SEO, don’t just hire someone and hand off the torch. Ask what you can do better, and be prepared to make changes. You want a professional who is active and truly cares about results for your company, not just somebody who will cash a paycheck each month.

Consider Cost

Cost is something that you should definitely consider when shopping around for an SEO consultant. Be wary of hiring someone that charges suspiciously low, but also don’t hire someone with outrages rates. Instead, opt to hire someone who is right in the middle so you get the best bang for your buck.

Costs for SEO are going to range dramatically depending on what level of services are offered and how billing is taken care of. Some SEO professionals might charge you by the hour, and some might charge flat rates depending on what services they perform. Some will want to be kept on retainer, and others will just want to consult you as necessary. Make sure you know exactly what services you’ll be receiving for the cost you’ve been quoted at, so no unexpected charges show up when you receive your invoice for services.

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Microsoft Complains of Google Mobile Search MonopolyMicrosoft has filed a complaint against its rival Google, pinning the search giant for attempting to monopolize the mobile search market.

A complaint filed with the European Competition Commission by the so-called FairSearch coalition suggested that Google was abusing its Android platform, using it as a Trojan horse to quash competition. And by some accounts, the complaint could have merit.

Writing in ComputerWorld, Microsoft analyst Preston Gralla agreed with the complaint, despite pointing out apparent hypocrisy in its message.

“Microsoft and a host of other businesses are right to complain that Google unfairly uses Android to consolidate its monopoly in mobile search advertising. There’s certainly an irony in Microsoft making the complaint, but the company knows about anti-competitive practices, because it used similar tactics years ago in using Windows to harm competitors.”

The Google Android platform is open source, and powers a majority of smartphone models on the market. The allegation highlights the de facto forcing of the full Google suite of applications onto manufacturers that adopt the Android system ­– a structure they allege to be anti-competitive.

For Microsoft and its fellow complainants, this gives Google unfair access to an un-competitive majority of smartphone user data – at the direct expense of their own operations.

The FairSearch coalition is a collective of Internet organisations out to get Google. According to their website, the aim of the group, which includes Microsoft, Expedia, Oracle and Nokia, is to ensure “growth, innovation and choice across the Internet ecosystem by fostering and defending competition in online and mobile search.”

But given its own history of monopoly abuse allegations, some are pointing to the irony in Microsoft leading the action.

Microsoft has faced sustained criticism over its own market share and whether it was creating an un-competitive monopoly environment through its Windows operating system. With Google now dominating the parallel mobile OS market, some have argued that the move is just a touch hypocritical.

Nevertheless, those in the industry generally welcome competition as a mechanism for delivering choice and product improvements. Simplikate, a mobile application developer that works with apps for Windows, Android and other platforms, said that consumers win from effective competition regulation.
“The more providers there are in a market, the more we see business think about the needs of consumers. With smartphones, this extends to operating systems and apps, and more competition from providers will inevitably lead to greater innovation and the development of better technologies.”

The European Competition Commission regulates markets in Europe, with the power to prevent abusive business practices. While the process is often lengthy, a petition to the Commission, if successful, could enforce a change in the way Google does business with handset manufacturers.

Microsoft has previously been forced to yield to European Competition Commission rulings, including releasing a version of their operating system without Windows Media Player to comply with attempts to broaden competition.

While the complaint may have years to run, it could help unlock a market that is increasingly dominated by one major force – with the effect of increasing choice for smartphone consumers and allowing other manufacturers to compete on level terms.

If you don’t have a website to showcase your business and the products and services it offers, you might as well have a car with an empty gas tank. There are some good quality free websites out there for you to investigate, such as Once you have found the winning website, have optimized its content, and launched a solid SEO campaign, if you haven’t already adopted Facebook as a platform for your marketing efforts, now is the time to do so.

A Social Network in your Corner
Facebook started off as a forum where people could come together and share thoughts and ideas. It still achieves this, and is perhaps the greatest resource for businesses. In an article published by Forbes it is reported that half the people in the entire world with Internet access are using Facebook, and that one of the main reasons people interact with it is due to its many business pages. Even large corporations such as Porsche, AT&T, and CNN have over a couple million Facebook fans, and if they can see the value in this powerful social media tool, then so too should the small business owner. Here are some tips to help you utilize Facebook to the fullest:

·      Orchestrate a genuine interest in your services and products by creating an exciting business page that compels a person to become a “fan”. Add an energetic cover photo, and constantly add new photos, testimonials, and ongoing specials.

·      Encourage fans to leave comments, questions and feedback. Respond to every single one of them, and motivate them to come back with more content. By adding content to your business page, your fans are doing your marketing for you, as all of the people in their sphere of influence will see your business when your fans post. When you respond to content, you are placing yourself in control of your brand and your business’ online reputation.

·      Give incentives for people to become fans of your business page. Offer a discount on utilizing a service for the customer’s first time, a free trial, or enter them into a drawing to win free goods.

Use Facebook when you are Offline

More than likely, if a person walks into your place of business, he/she is a Facebook user. Put a sign in your window and one on the counter that offers a free service when customers “check in” on Facebook. In other words, when a user checks in to a business, all of their friends see this, and therefore see your business. But what is even more powerful than that is simply that your customers are giving out business referrals by letting their friends know where they like to shop, eat, and hang out.

Initiate Domino Effect

By using Facebook correctly for your business, you will be acquiring new fans and therefore new customers. Once one jumps on board your brand, so too will their friend, and that person’s friend, and so on. No other place on the Internet has as many potential customers in one place. By working with this social media platform, it will in turn work for you.

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Technology is changing all the time, and with it so too is Google. The SEO (search engine optimization) tactics that webmasters used 6 months ago hold little relevance—Google is continually changing its algorithms, and without proper content even a million dollar SEO campaign will have little power in your website’s organic placement. As a business owner, there are things you can do to deliver on SEO yourself, and right from the sofa while watching Monday Night Football. Whether its joining an online directory that provides a free website like Yellow Pages United, or you are setting up a Facebook business page, there are some big steps you can take to ensure your website is growing, and on its way to finding better organic placement in the Internet search engines.

A Blog is not a High School Essay

Writing a blog is a great way to start the growth of your organic placement. There are two different ways to blog: one is to simply write a piece to provide information to a limited and special audience who already follow your online activity. The other is to utilize the science of SEO to optimize your content (what businesses want to do). In an article published by SEO News, the author states that marketers spent $16.6 billion on electronic content writing in 2011, and with good reason. The article continues to attest that no matter how highly optimized your site is in other areas, without content your site will disappear into Google obscurity. Here are some points of advice:

·      Write relevant content and be creative without deviating
·      Build relevant links into your content
·      Link social media marketing avenues to your content (like Facebook)
·      Use keywords and clusters to target your consumers and reflect what they are desiring and looking for
·      Make the content geared to your consumers, and not the search engines

You may be scratching your head in regards to the final point listed above. But there is a good reason for this. Remember, optimized content enables your customers to connect with you through the search engines, social media makes it easy for customers to share and participate in your content, and lastly good content marketing enables customers to build relationships with companies through content.

Tread with Optimistic Caution

Be ambitious and motivated to give this everything you have, but be careful not to focus too much on areas of little importance.  When writing your content, be sure to avoid keywords gilded in gold. When you research keyword content development, start by thinking about how consumers talk about you, rather than allowing your ego to run away with the show. Also, don’t spend too much time focusing on traffic measurement. All too often I see business owners attempt to “play god”, and they waste so much time in trying to track activity. At the end of the day, you will know if your content is paying off, as you will see an increase in your business, a greater buzz going around on your services, and people will be talking about you online. However, if you do all of these things, and business remains the same, then examining your traffic numbers and investigating where the problem lies is worth looking into. But let a professional handle this for you. Unless you have the skills of a true webmaster, you might be better off finding an affordable SEO consultant to help you iron out the wrinkles. But more than likely, if you create smart content, your business will start crawling towards the top of the search engines and you will be on your way to better organic placement.

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A lot of opportunities await small businesses in today’s market. Not only are there numerous ways to target your customers in person, but there are also a multitude of resources available online. The fact is that consumers are increasingly using the Internet for a variety of reasons these days, and that includes shopping for goods and services online. Families are busy, and looking for information online is convenient and the process saves time.

So what do the shopping trends in the consumer market mean for you as a small business owner? A lot, actually. While the big-box stores certainly get their share of revenue through online searches and sales, the market is changing for small businesses, too. In order to make it in your business, you must reach this ever-growing market online. There are three online marketing strategies every small business should try.

Website Creation

First and foremost, every business should have its own website. Whether you are a start-up company or have a business of a handful of people, you should have your own place to call home in the virtual world. Just as most businesses have stores or offices people can come to, there also needs to be a place where consumers can find you online. Customers need to be able to look at your website to gain more information about you, while others are completely new to your company and have found you through another platform. No matter what the precise circumstances are, the bottom line is that websites are one of the main keys to a small business’s success.

Before you launch your business website, make sure that it:

  • Has an easy-to-remember domain name
  • Contains clear copy
  • Has your business contact information


Now that you have your website up, how will people find it? While you may have the URL listen on all your business literature, this doesn’t help you out in the way of reaching new customers who have never heard of your company. When it comes to finding new clients within your target market, SEO is your best friend.

SEO, or search engine optimization, works by relaying commonly searched keywords within your website that your clients would normally search for. This way, when they conduct the search online, your business is more likely to pop up on the search results. Make sure that all your keywords make sense and that the rest of the copy on your website is both evergreen and natural.

Virtual Networking

You may have already signed up with your local Chamber of Commerce for business networking events, but what steps have you taken to network online outside of your neighborhood? There are a multitude of online networking opportunities with other businesses, such as those through LinkedIn and Meetup. You may also take this a step further by creating your own social media pages to reach out to the masses. Before you create your own page make sure that it:

  • Is separate from your personal social media page
  • Offers something unique and relevant to consumers
  • Is updated on a regular basis

Utilize these tips to get your small business more visibility online. At this point it is not a leap of faith. Online marketing has proven to be one of THE more effective ways to market your business these days. So if you are not doing it then you will be left behind eventually.

It is a safe assumption at this point to think that most people are familiar with Facebook and even have an account on the social networking platform. Initially, Facebook found its roots in personal peer-to-peer networking, but it has since evolved into a more all encompassing entity. It now includes businesses of all sizes and industries as members. It is a unique and deeply functional space, where friends and families can interact with each other, but businesses have found their place in the system too. As this business function is garnering popularity, more and more business owners are asking themselves, “How can I use Facebook for my business?”

While some naysayers try to shirk and deny the strength of this social network, comScore Inc. has put out information that shows just what a permanent fixture Facebook is to marketing. Accounting for nearly a third of online display advertising in the United States alone, it is abundantly evident that if you want to be seen, you need to be on Facebook now. For small and medium-size businesses, harnessing the potential of this globally popular social network is an affordable addition to your marketing efforts. In fact, having an active account on the site is the very epitome of the term social media marketing. This is because you are making direct and robust connections with your customers, potential customers and others in your industry. Let’s have a look at a few things you can do to fuel your business with Facebook today:

1.     Make sure you create a company page and not just a profile page. This will give you the opportunity to implement a custom created welcome page that visitors will interact with when they visit you. It should be designed to stimulate an interest in your products and services, and it should compel the visitor to become a fan. Updating your company page regularly is a must and always try to integrate new photos, testimonials and any news or information about your company and industry in real time.

2.     Keep on top of the content that is posted to your page on a regular basis. This includes reviews, notes, links and photos. While your page will be built to attract customers, there are other people online who will try to piggyback on the strength of your network. Sometimes, their intents are just malicious. They may often post irrelevant pictures, videos, comments and other things that do nothing but clutter and upset your page. A good example of well managed customer content is Yodle reviews on Facebook.

3.     Communicate with your fans. This is a part of branding and marketing that people shy away from because it is so time consuming but trust us; it is necessary. When a fan shares a heartfelt sentiment about how much they enjoy your products or services, you have to respond. This inspires a personal connection that will keep them loyal to you, and more of them will opt to referring you to their own networks.

We hope that you’re able to realize more success and better customer relationships through the tips we’ve provided. Keep at it and you’ll soon see how important Facebook is to your company and your customers!

A Marketing Trifecta

A Marketing Trifecta Cartoon


There are several contributors to the changing ways with which customers are engaging with brands – one of the most prominent is social media. While some people believe it will eventually completely eclipse tactics like email marketing, we’re firm believers that this strategy is actually here to stay. In fact, it is our belief that a three-pronged approach to marketing that includes SEO, social media and email marketing may actually be the most thorough and effective strategy with which to move forward. Email is the original social network and we can still see its formative strength and purpose in the fact that without one, you cannot even register for a social networking account – additionally it is one of the primary ways in which alerts and notifications are delivered. Further investigation into our theory that the marketing trifecta we’ve shared will be the best strategy will show that search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, are going to continue to index and aggregate social network data – not to mention the fact that most social networks have their own embedded internal search engine functions as well. There is obviously no escaping the cross-over and intermingling of the three strategies to form one power-strategy so it is incumbent on you as a business owner or a marketer to ask “How should I be using the trifecta to help me develop and strategize my marketing efforts?” The only way to move forward and harness the power of the trifecta is to ensure you understand each element individually.

Email Marketing:

You’d be hard pressed to find someone without at least one email address that they haven’t had for years and if you’re wondering if they are still in use, ponder this – email does not have the abandon rate that social networks often experience. Most if not all basic business communications are conducted via email and not via social networks. Email marketing by iContact is a prime example of how this form of marketing is able to directly and efficiently target customers.


A clear winner, SEO allows users to conduct research on products and services in which they are interested. When you’re looking into a company as well, the first thing you do is Google them. Most times people don’t even question the search engine’s results because it is just easier to trust Google rankings

Social Media:

Social media is they way by which people find other people and conversations. It is the most accepted and credible platform through which people get peer-customer reviews on the products and services that they enjoy. Instead of just believing the things you read on official websites, you’re able to interact with the people you trust and the experts that you follow.
With this understanding you can see for yourself the ease with which these elements mingle and match each other. While choosing one may prove effective, it will not be full-bodied effect. To experience the wealth of success that marketing can conjure, it would be in your business’ best interest to integrate all three at the same time.

The Internet has made many changes to the way we live. Education is now accessible online from anywhere, communication is just a few keystrokes away and mobile phones can do more through the web than they ever could before. Then, of course, you have the way that it has developed a whole new means of shopping, with purchases that can be made all over the world that were once impossible to have imported easily.

Social commerce is perhaps the latest incarnation of the online shopping model. This is the process of using social media to advertise, assist with purchase or announce products. You have seen a number of companies get on the social media train recently, using Twitter and Facebook for just this purpose, along with other sites like Yelp and Foursquare.

To find out more, try these helpful and informative infographics.

The History of Facebook Commerce

The History of Facebook Commerce

One of the major giants in this area is Facebook, owing mostly to the quote by Mark Zuckerberg that this was the next area to “blow up,” and so his company was directed accordingly. It’s made some of the greatest strides on the subject, with an entire platform dedicated to providing a place for social media marketing and social commerce.

This infographic shows an overall evolution of the website by showing where each step – small and large – was made in that niche. You begin to really see that focus opening clear back in 2007, when Facebook first offered the marketplace page.

The Psychology Behind Social Commerce

The Psychology Behind Social Commerce

Wonder what drives people to want more social interaction with their buying practices? Wondering why it is that everyone seems to be obsessed with providing one-on-one communication with their customers? Just curious about the changes in holiday ecommerce vs. day to day? Then this infographic is for you.

Using a Victorian style as a representative of the topic, this visual data is both informative and appealing to the eye.

Four Critical Success Factors for Social Commerce

Success Factors for Social Commerce

Do you want to start getting involved in social commerce yourself? Then this is a must-see. It addesses the four core issues facing the genre: security, mobile capabilities, open recommendation and investments in social media.

This infographic also goes somewhat into demographic, which can be helpful when seeing the maintainers vs. the target base. However, the two sides are pretty evenly matched.

The Facebook Timeline of Social Commerce

Facebook Timeline of Social Commerce

Another Facebook post, this one goes a little more in depth to show you different brands and businesses that have really stepped up their social commerce game through the site. It includes Pizza Hut, Twitter-synced brands, Pinterest, Target and more.

What I like about this one is that it shows how some brands have even become specific to Facebook itself.

Are We Ready for Social Commerce?

Are We Ready for Social Commerce

This infographic is largely predictive. It claims that by the year 2015, there will have been a 500 percent increase since 2011 in social commerce profits. That means going from $5 billion to an incredible $30 billion. These figures were estimated by Gartner Research, an expert in the field.

But the data asks a larger question: Are we ready for this jump? Looking at both companies and consumers, it attempts to take an honest look at what is coming in sale trends and whether we will be able to keep up.

The State of Social Commerce

The State of Social Commerce

If what you are looking for is an explanation of social commerce as it is today – with a good idea of where it will be in the future – this is the graphic for you. It gives a breakdown of the way the entire thing works. As they say: It’s simple – shares drive sales.

By seeing exactly where social commerce is in today’s world, we can get a pretty good idea of how it will be in the future – for example, by estimating the percentage of sales growth in the coming years based on the rate of growth in the last two or three.

Is Pinterest the Next Social Commerce Game Changer?

There is a lot of talk these days about Pinterest. Thanks to the burst in popularity – especially among women – it has created a platform for demographic-based marketing using images and social media alone.

Already, you see a number of companies taking advantage. Nordstrom, Clairol, ModCloth and many other companies have jumped on board. This infographic shows why this is a telling trend in social commerce.

F-Commerce Ecosphere

Facebook is once more the topic of interest here. Showing it as an ecosphere, this infographic explains why Facebook-specific branding is really taking off. It also points out what we already know: that this site is, in particular, on top of the entire phenomenon.


There is no denying that social commerce is growing bigger by the day. If you want to learn more, be sure to check out these data-filled infographics.

Troy blogs on all things visual for InkColor, the affordable ecommerce solution for Brother Ink Cartridges.


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