Dealing with Not Provided


With keywords in Analytics moving entirely to “not provided” tracking certain mertics has been cut back.  In this video Rand gives his suggestions of ways to work around the lack of keyword data.  This includes things like tracking rankings in brackets (branded, non branded, long tail) and comparing the traffic to the pages that rank for those types of terms or using other tools such as AdWords and keywords research tools.


Google Increasing Not Provided


There are a number of articles all discussing this topic.  Google is shifting all of their searches over to secure which means most if not all searches will be moving to (not provided) and no longer provide keyword data in Analytics.  There is, however, some mention that those with active AdWords accounts will still have keyword data.

User Behavior and Search Queries


This Whiteboard Friday discusses how search queries are evolving as Google gains the ability to gather information beyond the query itself such as user location, previous search history, device they are searching on, etc.  As time goes on and these capabilities increase users are learning to rely on it rather than the keywords of the query.  With things like Google Now the query is being removed entirely.

The video also brings up an interesting theory about (not provided).  The theory here is that this is Google’s way of saying that their focus is moving away from keywords and towards the solution to the searchers problem.

Brand as Story


This article discusses the value of looking at brand marketing from the standpoint of storytelling.  It first looks at psychology and the way that the human brain is wired to respond to stories.  The argument is made that emotions more than facts influence decisions, especially purchasing decisions.  The story, life style and memories that are built around a certain brand or product are far more effective than a list of facts about the product.

Every brand has a story though they are often buried out of sight of the average viewer.  Examining the company mission can give a great starting point for the overall story about the brand.  This can be used as the overarching plot or concept behind marketing efforts.

Story based marketing can also be broken down into the elements that make up any story:


In a story the plot is the path of events leading through the story.  It starts with the introduction of a circumstance and a problem then builds to a solution and resolution.  There may be other aspects to the plot but this is the simplest form.  The plot of a brand is the things it does to address its mission statement.  It is the connection between the values of the brand and the needs of the customers and how it comes up with solutions that meet match the two together.


In the framework of brand as story the characters are the users of the products, or the customers, and the things the brand creates, or the products.  The users should always be the main characters in the story.  This helps to build the emotional and personal connection that will convert new customers and keep the old ones.  This is also why things like audience research and personas are so important.

Thought (Theme)

Here the theme is presented as the universe the story is built within.  It is the tenants and values that shape and define the story and the products of the brand.  This theme or universe should be appealing and welcoming, inviting customers to join in the brand story.


Diction in a brand story is both the words and tones that are used throughout the story and the specific words that are created for a brand and the culture they represent.  These are a combination of jargon and branded words (such as brand names) that helps create a sense of community within the story.

Song (Rhythm)

In traditional stories rhythm is about the pace and flow of the story.  When related to brand stories it addresses usability and accessibility for the user.


Spectacle is all of the little pieces that fill in the gaps, pull at the heart strings and create an exciting experience.  It can be little more than fluff at times but it completes the experience and gives it a flashy front.  In the article the graphic design element of webdesign is given as an example of spectacle.


The article concludes with some examples of exceptional brand storytelling and the evidence of how effective it was.  Creating a story is about engaging an audience and making them part of the story, especially in the digital space, and has far more ability to grab attention, keep it and convert users than more more traditional marketing models.

Headline Preferences


This articles summarizes the results of a study about headlines.  It breaks down the five common types of headlines: normal, question, number, how to and reader addressing.  It then looks at survey data as to the preference for each type of headline.  The results found that number (such as _ ways to _) were by far the most common with reader addressing coming in second.  The conclusion that was drawn from the data is that readers like headline that are clear as possible, giving precise information about what is in the article.

There are also some statistics here about the importance of headlines.  2 million blog posts, 294 billion emails, and 864 thousand hours of video are created daily.  That’s a lot of content, and while many people look at a large number of headlines statistics show that only about 20% of articles that are seen are actually read.  This means that creating headlines that are enticing and appealing is incredibly important.

Microdata and SERPs


This article presents the notes from an SMX Advance panel about micro data and rich snippets.  There is a lot of good information in the article and I have selected a few points I thought were particularly interesting.  First, when multiple types of mark up are included, such as author, rating, product information etc Google will display different types of rich snippets based on the keyword being search for.  Second, when author markup is used and a reader goes to the link and then hits the back button a “more by” type box shows up in the SERP.  And third, bread crumbs are a possible rich snippet options, which opens up opportunities for purely informational articles that don’t easily lend themselves to other types of rich snippets.

Local and Organic SERPS


This article breaks down an example of results based on a search with local included.  It looks at how the organic results are mixed in with the local results.  In this particular example 3 of the local results would have ranked organically on the first page if there was no local consideration.  One of these would have been number 9 on the page so it got a jump up in the rankings.  This is useful information as it shows how ranking locally if possible can give a jump up in the ranking when stuck in the general organic results.