What does “Not provided” Keyword in Analytics Mean? (Part 1)

The keywords searchers use in Google to discover your website is a key performance indicator for many of our businesses. But have you noticed that in addition to your business keywords you are getting…

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What does “Not provided” Keyword in Analytics Mean? (Part 1)

The keywords searchers use in Google to discover your website is a key performance indicator for many of our businesses. But have you noticed that in addition to your business keywords you are getting more and more visitors with the keyword reporting as “(not provided).” Do you know what this means?

What Happened

On October 18 2011, Google announced some big news for website owners. Going forward, when a search is made on a secure Google webpage and the result is clicked, the search term would no longer be passed to the destination website. Instead, these visits would simply be grouped together in Google Analytics under the keyword “(not provided).”

Why?

On the surface, the official reason was that this was done in the name of privacy. Google is suggesting that those searching using a secure Google connection would not want their search term to be passed on to the destination site.

What Does It Mean?

Quite simply, it means Google is choosing not to share the keyword data with you. The searcher did use a key phrase, obviously, but Google is not providing you with the information. Grouping a large number of keywords under the banner of “(not provided)” denies site owners fundamental information about how their site is performing in organic search. The percentage of “(not provided)” traffic Google is sending your site is steadily rising, to this day the “(not provided)” count is 79%. That means you are unable to identify 79% of search terms your visitors used to get on your site.

not provided keyword

How To Deal With It?

Ever since Google announced they would no longer report referring keyword data from logged‐in users, webmasters and SEOs have become increasingly frustrated dealing with the dreaded “(not provided)” keywords. But don’t worry, next week we will discuss how to deal with this apocalypse.

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