I’ve had a growing number of clients asking me this, wanting to know why there is a rising number of keyword searches being replaced with ‘not provided’ in their Google Analytics reports:
The answer, unfortunately, is that Google are specifically withholding these searches. Every ‘not provided’ was carried out by someone logged in to their Google or Gmail account, and since late last year Google has been (by default) logging people into a secure search page to make these searches private.
They will still supply details of these search keywords for Pay Per Click advertising clients, but not for Organic searches in your Analytics statistics.
Given the reason for this missing data, it makes sense that the amount of ‘not provided’ keywords will increase steadily, as more and more users log in to Google and stay logged in permanently. Already we are seeing clients with over 20% of their search keywords hidden.
For the moment, there isn’t so much you can do. You can set up filters to show you the landing page for these hidden keywords, which gives you some small insight into what kind of search many have led that visitor to your site. You also have the option of paying somewhere in the region of £70,000 per annum for Google Analytics Premium, but that is no doubt vastly out of the budget of most businesses.
It’s a disappointing move on Google’s part, and we will simply have to use the remaining visible keyword searches as a guide as to the overall pattern of organic searches on our websites – keyword performance tracking will just be a little more challenging in future!
About The Author: Camilla Todd manages Search Engine Optimisation, social media campaigns and brand awareness for WNW Design SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at email@example.com or phone on 01395 542 569. You can also follow WNW Design on Facebook here.