Google Analytics Keyword (Not Provided) Survival Guide

By Tinuiti Team

Outside of the ecommerce world, healthcare reforms are a big deal. For those of us who eat at their computers however, the real news is Google’s encryption organic search traffic, which eliminated keyword data for online sites.

Below is an overview of what’s  Google organic keyword data (not provided) means, along with news and tutorials from ecommerce and SEO professionals.

Google Analytics Keyword Not Provided: What Does It Mean?

Google analytics organic search not provided

Google Search Query Data Before

Until about a week ago if you were an online seller looking to increase site traffic, or determine what searches were leading to your site, you were able to do so through Google Analytics. Progressively, much of that referrer data was unavailable to Analytics users as part of Google’s user protections.

Here is some history on encrypted search data on Google:

What is Refferer Data?

Organic Search Traffic and Paid Search– Google

Search Encryption on Google Introducted– Google

Google Encyrpts Signed-In Search Data– SEW

Search Encryption  Expanded to all US Google Users (signed in)Globally Signed- In Users.- Google

Encryption extends to Firebox Safari users, and Chrome users.

Google Not Provided Data at 73%– SE Roundtable

Google Search Query Data Now

Google encrypting searches using HTTPS continue to increase, as Google claims to protect user privacy. Which means an end to this free keyword data for merchants or agencies.

Here are some announcements about Google encrypted search:

Organic Search Traffic and Paid Search– Google

How Many Sites Does (Not Provided) Affect? [study]-Moz

The Google Analytics keyword data has included (not provided) data for some time, but the percentage of keywords in this category has been increasing for some time, and is expected to reach 100% e in the near future. You can view the percentage of keywords not provided here.

Google Analytics not provided data


Google Analytics Keywords Not Provided: Why?

Google notes that the encryption of search is designed to protect user privacy, which many agencies and merchants believe is not he case.

Encrypted Google Search For More Ad Sales

Some would argue that this move is purely revenue based on the part of Google, as one of the major alternatives to finding keyword data is through paid advertising in AdWords.

Google Search Queries For Webmaster Tools Limited To A Year, AdWords Longer– SEW

Cut Out 3rd Party Ad Networks – Search Engine Central

Google Encryption for AdWords Profit- Outspoken Media

SEO’s Reply to (Not Provided) Keywords- SEL

Google Killing Organic Search– SEO Book

Encrypted Google Search For The NSA

Other’s would argue that Google is pushing back from rumored NSA and Prism spying program rumors.

Google alleged in Prism Program– Washington Post

Encrypted Google Search For Mobile Shopping

A less popular but interesting argument looks at cross device attribution and online search, specifically mobile ads.

Keyword Not Provided – Maybe Mobile Is To Blame?-SEL

If you strongly agree with either point, there are online petition here or here.

How Can I Find Where Organic Traffic Is Coming From?

The lack of keywords in Google Analytics for organic search is a major pain in the tuckus for online  marketers. However, there are a ton of alternate ways you can find similar data. Here are just a few recommendations:

1. Google AdWords

2. Landing pages in Google Analytics that have been SEO optimized.

3. Site Search In Google Analytics

4. Google Webmaster Tools

5. WordPress Search Analytics plug-Ins

6. Anchor Text

7. Internal Site Search Analytics

8. Create a Not Provided filter in Google Analytics

9. Use SEMrush

10. Create a custom report for visits, activity, etc in Analytics

11. Use an Analytics Platoform like Hubspot

12. Consider keyword tools like Google Trends and Ubersuggest

13. Utilize  historical keyword data from Analytics


(Not Provided) Google Keyword Data Advice

Rand’s take on dealing with missing organic keyword data – Moz

Smarter Data Analysis of Google’s https (not provided) change: 5 Steps– Occam’s Razor

7 Best SEO Tips for (not provided) Keywords – Above the Fold

What ‘(Not Provided)’ & Google Hummingbird Mean for Small Business SEO [Infographic] -SEW



Do you think Google is evil, or encrypted search is good for online searches?

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