What is ‘not provided’?
Before Google hide them, you saw the keywords on Google Analytics, which brought visitors to your website. But today you see ‘Not Provided’ instead of the organic search terms. It is why Google has encrypted the organic search keywords and hidden from Analytic data or not passed to the destination site, so you see it as ‘not provided’. So, you can’t find those keywords from Google organic searches of people though they are very valuable to you. As Google give their reason, they say it was done for privacy. So, you can’t see 95% of search data, but you see only 5% that too from non-Google searches.
But if you use AdWords to run PPC campaigns on Google, you can see the keywords used in AdWords campaigns and traffic. They don’t hide the keyword data on Analytics if you run the paid search campaigns. As search marketers say, ‘privacy’ seems overlooked here.
When we search on Google, the address in the browser turns to “https://” than “http://”. So, the information sent is encrypted. When you sign in any Google account like Gmail, Youtube, Google Drive, Google Analytics or AdWords, you enter the secure pages. Even though you have signed out, you’ll remain on secure pages. When you search on Google with Firefox, your searches will be secure. There might be many reasons why Google want to display keywords ‘not provided’, but that makes you disadvantageous since you don’t know how people found your website from Google search.
Are they planning to sell the keyword data at Google Analytics? If so, serious marketers or big businesses may buy it. But those small site owners who don’t pay for it will remain at the dark side.
How this secure search affects your SEO?
In the SEO perspective, you face the following disadvantages since ‘not provided’ has been imposed:
- When visitors landed on your pages, you have no idea what they are looking for. You don’t know if they found it or not. You also don’t know which keywords are converting into sales or not. So, you don’t have a content idea to fulfill their requirement.
- Bounce rate is one of the most important thing webmasters are looking for in the Analytic data. If bounce rate is high, optimization of the landing page is required. Since you don’t know exactly what they are looking for, you can’t do any precise adjustments for the customers.
How to get the organic keyword data?
The following are some ways you can capture the search keywords even though Google is not providing it to you:
1. If you are an advanced Google Analytics user, you can read the article of Avinash Kaushik, the top Analytic expert.
2. Although Google is not providing the keywords, you can see the keywords of non-Google referral traffic from Bing, Yahoo etc. But if you are a small business or your area is dominated by Google, you can’t see a big data on Analytics.
3. The reliable source of your missing keyword data is Google Webmaster Tools. For getting the data, you need to sign up for an account and use the Webmaster Tools. You will find the search data from the page Search Queries. But the data is showing for 90 days only. So, you need to download it every 30 days to save the data for you. Some sources say that the data is unavailable, but check it for you. If available, it is good for you.
4. You can set up an in-built search on your website. You can get the keyword data from your visitors if they perform a search on your website. If you need to set up such a search engine on your website, click here.
5. If you use Google AdWords, you can view the traffic keywords fully. So, you can do AdWords campaigns to determine which keywords get most traffic and which keywords get most conversion. After you found the best keywords, you can start your optimization works for organic search results.
6. Even though you can’t see the Google organic search keywords from Analytic data, you can see the landing pages visitors reached on your site. If you know them, you understand the probable keywords they might use to reach your site. For setting up such filters for all ‘not provided’ keywords, read an article from Econsultancy.
7. Even though you can’t find new keyword data due to the SSL switch to Google, you can still access to old data. You can check those keywords and use them again specially for seasonal promotions.
8. You can find out the keywords ranking on Google from the anchor text used in the backlinks. Use a tool like cognitiveSEO and find the anchor text cloud from where you see the ranking organic keywords.
9. You can use a premium but useful tool like SEMrush to see the keywords ranking and receiving traffic from Google. You can download the full report. Like Google Webmaster Tools, the tool shows only current ranking keywords. So, you need to download the reports regularly to keep track of your keyword rankings.
That’s all I can tell you if you are in the dark with Google ‘not provided’ keywords in your site’s Analytic data. Other search engines like Bing, you can still see the organic keywords. But if they encrypt the search like Google, what will we do? SEO may be changed dramatically. If Google shift to paid Analytics for providing the keyword data, who will win the game in the end?
Some related latest books you might be interested to read:
2. The Updated Google Analytics Guide: Your Companion For The Successful Tracking Of Your Website Visitors
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