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How to uncover ‘(not provided)’ keywords in Google Analytics

Over the last few years, Google have been hiding an ever increasing percentage of organic keywords used to visit a website, when the associated statistics have been viewed within Analytics. Despite Google’s initial claim that this encryption would affect only a small percentage of visits, the majority of keywords now appear to be hidden from view. Recently, Bing even announced that they’re going to follow suit by preventing keywords from being shown within their Analytics program.

Uncovering Not Provided Keywords in GA

'(Not provided)' keywords within Google Analytics are a real pain for webmasters... find out how uncover them

Why are these keywords so important?

Uncovering the keywords visitors are searching for prior to landing on your website is key to a successful SEO strategy. By uncovering these keywords and evaluating their success, you can adapt your overall marketing strategy to suit – thus increasing organic visits and improving the performance of your website as well as overall ROI.

So how do I find out what the ‘(not provided)’ keywords are?

There are many different methods being used by webmasters, in an attempt to uncover un-provided keywords. A couple of these are listed below:

  • Uncover Not Provided Keywords in AnalyticsGoogle Search Console

    Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools) allows you to take a closer look at the Google search keywords bringing visitors to your website. By clicking on Search Traffic > Search Analytics within your Search Console account, you can see a selection of keywords listed which you can filter using a number of variables.

    The main limitation of this method is that keywords are only shown from the previous three months. However, these keywords are very useful so we would strongly recommend logging in to your Search Console account every few months in order to back up this data.

  • Landing Pages

     

    Another way to segment ‘(not provided)’ data is to sort them by landing page. Even though this doesn’t provide us with the exact keywords used by each search visitor, we can get a much better idea of what the user was looking for by analysing the content of the page they used to enter the site following an organic search.

    By going into Organic Search Keywords within Analytics and then filtering ‘(not provided)’ keywords by landing page (using a secondary dimension filter), we can see the different landing pages being used as part of these visits.

    Not Provided Keywords in Google Analytics

    Even from a small example of this in action, we can see some of the top searched pages / terms within this list. For instance, we can see within the stats above (taken from the Varn website) that a large number of people are search for YouTube SEO related search terms due to them landing on the associated blog page.

    You can also use this method and the full view within Google Analytics to see any e-commerce, goal or conversion data associated within these search visits in order to optimise and adapt your marketing plan.

These are the top two methods we use to uncover ‘(not provided)’ keyword used within organic searches which result in website visits, although there are many others. For more information on these methods and others, please get in touch with the Google Analytics qualified staff at Varn. You can do so by clicking here or by calling us on 01225 439960. We look forward to hearing from you.