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Google Analytics “Not Provided” Keyword

Back in October, Google announced that their SSL Search protection is going help protect their users when using Google search.  Google users who are signed into their Google accounts will have more of a protected, customized search experience because Google is “protecting” their search data.

What does this mean?

Websites that receive clicks through Google search will no longer receive detailed keyword information about each individual search query. Instead, “not provided” will appear in the “Entrance Keywords” section of Google Analytics. Google stopped sharing the organic keywords used to search when Google users are logged in.

Google Analytics will still recognize the search as organic, but will no longer display the keyword terms that were used to search with to reach your website.

How is this affecting SEO?

Google was quick to note that this change will only affect a “small minority” of traffic, but SEO experts have seeing dramatic spikes in their “not provided” results. Google’s prediction was that around 10% or less or searches would be affected, but many are seeing percentages much higher than that.

Google Analytics is still measuring traffic and most data is still available.  Conversion rates, segmentations and other detailed analytics information is also still available. The token “not provided” will help identify the organic traffic coming from signed in Google users.

For many who do conversion rates down through the keyword data, they may be affected more than those analyzing general data. Webmasters are still able to use Google Webmaster Tools to view the top daily search queries and the top landing pages, but you won’t be able to tell the conversations. This data is more generalized than the details given in the keyword section of Google Analytics.

Google is hoping to keep more users signed into their Google+, Gmail and Google Docs accounts by guaranteeing their searches are secure, but are they really just trying to complex search engine marketing and optimization? As if challenging Google Panda isn’t enough?