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Google Analytics Keyword: (Not Provided)

Saturday, December 10, 2011
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The new Google Analytics Keyword “(Not Provided)” is messing up my dashboard!  Haha, okay just kidding… but my Unilyzer Social Media Dashboard now shows the keyword “(Not Provided)” in my keyword cloud.  What is this all about?

Keyword Cloud Google Analytics Keyword: (Not Provided)


Well, it turns out that Google Analytics has changed how it records and reports the keywords that generate traffic to your website. The reason? Well, for privacy reasons (Google’s privacy reasons), when a user initiates a keyword search while logged into their Google Account, the keywords they use to find your website will not be shown in Google Analytics. Instead, those keywords will be shown under the word “(Not Provided).”  To say that another way, the keyword (Not Provided) represents any, and all, keywords used by people who found your website through a Google search query while logged into their Google Account.  This means that some of the keywords used to find your site will be invisible to you in Google Analytics, Omniture, and other analytics systems. But, there are two things you can do to get a more complete picture of all the keywords used to find your site:

  1. Use Google Webmaster Tools.   Within Google’s suite of tools, this tool allows you to find the top 1,000 search queries used to drive traffic to your website (30 days view).
  2. Do the math.  It’s highly probable, and reasonable to believe, that the keywords which are displayed are the same set of keywords that are withheld and embedded in the “Not Provided” group. Remember, the key difference between a keyword that is hidden under the moniker of “(Not Provided)”,  and keywords not hidden, is whether the searching party was logged-in to Google at the time of the search.  It is reasonable to believe that within the Universe of people querying Google that those people who are logged-in are using the same keywords as those people who are not logged-in to Google. So, under that assumption, we can use the proportion of keywords shown (not hidden), and apply those proportions to the quantity of hidden “(Not Provided)” keywords to determine the overall quantity of each keyword.  To illustrate my point, here is a simple example:  if I had keywords as follows: 6 Social Media Dashboard, 4 Unilyzer and 10 (Not Provided) – then,  a total of 20 keywords (6 +4 +10) drove traffic to my site which is Unilyzer.com.  Now, I see that 60% of the keywords provided were “Social Media Dashboard” and 40% were “Unilyzer” – so, I can reasonably assume that 60% of the keywords in the “(Not Provided)” bucket, were probably the keyword “Social Media Dashboard.” Following this logic, the 20 keywords are probably as follows: 12 Social Media Dashboard + 8 Unilyzer.  This kind of deduction is commonly used in analytics to make estimates.  Can you be sure the conclusion is 100% correct?  No, but it will be close. To support this logic further, it is reasonable to believe that within the Universe of people querying Google that those people who are logged-in are using the same keywords as those people who are not logged-in to Google.

With all this said, the bottom line is that this change puts a little fog on the window of visibility into which keyword searches are driving traffic to your website.

I understand the reason and respect Google’s efforts to reinforce user privacy on the web, however next time they consider a change, I really hope they will consider how this looks on my Unilyzer Social Media Dashboard……

Final note, here is an excerpt from Google’s official blog, in their own words, and as it relates to the new keyword (Not Provided):

“As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver. As a result, we’re enhancing our default search experience for signed-in users. Over the next few weeks, many of you will find yourselves redirected to https://www.google.com (note the extra “s”) when you’re signed in to your Google Account. This change encrypts your search queries and Google’s results page. This is especially important when you’re using an unsecured Internet connection, such as a WiFi hotspot in an Internet cafe. You can also navigate tohttps://www.google.com directly if you’re signed out or if you don’t have a Google Account.”

Source: The Official Google Blog


Emilio 40x40 Google Analytics Keyword: (Not Provided)Emilio Basaldua is business intelligence and marketing analytics professional located in the Dallas, Texas area.  His experience includes applied business intelligence used to drive financial performance, building & leading business intelligence competency centers (BICCs) and performing all aspects of end-to-end dashboard development. Emilio is the founder and developer of  Unilyzer® .

Google Analytics Keyword: (Not Provided), 4.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

4 Responses to “Google Analytics Keyword: (Not Provided)”

  1. You says:

    I really love this webpage! The material is invaluable. Thanks a ton for all of the posts and making my day. Thank you!!!

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  2. We’re seeing more and more people coming in with the keyword “Encrypted”. It’s effecting the keyword monitoring that we do. I also can see this in the “Not Provided” in GA. This is not good and degrades the analytics.

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  3. Elliott says:

    It is frustrating, Google reckon on average 10% of keywords will be affected but I have a web dev blog and am seeing 20%+ come up as (not provided)

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  4. [...] data. No time-on-site. Certainly no approach to bond these to conversions. we can do a math, per Unilyzer’s useful post, though that’s not accurately [...]