(Not Provided) Keywords Are On The Rise

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Last fall, Google launched encrypted search which was intended to make search results more secure for users.  Users that conduct a search while signed in to a Google account are sent to a more secure version of the site when they perform a search.  The websites that they land on will know that they came from organic search, but won’t be given information about each individual query, including the keywords that brought a visitor to the site.

Google Analytics has always been the go-to for examining the success of an SEO campaign and entrance keywords have always provided insights into the search behavior of a website visitor that lands on your page.  When encrypted search first rolled out, Google claimed that it would only affect a small percent of searches.  However, as time has gone on, we’ve only seen the number of “(not provided)” keywords continue to rise for clients across many different industries.

The reason for this rise in encrypted search is that more and more people are signed into Google accounts at a higher frequency throughout the day.  People no longer just sign into and out of a Gmail account.  Many people are logged in to a Google account all day long whether they are using Google Talk throughout the day at work, checking out their Google+ page, or searching from an Android device which requires a Google account to be set up.  It’s a Google World and as SEO experts and online marketing professionals, it is making our job increasingly more difficult since there is really nothing that can be done about it.

There are certainly other high-end analytics programs out there, but they are costly and the small-to-medium-sized business client is unable to afford it.  From what we know, the less-expensive options haven’t yielded the best results.  In some cases, the code from an alternative analytics program can negatively affect an organic campaign.  Obviously something that results in errors/pop ups/malware etc., is something that you want to keep off of your site.

Has anyone else experienced the same issue regarding a noticeable increase in the number of “(not provided)” keywords on your website or on clients’ websites?  Have you found any good alternative analytics tools to Google Analytics that provides the same data at no or little cost?

About the Author

Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of http://www.Brick Marketing.com/. With over 12 years of experience, Nick has worked with hundreds of companies small, large and every size in between. Through his vast and diverse SEO, search engine marketing, and internet marketing experience, Nick has successfully increased the 
online visibility and sales of clients in all industries. He spends his time working with clients, writing in his blog, publishing the Brick Marketing SEO newsletter (read by over 130,000 opt-in subscribers!) and also finds time to write about SEO in some of the top other online publications,

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6 Comments

  1. (not provided) is at the top of the list for most of my sites. Frustrating.

  2. Thanks for reading Mickey...I am hopeful that something will change and/or people reading this article will reply with some good quality alternatives to Google Analytics for us all to test out! Take Care, Nick

  3. I've also noticed an increase in the number of “(not provided)” keywords on my website? I haven't found a good alternative to Google Analytics yet but will be stepping up my efforts if this trend continues.

  4. Hi Greg, Thanks for reading...please do check in again here and update everyone if you find a good alternative. Take Care, Nick

  5. Hi Nick, We have seen a rise in our clients "not provided" data. It is between 5 - 10% depending upon the industry. We have a low-cost entry point for small business clients to gain insight into those "hidden" or encrypted keyword phrases. What we have done inside our web presence optimization software is to reverse engineer the client's Google Analytics account data and add in Keyword Phrase ranking data into the mix - then based on the entry page, we can provide insight into the hidden keyword phrases. We can do this because we know how that page ranks and for what keyword phrases. I created a YouTube video / overview - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHw3--U_Nz4 Cheers and let me know what you think, Chris Adams Co-founder & CTO gShift Labs

  6. Thanks Chris, I will take a look at the video...thanks for sharing this! Take Care, Nick