For almost 10 years, the issue of keywords not provided in Google Analytics has been causing headaches for SEO managers. This poses problems when it comes to optimizing your pages and organic search campaigns.
Below, I’ll explain exactly what « not provided » means in Google Analytics and different ways that can help provide you with similar information.
What is the keyword « not provided » in Google Analytics?
Essentially, this means that Google doesn’t share all of the keyword information with you. The searcher used a keyword to find information, but that keyword is no longer shared with you. This was done to protect the privacy of the researcher. To find out which search terms bring people to your website, you could previously click on the following in Google Analytics Acquisition> Campaigns> Organic keywords. But since 2011, Google started encrypting search data for users logged into their Google accounts and that’s when people started seeing « not provided » in their Google Analytics keyword reports. This means that SEO managers cannot see the valuable keyword data in Google Analytics.
When the change was first implemented, most of the keyword information was still available and only a small percentage was marked as “not provided”. But over the years, it now seems like most keywords are not provided in Google Analytics.
With data now limited, this means you can’t go to Google Analytics, click on a keyword report, and see which keywords are driving the most traffic to help you analyze important metrics provided by Google Analytics. Hence, it makes keyword optimization more difficult than before.
Is there a way around the keyword « not provided » in Google Analytics?
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to find « not provided » keyword data in Google Analytics. But there are reports in Google Analytics and Google Search Console (GSC) that can help you optimize your website.
1. Use Google Search Console (GSC)
Google Search Console is a very good tool. This can give you insight into how your website is performing in searches. The only problem with this tool is that it doesn’t show you the behavioral data that Google Analytics was able to provide to you previously. Google Search Console is a great place to start for knowing how your website is performing in the SERPs.
To access this information in Google Search Console, you can go to Performance> Search results to see a report of search queries on your site in the SERPs. For each keyword in this report, you can access clicks, impressions, click-through rates (CTRs), and position data. This data tells you which organic keywords are the most important to your website. If you click on a specific query and then click Pages, you can see the pages that appear for that particular query.
2. Use your Google Analytics keyword data from Google Ads
By combining Google Ads and Google Analytics, this allows you to obtain additional data. Since Google started encrypting keyword data, SEO executives were annoyed because most of that data is still available in Google Ads. This data has its limits because it only shows the keywords that trigger your ads, but it still reveals valuable details about the intent of your target audiences.
To access this information in Google Analytics, you can access Acquisition> Google Ads and open the Keywords report. This will show you all of your top keywords along with clicks, cost, and CPC data for each search term.
3. Use data from your Google Analytics search queries from Google Ads
Point 3 also uses data from the association of Google Analytics and Google Ads. To access this information in Google Analytics, you can go Acquisition> Google Ads and open the search queries report. Instead of showing you the keywords you’re bidding on, the Search Queries report shows you the queries people are looking for when your ads appear to the user.
Search queries should be considered as they are very important as they show you the exact word or set of words entered by the user during the search. This report on search queries is important because the keyword match types mean that there can be many differences between the keywords you are bidding on and the search terms that display them in Google Ads.
By looking at this data, it can show you great insights into what your users are looking for versus what you are targeting and optimizing.