Why are keywords reported as (not provided) in Google Analytics?

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Google decided back in 2011, they were going to protect the privacy of users clicking on organic search results. The result was a major blow to marketers and has made the job of search optimization harder ever since.

What can be done?

There are several things that can be done to continue to market to your customers without this important data. Here are a couple of the best.

  1. Use Google Search Console (previously called Webmaster Tools).
    • You can not only view keyword data in the “GSC” web interface, but that data can also be pulled into Google Analytics.
    • The keyword data you can get from GSC can be more valuable than what was lost with (not provided). If you first filter by Page, then click back to Queries, you’ll have not only which keywords brought clicks, but you’ll also have the click-through-rate and average rank position too.
    • This data can be backed up into Google Sheets so that you aren’t limited by the 90 day date range in GSC. Backing up allows you to not only skirt any time limitations, but you can also do some deep reporting and track keyword rankings and traffic changes visually over time.
  2. Use the “landing page” data within the Google Analytics Acquisition reports.
    • This will allow you to make informed guesses as to what keyword, or group of keywords, were used by visitors that found your site through organic search. Ultimately it comes down to conversions. By knowing how well each landing page converts from organic search traffic, you’ll know how to prioritize your ongoing optimization efforts.

Those are two of the best, and easiest ways to keep pushing forward, even when that crucial keyword data is (not provided).


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