Coping With Google's Not Provided


not providedAs you know, virtually all of Google's organic search traffic query data is not provided as of this week. Webmasters, marketers and SEOs are trying to grasp this concept and figure out what to do going forward.

Making do without having this raw keyword data is something we need to deal with. So what are webmasters doing?

A WebmasterWorld thread has webmasters "gathering" ideas on what can be done in this situation. Some of the ideas include:

1) Develop / install a good search facility on the site and keep the logs of internal search queries.

2) Track clicks on blog tags, or install more query-based navigation systems.

3) Leverage the Google Webmaster Tools API to take as much query data from there.

4) Consider installing search facility or suggested keywords to click into emails, social widgets, apps

5) Go fully broad match on every single keyword and pay AdWords for your data.

You can also leverage some of Google Analytics data to get insights around the data that Google will give you. Dan Barker created a site that currently contains six dashboards that will be added to your Google Analytics screens that will give you some of those insights. They include:

(1) Your Current Percentage: A single-chart dashboard showing your current ‘not provided’ percentage (ie. how much open data remains).

(2) Full Dashboard: A full dashboard of trends for ‘not provided’, including graphs, metrics, and breakdowns by browser, device, etc.

(3) Detailed Report: A more detailed custom report showing full landing page info for not provided traffic.

(4) ‘Not Provided’ Segment: An advanced segment allowing you to see any Google Analytics reports for just ‘not provided’ traffic.

(5) ‘Keyword Known’ Segment: An advanced segment showing any report only where Google organic keyword data was known.

(6) A ‘Not Google’ Segment: This ‘Non-Google’ organic search segment shows you data only where you do have perfect keyword data from other search engines that you can act on.

How are you coping with not provided?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

This post was written earlier this week and scheduled to be posted today.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for polaroids

Previous story: Google Incentivizes Google+ Hashtag Spam


Jitendra Vaswani

09/26/2013 04:26 pm

This will some relief to webmasters , they can dig some data by these analytics dashboards


09/26/2013 10:49 pm

My queries always tracked closely to Bing/Yahoo. I'm leveraging that information more. I'm also leveraging all of my historical data. It really hasn't changed much for me year over year.

Warren Lee

09/27/2013 12:20 am

I believe this change didn't limit our ability to get the insights we need, it just changed how we get them. Depending on the insight needed, the solution could be as simple as using Yahoo keywords data collected, or if I am trying more advanced analysis for paid and SEO co-optimization testing then I now have a 5 step process to get the keyword level performance data that begins with collecting page level SEO performance and then backs into keyword level from other data sources. Used to be a one step process. I'm not much of a fan of Webmaster tools for any of this though. GWT data can be sampled over 1000:1 which makes it useless for anything but keyword discovery to add to ranking tools. In other cases I can use site search data as a proxy, so I guess the answer to how to cope with this really depends on how folks were using the data and the insights needed. There are about 5 top uses cases that i'm aware of whereby folks need keyword level insights, and now the only thing that has changed is how we get those insights. That's all. :)

09/27/2013 12:54 am

I say we have a day of protest and all go use Yahoo! What a wild day it would be for Google if that happened. Ever seen the movie "A Day without a Mexicans." Ummm!.... Google needs us more than they think, right? I mean, it goes both ways.

Mukesh kumar

09/27/2013 05:00 am

I am with you.....

Nikhil Chandra

09/27/2013 07:26 am

How about using filter in Analytics to have better insight into the landing pages where the users are coming. What we'd need to do is create a separate profile and may call it not provided recovery. Once applied this filter could give us an overview of the landing page and some idea of what the visitors would have queried and after correlating with webmaster tool data and keyword ranking performance in Google Analytics (Here's how to do it we could get an idea about the query/keyword. I have attached the image if someone is interested in the filter.

Soni Sharma

09/27/2013 08:42 am

Yes that's sad part for SEOs I have also written few blogs on this. But for now it is better to analyze landing pages. and


09/27/2013 05:49 pm

Hi Soni I think you made a leap of logic. The keyword is encypted, so adding the dimension for Keyword, just shows you the non-encrypted keywords, it won't decrpyt the keyword at all.... The only thing we could figure out to do, was find the keywords that page ranks for in GWT and the distribute goals and visits to that landing page by the number of landed visits it got:

Stuart David

09/30/2013 03:03 pm

Was just going to post this myself, even though looking at Keyword data now does feel like being blind compared to a year ago, filters like this one help discover what might be going on and give the addition information over what Active Pages provide, least this way it can be attributed to Keywords, even if it doesnt give keywords

Nikhil Chandra

09/30/2013 04:14 pm

Completely agree!

Santosh Rajan

10/14/2013 11:38 am

Hey Barry Great post. As we all may know, Google recently made huge changes on Google Analytics and they were announced at GASummit 2013. What was conspicuously missing was their current and future plans for SEO and keyword reporting, Google have been tight-lipped on this subject for a while now but I personally wish they would at least announce something regarding this. Looking forward to reading more from you.

David Fisher

10/17/2013 12:52 pm

Good tip! Indeed installing an internal search engine on our website is a way to know what visitors are interested in... another way is to analyse the entry pages of our website. Well, it does not replace keywords but it helps to know the theme. Here is a good article on this methodology:

blog comments powered by Disqus