Help! Why is my Google Analytics Keyword Data “(not provided)”?
Google Analytics keywords (not provided) for SEO professionals.

Does the following scenario sound familiar?

Looking for your last month’s traffic, you log in to Google Analytics. You go to the “Acquisition” tab, then you look at the “All Traffic” tab, click the “Channels” link. Next you click on “Organic Search” and, oh no, you cannot see what the number one keyword! In its place, it reads (not provided).

Below this, in the “Keywords” column, you do see some keywords listed, but these amount to under 5% of your organic traffic. You can see what 1 in 20 of your visitors used to find your website via organic search. However – that is, quite literally, not the whole picture.

As a business owner, a webmaster, or as your company’s internal digital marketing department, what do you do now?!

After all that research and effort that you put into optimising your website, to see a placeholder reading (not provided) does at first appear to be quite frustrating. However, it’s extremely easy to see that hidden data, here’s why and how…

What Does Keyword (not provided) Mean in Google Analytics?

Some years ago, Google made the decision to encrypt all searches for logged-in users of Google accounts. In plain English, to use certain Google services, users were required to set up an account with Google (For Gmail, YouTube, etc.) If you set up and logged in to your Google account and were using Google search, then Big G kept your search queries secret. It was “a privacy thing”.

The (not provided) label was put in place to protect users from exposing potentially personally identifiable information (PII) through the Google Analytics console.

Previously, users of Google Analytics could deep-dive into organic search terms and unearth a wealth of information, including networks and IP addresses.

Then one day, around the time of the public exposure of the NSA’s PRISM surveillance programme in the USA, Google moved to the new mode of hiding the search terms of users who logged in via their Google account.

How Do I Fix Google Analytics (not provided)?

Google Analytics is not broken but there is a very easy way to see the keywords that led users to visit your website through Google search.

Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, has all those organic search keywords.

Using the same Google login that you used to set up your Google Analytics account, you can simply visit https://search.google.com/search-console/ and add a property for each of the websites that you own.

Under the Performance > Search results navigation, you’ll be able to see all the keyword terms that resulted in clicks to your website over the past 16 months.

What’s even better is that you can also drill down to see which keywords were used to generate organic traffic to each page of your website.

There are other huge benefits to Google Search Console – It also shows you:

  • Click Through Rates (CTR) of search keywords.
  • The keywords where you appeared in search but didn’t receive clicks.
  • Average ranking positions of the keywords in the SERPs, yes, even for the keywords that didn’t earn you traffic.

This is absolute gold to any webmaster, digital marketing agency or in-house website team.

With all this data at your fingertips, you can export the search data to Google Sheets, a CSV or Excel spreadsheets and then filter as necessary. For example, you can filter by all the keywords that are in positions 11-20 on Google and focus all your professional SEO skills on optimising your website to improve this content with the goal of moving from the second page positions to the first page.

Your position as a data analyst has suddenly improved from the frustration of seeing (not provided) to having all that rich keyword data whilst protecting users’ privacy.

Configuring Search Console Data in Google Analytics

There’s more good news. You can link up your Google Search Console account with your Google Analytics.

Just like linking your Google Ads account, by connecting Google Search Console with Analytics you’ll have access to a limited set of GSC data, but you’ll be able to see landing pages, countries, devices and those all-important queries.

Of course, as a full-service digital marketing agency, we love to see the full data sets and genuinely get excited when we analyse GSC data. Our data analyst skills give us great insights into how your website is performing and the potential to improve everything from increasing your impressions (how many times your website appears in the search engine results pages) to improving your rankings and click through rates.

What’s even more exciting is being able to see the keywords that could drive traffic to your website as well as those that currently do generate clicks. These alternative or long-tail keywords are the searches that users are using to find your services and products, so pay close attention to them and use these valuable insights to create even better content for your audience.

Summary

From being frustrated at the lack of keyword data, you’ve now got all the Google keyword searches, including those terms that didn’t quite result in a click. You are now in a great position to filter all your valuable keyword data and devise a digital marketing strategy that will furnish your audience with highly relevant, high-quality content on your website.


Clever Marketing, full service digital agency. For professional SEO services, including setting up your tools correctly and guiding you through keyword analysis and on to creating a winning digital marketing strategy, speak with Clever Marketing now.

Call our SEO department on 01276 534 680 or send us a message via the contact form.

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