Over the past few months, we’ve had a growing number of people ask us why some of the keyword data in their Google Analytics is being replaced with “(not provided).”  Well, it doesn’t mean that loads of people are searching the term “not available,” it’s actually an intentional change Google has implemented across Google Analytic accounts.

Google Analytics

In April 2011, Google began blocking keyword information from anyone who was logged into their Google or Gmail account while performing a search.  People who are logged in are taken to a default secure search page and any keywords they use are not included in Analytics.  So, the “(not provided)” listing found in Google Analytics keyword reports is actually the number of searches performed by people who were logged into their Google account when finding your website.

As of right now, this data is only being withheld from organic searches, so pay-per-click campaigns still have access to search information from people logged into their Google account.

Unfortunately, there is not much that people can do to access this information.  We recommend setting up landing pages that could help direct search traffic, which would give you a better understanding of how may people were searching specific terms.  There is a bright side to this, however, the “not provided” figures do give you insight into how many people are searching when logged into Google–information that would be helpful if you want to integrate certain functionality, like Google+, into your website

Google anticipates that 10% of searches will be affected by this, but with Google encouraging people to stay logged in while searching, chances are that the number of “(not provided)” results will probably rise.

Don’t panic just yet though. When all is said and done, Google Analytics is still a really useful tool in any online marketing strategy and we think the data it provides is crucial to understanding your website’s performance. This change may make keyword analysis and SEO a bit more challenging, but we’re confident our SEO experts can get the job done.

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