In the interests of privacy, Google have been slowly adjusting the keyword data that is shown in analytics. There has been a steady increase into the ‘not provided’ keywords, meaning you have no idea which keywords are driving traffic and as importantly, which keywords are not.
This has been ongoing for three years, with more data being removed. It is estimated that by 2017, you will not have any information on the keywords associated with your site. This is an interesting website that has tracked 60 sites for ‘not provided’ data.
For SEO, this makes things a little difficult!
Seeing which keywords are performing and culling those that do not has been a vital part of ongoing SEO. Fortunately, there are ways to still get a good idea of those incoming search queries.
Here are 5 easy ways to recover Google ‘not provided’ Keyword data:
1. Use Bing
Although Bing will only send a smaller proportion of traffic to your site, the data is open to view. Take advantage of the information available in Bing’s toolbox.
2. Use Google Webmaster Tools
You can still get keyword data in Google Webmaster Tools, by clicking on Search Traffic > Search Queries, it does include search data from encrypted searches.
With the added benefit of impression versus click data, (what keywords people are using where your site got an impression in the search results) this is where you will get most of your search traffic data from.
The only issue here is the length of time of data shown – We can see just 120 days maximum with one of our Webmaster Tools accounts, so it would be best practise to download the data to a csv file and paste into an ongoing keyword data spreadsheet on a monthly basis.
3. Utilize On-Site Searches
If your website has an internal search bar, make sure you get all the queries listed, this will be valuable for keyword data, but also for measuring conversions, exactly what your searchers are looking for and a whole more. To set up site search in Google analytics, read this helpful post.
4. Use Google AdWords
Adwords does still provide keyword referral data (hey! What about the privacy issue Google?!). Search marketers still need to see how a paid keyword can perform and adwords will offer this info to you. This will not reflect on keywords people have typed to find your site, but will give you an idea of the strength of a keyword.
5. Review Your Historic Data
Pre ‘not provided’, you can still pick up all the search terms related to your site. Chances are, most of these search terms will now fall into the ‘not provided’. It’s worth reviewing this against your current analytics data to see what is missing – a few blanks can be filled!
These are basic, easy to apply tips to recover the ‘not provided’ keyword data in your analytics. For more advice on this, read this more in depth article from Avinash Kaushik.