Google Analytics “not provided” issue – 3 years later

Last Updated on March 27, 2024

Google Analytics “not provided” 3 years later

Since 2011, Google decided to hide part of data showed to their GA users.

Even if Google has improved a lot UX and usability during the last few months/years, this data encryption makes things highly complicated dealing with organic traffic tracking.

Which keywords are used by users to reach my website? (Organic traffic)

Most of these keywords are listed as being “not provided”.



What is organic traffic?

Since the beginning, Google Analytics provides useful insights regarding traffic sources.

There are different kind of traffic sources:

Referral: Users coming from a link somewhere across the web.

Direct: Those who directly type the url into their favorite browser.

Organic Search: Traffic driven by search engines.



Why Google took such a decision?

Privacy is apparently the main reason of that limitation. Google pretends it wants to protect users personal data. We all know how often Google repeats that ranking is no longer about keywords, it’s about the whole content. It’s now useless to fill your meta keywords with endless list of words. Google crawls your website, your meta balises but takes particular care of what is inside the page, and the way you display your content. So privacy is probably not the most accurate reason of that decision. At Sekkei Studio we think it’s more about an incentive to GA (Google Analytics) users to take distance from keywords studies, and create more interesting content, promote innovative initiatives.

So what’s the situation in 2015? 

A website opened to illustrate the part of “non provided” online research on Google.

Unfortunately more and more info is hidden under \”non provided\”.

At first, only around 10% of organic search traffic on Google was hidden under “non provided” classification. 3 years later, this number has increased significantly to reach more than 80% of organic search traffic.

Some keywords are displayed, some are hidden. 

It depends if you are logged into a Google product when searching. The leading search engine decided to encrypt only search queries resulting from those who are logged into a Google account.

So how can I know what Internet users type into their browser to find my website on Google search results?

Even if the amount of encrypted keywords has increased getting closer and closer to 100%, you still have some ways to find out what you are actually looking for.

You still can get a wide range of useful data and information. These methods are just  tips and advices to get an idea of which keywords your visitors use in Google search bar.

Enabling Google Webmaster Tools

 GWT can provide great things for your SEO and digital strategy, especially under the Acquisition tab.

You can use that feature to figure out what are the most used keywords leading to your website, the weekly evolution, number of impressions, the average position of your site/brand on Google SERP (Search Engine Result Page).

Use landing pages data under Google Analytics 

Where do your users “land” when they arrive on your website – it can give you an accurate vision of their related queries on search engine, depending on the keyword(s) the webpage focus on.

Adwords Keyword Planner – From PPC to Organic.

This tool is basically made for those planning to buy keywords dedicated to PPC(Pay-Per-Click) – Still, your can use Google Adwords features to have an idea of the competition on a given keyword, then adapt it to your SEO vision. Not 100% accurate but it can help you to define your targeted keywords.

Things became much more complicated since Google announced in April 2014 that “non provided” encryption would be extended to Google Ad. But you still can know the competition and other information.

Use your internal site search engine

Your internal search engine will not hide anything under “non-provided”, for sure, and will guide you to the exact queries of your visitors inside your website.


Contact our team of specialists for any question


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