Why Does it Say Keyword Not provided in Google Analytics?

Keywords can be vital to measuring your business’ success. They can tell you how people find your business, and give you valuable insight into consumer behavior. However, it can be scary to open up Google Analytics and see “keyword (not provided).” You may think something’s gone horribly wrong, but don’t worry! This article will give insight as to the importance of keywords, as well as why Google sometimes chooses not to share them. We will also discuss how to work around the keyword (not provided) message to use that information to your advantage. 

Google analytics keyword not provided

The Importance of Google Analytics Keywords

Google Analytics has become a revolutionary tool in measuring SEO. Backed by Google’s powerful search engine, they compile data on which words consumers use to find your business. In turn, you can use this data to find your key demographics or increase your conversion rate. You can earn a distinct advantage over the competition by understanding the data compiled by Google Analytics. 

Not all Google Analytics keywords are created equal. Certain terms will be searched more than others, and certain pages will be viewed more often. All in all, each bit of data can teach you something new about how consumers find your site. Seeing “keyword (not provided)” makes it more difficult to acquire that data, but the data can be found by simply researching other data provided by Google. First, we must understand Google’s reasoning behind not including certain keywords

Why Does Google Not Provide Keywords?

Given that Google has access to so much data, it can be confusing when “keyword (not provided)” pops up. How can the world’s most powerful search engine not be able to provide the necessary keyword? Back in 2010, Google announced the creation of the (not provided) tag in order to protect the privacy of their customers. They claimed it would only affect a small amount of search queries, and that paid search data would not be affected. 

While Google’s reasoning for not providing keywords seems reasonable, certain clients have raised concerns. Firstly, Google still shares all data with consumers paying for Google AdWords. While it’s not unreasonable for paying customers to expect a higher level of service, it goes against their claim that this was done to protect consumer privacy. Furthermore, despite Google’s claims that it would only affect a small number of searches, companies are seeing up to 99% of keywords come back as (not provided). It can be really frustrating, but you can still find valuable information from that data. Below, we will highlight some of the best practices for gathering data from (not provided) Google Analytics keywords. 

Google analytics keyword

How to Gather Data from (not provided) Google Analytics Keywords

Look at landing pages

Landing pages are a great indicator of consumer behavior. They let you know exactly what the customer’s intentions are: if a customer looks at your products page, it shows they are interested in making a purchase. If they go to your website’s “About” section, then it’s clear they want to learn more about your brand. Even if the keyword appears as (not provided), Google Analytics will tell you which page of your website they landed on after clicking on the search engine results page. 

The landing page isn’t the only metric you can use to determine if Google is sending you high quality traffic. Look at metrics like the time spent on page and bounce rate. Each of these will show how serious a consumer is: the more time spent on the page, the more likely they are to purchase something. The lower the bounce rate, the more interested they are in learning about your brand! 

Cross-reference data from other sources

Another powerful tool that can help you gain information from (not provided) keywords is the Google Search Console, an all-in-one tool that helps you understand how consumers view your website from search engine results. Google Search Console (GSC) gives you information like the number of site visitors and how they found your site. GSC also has the unique ability to analyze your website for errors that may be holding your business back. 

Given the wide range of tools available, GSC can help to fill the gaps caused by not having a provided keyword on Google Analytics. You can take search query data from GSC, and look for consistencies in the landing pages for (not provided) keywords. By finding the data for these specific pages, you’ll have a much better idea of how customers reach your page and what they plan to do while visiting your website. 

keyword not provided

Use a specialized software

While cross-referencing Google Analytics and Google Search Console data can prove very useful, it’s hard. It takes a lot of time to match up the websites and pore over all the data. Even worse, an error while combining the data could lead to inaccurate results. Luckily, many companies have developed tools to take the guesswork out of finding the (not provided) keywords for your page.

SEMrush has revolutionized the way companies use organic traffic to find missing keywords thanks to a software called Organic Traffic Insights (OTI). It use a convenient, four-step process to work around the obstacles that stem from (not provided) keywords:

  • First, Organic Traffic Insights collects all the landing page data from (not provided) keywords.
  • Next, Organic Traffic Insights merges data for each respective landing page with data gathered from Google Search Console. 
  • Using the SEMrush database, Organic Traffic Insights gathers keywords that drive traffic to the pages provided.
  • At the end, you have a list of keywords that may have come back as (not provided) to allow you to target specific keywords in the future. 

While SEMrush uses the same collection style outlined above, the automated process both saves time and reduces the risk of errors. If your business finds that a majority of your keywords are coming back as (not provided) then investing in a tool like this could be worth it. It will give you an entirely new set of keywords to bring your business to the next level! 

Google Tag Manager

As we’ve seen in this article, data is extremely important when attempting to understand consumers and their behavior. This is where tags, or little bits of data that send information to third parties, come in handy. By including tags on your website, search engines can clearly understand the data you have to offer. This could lead to a better ranking on search engine results pages!

Thanks to Google Tag Manager, keeping track of your tags is easier than ever. You don’t have to touch the source code, instead Google will take care of the heavy lifting as you manage, delete, and add new tags to your website. These tags are compatible with all Google softwares, like Analytics and AdWords. They can also be used with other third party websites Twitter and Bing Ads. 

To get started with Google Tag Manager, first you must create a “container” which houses all of your tags. Once your container is created and added to the code, you can begin to fill it with tags and keywords very easily. Aside from tags, it’s also important to add triggers, bits of code that tell your tags when to fire. By incorporating these elements into your site, you’ll provide more data to Google yielding better search engine results.

Google tag manager

Google Tag Assistant

Google offers so many incredible kinds of software to help your business. However, it can be overwhelming to manage them all at the same time. Luckily, the team at Google has made that much easier with Google Tag Assistant! A free plugin for their Chrome web browser, Google Tag Assistant gives you every bit of pertinent information when it comes to tags across your Google Softwares.

One of the best features about Google Tag Assistant is the fact that its main function is quick and simple information delivery. Understanding tags and the language surrounding them can be very complex, but Google Tag Assistant makes it very easy. Like Google Tag Manager, it lets you know when something is wrong with your tag and offers troubleshooting advice. Events and requests, the actions that result from triggers being used, are laid out very nicely in an easy-to-read collection of information. 

The integration between all the different Google apps makes Google Tag Assistant an easy and convenient way to keep track of your business’ Google activity. Make sure to monitor your website consistently, as the insights gained from Google Tag Assistant may lead you to further changes across your website and web design! 

It can still be daunting when certain keywords show up as (not provided.) It is even more so if those keywords are the majority. However, you can still learn valuable information by simply exploring data and making connections. If you’re looking to upgrade your presence on Google and other search engines, contact SEO Design Chicago today. We offer tons of SEO services and more, ranging from Google Ads to reputation management, which can help take your business to the next level! 

Google tag assistant

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