How to Deal with Google Keyword Not Provided

So how would you deal with Google Keyword not provided data? Shocking wasn’t it when Google announced that they are making Google Search fully secure. What it meant was that SEO as we knew it traditionally is now dead especially those who do so for Google.

Small businesses have always depended on keyword data to measure their performance. Since they don’t command brand premium, the dependence on targeted keywords to drive organic traffic was what they depended on and also used as metrics to analyze their performance.

For small businesses, better ranking for specific keywords meant more business. With Google returning keywords as not provided, the value propositions of these businesses are on shaky ground indeed. There’s a panic among both businesses as well as SEO firms as keyword is used to be the most important metric for performance analysis.

For SEOs, keyword is one of the most important factors. When seen against landing page as secondary dimension, it offers valuable insight into user behavior like depth of visit, bounce rate, time spent on site etc.

These valuable insights answered many questions and helped marketers optimize – as in modify, fine-tune – their page to engage readers thus adding value for both visitors and owners.

Two most important KPIs from SEO point of view could not be answered anymore. What was the visitor looking for when he landed on a particular page and which are the important organic keywords that are converting into leads/sales.

Now that the Google has decided that referral keyword data will soon go completely as not provided coupled with Hummingbird and Knowledge Graph update, SEOs also need to reinvent and fine tune their strategies.

Mentioned below are a few tips and tricks which could lead to valuable insights from keyword not provided data:


Use Filters to Segment ‘(Not Provided)’ Data

I recommend this filter if you are a advanced Google Analytics user. A filter applied wrongly could result in data loss. It is always recommended that you create a new view and then use filter with that view so that your data is safe.

First the steps:

  • Go to Admin
  • Under View (Profile) select New View from the drop down
  • Name it NP Analysis
  • Click on Filters under View (Profile)
  • Click on New Filter
  • Select Custom Filter radio button
  • Select Advanced radio button
  • In Field A select Campaign term and add: (.not provided.)
  • In Field B select Request URI and add this regex: (.*)
  • In Field C select Campaign Term and add this regex: np – $B1
  • Save this filter once done and wait for some data to come in.
  • This data could be viewed in Reporting Tab under Acquisition>Keywords>Organic

For the following radio boxes use this: Yes Yes Yes No

What comes handy is that you could actually see the user interaction like pages/visit, bounce rate, new visit, time spent and goal conversion etc.

Although this does not actually gives you very actionable insight as in which keywords are increasing your bounce rate, it does gives you a general idea of which pages are performing well. Coupled with Google Webmasters Search Query insights and your own search performance and other methods, you may get a better picture of what’s good or bad happening with your pages.

Another easier way to this is the recent introduction of the new feature in Google Analytics. You just click on Customization Tab next to Reporting and then click on Import from Gallery and just add SEO: (not provided) Analysis report.

The new Google Analytics truly rocks!

Google Analytics New Interface

The Awesome new interface of Google Analytics Customisation

Yet another way to deal with Keyword (not provided) data is to link your Google Analytics Profile with Google Webmasters Profile.

  • Go to Admin once Again
  • Click on Property Settings
  • Scroll down until you see Google Webmasters Tools Setting
  • Click on edit and select your site from Webmasters Tools account.

Now to see the ranking and other data, you need to go back to reporting. Click on Acquisition and select Search Engine Optimization to see the ranking of your pages for the keywords that they do. Combined with this data, you could get an insight into the performance of your pages for specific keywords.

Another way to track keyword performance is superbly described by Andre Scholten at

  • Filter name: “Medium Extraction”
  • Filter type: “Custom filter – Include”
  • Filter field: “Campaign Medium”
  • Filter pattern: “organic”

This filter tracks whether the query coming to your site or a specific page is though organic search or not.

Again select add new filter

  • Filter name: “Source Extraction”
  • Filter type: “Custom filter – Include”
  • Filter field: “Campaign Source”
  • Filter pattern: “google”

This filter further segregates the data and filters out only the organic traffic from Google.

This one described below is awesome filter for tracking Google keyword not provided

  • Filter name: “Rank Tracking”
  • Filter type: “Custom filter – Advanced”
  • Field A: Extract A:  “Referral”,      “(\?|&)cd=([^&]*)”
  • Output To :” Custom Field 1″          “$A3”

For the following radio boxes use this: Yes, No, Yes, No

Yet another filter that needs to be created to complete the process of tracking Google keyword not provided

  • Filter Name: Rank Extraction
  • Filter Type: Advanced
  • Field A: “Custom Field 1”                  (.*)
  • Field B: “Campaign Term”               (.*)
  • Output To: “Campaign Term”       $B1 ($A1)

For the following radio boxes use this: Yes, Yes, Yes, No

Alternatively you may leave the first 2 filters and the final 2 advanced filters would serve the purpose. One important thing you should keep in mind is that Rank Tracking Should come above the Rank Extraction.

Finally the magic!

After a few hours you’ll see data appearing for this new Profile view in your Google Analytics. You’d notice that the keywords now have a bracketed number trailing them e.g. if your keyword is example the new report will show example (3). 3 is the search ranking in Google.

The awesome thing is when you combine this data with your landing pages choosing them as secondary dimension. The result is that you have very powerful insights into the keywords which are not provided especially if provided and not provided have same landing page and ranking.

That’s all folks 🙂 Let me know what you think of this. I know there are several other ways and Avinash Kaushik has also suggesting some awesome ways to deal with keyword not provided data.

If you have some ideas on how to recover or analyse this not provided data, feel free to leave your comments and feedback.

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