Google Analytics “Not Provided” –Numbers are Growing

The numbers of “not provided” terms in Google Analytics are beginning to grow. Google began defaulting to an encrypted search for Google Searchers who are logged in to their approximately 12 months ago. “Not Provided” is what Google Analytics shows in cases where Google no longer reports search terms due to encryption.

A new study by Optify reports that 39% of search-related traffic from Google to web sites now has search terms withheld from reporting on Google Analytics.  The study was conducted over eleven months with 424 web sites, involving over 17 million visits and over 7 million referring keywords.  The study also found that 13% of companies see rates as high at 60% of terms being withheld, although upon further examination, most companies have “Not Provided” search terms that account for approximately 35% of their traffic as reported by Google Analytics.  For a full review of the study, please refer to the complete study.

Bottom Line:  As Google + becomes a more powerful tool for Google, the chart below confirms that more and more users are logging in the Google while they search.   This has 2 important implications for those marketing online in organic search:

  1.  Search results are influenced by past search behaviors, and may not be the “pure” results that you receive when not logged in to your Google Account.
  2. It will become more difficult to identify search terms that are growing in use if your analytics cannot track all of the search terms you are being found by.  It will become vital that SEO marketers become more proactive in their keyword research to get out in front of trends. 

Not Provided Google Analytics

Chart Courtesy of Optify

Eric Van Cleave is a Partner in Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa, California SEO, Online Marketing, and Website Development Firm.


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