The number of keywords and search visits pooled into the (not provided) keyword that you see in the Organic Search Traffic Source segment in Google Analytics is going to continue increasing. From the predictions and research seen around the Web recently, we speculate there will be a continual decline of real and useable keyword data coming from Google’s search engine and going into web analytics programs.

Two years ago Google began restricting the keyword data they sent to websites so visitors coming from secure Google search pages would be protected.

At the moment, many Internet marketers feel this is bad for everyone… everyone but Google, that is! As the website states,

“Grouping a large number of keywords under the banner of (not provided) denies site owners fundamental information about how their site is performing in organic search. The percentage of (not provided) traffic Google is sending your site is steadily rising, and will one day hit 100%.”

Here is a graphic that shows research that SunAnt Interactive has performed.

What we are seeing in our own clients’ Google Analytics profiles matches what we are seeing from other sources around the Internet.

Click image below for larger version.

not provided increase from july to sept 2013 google analytics

The percentage of keywords group as “not provided” from Google search results in organic traffic reports continues to rise from July 2013 to September 2013, as depicted in the charts above. (Data taken from a sampling of 3 of our own clients.

What we recommend you do:

  1. Look for other ways to get important data about your potential website visitors and important keywords. There are many keyword ranking suites available on a monthly subscription basis. SunAnt Interactive provides these types of reports.
  2. Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool  to find keywords relevant to your niche
  3. Log in to Google Webmaster Tools to view the Top Queries found in the Search Query section of the Search Traffic menu to see what keywords visitors have been using to find your website or the keywords that trigger your website to show up in the search results too.
  4. Dig deeper into how your website visitors are using your website. Look at the landing page interaction (bounce rate, time on site, pages per visit, etc) for the real organic keywords versus the (not provided) keyword data
  5. Focus on Pay Per Click advertising instead of SEO so you can get referrer data (Google still provides all keyword data to websites from PPC traffic, just not always from organic traffic now)