What Does Not Provided In Google Analytics Mean?

Posted on November 8, 2012

If you have logged into your Google Analytics account recently, you probably have been seeing a keyword rising in popularity over the past year. Whether you have a flower store or are a machine manufacturer or anything in between, you likely have seen the same two words that every internet marketer has seen: "not provided."

So what is not provided in Google Analytics? One year ago, Google announced that they wanted to "protect personalized search results" and began encrypting search terms of Google users. Simply put, information from logged in Google users is captured in Google Analytics, but their actual search terms are not provided to the Analytics user. As such, instead of displaying the keywords that got users to your site, you see a pool of traffic from Google users set as "not provided."

 

What is Google Analytics Not Provided

 

Now that we are one year out of the introduction of "not provided," we conducted a sample of sites that we created to monitor how this change has impacted their Analytics accounts. Over the past year, we have monitored the percentage of their monthly traffic that falls into the "not provided" category. As you can see, the "not provided" list has risen each month for the past year, and now accounts for approximately 12% of our sample's traffic. We have seen estimates as high as 23% for other companies.

So what do you do with this information, or rather, lack of information? The simple answer is keep doing what you are doing. Continue to craft high quality content and ensure that your site is easily crawled by search engines. Not knowing select keywords that are driving people to your site is certainly an obstacle, but should reinforce a dedication to creating good content and information for your viewers, whether you know how they got to your site or not.

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