Keyword (Not Provided): Google Search Privacy & How it Affects SEO

Filed under category: Search Engine Optimization

keyword not provided SEO

Have you checked your Google Analytics account lately? Have you noticed that some of your search engine traffic shows keyword (not provided) instead of showing the keyword the visitor used to find your website?

The goal that Google has appears to be that they want to have a user be able to hide the keyword (encrypting keywords) they used to find your site if they are logged into their Google account. Google claims that it is for security reasons. Security and privacy? Aren't these the same people who store data about search queries for years and have photographs of people on street view?

We realize that user searches can be compromised and user security is more important than ever with the widespread use of the internet. And Google should be going to great lengths to protect the security of its users. And according to the search engine giant, they are encrypting the user searches over SSL, which is a secure server designed specifically to encrypt information. In turn, the searches will show up as "not provided".

But the bottom line for an SEO company is this: it makes it more difficult to determine which keywords to target for optimization. When we view Google analytics and see several visitors who came in on a keyword (not provided), how do we know if our SEO campaign is working? Since we can't possibly know what those keywords are, we basically have to go with any search data is available and hope that not too many users are signed into their google accounts.

In order to be able to access more data, we would have to rely more on Google's Webmaster Tools which provides insights into user searches (not as detailed as Google analytics), but it can at least give us something. In order to help our search engine optimization efforts, we will continue to use Google's Webmaster tools in order to gain valuable knowledge. We're hoping Google can meet us halfway and come up with a solution for analytics where everybody wins.